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Box 3635, San Diego, CA 92163-1635 Phone: (619) 342-5524 Website: www.dpcinc.org Spring 2007 Editor: Larry Hogue Number 196
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
The year 2007 will bring changes and new opportunities to DPC. With this issue you will see our ongoing improvements to El Paisano the main method by which we stay in touch with , you, our valued members, as well as policymakers and academics. Reflective of our growing efforts to improve DPC’s overall functioning, I invite you to look over our streamlined and more user-friendly website We have added new material, removed . outdated items and generally made it easier to navigate and more eye-catching. Writer/author Larry Hogue, in concert with Shirley Harshenin, our “webmistress,” will continue to make refinements in the months ahead. In the new cyberspace world we live in, a quality website is a must, and ours now projects a professional standard of operation to the world. This year DPC is building on its longstanding tradition of supporting and building educational programs that will enhance desert conservation. In the last two years we have financed fifth grade experiential campouts in the desert for Imperial County kids; moreover, we paid for the hardware and curriculum to allow students to interact electronically with desert resource professionals. In 2007 we are now helping to fund projects for Imperial Valley College’s Ecology Club and its Environmental Science Program. By underwriting desert field trips and more we are cultivating future conservation advocates right in desert communities themselves. Education, however, is just one facet of our mission. This organization’s history of robust advocacy continues and touches numerous issues affecting California’s fragile desert lands (see the updated articles in this edition). A third major aspect of our work in 2007 will be stewardship. We are constantly seeking to locate suitable private lands in Imperial County to purchase for conservation in a manner that will enhance existing wilderness areas or sensitive protected landscapes. When acquired, such lands will be placed in public hands for permanent protection.
Finally, the Board is actively canvassing for new members to add to our existing team. We are seeking new board members in southern California who possess an interest in our precious desert wild lands and who have available time, talent and/or other resources they would like to contribute to the mission and goals of the DPC. Please contact or Terry Weiner further me for information. A fun part of the job is reviewing worthy proposals in which to invest our Mesquite FundWe are fortunate indeed ! not only to have a tradition of activism, now also the but considerable means to support projects benefittingthe people and desert lands of Imperial County. See you around the next bend in a desert canyon somewhere. Nick Ervin, President
Wise words from author David James Duncan:*
Too m any of us spend too m uch tim e learning too much about destruction. The result is inertia and compassion fatigue. All the tim e we spend m onitoring destruction is tim e that could be spent doing sm all, effective acts of compassion. I feel best, work best, and love m ost when I shrink the realm of possibility down to something that I myself can actually do, with my lim ited knowledge, lim ited scope, my
whole heart, my small thin voice, my own two hands.
*Reprinted with permission from online magazine. Grist
WE’VE UPDATED OUR WEBSITE WITH A NEW SLIDESHOW AND EASIER NAVIGATION. CHECK IT OUT AT: www.dpcinc.org
the necessary administrative expenses for the next year) runs by Pat Flanagan For those of us who live and work in the California Desert, the until May 11, 2007. Time is running out and we still need over $200,000 to complete the campaign. We need your help. rapid growth of urban encroachment on our wildlands can be Donation and membership information is available at both a surprise and a shock. However, we are not unique. www.mojavedesertlandtrust.org . Before we blame developers for the problem, we need to think about the growth of our populations and the fact that developers Advocacy are merely responding to that growth. SMART ENERGY SOLUTIONS Our challenge is to raise our voices and efforts so that the PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE TO inevitable urbanization is properly planned to protect our wild POWERLINK places. We need to ensure habitats that support a wide diversity by Elizabeth Lambe, Sierra Club of life and protect those corridors through our open spaces that The campaign to protect Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, local encourage a continuing genetic flow through plant and animal communities, and other natural lands continues to build populations. momentum. In February the State Park Commission met in Local land trusts, with their entrepreneurial abilities to acquire critical lands and hold conservation easements, play an Borrego Springs and heard public testimony regarding Sunrise Powerlink threatening important role in this Anza-Borrego. This effort. For cash starved hearing was only the municipalities, as well as second time ever that the federal, state, and local Park Commission had land managers, land held a special hearing on trusts are often the a threat to one of critical partner to realize California's state parks. the visions of general and (The first such hearing, specific plans. When held in November 2005, possible, acquired lands was about the Foothill are given to the South Toll Road appropriate agencies to proposed to run through include within their Nolina Peak, framed by the yuccas of Yucca Valley San Onofre State Beach boundaries. If that is not in South Orange County.) possible, the land trust remains the steward in perpetuity. Over 500 people attended the hearing in Borrego Springs all The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is currently working wearing yellow "Save Anza-Borrego, Say No to Sunrise with Joshua Tree National Park to acquire Nolina Peak, a Powerlink" stickers and banners. critical section (639 acres) adjacent to Covington Flats along the park’s northern border. This unique and biologically rich Thanks to everyone wearing their bandanas, stickers and area is the natural topographic continuation of Quail Mountain, carrying signs, the Commission was greeted with a sea of a wilderness area within the park that is home to bighorn sheep, yellow carrying the message "Protect our Park!" Prior to the deer, mountain lion, bobcat, and coyote. Although Nolina Peak meeting the campaign had a rally in the parking lot and handed is undeveloped (except for the one-acre cell tower installation at out talking points for those who were planning to testify. the top) it is dangerously adjacent to housing developments on On Saturday, April 14, Santa Ysabel resident Denis the eastern border of the Town of Yucca Valley (view map). Trafecanty ran 50 miles through Anza-Borrego in a fundraising The Bureau of Land Management owns 640 acres of prime and awareness raising effort to stop the Powerlink. Denis was wildlife habitat immediately north of the Nolina Peak property. greeted by 40 supporters in Borrego Springs and 20 more in MDLT is working to turn the Nolina Peak acquisition into a 2 Julian. His run raised over $10,000. Donations are still being for 1 deal by arranging for the transfer of the BLM parcel to accepted by the Anza-Borrego Foundation . Joshua Tree NP. These two acquisitions by the Park would The next big event for promoting the message that there are preserve important wildlife habitat and maintain a permanent smarter energy solutions will be the San Diego Earth Fair on scenic open space buffer between the communities of Yucca April 22nd. Sierra Club and other coalition members will have Valley and Joshua Tree. booths where we will be gathering signatures on petitions and handing out information about energy alternatives that make
MOJAVE VALLEY LAND TRUST SPEARHEADS NOLINA PEAK CAMPAIGN
The campaign to buy Nolina Peak and complete the fund raising goal of $972,500 (which includes funds for acquisition and stewardship until the National Park can accept the land and
Page 4 EL PAISANO more sense, like conservation, renewable energy and other "non-wires" alternatives. To "illuminate" that point, the Sierra Club's Smart Energy Solutions Task Force volunteers will be handing out low-energy light bulbs to attendees who write a personal note to Governor Schwarzenegger.
EL PAISANO Page 5 by Pat Flanagan … In Ed Bulletin #06-2 by Richard Halsey and DESERT NOTES the California Chaparral Field Institute, we brought you Brief news items from around the deserts… information about fire in high desert and chaparral Good newsfor the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge! Wilderness environments and how to safeguard your home from wildfire. Watch reports that Refuge manager Paul Cornes quickly TinaMarie Ekker of Wilderness Watch points out that the Rocky scuttled plans for a live streaming video camera and satellite Mountain Research Station also has an excellent video on dish in the Kofa Wilderness after a barrage of comments from protecting your home, and it applies in all habitats where hunters’ groups and wilderness advocates. The idea was to “bring the refuge to the people” through their home computers, wildfire is a threat, from forests to high deserts. To get your "Wildfire: Preventing Home Ignitions" using a video camera and satellite dish at Adams Well, a desert FREE copy of the DVD, contact Richard Schneider, Rocky Mtn. Research Station watering hole popular among local wildlife. As with all intrusions of technology in wilderness, however, the plan would Publications at 970-498-1392. have ruined the wilderness values it sought to convey, as well as IMPERIAL COUNTY PROJECTS AND potentially conflicting with hunters’ fair chase ethics. Wilderness Watch, the Arizona Wilderness Coalition , and CONSERVATION COORDINATOR’S Backcountry Hunters and Anglers applauded the decision, as all COLUMN do we …More good news southern California desert for By Terry Weiner wilderness! In October, Congresswoman Mary Bono (RSenator Darrel Steinberg, Chair of the State Senate Natural Riverside) introduced her “California Desert and Mountain Resources and Wildlife Committee, has introduced legislation, Heritage Act,” which would designate approximately 125,000 SB 742, to renew the State of California’s OHV Program, acres of new wilderness in the San Jacinto, Agua Tibia and which is due to sunset in January 2008. If passed in its present Santa Rosa mountains and Joshua Tree National Park. The bill, form, the bill could have negative outcomes for law which has bipartisan backing, was introduced as a “draft” and enforcement, conservation, restoration of off-road vehicle will be reintroduced in the 2007-08 Congressional Session. damage to state and federal public lands, to private property Meanwhile, organizers have been gathering broad-based owners and to other forms of recreation in California. Senate support from environmental and business groups, including the Natural Resources Committee staff have convened a Joshua Tree and 29 Palms chambers of commerce. According to stakeholder working group which has been meeting weekly in Deborah DeMeo, California Desert Program Manager for the structured negotiations to amend the bill to meet the needs of National Parks Conservation Association , “With this legislation different interest groups. The conservation community has two Congresswoman Mary Bono is protecting some of Riverside representatives in this working group. After four weeks of County’s most outstanding wild places for residents, visitors, negotiations and meetings with legislative staff, the bill is a far and future generations to enjoy. appreciate her efforts and We cry from a form that most conservation groups in the state, look forward to this important bill becoming”law.And … including DPC, can support. We will continue to work with great news: condor returned, at least briefly, to San Diego A Senator Steinberg to make the bill more environmentally County for the first time friendly and then work with members of the Assembly Water, in nearly a century. Parks and Wildlife Committee. You can view SB 742 at: Flying north from its http://info.sen.ca.gov/ (read the strikeouts on the amended home in Mexico’s version to see how the bill has been weakened). Sierra San Pedro de The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its Draft Martir National Park, a Environmental Assessment for Controlling Raven Predation on California condor the threatened Desert Tortoise, our California State Reptile. crossed the border over This is good news because previously there was no plan in the Jacumba Mountains on April 4, spent a day or two touring place to deal with this major threat to a species whose numbers San Diego’s mountains and deserts, and then returned whence continue to decline across the California desert. The Desert she came. The three-year-old female, hatched at theDiego San Protective Council will be submitting comments on this draft Zoo and released into the wild in 2005, is one of 11 condors plan. You can view the five alternatives proposed by Fish & released in Baja since 2002. Biologists in the condor recovery Wildlife athttp://www.fws.gov/ventura/ . effort also report that another female in the Baja group has laid The Desert Protective Council will also be filing comments an egg this spring, another first for this population. The goal is on the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern San Diego for this population to some day connect with the reintroduced County Draft Resource Management Plan. The purpose of this condors in Central California. To do that, we need to keep these plan is to update planning decisions based on changes in wilderness corridors open and – ahem! – free of power lines. circumstances and policies since the current land use decisions For more on the importance of wildlife connectivity, see this were adopted. The current plan is well over 20 years old. The month’sEd Bulletin “Linkages: Connecting Time and Space,” , planning area includes 103,000 acres with a range of Number 196
Page 6 EL PAISANO Number 196 environments harboring many sensitive habitats and species. western Imperial County, north of SR-78, west of SR-86 and There are several Wilderness areas, Wilderness Study Areas and south of Highway S-22. The area is east of Anza-Borrego Conservation Column (cont.) Desert State Park and overlaps portions of Ocotillo Wells State Areas of Critical Environmental Concern in this planning area. Vehicular Recreation Area. The proposed action area Issues addressed in the five alternatives in the Draft Plan encompasses about 40,000 acres, of which about 14,300 acres include management of off-road vehicle and other types of are federal mineral lands managed by the BLM El Centro. recreation, protection of visual and cultural resources, and The Draft EIS considers opening this area to geothermal grazing. Preliminary concerns include downgrading the visual development because the area is supposed to be capable of resources classification of McCain Valley (allowing for wind producing enough hot water energy development in this scenic and highly visited area), and deep in the earth to fuel at target shooting in bighorn sheep critical habitat near the Table least two power plants and Mountain WSA. Comments are due May 31, and you can produce up to 50 obtain a hard copy of the document by calling the BLM El megawatts of power. If the Centro at (760) 337-4400 or emailing email@example.com ; leases are approved and the you can also view it on the BLM’s websiteWe’ll have full . testing shows that there is talking points on our website soon. enough hot water available The Backcountry Horsemen of California have submitted a to produce a significant nomination of Coyote Canyon as “Coyote Canyon Wild Horse amount of energy, then Historic District” to the National Register of Historic Places. more environmental The State Historical Resources Commission will consider the documentation would have rd Existing Imperial Valley plant nomination at a May 3meeting in Hollywood. The to take place. Noise, Backcountry Horsemen contend that although the National particulate pollution from diesel construction and drilling Register applies to “places,” the horses are a character-defining equipment, dust from pad and road construction, loss of the element that could make Coyote Canyon eligible. They believe currently unspoiled viewshed, adverse effects on the local that Coyote Canyon and its herd meet the criteria of the aquifer, soil erosion, and introduction of invasive plant species National Register because of a link to the traditional values of are some of the expected impacts from the placement of wells, the American West. The equestrians would like to see the horse pipes, pads, power plants and transmission lines. There would herd returned to the canyon and consider it an “act of also be an impact to off-road vehicle recreation because of rehabilitation,” according to the nomination. In March 2003, curtailment of some use in that area. The amount of opportunity after a long controversy, at the request of the Department of lost to ORV recreation will depend on how many leases are Parks and Recreation, a helicopter removed a band of horses granted and the number of wells ultimately developed. that had roamed the canyon for years. Park officials said at the The Desert Protective Council is planning to address time that the removal of the 29 horses was done in the best concerns about the impacts to desert habitat and to “Special interest of the horses and for the protection of the ecology of the Status” wildlife species, such as the flat-tailed horned lizard, the canyon. Some of the horses were starving and the presence of Colorado Desert fringe-toed lizard, and the Le Conte’s thrasher, horses in the riparian area was affecting the movements of the which the BLM lists as having a high potential for occurring in endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep. You can submit the area. A number of plant species at risk of endangerment – comments on this nomination to: Milford Donaldson, FAIA, Mecca Aster, Orcutt’s Woody Aster, and Peirson’s Pincushion, State Historic Preservation Officer, PO Box 942896, among others – also have a high potential of occurring here. Sacramento CA 94296. San Sebastian Marsh, a vital oasis and one of the last holdouts If you have input for us on these or any other desert for the endangered desert pupfish, is just south of the leasing conservation issues, please contact me at (619) 342-5524, or area. Potential threats to this wetland area should be thoroughly firstname.lastname@example.org remember to check our . And addressed. The leasing area also has a documented cultural advocacy section regular updates. for history that spans more than 10,000 years; at least two tribal groups consider the cultural resources of the area as part of their Advocacy cultural heritage. The DEIS does not discuss how these resources will be protected. ONE THING YOU CAN DO TO SAVE One question which arises from this proposed major energy THE DESERT: development project is whether the mission of the state parks STOP MASSIVE GEOTHERMAL extends to lands managed as state recreation areas, but not DEVELOPMENT owned by DPR. In response to the threat the Sunrise Powerlink IN IMPERIAL DESERT poses to Anza-Borrego, DPR Director Ruth Coleman has stated The Bureau of Land Management has held scoping meetings that the mission of California State Parks does not include regarding their Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the “Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area.” The area is located in energy development projects. If the geothermal leases are
Number 196 EL PAISANO Page 7 approved for development, this could set a precedent which will Council. We’ll have pricing and ordering information on our make it that much easier for the next energy project proposed website soon. for California state park land to be justified. What you can do: Obtain a copy of this Draft EIS and send in comments on any part of the document that concerns you. You can view the document online or obtain a hard copy by calling Erin Dreyfus at (760) 337-4400. Mail your comments before th April 30 to California Desert District Office, attention John Dalton, 22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley CA 92553.
San Sebastian Marsh
Photo by David Scriven
NEWS ABOUT OUR MEMBERS
Long-time DPC member Ms. MYFANNWY CALDERON of Bellingham,WA passed away in late February of this year. DPC Board Vice President and long-time member of the Desert Protective Council GEOFFREY SMITH his wife Camille and Armstrong were recently featured in a front page San Diego Union-Tribune article about their 20 years of successful work protecting wild areas in San Diego’s back country and throughout California. The article, entitled “Protection, Acre by Acre,” described Geoffrey and Camille’s roles in Senator Barbara Boxer’s California Wild Heritage Campaign to protect more than 2.4 million acres of California as federal wilderness. Senator Boxer referred to the couple and other campaign volunteers as her “eyes and ears on the ground” and said, “Without them, I certainly could not have gotten as far as I have.” Read the full article Congratulations, Geoffrey and here. Camille, and thank you! PRESTON ARROWWEED , Quechan Elder, Imperial County DPC member and founder of the Ah-Mut Pipa Foundation, through a $30,000 grant from the Desert Protective Council, has finished production of a 30-minute video presentation: Journey From Spirit Mountain video focuses on the Quechan . The Creation Story, the Colorado Desert’s sacred lands, and the importance of desert ecology to the Quechan culture. The film will be sold with an accompanying study guide for teachers and will be available for purchase through the Desert Protective
KEEP YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN DPC CURRENT
Membership in the Desert Protective Council is based on a January 1 to December 31 term of membership. If you are a life member you do not need to renew. However, we are always receptive to gifts to keep our projects going. Many of our members, life and regular, are most generous, and your donations help ensure that DPC remains a strong voice for conservation in all of our deserts. You can donate online here. Much of our current activity is based on projects in Imperial County, as required by the settlement of the Mesquite Mine lawsuit. Since we engage in many other projects and issues outside of Imperial County, we keep nonrestricted donations in a separate account for use in more general desert issues.
If you would like to receive this newsletter electronically please send an e-mail message stating “subscribe electronically” to Terry Weiner. Rather than a printed copy, you will receive e-mail notification that the newsletter has been posted to the website.
DESERT PROTECTIVE COUNCIL -WHO WE ARE
Nick Ervin, President Geoffrey Smith, Vice President Larry Klaasen, Secretary Byron Anderson, Treasurer Terry Weiner, Imperial Projects & Conservation Coordinator Shirley Harshenin, Webmistress – www.nutheadproductions.com Larry Hogue, Communications Consultant DESERT PROTECTIVE COUNCIL NEW AND RENEWAL MEMBERSHIP FORM Enclosed is my remittance of $_______ [ ]New Membership [ ]Gift Membership [ ] Renewal Name_________________________________________ Address_______________________________________ City, State, Zip________________________________ Phone_________________________________________ Email_________________________________________ Please make checks payable to: DPC Mail to P.O. Box 3635, San Diego, CA 92163-1635 Dues and all donations are tax-deductible. MEMBERSHIP LEVELS (please check) [ ] Life $300.00 one time [ ] Regular Membership $25.00 annually [ ] Joint Membership $35.00 annually [ ] Senior/Student/Retired $15.00 annually [ ] Additional Gift of $_________ Have you remembered DPC in your estate planning?
Grand Canyon and away from the crowds. I’ve done this hike twice, and seen one hiker on the Tonto Trail section. The trail by Larry Hogue also crosses Pipe Creek, with its lush waterfed gardens and Silence and solitude: these are two qualities that the average dramatic waterfall. Grand Canyon visitor may have trouble finding. While it’s PRACTICAL MATTERS : Begin the hike on the South possible to find silence in the “no-fly zone” over the North and Kaibab Trail, as early as possible if hiking in summer. Four South Rim visitor centers and the canyon’s Main Corridor trails, miles of steep downhill hiking will bring you to the Tonto Trail, these are also the park’s most crowded areas. If you choose to where you’ll turn west and leave the crowds behind. Two get away from the crowds by heading to remote areas east or west, then you enter the air corridors frequented by the dreaded rolling miles over the blackbrush-covered slopes of the Tonto Grand Canyon air tours (OHVs of the sky). I once took a soul- brings you first to Burro Spring and then to Pipe Creek. Pipe Spring, about ¼ mile upstream, is listed as perennial in inspiring dayhike to Yuma Point on the Boucher Trail – until 8:30 a.m., when the helicopters first appeared. The silence and Annerino’s “Hiking the Grand Canyon,” but it’s always best to check at the Back Country Office, 928-638-7875, and vital in sense of refuge in this grandest of desert temples were summer. If water is available here, the best approach is to carry destroyed. Only at night does the visitor to these more remote a water treatment system, allowing you to spend all day in this regions experience the full remoteness of the Grand Canyon; shady oasis without carrying a lot of water down from the this, of course, requires a backpacking trip. trailhead. If hiking in summer, plan to leave Pipe Creek after One trail offers a solution to this dilemma for those without the time, inclination, or permit for a backpack into the canyon’s 4:00 p.m., to avoid the worst of the heat as you continue west remote regions: the section of the Tonto Trail between the South on the Tonto and then climb out on the Bright Angel Trail from Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails. Although these are some of the Indian Gardens. (It’s also possible, of course, to visit Pipe Creek on a dayhike from Indian Gardens backpackers’ camp.) busiest trails in the Park, this section of the Tonto is seldom For a more detailed description of this hike, visit traveled because no camping is allowed here. For the fit hiker www.freewebs.com/lawrencehogue . capable of covering 14 miles with roughly 3,500 feet of Do you have a favorite spot in our southwestern deserts? elevation loss and gain in a single day, this route offers the Write to tell us about it! possibility of spending most of a day amidst the silence of the
FAVORITE DESERT PLACES: GRAND CANYON’S PIPE CREEK
P.O. BOX 3635 SAN DIEGO, CA 92163-1635
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Nolina Peak Campaign..................................page 2 Desert Notes..................................................page 3 Conservation Column....................................page 3 Geothermal Development..............................page 4 News About Our Members............................Page 5
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