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ACT NOW, Help Protect the Mojave Desert Icon JOSHUA TREE Yucca brevifolia! Deadline June 19, 2020





If you have ever visited the Mojave Desert, you were greeted with the Dr. Seuss like memorable Joshua Tree with it's erect stem and it's branched densely cover of sharply pointed leaves, no one leaves the Mojave Desert without having seeing this plant endemic to the Mojave Desert. Travelers from all over the globe come to see this arid dwelling icon but many are unaware of its status and the concern of saving the plant. Please take a moment in reading on how you can help us protect the Joshua Tree, deadline in June 19, 2020 and ANYONE can help. You do not have to live in the Mojave or be a California resident. Originally the deadline for signatures and emails was set for June 13, 2020 but it has been extended. Please go to the bottom of the page for a list of emails to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and an email to those on the committee.


On June 25, 2020 the California Department of Fish and Game Commission will hold a public meeting to vote on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recommendation to list Yucca brevifolia the western Joshua tree as a“threatened species” under the California Endangered Species Act. In 2019 under the trump administration the federal government denied Joshua Tree to be listed as a threatened species and here we are again with the opportunity to be the VOICES for Joshua Trees. Below is information of where to email a letter and ideas of what to write for requesting further protection and listing of Joshua Tree Yucca brevifolia as a "threatened species".


Art by Laura A. Mendoza La Artista Design, Inc.

Sadly Mayor Jeff Drzod of Yucca Valley has made a petition of opposition against the listing of Joshua Tree as a threatened species. What blew my mind was his reasons of opposition. I pasted below some of his "why protection is not needed" of these iconic beauties that are endemic to the Mojave Desert.


"If listed as threatened, private property owners will be required to endure costly compliance through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) - Forcing property owners to hire biologists and specialists to receive a permit for any construction or even yard work".


As population increases in the Mojave Desert so does development. Joshua Trees are impacted by habitat loss for clearing of wild lands to make way for strip malls, vacation rentals and roads. We have to STOP and ACT NOW. Take for example in 2015 development of the solar field that cleared hundreds of Joshua Trees and other native flora which also impacts fauna. Resident Randy Widmer said;

"They're clearing them off, killing them real quick and now they're grinding them up getting rid of all the evidence."

Aside of habitat loss, climate change is impacting the Joshua Tree. Brendan Cummings of the Center of Biologicaldiversity wrote;

"Climate change could wipe out western Joshua trees, which already are failing to reproduce at drier, lower elevations. Prolonged droughts are projected to be more frequent and intense over the coming decades, shrinking the species’ range and leading to more tree deaths. Higher elevations, where Joshua trees might survive increasing temperatures and drying conditions, are at risk of fire due to invasive non-native grasses".

Join Brendan Cummings, the author of the petition seeking state protection of the Western Joshua Tree, Conservation Director of the Center of Biological Diversity and Joshua Tree resident for the ZOOM webinar on more information on this petition. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

In 2006 the Mojave Desert experienced a devastating fire that burned 61,700 acres, if you ever find yourself in Pioneertown, Rimrock, Pipes Canyon area you can see the fire scare and the many Joshua Tree, Pinon Pine, Juniper skeletons. You look around and the land that once was abundant is now bare. Despite what some folks think they are slow growing, growing an average of 2.32 inches a year, the desert is not adapted to or for fire and they do not regenerate as fast as some would like to think.


This is a critical time, not only does man play a role in impacting the population of Joshua Trees but climate change. With the decline of Joshua Trees fauna will also be impacted.We have an opportunity to protect this symbol of the Mojave Desert please help. Join me by writing the California Fish and Game Commission by JUNE 13, 2020 and let them know of the importance and your support of listing it as a threatened species and vote YES. Below are some ideas for what to write via MDLT.



Email:

California Fish and Game Commission & influencers

with the subject

"RE: PLEASE HELP PROTECT OUR JOSHUA TREES"


Eric Sklar President of California Fish and Wildlife @ fgc@fgc.ca.gov

Chad Dibble Deputy Director Ecosystem Conservation Division @ chad.dibble@wildlife.ca.gov

Stafford Lehr Deputy Director Wildlife and Fisheries Division @ stafford.lehr@wildlife.ca.gov

Wendy Bogdan General Counsel Office of the General Counsel @ wendy.bogdan@wildlife.ca.gov

Isabel Baer Native Plant Program Manager Habitat Conservation @ isabel.baer@wildlife.ca.gov


Ideas for what to say via MDLT.



Here are some talking points you can consider including in your message:

  • This important species is under a barrage of threats, including climate change impacts, wildfire risk, and large-scale development projects. Four published studies have concluded that without intervention, climate change alone creates a high risk of losing western Joshua tree habitat almost entirely.


  • The presence of the western Joshua tree benefits our economy. Its iconic presence attracts people to visit, live and work in the high desert. Its protection will encourage responsible development, preventing urban sprawl and overcrowding, increase property values, and preserve the rural quality of life which attracts people to our area.


  • While some protection is provided by local ordinances, these are inadequate to respond to the multitude of threats that could lead to its disappearance. Not all Joshua trees are within National Park and National Monument boundaries. In fact, 40% of Joshua tree habitat is on private land, where it has only modest protection at best.


  • We are at a critical juncture for the western Joshua tree. A collection of scientific studies predict the widespread decline of this iconic endemic species. Joshua trees don’t grow anywhere else on Earth. They attract visitors and new residents which, in turn, support our economy. In 2018, visitors to the National Park created an economic benefit of nearly $196 million both within the Park and its vicinity — that’s almost double the expenditure in 2014. For the local communities adjacent to the Park, 1,823 jobs were related to visitation.

  • Attracted by the area’s scenic beauty and Joshua trees, the real estate market in the Joshua Tree region has steadily increased. New residents generally are not seeking a home in densely developed areas such as a subdivision, but instead are looking for a more rural lifestyle, ideally with proximity to the National Park, and Joshua trees are a very desirable feature.

  • We recognize that the rapid growth of our communities and the dramatic increase in visitation at the National Park has resulted in its own issues such as traffic. These issues need to be addressed, but protection of the Joshua tree will help, not hurt our communities. Its listing will encourage local governments to develop a regional approach to conservation through a Natural Communities Conservation Plan. These plans focus on the conservation of large undeveloped areas, while encouraging new development on vacant land in already developed areas. This helps prevent sprawl and overdevelopment.



Joshua Tree Ecological Importance.



Joshua Trees rely on the Yucca Moth, Tegeticula synthetica and Tegeticula antithetica for pollination. With the loss of Joshua Trees the Yucca Moth will too be impacted and their population affected. Many species of fauna rely on Joshua Tree as either a food sources or shelter like; Squirrels, woodrats, jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, and mice. There are Twenty-five bird species that utilize Joshua Tree to nest in and many feed off the flowers. The threatened Desert Tortoise shelters in Joshua Tree along with scorpions, lizards, spiders and lizards. So with the decline in the population of Joshua Tree will impact in the fauna.


MAN is a THREAT and it is time we stand up and be the voices for flora and fauna.


The plants may not be able to voice aloud their cry for the need of protection, so lets us be the voices of the plants.


Please share this and bring out the Eco-Warriors!