Conservation Groups Celebrate New Program to Fund Desert Restoration
Friday, October 1, 2021
JOSHUA TREE, Calif. -- Projects to protect the Mojave and Colorado Deserts stand to get a lot more funding, as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill creating the California Desert Conservation Program.
The program is not yet funded, but the money should come with the 2022 budget cycle.
Cody Hanford, deputy executive director of the Mojave Desert Land Trust, said he would like the state to purchase parcels of private land that connect large tracts of public land.
"The top priority would be acquisitions of private land inside habitat linkages," Hanford explained. "By preserving these linkages, that enables the desert to remain intact and species to flow as needed. "
The Southern California desert is a big hit with tourists, attracting $7.6 billion in spending in 2018, which supports 78,000 jobs. The program would funnel money to tribes, nonprofits and local government agencies to restore desert habitat, fight climate change and improve recreational access.
Brenda Gallegos, conservation program associate for the Hispanic Access Foundation, said the projects will make access to nature more equitable.
"One third of every community of color is nature-deprived," Gallegos pointed out. "This will actually increase that access to nature for all of our communities of color in the area."
Janessa Goldbeck, California director of the VetVoice Foundation, said her group was an original co-sponsor of the bill.
"We believe strongly that protecting our public lands is a patriotic duty," Goldbeck contended. "Veterans and military families use public lands to reconnect after they are deployed."
The program also will fund efforts to remove nonnative plant species such as cheatgrass, because they create fuel for wildfires.
get more stories like this via email
BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland civil rights groups are proposing a lawsuit against Baltimore County if it adopts its current redistricting plan, claiming …
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nearly seven in ten Americans say billionaires are not paying their fair share in taxes, according to a new survey. Among likely …
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Over the coming weeks, North Dakotans will be clicking the "purchase" button as they order holiday gifts online, and fraud experts …
MINNEAPOLIS -- Several regional labor groups rallied in Minneapolis on Wednesday, demanding state leaders take action to reflect the sacrifices made …
GREENE, Iowa -- The proposed Build Back Better bill is getting attention for a host of funding possibilities, including one area flying under the …
MADISON, Wis. -- In a four-three decision this week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court backed a "least-change" approach to redistricting in the state…
OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Michiganders are mourning the loss of four students after this week's school shooting at Oxford High School, and advocates …
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Labor protests and strikes are on the upswing this fall, compared with 2020 when everyone hunkered as the pandemic closed …