New Proposal Could Protect Public Lands in the California Desert

New Proposal Could Protect Public Lands in the California Desert

On Nov. 10, the Bureau of Land Management issued its proposed Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) for California, which could protect significant areas of public lands in the California desert while identifying others for potential renewable energy development.

  • The plan provides a landscape-level approach to protecting wildlife habitat across the desert, which is home to such iconic species as bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and bobcats. Despite its overall success in protecting landscapes, however, the plan should be strengthened in the western portions of the planning area, such as in the Pisgah Valley.
  • Since the BLM released its first draft of the DRECP in 2014, the agency has made important, positive changes to the plan, adding more durable protections to conservation lands and removing landscapes such as Silurian Valley from potential areas of development. Adding stronger protections from development activities, such as mining, remains a priority issue for conservation lands.  
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Pew Commends BLM for Strengthening Conservation in California’s Desert

Final decisions should enhance protections for conservation areas

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) today, which would protect significant areas of public lands in the California desert—including the Cadiz and Silurian valleys, the Iron Mountains, and the Chuckwalla Bench. The plan also identifies certain areas of public lands in the desert that would be available for potential renewable energy development. Governor Jerry Brown (D) now has 60 days to review the plan before BLM can sign and implement it.