Center for Biological Diversity
Protecting endangered species and wild
places of western North America
Kelso CA -- More than twenty key desert activists, ecologists and attorneys gathered March 30-April 1 in the East Mojave to discuss and solidify further effective strategy for protection and recovery of the California desert environment.
Key representatives from several groups participated, including: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Desert Survivors, Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Sierra Club, California Native Plant Society, and California Wilderness Coalition.
"Desert environmental issues are heating up right now and we pulled the main conservation players together for a strategy session designed to maximize our collective effectiveness," said Daniel Patterson, The Center's Desert Ecologist. "The California Desert Forum strategy session ensures we are on the same page and supporting each others work as we move in to a busy, high stakes future."
Major issues covered at the meeting included: Strengthening broad opposition to the Army's proposed expansion of Ft. Irwin; the BLM CDCA lawsuit settlement implementation and monitoring; opposing groundwater mining projects such as the Cadiz proposal; participation in BLMs big desert plans and route designation efforts to limit off-road vehicles; minimizing environmental impacts from desert powerplant, powerline and pipeline proposals; desert wilderness protection; and fighting off increased threats from industry to desert wildlife and water quality under the anti-environmental Bush administration and Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
The Center for Biological Diversity was awarded on March 17 by the Desert Tortoise Council and Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, two prominent science organizations, for its outstanding work benefitting the California desert.
"The Desert Tortoise Council recognizes The Center for Biological Diversity for its continued efforts attempting to save the desert tortoise from extinction," said Dr. Marc Graff, DTC's Senior Co-Chair, "Specifically, we recognize the Center's longstanding efforts for conservation throughout the southwest and the nation."
Desert activists declared the meeting a success and plan to meet again in the fall with an even broader array of groups participating.