STOP INDUSTRIAL SOLAR SPRAWL IN JOSHUA TREE WILDLIFE CORRIDOR JUST OUTSIDE OF NATIONAL PARK

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This is a fundraiser to appeal the Planning Commission’s recent misguided approval of a proposed 115-acre industrial solar farm on Sunfair.

We are appealing the decision to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, where we have a much better chance of prevailing against the industrial solar creeps.

The appeal itself costs $1,331. Then there will be various legal fees, hiring a lawyer, etc. The money is being handled by responsible and respected members of the Joshua Tree community.

Let’s get this happening! These jerks want to build gated industrial solar fields across a wildlife corridor, less than two miles from the National Park’s border. Sick and stupid. We can win this!

Go here now and donate: https://www.gofundme.com/265567fg

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THURSDAY, APRIL 21: FREE BUS RIDE TO HEARING ON PROPOSAL TO BUILD ANOTHER GIANT INDUSTRIAL SOLAR FIELD IN JOSHUA TREE

Joshua Tree resident Mark Lundquist, who is Field Representative for Supervisor James Ramos, writes:

“I have a charter bus reserved for the April 21st Planning Commission meeting in San Bernardino. NextEra will be seeking approval for the Joshua Tree Solar project. This is an opportunity for up to 35 people to attend in person the Commission meeting and voice their opinion. If we get a decent response the bus will leave the Joshua Tree county government building parking lot at 6:15 that morning and travel straight to San Bernardino for the meeting. The meeting starts at 9am. The bus ride is free. People wanting to sign up can also call my office and reserve a seat. Please spread the word!!”

Contact:
Mark.Lundquist@bos.sbcounty.gov
760.366.1488

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WILD DESERT TORTOISE TESTOSTERONE TIME

Yesterday at our Prefab Homesteader Cabin property

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Our friend and herpetologist Kelly Herbinson says: “Looks like a male blocking a female in her burrow. Sometimes they even just sit sideways in the burrow entrance so no other tortoises can get to her… Males will also block other males in like that too, so it’s hard to say what’s happening here since that interior tort is obscured. But usually it’s a mating thing. Male tortoises have extremely high levels of testosterone and are quite aggressive towards both sexes this time of year.”

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Fremont’s dalea going spectacular in the wash

Just down the dirt road from us, this bush has bloomed into a striking indigo entity erupting in a sandy wash. Photos taken with phone, so not the best. Sorry!

Fremont’s dalea: wikipedia

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GARDENING

Prepping a new raised bed with compost #desertgardening @jaywbabcock

A photo posted by Sunever Farms (@suneverfarms) on

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PLANNING COMMISSION DELAYS VOTE ON ALTA MIRA GATED CONDO PROJECT TO APRIL 7

From local radio station KCDZ 107.7:

March 25, 2016: After a postponement last week due to a power outage, the County Planning Commission still didn’t make a decision yesterday about the controversial Alta Mira housing project. Reporter David Haldane was at the teleconferenced meeting, and files this report…

Eloquent. Angry. Passionate. Intense. Those are a few of the words describing some of the testimony at yesterday’s four-hour public hearing before the county Planning Commission. The one describing it all, though, is opposed. Opposed to a 248-unit housing development near Joshua Tree’s Friendly Hills Elementary School that many believe would ruin the neighborhood.

In the end, the commission postponed until April 7 its decision on the 105-acre Alta Mira project. Along the way, though, the testimony – mostly from an overflow crowd in Joshua Tree where the proceedings were televised interactively – raised some pointed concerns. Among them: that the project would adversely affect the environment, create major traffic problems and be inconsistent with the town.

Alexis Sonnenfeld, a 20-year resident, felt that he’d made his point.

“I think that they get that nobody up here is for this. And it certainly raises questions. So I feel that in that sense, we were effective.”

More info on Alta Mira: Morongo Basin Conservation Association

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ALTA MIRA HEARING RESCHEDULED TO THURSDAY, MAR 24! SAY NO TO GATED CONDOS IN JOSHUA TREE!

There was a power outage last Thursday, March 17 at the local teleconferencing center that affected the Planning Commission meeting on the abominable “Alta Mira” high-density gated condo project.

The discussion on Alta Mira has been rescheduled for this Thursday, March 24, 9am. If you wish to participate in the hearing, you can attend the Planning Commission meeting in person in San Bernardino and make a public comment. Alternatively, you can go to the San Bernardino County video-conferencing center located on the first floor of the Joshua Tree County Government Center at 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway at Whitefeather Road, and make a public comment there.

Longtime Joshua Tree activist David Fick believes attendance Thursday from opponents to this unwise project can make a difference in how the Planning Commission votes. He says:

We need as many concerned Joshua Tree residents at this Joshua Tree County Government Center and some who can make the trip to San Bernardino [to attend the Planning Commission meeting in person].

At the JT County Government Center, JT residents who feel shy [about speaking on camera to the Commissioners in San Bernardino] can register their disapproval on the Public Speaking Slips and need not comment aloud on the disgusting project.

We need the numbers there for the Planning Commissioners to take notice.

The Planning Commission already has many good comment letters from Morongo Basin Conservation Association, Joshua Tree Community Association, the Center for Biological Diversity, and me.

Speaking of comments, here’s a link to the LATEST on the Alta Mira Gated Community Project. Please send this link to everybody that could possibly take an interest on this Gated Community issue: Morongo Basin Conservation Association’s “Alta Mira Housing Project” page

Here’s a flyer that someone made. Please share it around!

altamirarablight

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SILENT, MAGNIFICENT

Saw this flock of roosting turkey vultures in trees near the co-op well, yesterday. Those trees are a traditional resting point for these guys.

Roosting turkey vultures in trees near the co-op well. #joshuatree

A photo posted by Jay Babcock (@jaywbabcock) on

Three of the turkey vultures #joshuatree

A photo posted by Jay Babcock (@jaywbabcock) on

More info: Turkey Vultures (digital-desert.com)

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THURSDAY, MARCH 17: STAND UP AGAINST UNWELCOME “ALTA MIRA” GATED HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL

“Alta Mira” is a proposal to build a 105-acre, 248-home gated community in Joshua Tree south of the 62 next to the Friendly Hills Elementary School, with individual units retailing in the $250k range. Developers say the project would be constructed in phases, over a period of ten or more years.

Alta Mira has generated tremendous and unanimous opposition from the Joshua Tree community from its introduction over eight years ago. As local radio station 107.7 put it, “[C]ommunity opposition [has] centered around the project’s high density, environmental degradation, and the low-desert aesthetic a gated community would foster.”

Despite this continued opposition from the Joshua Tree community, Alta Mira’s developers have moved their proposal forward. The San Bernardino County Planning Commission will be addressing the project at 9am tomorrow, Thursday, March 17.

Opponents to Alta Mira should attend the Planning Commission meeting in person in San Bernardino and make a public comment. Alternatively, you can go to the San Bernardino County video-conferencing center located on the first floor of the Joshua Tree County Government Center at 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway at Whitefeather Road, and make a public comment there.

The Joshua Tree community’s concerns about Alta Mira, and the County staff’s woefully inadequate report on the subject, are deep and well-founded. Many of these objections were outlined in the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council’s resolution on the issue. Here is the text of that resolution, which was adopted this past Tuesday by a unanimous vote:
Continue reading

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WHAT WE’RE DEFENDING

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Our first desert tortoise sighting of the spring yesterday came via one of our guests at our Sonora Homesteader cabin, who snapped the pretty photo above. This fella was out in the wash on BLM land next to the cabin.

We love seeing photos like this. Encountering one of these extraordinary wild creatures in their native habitat is one of the best things about living out here. It’s one of the reasons we started our Defend Joshua Tree effort a few years ago — because this kind of animal, this kind of setting, this kind of experience needs and deserves defending. If this rings a bell for you, please support the idea, and our work, by purchasing one of our beautiful t-shirts. We think you’ll find that the shirt is a great statement/conversation-starter about what you value, and why.

Check out what other plants and animals have been spotted out here lately via the growing “Coyote Valley” database at iNaturalist.

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