Desert energy, conservation plan announced

(Inland News Today)

September 18,2016

PALM DESERT – (INT) – Federal and state officials have completed the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.

It seeks to strike a balance for development and conservation on public lands across California’s Desert, mostly in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The Plan has identified the lowest conflict areas for renewable energy development that exceed what is needed for the State’s climate change targets.

Winning protection for both wildlife and people are such unique desert landscapes as the Chuckwalla Bench,. the Chemehuevi Valley in the eastern Mojave, the Silurian Valley, Amargosa Basin, and the Yuha Desert.

“Many landscapes in the California Desert are a patchwork of public and private lands. While we can invest to protect private lands through purchase in conservation areas, it is critical that adjacent public lands are protected as well. Working across these boundaries creates a cohesive, connected ecosystem,” said Frazier Haney, Conservation Director for the Mojave Desert Land Trust.

The plan covers 10 million acres of public lands and creates energy development zones at locations where solar, wind and geothermal projects would least harm wildlife and other natural resources.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was in Palm Desert Wednesday where she announced approval of the plan.

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