California Desert Coalition
P.O. Box 331
Pioneertown, CA  92268 0331

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© 2018 California Desert Coalition
As the land we love faces increasingly complex public policy issues and opportunities- triggered by both external and internal forces for growth-decisions are being made that substantially affect every aspect of the quality of life in the desert.

The California Desert Coalition (CDC) exists to give the people of the California desert a voice in its future. We build coalitions to promote a deeper understanding of public policy issues and to stitch together the voices that are responsible for these decisions: this includes all of us.  We work to cut through the complexity of high-stakes public policy issues so there are no surprises and no lost opportunities for the future we want to live in.

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Contact: Claudia Sall, 760.365.9366 info@cadesertcoalition.org

Public Advocacy Workshop cheered a Success!

Yucca Valley, California. The May 18th workshop was held at the Yucca Valley Community Center from 10am to 3:30 pm and attracted a “sellout” crowd of 45 citizens.  With Desert residents facing increasingly complex public policy issues, more desert advocates are needed to defend the desert we love.

The workshop was focused on the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA] which regulates projects on federal lands and was taught by local conservationists and expert environmental lawyers, Todd Tucci and Lizzy Potter of Advocates for the West [AFW]. 

April Sall, CDC president, outlined in “Public Lands Advocacy 101”, the importance of public engagement in agency decisions recounting local success stories where engagement shaped outcomes.     Mr. Tucci then informed Legal Advocacy using state and federal legal tools, processes and procedures to influence agency decisions:    public engagement in the agency decisions, engagement in the administrative process, and federal court litigation.
Following in workshop session one “NEPA 101: Process and Substance”, Ms. Potter instructed on the process and substance of NEPA which included the basic legal requirements and purpose of NEPA, overview of typical NEPA process, common substantive and procedural issues.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Ms. Sall reviewed the history and maps of the DRECP and outlined how through citizen engagement, the proposed 1.3 million-acre renewable energy development area was narrowed down to 220,000 acres.  She stressed that “we all need to comment when that happens and urged that we “keep the conservation or ‘c’ in the DRECP.”  Frazier Haney informed that a citizen alternative for the Mojave Trails Management Plan has been compiled by a group of desert residents and that the alternative was nearing finalization with expected release in the coming weeks.  The alternative is a 150-page document and would precede the release of the federal government’s plan.  Mr. Haney advised that the document would be shared upon release and urged the attendees to stay tuned.

This Public Advocacy Workshop was free to the public and was organized by the California Desert Coalition (CDC) and Advocates for the West [AFW] with support from Conservation Lands Foundation [CLF], Morongo Basin Conservation Association [MBCA], National Parks Conservation Association [NPCA] and Mojave Desert Land Trust [MDLT].   An aim of the workshop was to enroll participants into comments teams so that individuals can support one another and/or write comments in concert.  More than 15 participants have signed up on teams.  

Quotes: 

“The workshop was incredibly valuable [tool] that all the speakers demystified the process that allows communities to advocate.”      Jack Thompson, Desert Regional Director, The Wildlands Conservancy

"I am inspired to see nearly 50  local residents and advocates showed  up at this workshop to learn how to more effectively engage and impact planning processes on our public lands.  We have so many special resources and irreplaceable values and viewsheds in the desert that need ongoing advocacy to keep them unspoiled.  These open spaces are the backbone of our community and tourism economy."      April Sall, President, California Desert Coalition
About the Contributors and Partners

Advocates for the West (https://advocateswest.org/) has been utilizing litigation to defend the West’s natural treasures and wildlife for the benefit for all for over 16 years.  Advocates for the West seeks to hold government accountable for its mandated duties to protect and preserve our environment

Conservation Lands Foundation (https://conservationlands.org/) is the only non-profit in the country solely dedicated to protecting the National Conservation Lands with the goal of protecting, restoring and expanding these spectacular landscapes through education, advocacy and partnerships.  Conservation Lands Foundation carries out its work by supporting its Friends Grassroots Network.

The Morongo Basin Conservation Association (MBCA) (https://www.mbconservation.org/).  MBCA advocates for the healthy desert environment that nurtures the region's rural character, cultural wealth and economic well-being.

National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) (www.npca.org) is the only independent, nonpartisan membership organization devoted exclusively to advocacy on behalf of the National Parks System. Its mission is "to protect and enhance America's National Park System for present and future generations."

Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) (www.mdlt.org) mission is to protect the Mojave Desert ecosystem and its scenic and cultural resource values.  MDLT has worked with a broad range of stakeholders to conserve 80,000 acres of prime desert habitat, forever weaving together National Parks, wilderness areas, and wildlife linkage corridors.

For more information on this Workshop, continually check the CDC website: www.cadesertcoalition.org 
Stay tuned in for future workshops training on the California Environmental Quality Act [CEQA] and legislative advocacy.