by Shaun Gonzales
A dazzling display of stars in the night sky is a resource visitors to the desert often expect and take for granted. Light pollution has invaded the night sky, much like urban sprawl engulfs our wildlands, although there are simple steps each of us can take to solve the problem of light pollution.
How Grand Canyon became “Noisy Park” and why we need national litigation to restore natural quiet to the Grand Canyon and other national parks.
by Howard Wilshire
Spurred by concern over dependence on foreign energy and looming global climate-change problems, development of renewable energy on public lands in western U.S. began in earnest in 2005.
Lizards are among the most engaging and accessible denizens of the California deserts. Well-suited to the landscape, they fill a range of ecological niches in the desert. California’s deserts play host both to the smallest lizard in North America and the two largest. Among the lizards in the deserts are strict carnivores, strict vegetarians, and omnivorous species that pick a little from Column A and a little from Column B. Some California desert lizard species thrive in a wide range of conditions with ranges stretching across hundreds of miles of landscape; others are restricted to very small ranges with specific soil or vegetative characteristics.
By James Andre and Chris Clarke
A list of ten California desert plant species we feel are deserving of protection under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The plants listed here are prominent candidates for listing,but they are by no means the only such plants, and perhaps noteven the most critically endangered plants in the California desert.
by Laura Cunningham and Kevin Emmerich
The proposed project represents part of the efforts by some to sacrifice over a million acres of public lands and arid land ecosystems in California alone to questionable “green” energy projects. The scope of impacts and environmental devastation that will result from these projects are not worth the amount of energy generated, which could instead be generated from rooftop photovoltaic panels
by Paul Remeika
On a scale worthy of Genesis, a zig-zag pattern of en echelon strike-slip faults such as the Cerro Prieto, Imperial, and San Andreas tears the land horizontally in a northwest right-lateral sense, offsetting in opposite directions the northernmost sea-floor spreading centers that have migrated up the Gulf of California. Like the seams on a baseball they defne pull-apart basins along a plate boundary as Alta and Baja California rift and raft obliquely away from mainland Mexico, opening up a new seaway flled by the Sea of Cortez. In doing so, new crust is generated beneath these basins at Cerro Prieto, Brawley Seismic Zone, and at the Salton Buttes.
by Dr. Robert C. Stebbins
Editor’s note: In this season in which US Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced the California Desert Protection Act of 2010, it’s instructive to look at the history of the bill. The current bill builds on the protections of the California Desert Protection Act of 1994, which itself was an amended version of an unsuccessful bill in 1987. Some things have changed since the first CDPA was introduced in the 1980s – the percentage of desert land protected by law is significantly larger now, for one – but many have not. Among the things that remain unchanged is the damage an off-road vehicle (ORV) can do a piece of desert landscape. On July 23 1987, Dr. Robert C. Stebbins went before the Subcommittee on Public Lands, National Parks, and Forests of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the US Senate to testify about the damage done by ORVs, and to plead with the senators to pass Senate Bill 7, the California Desert Protection Act of 1987.