Important protection for the California desert wildlife
SACRAMENTO – Defenders of Wildlife applauds Senator Feinstein’s call to designate new national monuments in the California desert region. Senator Feinstein wrote a letter to President Obama earlier this month urging him to use the Antiquities Act to designate three new National Monuments: Mojave Trails, Castle Mountains, and the Sand to Snow totaling 1.4 million acres. National monument designations will mean that these special places will be forever protected for the benefit of California’s desert wildlife and future generations.
The following is a statement by Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife California Program Director:
“The California desert is home to some of the most unique and threatened plants and animals in the country, including the threatened desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep. The three proposed desert national monuments offer permanent protection for lands and wildlife corridors important to these plants and animals, especially in a changing climate. We must protect these lands and the lands in Pisgah Valley so that our desert wildlife can continue to survive and thrive in their native habitat into the future.”
About the Proposed National Monuments
The proposed Mojave Trails National Monument would preserve striking desert lands linking Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. The lands in the proposed National Monument are habitat for desert tortoise and bighorn sheep. The proposed Mojave Trails National Monument will provide needed protection for our desert wildlife habitat allowing species to adapt to changing climatic conditions. It also features the most intact stretch of historic Route 66, a significant feature in the history of California and the American West. The monument does not include the excellent habitat in Pisgah Valley and we will continue to urge the President to include this area as part of Mojave Trails as well.
The proposed Castle Mountains National Monument would fill in a critical gap in protection in the Mojave National Preserve. The mountains in this area support populations of desert bighorn sheep, and many active golden eagle nests.
The proposed Sand to Snow National Monument rises from the Sonoran Desert floor up to southern California’s tallest mountain, Mount San Gorgonio. It contains a rich tapestry of landscapes and habitats including alpine peaks, Joshua tree woodlands, mountain vistas, rivers and wetlands, and desert lands. Desert bighorn sheep traverse these lands, travelling from the desert to higher elevations in search of forage and water in the summer. These lands also hold 25 miles of the iconic Pacific Crest Trail and the headwaters of southern California’s longest river, the Santa Ana River, as well as the headwaters of the Whitewater River. Preserving transition habitat for wildlife in this area is essential for climate adaptation of many species, especially bighorn sheep.