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The Living Desert Conservation Team Seeks Public Input for 2024 Ohv Restoration Grant

By: James Danoff-Burg
Contact: 
jdanoffburg@livingdesert.org

We need your help!

The conservation team at The Living Desert has prepared a preliminary grant application for the 2024 for the 2023 California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) Restoration Grant. We would like to ask you to do us the favor of providing comments on our proposal as we describe below. Our goal with this project is to support a comprehensive approach to address illegal off-highway vehicle activities within Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) through two rounds of scientific studies and behavioral change outreach interventions.

Our primary objective is to work with our partners at Joshua Tree National Park and the OHV using public to reduce illegal OHV disturbances off the main approved trail network inside the Park. Working with OHV users, we will research and provide evidence-based insights for effective and publicly acceptable management actions that JTNP could use in the future.

The increasing illegal OHV disturbances pose significant threats to the natural resources, ecological processes, cultural heritage, wilderness characteristics, and visitor experience in JTNP. Notably, 53% of these disturbances were observed within areas of the park designated as suitable habitat for the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), which is critically endangered. Desert tortoises are exceptionally susceptible to the impact of roads, including direct mortality via car collisions, habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation. Illegal OHV activity directly within suitable habitat for the desert tortoise is dramatically more impactful than that caused by paved roads.

Our preliminary application was submitted to the OHMVR Division today and will be available for public comment until May 6th, 2024. The OHMVR Division generously distributes $30 million annually, with 25% of those funds allocated for restoration projects like the one that we are proposing. Grant funds are collected from gas tax, entrance fees, and OHV sticker registrations to support several categories of grants available to federal agencies, state agencies, county agencies, city agencies, district agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, certified community conservation corps, and federal or state-recognized tribes.

To review the grant application and provide comment, please visit the CA State Parks OHMVR website at www.ohv.parks.ca.gov prior to the closing date of May 6st, 2025. The website will provide instruction on how to review applications and submit comments to https://olga.ohv.parks.ca.gov/egrams_ohmvr/user/ReviewProjects.aspx. Mention The Living Desert’s project with Joshua Tree National Park in your comments so that they will know what you are commenting upon!

For more information, please contact James Danoff-Burg at jdanoffburg@livingdesert.org.

Thanks for helping us to ensure safe and legal OHV access while also protecting the habitat of the desert tortoise, our state reptile, as well as the many hundreds of other species that we all love so dearly.

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