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Desert Stewards Community and Environmental Projects

 

The following projects are in process of organization and funding.  We hope to have greater direction, information and progress reports as the projects manifest.

If you or someone you know would like to volunteer or provide support, please call or email to discuss.  We are grateful. 

Desert Clean - Interstate 10 Adopt a Highway Cleanups

 

Chiriaco Summit, CA is located 30 miles east of Indio.  There are 5 remote highway interchanges within the Desert Tortoise Linkage Reserve Management Area.  A project is being developed in cooperation with Private land owners, CalTrans, Riverside County Hazmat, Chiriaco Summit, General Patton Museum and Desert Stewards to clean up and monitor these sites.

Interchanges

  1. Cactus City Rest Area -  Current private management?  needs? communication.

  2. Frontage Rd (CalTrans, Riverside County Hazmat, BLM, private land owners)

  3. Cottonwood/Box Canyon (Caltrans, Riverside County Hazmat, BLM, Private Land Owners, SoCal Gas, Edison, MWD, NPS, Wildlands)

  4. Chiriaco Summit (Joseph L. Chiriaco Inc., IID, SoCal Gas, Edison, MWD, NPS, Wildlands))

  5. Hayfield Rd (MWD, Edison, SoCal Gas, IID)

Project highlights:

  • Cleanup of trash, car parts, tires, hazardous waste, and other dumped items.  Quarterly or Annually as funding and need permits.

  • Implementation of signs highlighting fines for dumping and Kiosks for information about reporting crimes, and fines, as well as featuring the cooperative protection of the area within the DTLRMU.

  • Featuring information on OHV influence and suggested speed limits and sensitive animals threatened by motorized activity.  Also, Night Riding policy.

  • Work in cooperation with private and public land owners to fund and post signs on private property around the heaviest cleanup sites.

  • Organize volunteers or paid interns to provide support for the project in perpetuity.

  • Organize grant funds and donations to a cooperating agency or Non-profit to fund contract work with a monitoring company and Interns or volunteers.

  • Affect road closures, limit access, or post signs where illegal dumping is happening off of a paved or numbered dirt road.

Transects - Ecological observations and land monitoring

 

Utility roads transecting the Desert Tortoise Linkage Reserve offer an opportunity to monitor the public and private lands .

The following benefits can be gained by scheduled and emergency monitoring and engagement with Low Speed Electric Vehicles offered by Desert Stewards ecological transportation services, as well as a hybrid or electric trucks with larger range.

Project Highlights:

  • Private and Public Land monitoring (including ohv use, camping, dumping, scouting, land evaluation, other issues or threats.

  • Environmental observations and digital mapping (including wildlife sightings, invasive plants plant health, climate monitoring, 

  • Hydrological observation and data collection for understanding climate change and resilience of the ecosystem

  • Trail signage and Kiosks at key intersections and along the roads and trails.  Highlights are speed limits, sensitive habitat, wildlife information, discourage nighttime driving, slow signs.

  • Utility monitoring and transportation access if needed for emergency or routine checks.

Partners:  BLM, Private land owners, utility companies, Desert Stewards and Non-profit conservation partner for funding.

Share it - Historical, Cultural and Environmental Education

 

The land is sacred, and the water is life.  Many people have made this Reserve Area their home.  The progression of colonization and multicultural influences in Southern California Deserts has history from many perspectives and various degrees of sustainable life. 

Environmental preservation and stewardship are vital to maintain habitat health within the Desert Tortoise Linkage Reserve Management Unit.  This area is historically used for offroad recreation and limited Wilderness access, with OHVs including licensed and non-licensed vehicles.  Additionally, the area is used by campers mostly on BLM land with limitations, gun shooting, often close to trails.  

  • Desert Training Center History, General Patton and wars

  • Precolonial Native history, Cahuilla et.al. 

  • Joshua Tree National Park History

  • Pioneer and Chiriaco History

  • Water in the Desert (CSWD, MWD pipeline and Victory Palms spring water, also CVWD)

  • Utilities (Socal Gas, Edison, IUD, MWD, ATT transcontinental cable)

  • Wildlife featured within the CVMSHCP and found within the Desert Tortoise Linkage Reserve Management Unit)

  • Plants and woodland types featured within the CVMSHCP and found within the DTLRMU.

  • Desert Tortoise and Raven awareness and protection/mitigation

Partners:  Chiriaco Summit, GP Museum, BLM, NPS, Riverside County, Desert Stewards, CVCC

State Conservation Management

CVMC (Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy)  State Agency

CVCC (Coachella Valley Conservation Commission) Staffed by CVAG

CVAG (Coachella Valley Association of Governments)

CVMSHCP (CV Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan)

Utilitities within Desert Tortoise Linkage Reserve MU:
Caltrans, SoCal Gas, Edison, IID, ATT, MWD, CSWD

DTLRMU Management Suggestions

1.  Speed Limit policy suggestion for BLM and Private Land owners.  Create or draft policy for speed limit, get it approved with BLM and or Private Land owners, Implement enforcements and signage notifying the public.  Cooperation with Tread Lightly?

2.  Night Driving policy suggestion for BLM and Private Land Owners.  Is it currently policy at BlM to discourage night riding, and or speed limits?  Draft and get it approved and implement enforcement with signage notifying the public.  Also with Tread Lightly?

3.  Trail Closures Considerations for hiking only along the north side of the Orocopia Mountains. (mostly on Private Land)

  • MC 3507  (This trail goes through very sensitive land for wildlife with numerous soft sand washes prime for Desert Tortoise, snakes and lizards, bunnies and birds.  

    • Recommendations:  work with landowners, BLM and Wildlands is a large land owner here.  Sign and block each end from Red Canyon Trail to MC 133.  This will be a great hiking trail, and illegal off road use going into the Orocopia Mountains from this trail can be mitigated and replaced with a hiking trail since there is some established erosion already.​

  • MC 133 178 (This trail (old Camp Young Rd) starts from Pinto Rd and goes south with a split after the powerline rd.  The 178 trail goes to the right and opens into the historic training for artilery.  It is used highly by RV camping, shooting, and OHV .  This area is showing more and more use.

    • This trail simply needs signage and Kiosk about OHV policy and shooting.​

    • Signs at powerline rd about Desert Tortoise and other wildlife that are impocted by OHV use.  Speed Limit Signs throughout the trails, with slow signs where activity has been consistent.  It gets wetter and more lush as you get closer to the edge of the mountains.  

  • MC 2100 and 2110. (These two trails are heavily affected by erosion and are not sustainable and directly affect Big Horn Sheep habitat as well as Bobcat, and Coyote and birds of pray.  It is a sensitive area that can be maintained for hiking and closed for motorvehicle use.

    • Recommendations:  sign and close off entry from east and west side of the mountains.  Work with Glorious Land Co as the land owner to address the use.

  • MC 131. (This is an old road beginning at Pinto rd and going south into the Orocopia Mountains.  The major land owner of this trail is Glorious Land Co, and BLM​.

    • Recommendations:  Block/Close trail beginning of the Canyon to Hotel California.  Sign and place Kiosk.  Create a parking area on BLM land there at the beginning of the canyon to allow access for hiking only from that point.  ​

    • This area is very sensitive and has incredible wildlife diversity including Desert Tortoise, Chuckwalla, and Big Horn Sheep.  also Bobcats, Deer and Coyote.

    • Post signs and kiosk at the powerline rd stating rules for dispersed camping, where it is allowed, rules for shooting, and OHV riding, fires, and dumping.

  • Red Canyon Trail. (This is an historic trail from ​Chiriaco Summit, into Red Canyon and intersecting the Bradshaw Trail.  Historic use by military, Jeeps and other licensed vehicles, and now OHV.  

    • Recommendations:​

    • Illegal trail closures from north and south sides and signs 

    • Trail maintenance at Mouth of Red Canyon where trail decends into the canyon and then back out.  On the east side, the route is very difficult.  Perhaps there is another route around this entry point, or fixing the damage.  It is not sustainable at the incline it is now.

    • Signs at the Bradshaw trail and inside the canyon describing danger from flash floods and falling rock on the sides, easily released with earth quakes. 

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