U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

News.bytesSPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS
An occasional feature of BLM California's News.bytes

Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy

Established in 1990 by the California State Legislature, the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy is a community-based partnership between the public and local, state and federal governments, designed to protect the natural and cultural resources of the Coachella Valley. The California State Legislature determined “…the mountains and natural community conservation lands of the Coachella Valley in Riverside County contain unique and important open-space, wildlife, scenic, environmental, anthropological, cultural, scientific, educational, and recreational resources that should be held in trust for the enjoyment of, and appreciation by, present and future generations.”

Chino Canyon
A scenic view of Chino Canyon, with wildflowers in bloom
Chino Canyon provides a scenic backdrop for the riot of color displayed by native wildflowers, which annually flood the Coachella Valley and surrounding mountains. Ensuring the protection and preservation of this and other similar areas is a part of the Bureau of Land Management and Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy’s mission.

“The beauty of the natural environment has made the Coachella Valley an extremely popular tourist destination and a desirable place to live,” said Buford Crites, one of the Conservancy’s Governing Board members. “With the rapid growth and development the area has experienced, nothing is more important to our future than conserving the wonders and mysteries of our desert and mountains. Without these, the Coachella Valley will lose its special quality and be just another place to live. It deserves to be much more than that.”

With community support, creativity, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the pursuit of partnership opportunities, the Conservancy has made great strides in fulfilling its mission. Through direct land acquisitions, local assistance grants, and multi-entity acquisition partnerships, the Conservancy, working directly with the Bureau of Land Management, has helped conserve more than 49,000 acres in the Coachella Valley, much of it in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
A snowy view of the Pines to Palm Scenic Highway (California Highway 74), as it winds through the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
Traveling along the Pines to Palm Scenic Highway (California Highway 74), the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument provides a dramatic landscape for residents of the Coachella Valley and surrounding mountains. Covering an area of more than 272,000 acres, it is difficult to capture the essence of the national monument with only one photo.

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
Looking down toward Bear Creek from one of the many hiking trails throughout the national monument.
This view is overlooking Bear Creek from one of the many hiking trails throughout the national monument. Stretching the entire length of the Coachella Valley, the national monument provides a dramatic landscape and backdrop, as well as home to well over 500 native plant and animal species.

In its acquisition program, the Conservancy has focused on several key objectives: One is protecting key habitat areas for the sensitive species; many of which exist nowhere else in the world. A second is maintaining wildlife linkages between such key areas as the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains south of Interstate 10 and the San Bernardino Mountains north of I-10, and between the Indio Hills and Joshua Tree National Park. A third objective is protecting scenic gateways and corridors, such as the Snow Creek area, and the scenic route along U.S. Highway 74 through the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

The Conservancy also prepared the draft Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, under contract to the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, which is currently being revised, with assistance of resource specialists from the BLM’s Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. The final approval of the plan is expected to occur in 2007. The plan will balance conservation and development in the Coachella Valley and result in the expansion of existing public and private conservation land by more than 240,000 acres.

Mission Creek
Chino Canyon
Located near Desert Hot Springs, Calif., Mission Creek lies along one of the branches of the San Andreas Fault System. The Mission Creek Fault is characterized by sporadic appearances of oases and vegetation, and is associated with hot springs and hot water wells. Acquiring and preserving the lands around Mission Creek is of concern to both the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management.

Mount San Jacinto
Palms to Pines
Mount San Jacinto, home to a state park and gateway to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. This 10,834-foot mountain shines throughout the Coachella Valley, and as been referred to as “a diamond in the desert.” Help to preserve and protect the surrounding areas is part of the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy mission and partnership with the Bureau of Land Management.

Thousand Palms (also known as Mecca Hills or Indio Hills)
Thousand Palms
Centrally located within the Coachella Valley, Thousand Palms offers rich desert vistas with the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the north and the Santa Rosa Mountains, part of the national monument to the south. The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy is dedicated to ensuring these desert areas are protected and preserved and has been working closely with the Bureau of Land Management and the Coachella Valley Association of Government in the development of the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

Whitewater Canyon
A bird in Whitewater Canyon
One of the many White Water residents, a Roadrunner relaxes after a brisk run through the surrounding desert. As always protection and preservation of habitat is of primary concern to both the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management.


BLM California News.bytes, issue 249