Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office

Coachella Valley

The Coachella Valley, located in central Riverside County, California, is a low-desert environment surrounded by steeply rising mountains to the southwest and north.  The valleys and canyons form a desert oasis replete with scenic vistas, localized water, natural biodiversity, cultural heritage and recreational opportunities.  In a collaborative effort to protect the values which have attracted many residents and visitors, Federal, State and local governments as well as local groups and interested persons are developing the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (CVMSHCP).  The plan would establish a reserve system to protect biodiversity while facilitating development in other parts of the Coachella Valley.  As a partner, the BLM proposes to provide a portion of the Federal share toward development and implementation of the CVMSHCP.  To ensure BLM's land management actions are consistent with the goals and objectives of the CVMSHCP, BLM is in the process of amending the California Desert Conservation Area Plan (CDCA Plan; 1980 as amended).

The BLM currently manages three preserves with visitor facilities within the Coachella Valley area:  the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve/ Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC); the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard ACEC; and the Dos Palmas Preserve/ACEC.  These preserves provide an important components of a system of open-space areas and habitats for threatened and endangered species and migratory birds traveling along the Pacific Migration Flyway developed as part of a joint Habitat Conservation Plan with local jurisdictions.  These preserves also provide the scenic setting for non-motorized trail use and for outdoor classrooms for grade-school through university-level field trips.  BLM  also supports local efforts to exchange or acquire lands as part of the Federal share of the cost to assemble the open-space reserve system.  The BLM-managed areas provide diverse habitats, including streams, marshes, open water in ponds, closed canopy cover of trees, open scrub, sand dunes and rocky slopes.

The BLM-managed public lands also support local communities by facilitating local sources of sand and gravel, wind energy for California, communications sites and other infrastructure needs.  BLM works with local communities as well as other Federal, State and local agencies and interests to ensure the public lands are providing the right mix of land uses while conserving the natural, cultural, scenic, and recreational values that make the valley a high-quality place to live.

There are designated wilderness areas at either end of the Coachella Valley:  the Santa Rosa Mountains Wilderness on the west end, and the Mecca Hills and San Gorgonio Wildernesses on the east end.

The core of the Coachella Valley is largely private land, much of it developed or developing.  The current population is approximately 270,000 and the valley includes some of the closest public land areas to the Los Angeles basin immediately to the west.

O b j e c t i v e s

1.  Provide protection and enhancement for biological values, with emphasis on the Big Morongo, the Fringe-Toed Lizard Preserve, and the Dos Palmas Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.

2.  Identify, maintain, and enhance recreational opportunities and environmental education, responsive to local needs and public visitation to the area.

3.  Provide for effective management and protection of cultural sites and wilderness areas.

4.  Work with Border Patrol and Riverside County to provide for safety and security for public visits and facilities, and to discourage illegal uses.

5.  Provide for community infrastructure needs to support the Coachella Valley and Southern California, with emphasis on energy, communications and mineral materials sites.