For Release: September 4, 2007
Contacts: Stephen Razo (951) 697-5217 or John Dearing, (916) 978-4622
Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett Joins Coachella Valley Partners
To Dedicate Lands Acquired Under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act
Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett of the U.S. Department of the Interior is helping to dedicate newly acquired land for the Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard Preserve near Palm Springs today. The ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Thousand Palms Oasis, Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard Preserve Visitor Center located at 29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Road, Thousand Palms, California.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and three other federal land-management agencies are acquiring 19 parcels of land in seven western states with $18 million from a special conservation fund set up under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). Approximately $850,000 of these funds are going toward the acquisition of the 321 acres in the Joshua Hills being added to the Preserve as part of a phased acquisition to provide critical linkage between the Preserve, a BLM Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), and Joshua Tree National Park.
The fund, established by Congress under a law passed in 2000, authorizes the purchase of land from willing sellers whose acreage is surrounded by or located next to certain lands under the management of the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The $18 million to be used for these land purchases will bring into public ownership 19 properties with extraordinary natural, scenic, recreational, or historical values,” said Scarlett. “These purchases promote conservation while helping ensure efficient and effective public lands management.”
The land purchases, the first of their kind to occur under the FLTFA, are funded from already completed federal land sales. Under this law, the BLM is authorized to sell fragmented or isolated parcels of public land that are difficult to manage, as well as lands that may have residential or commercial value, and then use the proceeds to support land-conservation purposes.
The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard is an endangered animal found nowhere else in the world. The Coachella Valley Preserve system was established in April 1986 through a habitat conservation plan, one of the first ever implemented, to protect the federally-listed, threatened lizard. The preserve is jointly managed by the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, California State Parks and The Nature Conservancy.
California Desert District Office – 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, California 92557