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In 1976, Congress designated a 25-million acre expanse of resource-rich desert lands in southern California as the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) through the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. In 2009, Congress, passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which directed the BLM to include lands managed for conservation purposes within the CDCA as part of the National Conservation Lands. To protect this area's natural resources and facilitate development of its energy resources, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan was undertaken in 2013. This collaborative, multi-stakeholder, landscape-scale planning effort comprises 22.5 million acres in the desert regions of seven California counties, 10.8 million acres of which are BLM lands.
Phase I of the DRECP was completed in September 2016. It designated 4.2 million acres as part of the National Conservation Lands of the California Desert. Much of this land was already a part of the National Conservation Lands (in particular, large portions of the Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow National Monuments), but 2.89 million acres were a new addition to the system. National Conservation Lands of the California Desert are closed to all energy development.
Phase II of the DRECP will focus on better aligning local, state, and federal renewable energy development and conservation plans, policies, and goals. Please visit www.drecp.org for additional information on the DRECP.
The BLM is still evaluating how to manage the National Conservation Lands of the California Desert and how to subdivide these areas into specific units. This page will be updated with further information when it is available.