Tracking land policy in the Golden State.
Mine Near Red Rock Canyon State Park May Get No Environmental Review

Mine Near Red Rock Canyon State Park May Get No Environmental Review

Agencies: Kern County is ready to approve an open-pit mine complex next to Red Rock Canyon State Park without reviewing the mine's environmental impact.
Study: Grazing, Vehicles Bad For Desert Tortoises

Study: Grazing, Vehicles Bad For Desert Tortoises

Reptiles: A new study of desert tortoise populations in the western Mojave Desert shows that the reptiles fare better when they're protected from off-road vehicles and grazing livestock.
Oil Drilling Plans Near L.A. Neighborhood Prompt Calls for Review

Oil Drilling Plans Near L.A. Neighborhood Prompt Calls for Review

Natural Gas: Residents of a Los Angeles neighborhood have demanded a full environmental assessment of a company's proposal to expand oil drilling operations in the Santa Susana Mountains from 18 to 30 wells.
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You Have More Time To Comment On That Desert Energy Plan

You Have More Time To Comment On That Desert Energy Plan

DRECP: Those of you who are planning to comment on the gargantuan and nearly incomprehensible plan to regulate energy development on 22 million acres of the California Desert now have an extra six and a half weeks to do so.
National Monument Proposals for California Desert are Back

National Monument Proposals for California Desert are Back

Legislation: Representative Raul Ruiz, seated on left, applauds as Senator Dianne Feinstein announces her intent to reintroduce a desert protection bill. | Photo: Chris Clarke U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is rebooting her effort to protect almost a million and a half...
Gray Wolf Sighted At Grand Canyon

Gray Wolf Sighted At Grand Canyon

Mammals: For the first time in over 70 years, a gray wolf has been sighted roaming the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, according to conservation groups who viewed a photo shared with them by a visitor to Grand Canyon National Park.
The Good and Bad of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

The Good and Bad of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Golden Green: Budgets and political lines could trouble the new monument, but they should not stop it from moving forward.
Why Sorting Your Trash Into Blue Bins Isn't Recycling

Why Sorting Your Trash Into Blue Bins Isn't Recycling

Recycling: You might be tempted, gazing out on a nation awash in blue bins, to conclude that recycling has won that environmental revolution that started 25 years ago. You'd be wrong.
New Center for Tortoises Opens in Mojave Preserve

New Center for Tortoises Opens in Mojave Preserve

Reptiles: A first-of-its-kind center for studying the federally Threatened desert tortoise was formally donated to the Mojave National Preserve on Friday.
Logging Green Lit for 52 Square Miles of Rim Fire Burn Area Near Yosemite

Logging Green Lit for 52 Square Miles of Rim Fire Burn Area Near Yosemite

Agencies: The U.S. Forest Service has issued a tentative decision on its controversial plan to log tens of thousands of acres of forest burned in 2013's Rim Fire, and that decision will not please wildlife preservationists.
Feds May Reopen Popular Climbing Spot in Frog Habitat

Feds May Reopen Popular Climbing Spot in Frog Habitat

Amphibians: A popular climbing area in the Angeles National Forest may be reopened under strict management to protect the local population of an Endangered frog, the U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday.
Wildlife Corridor Between Angeles National Forest Lands Gets Funding

Wildlife Corridor Between Angeles National Forest Lands Gets Funding

Legislation: The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to help fund the acquisition of 74 acres in Agua Dulce as part of a critical wildlife corridor connecting two major sections of the Angeles National Forest.
Drab and Inconspicuous, Verdins Liven Up the Desert Anyway

Drab and Inconspicuous, Verdins Liven Up the Desert Anyway

The Hidden Desert: I never thought about verdins much before this year. I knew they existed, ridiculously tiny songbirds not much more massive than the insects they eat. That was before I had them next to my desk for most of the workday.
Where the Natives Are: 10 Indigenous Plant Environments Near You

Where the Natives Are: 10 Indigenous Plant Environments Near You

Concrete and Chaparral : Seasons? In Southern California? Of course! The spring season is when many plants, especially our local native plants, are in bloom. The last few weeks of spring not only give you a last chance to see their efflorescence, but to witness the transition into summer dormancy.
Go Wild: Celebrating the Gila Wilderness Area's 90th Birthday

Go Wild: Celebrating the Gila Wilderness Area's 90th Birthday

Golden Green: What do we mean by wilderness? The Gila Wilderness Area's history provides a complicated definition.
From Pot to Not: How Sequoia and Kings Canyon Extinguished its Weed Problem

From Pot to Not: How Sequoia and Kings Canyon Extinguished its Weed Problem

Parks: This story has been published in tandem with a segment for KCET's award-winning TV show "SoCal Connected." Watch it here now. A few years ago, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was overrun with illegal marijuana growth sites. Trees...
Going Green, the South L.A. Way

Going Green, the South L.A. Way

Concrete and Chaparral : | Photo: Elson Trinidad The month of April has been awash with the usual Earth Day-themed activities, events which encourage attendees to "Go Green" in the form of recycling, zero-waste practices, lowering one's carbon footprint, reducing fossil fuel consumption,...
Growing Pains: Legalizing Marijuana Might Save Our National Forests

Growing Pains: Legalizing Marijuana Might Save Our National Forests

Golden Green: Illegal marijuana grows are devastating our public lands. So why not make pot legal?
Learning to Appreciate Earthquakes

Learning to Appreciate Earthquakes

Concrete and Chaparral : We humans fear what we cannot really understand. So maybe it's time for us Southern Californians to understand earthquakes a bit more. Or maybe even appreciate them.
Pitzer College Divests from Fossil Fuels -- Who's Next?

Pitzer College Divests from Fossil Fuels -- Who's Next?

Golden Green: Pitzer College's Climate Action Plan is a template for other institutions wanting to break their fossil-fuel addiction.
A Woman of the Woods: Susan R. Schrepfer, 1941-2014

A Woman of the Woods: Susan R. Schrepfer, 1941-2014

Commentary: Susan Schrepfer was a keen observer of the human interaction with nature across time, a stellar historian.
Martin Luther King, Social Justice, and Streetscape Environmentalism

Martin Luther King, Social Justice, and Streetscape Environmentalism

Golden Green: Martin Luther King believed that if we fused social and environmental justice we'd build a more perfect union. Let's get to work.
Retired National Park Leaders Oppose Soda Mountain Solar

Retired National Park Leaders Oppose Soda Mountain Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): Five retired National Park Service Superintendents who spent a cumulative 35 years managing California's three desert National Parks are asking the Bureau of Land Management to move a 4,000-acre solar project they say would threaten the Mojave National Preserve's wildlife, views and groundwater.
Departing Joshua Tree Superintendent Slams Desert Solar

Departing Joshua Tree Superintendent Slams Desert Solar

Commentary: A 38-year veteran of the National Park Service who capped his career by spending three years running Joshua Tree National Park has come out against a solar project proposed for the central Mojave Desert in no uncertain terms.
Nature's Odd Couple: Gray Whales and El Segundo Blue Butterflies

Nature's Odd Couple: Gray Whales and El Segundo Blue Butterflies

Golden Green: Protecting endangered species requires protecting their habitat. That's never easy.
Elmer Avenue: A Sun Valley Native Plant Oasis, With a Purpose

Elmer Avenue: A Sun Valley Native Plant Oasis, With a Purpose

Concrete and Chaparral : On this particular street, the sound of mariachi, ranchera, Latin ballads, and techno music blast out of household stereos, a common soundtrack for the eastern SFV. But here, amidst sidewalk-less suburban streets, this block looks rather different.
Irrigation Districts are Pumping Groundwater, Making Money, and Undercutting Their Future

Irrigation Districts are Pumping Groundwater, Making Money, and Undercutting Their Future

Golden Green: Water may flow uphill to money but what happens when the water runs out?
Obama Just Expanded the California Coastal National Monument

Obama Just Expanded the California Coastal National Monument

Golden Green: President Obama used the Antiquities Act to expand the California Coastal National Monument. May it be the first of many.
SoCal Needs to Plan for Drought, Even After Big Storms

SoCal Needs to Plan for Drought, Even After Big Storms

Golden Green: Will the current drought bring welcome change to Califonia's water policies? Let's hope so.
If Bill Nye Was a Very Old Tree, What Kind of Very Old Tree Would He Be?

If Bill Nye Was a Very Old Tree, What Kind of Very Old Tree Would He Be?

The Hidden Desert: When Bill Nye appeared on Bill Maher's show this month he ventured into my usual turf: the deserts of California. That's cool, but he made an error in basic fact that I can't help but pick at.
Save It on a Rainy Day: Rainwater Collection in the Drought Era

Save It on a Rainy Day: Rainwater Collection in the Drought Era

Concrete and Chaparral : With 44 percent of total household water usage in Los Angeles going towards landscaping use, rainwater collection, even in the drought era, is important. Perhaps, more important than ever.
Opposition Mounts to Solar Project On Mojave Preserve Boundary

Opposition Mounts to Solar Project On Mojave Preserve Boundary

Photovoltaic (PV): If discussion at a recent gathering of desert activists is any indication, a nearly 4,200-acre solar project proposed by Bechtel for a valley adjoining the Mojave National Preserve will encounter near-unanimous opposition from green groups.
A Better Way to Restore Wildfire-Burned Forests

A Better Way to Restore Wildfire-Burned Forests

Golden Green: Collaboration in the San Bernardino National Forest may help restore burned-over lands. Or so the Obama Administration hopes.
Do Republicans Care About State Rights? Not With California's Drought.

Do Republicans Care About State Rights? Not With California's Drought.

Golden Green: Like California's depleted reservoirs, Republicans' water politics keep coming up empty.
CA Drought Makes Great Political Theater, But What We Really Need is Action

CA Drought Makes Great Political Theater, But What We Really Need is Action

Golden Green: California's drought is bad, really bad. So is drought politics.
Putting Descartes Before the Coarse: How Industry Blinds Us To Beauty

Putting Descartes Before the Coarse: How Industry Blinds Us To Beauty

The Hidden Desert: Who could think there was beauty in taking a living stretch of wild earth and subjugating it? Twenty-first century American aesthetes, that's who.
The Past is the Future at San Pedro's White Point Nature Preserve

The Past is the Future at San Pedro's White Point Nature Preserve

Concrete and Chaparral : At the extreme southwesternmost point of the city of Los Angeles lies a 102-acre plot of land that appears as an empty, vacant parcel to the uninitiated. It actually serves as a quiet, natural respite from the urban world.
Colorado Balks at Adopting California's Wildfire Policies. That's Not Good

Colorado Balks at Adopting California's Wildfire Policies. That's Not Good

Golden Green: Let's hope Colorado's inaction on fire-prevention legislation doesn't turn the Centennial State into a funeral pyre.
Strawberry Fields Forever? Infill Development vs. Agriculture in L.A. County

Strawberry Fields Forever? Infill Development vs. Agriculture in L.A. County

Golden Green: Can Angelenos support infill development and still eat local-sourced strawberries?