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John Stewart

Flat-tailed horned lizard review released

The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to list the Flat‐Tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii) as endangered throughout their range in California, under the California Endangered Species Act (California Fish and Game Code §§ 2050 et seq., “CESA”).

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John Stewart

Flat-tailed Horned Lizard Study Available

This has impacted our operations, for example we have stopped grading. Our staff is working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to get what is called an Incidental Take Permit (ITP), which will allow for us to continue with our operations as normal. We may or may not be issued an ITP.  If we are, we are hoping to include Special Events as part of our operations, although there may be restrictions in staging locations, size, etc.  This process can take time and in the end we cannot be sure what we will end up with. This entire process is governed by the California Endangered Species Act and does not apply to federal lands.  It may be recommendable to contact other locations, such as BLM, to ensure that you can move forward with your event planning and ensure that you can secure a location.
I do want you to know that we are very sensitive to our stake holders and are working hard behind the scenes to reach a conclusion that maintains our off-road recreational opportunities while complying with the laws set forth in the California Environmental Quality Act.”

Now, for the rest of the story...

The Center for Biological Diversity did submit a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission requesting listing of the Flat-tailed Horned Lizard as a California State Endangered Species. This action was taken after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declined to list the FTHL as a federal threatened or endangered species numerous times over the past decade.

This listing is a one year listing giving time to complete a final study to determine if permanent listing is warranted. In discussions with OHMVR officials, they are meeting with California Department of Fish and Wildlife to obtain the Incidental Take Permit. OHMVR Deputy Director Chris Conlin felt confident that OWSVRA staff had sufficient study data showing a stable population of the FTHL within the SVRA. A final decision on the on-going study and ITP is not expected for several months.

To put the issue in perspective, all special use permits within the SVRA are on hold for a one year period. That time clock ends in April 2016, placing Cal4Wheel/Paralized Veterans of San Diego Operation Desert Fun and Tierra del Sol Desert Safari in jeopardy of not being held due to lack of a special use permit.

2003 Flat-tailed Horned Lizard Rangewide Management Strategy has been cited by U.S. Fish and Wildlife as providing sufficient management actions that preclude listing the FTLH as a federal threatened or endangered species.

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AC Direct Drive powertrain technology advances

REV announces 92% efficient AC Direct Drive powertrain for its zero emission FORD Ranger and Escape electric vehicle conversions

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA, December 06, 2008 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The new technology replaces the gas engine and eliminates the use of the original transmission. The result is that 92% of energy used reaches the wheels, a key requirement for fleet managers who want to eliminate tailpipe emissions and reduce fuel costs. REV's new AC Direct Drive powertrain is available for all new vehicle conversion orders.

On November 26, the province of British Columbia announced a program to support the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles with an initial test of 6 vehicles which will later be increased to 34 vehicles. "By expanding the range of clean energy vehicle technologies available to consumers, we can help achieve our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020," stated Richard Neufeld, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources for the province of British Columbia.

"This is a strong commitment towards a sustainable transportation system," states Jay Giraud, Founder and CEO of REV Technologies. "REV is responding with electric vehicle conversion technology that meets the needs of BC fleets and is being deployed now."

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Blue Ribbon Coalition

Controversy Around the Sage Grouse

BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) has taken a leadership role for backcountry recreationists, thank goodness, in bringing common sense to the table regarding the sage grouse.  The whole drama is being played out over possible listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Ranchers have invested thousands of dollars in modifying habitat on private lands to try and prevent listing; federal and state agencies have invested untold dollars and staff time studying this bird over the last 60 years; and scientists have issued conflicting reports, over and over, contradicting each other, or countering the claims of another group or scientist.  It’s hard to even follow.  But again, thank goodness for groups like BRC.

For those of us who use a motorized vehicle in the pursuit of what makes us happy, or helps us earn a living, BRC has taken the common sense, science-based approach that includes the belief that responsible motorized recreation can coexist with the sage grouse in its habitat by factoring into the equation four pro-active OHV management prescriptions for managing this bird on public lands.

BRC (under the Sage Grouse Task Force headed by Don Amador) is writing comments and helping recreationists provide input in all affected areas with these recommended prescriptions:

1. Maintain TMR direction for using only designated routes and trails.
2. Implement limited operating periods for critical areas (such as crack of dawn around leks) from Mar. 1 to May 15.
3. Adhere to measures to ensure invasive species prevention.
4. Ensure sound ordinances are in place.

People can coexist with the sage grouse but we, the people, must be involved in our agencies and elected officials to ensure that happens!  The THREE things you can do include:

1. Join BRC (if not a member yet) and donate to the Sage Grouse Action Fund.
2. Stay abreast and help your state association in dealing with area-specific sage grouse issues and meetings.
3. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to do it for you or your trails will be as scarce as logging trucks in a National Park.

The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well -- all sports; all trails.  With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB -  www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org

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John Stewart

Balancing development and conservation

The DRECP will allow these renewable energy projects to move forward in some areas.  Other lands that are important for the long-term conservation of a variety of a declining and threatened and endangered desert species will be set aside as non-development zones.

The plan involves the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as several counties, state agencies, tribes, the military and energy-development businesses and will make available up to 350,000 acres for development of wind, solar and geothermal energy projects for an expected surge in renewable-energy development.

California has extremely aggressive renewable-energy and carbon reduction goals - an 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan will charge fees to companies that build energy projects on public lands, to help compensate for the permanent impacts to those lands. Public meetings on the plan are being held in the desert as well as in San Diego and Sacramento, through the middle of November.

The information on public meetings is on 4x4Voice.

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Why are wetlands and aquatic habitats important?

Wetlands are among the most productive habitats on earth providing shelter and nursery areas for commercially and recreationally important animals like fish and shellfish, as well as wintering grounds for migrating birds. Coastal marshes are particularly valuable for preventing loss of life and property by moderating extreme floods and buffering the land from storms; they also form natural reservoirs and help maintain desirable water quality.

Aquatic habitats like those along the Gulf of Mexico are vital to seabirds, fish, and shellfish; economically the gulf alone contributes billions to the economy. Riverine deep water—like the Mississippi River and its many channels—is not only essential for navigation, industry, and recreation and therefore responsible for billions of dollars to the economy, but is also invaluable for natural resources. Songbirds and waterfowl use rivers as migratory guides, and rivers and lakes are both essential to countless species of fish, amphibians like frogs and salamanders, and reptiles like turtles, snakes, and alligators.

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