The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

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castle
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The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by castle »

http://www.pe.com/localnews/rivcounty/s ... b33a7.html

Here's an article from the PE. They do mention the word vehicle one time, but no specific reference to what type. I have one problem with their statement that "more roads criscross the desert" I guess they've not seen what the enviros and Mz. Boxer and Feinstein have done to our desert roads, CLOSE them. I hope thier knowledge of desert roads is not indicative of their quality of research.

LeeVW
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by LeeVW »

If they (the government) were REALLY concerned about the desert tortoise, there is no way they would have allowed the Army to expand its Fort Irwin tank training center into one of the last strongholds for the tortoise in the Western Mojave Desert. They are now in the process of relocating the tortoises from this prime habitat to lesser habitats, where coyotes are eating them. It is no longer possible for me to take the authorities seriously in this matter.

Lee

Sal
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by Sal »

As far as "closing" routes, that seems to be an exercise only on paper. without effective enforcement and with low fines, riders gladly ignore any "closure" that interferes with their recreation pleasure. The desert wildlife is the victim.

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castle
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by castle »

I should have know that you two would hit my post like a bass on a rubber worm.

First off Lee, that fact that we have places like NTC, Ft Irwin is one reason you can sit in front of your computer today. The coyotes are eating turtles because of the drought, not the move. A coyote will come down town and take your mamas kitty cat before he trys to crack the shell of a turtle. A turtle is the last item on a coyotes food chain, they have to be desperate to take one. Egg sucking ravens are a bigger problem. Oh I forgot that's a protected bird. Need to get them to read the ISA.

Sally, you might think it's an exercise on paper, but a lot of roads are gone, covered up, obliterated. You wont find them on new maps and you wont find them on the ground. I will agree and support your desire to have more LEOs boots on the ground to catch illegal riders. The fact remains that many roads are gone.

Sandman
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by Sandman »

Research indicates the tortoise continues to decline in it's native habitat and there are multiple factors contributing to it's demise. Habitat degradation, predation and desease all have a major influence and effect upon dwindling populations. I agree with Lee about the recent expansion at Fort Irwin. OHV use, when it is done in a responsible way, plays a minor role and has little impact however, OHV activities such as racing and cross country travel at high speeds do increase the danger to tortoise, increasing the odds of being run over or crushed. Military war games involving Tanks, Strikers and Humvees are all heavy vehicles capable of crushing a burrow and not even knowing it.

The Press Enterprise often features land use issues here in Southern California. Thanks to the internet, people can access it from wherever they happen to live. Thanks for posting on this subject Castle.

Sal
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by Sal »

a lot of roads are gone, covered up, obliterated.
Can you name or decribe a few of these roads? I have seen where roads are supposed to be "closed" but riders keep using them. I have seen where desert roads are "restored" (covered up with tree limbs to disguise them) and riders ride them anyway, re-making the road in the process.

LeeVW
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by LeeVW »

Castle,

I support the military and all the men and women who are serving and who have served our country. I'm not arguing whether the base needed to be expanded or not, I am arguing that the government has spent millions upon millions of dollars, created millions of acres of Wilderness, and closed thousands of miles of dirt roads in order to save the desert tortoise, and then they turned around and handed over one of the last strongholds for the tortoise to the Army! If they were REALLY serious about saving the tortoise, the expansion would not have occurred, at least in that area.

It is well documented that the relocation of tortoises is getting them killed. Coyote predation was not an issue in Superior Valley, but it is a real problem in the new areas. If the government had left the tortoises where they were, the deaths would not have occurred. Yes, the coyotes are eating tortoises because their normal food is dwindling, and I am sure they are very grateful for the bounty upon which the "scientists" have bestowed upon them! Idiots!

Sal,

When a road is properly rehabilitated, it usually does not see any further traffic. I have come across several roads which have been camouflaged, and you really can't tell there was a road there. What doesn't work is to stick a "Route Closed" sign in the middle of it. That's just inviting traffic!

Lee

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castle
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by castle »

Sal wrote:
a lot of roads are gone, covered up, obliterated.
Can you name or decribe a few of these roads? I have seen where roads are supposed to be "closed" but riders keep using them. I have seen where desert roads are "restored" (covered up with tree limbs to disguise them) and riders ride them anyway, re-making the road in the process.
Pick up a road map that 15 to 20 years old, lay it over a recent map of the same area and you'll see where the roads are gone. I have a fairly recent map of California, I tried to find some of the roads that were on it [between Kelso, Fener, and Goffs} on my last trip to California. There're gone, no sign of them. What is it in the Preserve are they preserving? Not the roads that allow people to get out there and see it.

Sal
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by Sal »

What I notice is if I look at the Desert Access Guide from the mid 90's and compare it to the routes and roads allowed under the West Mojave Plan, there are like 3 times as many roads in the new plan. All made without going through the proper steps as set forth in the Desert Conservation Act of 1980.

Then, when BLM spends thousands of dollars of OHMVR funds on restoration like at Juniper Flats, riders just ignore the efforts and plow through the restoration.

LeeVW
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Re: The Mojave Desert tortoise population is losing ground

Post by LeeVW »

You guys are both right.

I know what Castle is saying, as I have a lot of the maps which were field checked in the seventies. Compare those to the DAGs, and you can see where the BLM has omitted roads in Wilderness Areas which were designated in 1994. They act as if the roads never existed. Contrary to popular belief, if no one drives on a dirt road, the desert reclaims it within a couple decades and it disappears.

I also know what Sal is saying. Compare the old maps with the WEMO Plan and you can see at least three times as many roads in the newer maps. There's no denying it. I know the roads are really there too, as I have driven on many of them.

The kicker is that the higher density of roads in Limited Use areas started to occur right around the time hundreds of miles of other roads got closed off due to Wilderness designation. Close off one area, the other areas get higher useage. I'm not saying this is right, it's just how it is.

Sal, I thought the majority of the restoration work was done by volunteers, such as the SCA. Did the BLM have to spend money on fences and signs? In any case, it really is a CRIME to have all that work get vandalized. If only the Sierra Club, PEER, and others would sponsor more law enforcement instead of using their wealth to sue the BLM maybe they could put a stop to such acts.

Lee

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