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Organization Title

The Living Desert

G11-04-35-S01 S Education & Safety -- 95-3385354 -- The Living Desert

I have been involved in the Desert Tortoise Information and Education Program for a number of years and find it is one of the more complete programs with respect to full documentation concerning expense of grant funds.  Over the years, the program has contributed to the general education level of the public about the issues concerning the desert tortoise in the Mojave Desert region of southern California.

The current round of funding seeks to build upon an already solid foundation of performance aimed at educating the public that travels through and recreates in the desert regions of southern California about the issues involving the desert tortoise.

Beginning with a well-researched and documented pamphlet and continuing with programs for schools, the current proposal to establish the kiosks is an important and logical progression in presenting a full-featured information and education program to the public.

Many other efforts have been tried in the past with limited results as  they have not had dedicated resources to complete the tasks required.   This grant will couple funding with the necessary resources to accomplish another important step in a much needed education program.

As many of the routes used by the motorized recreation community are within or adjacent to critical desert tortoise habitat, this is an important grant to approve and fully fund. [John Stewart - 4/2/12]


G 11-04-35-S 01  Education and Safety
 
In searching to find out exactly who or what the Living Desert is I went the California Secretory of State and could not find anything listed. How is this incorporated under what name and what type of corporation?
 
$145,400 is a lot of money out of a pot of  $1.05 million, that has 32 applicants,  I say this because we desperately need Education program to go on the ground for those folks that provide OHV Opportunity.
 
It seems, just as tread lightly everyone is jumping on band wagon in trying to educate the recreational public. 
 
We have an OHV commission, that has the task to come up with a State Wide Education program, and it is with these folks that a program for California Should be undertaken,   So many applicants want to play in that sand box, and yet there is no coordination on a state wide basis.  
 
Living Desert is about tortoise, yet when I listen to the speech to OHV users, I came away with the feeling they are focusing on OHV in a negative way.  To say OHV kill  tortoise if you do not stay on trail, is a stretch to say the least. 
 
First that is a negative statement and it is not true. OHV are not the primary cause of tortoise being killed or in danger, it is the respiratory and Raven issues,  OHV in studies is a very small % . But when you listen to the speech, it puts a guilt trip on the kids, something I do not appreciate.
 
Also, last I knew  Tortoise did not get an e mail telling them to stay off the designated trail.  in other words, staying on the trail, it not a haven for any animal, They roam all over the place.  
 
What I am saying here is that in education on tortoise you have to give the full spectrum of causes of tortoise problems, We are not one of them.  The fact we have so many tortoise in our open area is testimony that OHV and Tortoise get along just fine.  
 
Now to your dollar amount it is way to nigh, and not needed.   The Desert Managers Group are spending millions on Tortoise,
 
Staff: 
Qty  1   Rate 50,000  Now as in other grants. Qty is hours .  Rate is cost per hour.  Exactly what  are you including in this cost?
 
Contracts: 
Here again you are reinventing the wheel.  If you contact Ridgecrest BLM special volunteer Steve Smith he can give you the design and specification of all the tortoise information panels you want. How do I know ?  he installed them on BLM land and on property owned by Friends of Jawbone. So why would we want to spend money on something we already have.  
 
Installation $3000 per kiosk is outrageous. Give Steve Smith the job and pay for his gas and you will cut the cost by 90% 
 
Equipment.
it seems that all those applying for Education think they have to go out and do the job.  What do you think the federal agency are here for and get Ground operation. They can put in any kiosk they get their hands on under normal ground operation  because they are already in the field. it would cost hardly anything because they are already there doing ground operation and placing of Kiosk.   Friends of jawbone for example maintains 50 Kiosk throughout the Ridgecrest BLM office, all part of normal Trail maintenance duties. 
 
Interactive Kiosk.  
This is not needed.  it is nice, but in the harsh environment it will never last.   We have those called Information Kiosk  county wide in  Kern County, I am sure you can get with Kern County Board of trade and put a page on the existing kiosk as part of BLM information, Actually they already have Tortoise information on the kiosk.
 
Training,   
here again, we are being asked to support an organization to do their job?
 
PSA development,   
Here again, trying to re invent the wheel, the Desert Managers Group already have that indirect Cost
 
Again, this is not needed.
 
I feel that this grant though well intended, is working from the fact that they have not taken the time to see what each Federal Agency and Non profits are already doing.  it is a duplication of existing efforts thus not a proper use of OHV funds.
 
I do not support this Grant [Ed Waldheim - 4/2/12]

G11-04-35-S01
 
Where are these 10 interactive kiosks going? Are these interactive stations going to be located other zoo/botanical gardens? Is the right environmental to reach OHV community?  How many visitors each year at The Living Desert, are a part of the OHV community? Is this grant just the preacher preaching to the choir or is this education going to reach the people that affect the tortoise environment or just the snowbirds and other visitors?

It looks like a big part of the grant money and staff matching is coming from programs that have nothing to do with developing the interactive stations (i.e. the tortoise box and environmental outreach). When they teach do they have lesson on who human recreation effects tortoise habitat? I do not feel that this group or what the grant they have written is strongly tied to OHV recreation or education of it user who provide the funding. They are more concern with endanger species and their habitat.

The other matching section is filled with match that again doesn’t directly tie to this grant.  I find it over statement partnership and match time by count NPS, BLM, CSTA, CC Desert Conservation Program NV, etc in the other section. This staff match provides is attendance at a meeting or a phone all.  Does the Author of this grant know that they will need to provide proof of the match and get time cards from all these people and groups? If I called these people would they even know that they had this match to provide? I think that more match was put into this grant then can truly be justified, these meeting and phone calls would happen with or without this grant funding. The intent of this other section is an over estimation of match was to bump this grant match way over 100% to ensure the likely hood of funding. The education slice of money is too small to be funding a zoo to make a zoo interactive stations that reaches a zoo audience.  I think that other funding source would be more appropriate for this grant to apply to. [Ann Porter - 4/1/12]