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Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Inc.

 I believe this would be a great thing for the environment and the animals that live there. I have been a member of the DTPC for a while and support this grant. Tony De Leon - 3/7/14

 I believe this is the appropriate place to leave my public comment on the restoration grant application for the Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee (DTPC).

FYI:  I am currently a member of the OHMVR Commission.  I was previously employed as a Naturalist at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area (DTRNA), jointly managed by the DTPC and several public agencies.  More recently, I have done volunteer work for the DTPC in the expansion area described in the application, and have some personal knowledge of the issues related to the application. 

In some locations, there is heavy OHV traffic along fence-lines adjacent to the DTRNA, which endanger tortoises which pass under the current fence, set about a foot off the ground to allow them to enter and leave the DTRNA at will.  I support placing tortoise-proof, enhanced fences in selected locations to lower potential tortoise mortality due to collisions with OHVs outside the DTRNA.

I have installed property boundary signs, and participated in volunteer cleanup operations in the DTRNA expansion area.  I joined more than 30 enthusiastic volunteers who worked with the Preserve Manager during the October 2013 cleanup weekend, removing tons of trash from the area.  Fencing the expansion area will afford this area exclusion from vehicular use, allowing its vegetation to recover and serve as a research benchmark for tortoise populations in areas which are both fenced and not fenced in.

There are numerous areas available for OHV recreation within a few miles of the DTRNA.

I expect that any Grant Funds expended by the DTPC will be well spent, as has been the case in the past. Edward Patrovsky - 3/17/14

 After reading the grant request we are stunned that the DTP is still suffering from ongoing OHV trespass, illegal OHV camping and trash dumping, and degradation of protected habitat.  We support their grant fund request for clean-up, restoration, and additional fencing and barriers.

However, this should make it abundantly clear to the OHMVR Division that throwing money at a problem does not seem to be helping. There needs to be increased Law Enforcement presence to curtail the type of activity that is encroaching on sensitive wildlife habitat. ORV WATCH KERN COUNTY, Steering Committee, Jan Alford, Jon Rogers, Sandi Tardiff - 3/18/14

 View public comments. Lucy Clark - 3/31/14

 I am writing to strongly support and request your approval of the preliminary grant application of the Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee (DTPC).

The DTPC recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, with a long history of tangible desert conservation achievements.  The DTPC  has also established a solid reputation as an effective group that works well with a wide variety of agencies, partners, and stakeholders.

As you know , the DTPC is requesting funding for a restoration project in the Expansion Areas of the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area, which abut authorized off-highway vehicle routes managed by the Bureau of Land Management and California City Police Department.  The purpose of the Restoration Grants Program, as defined by your Division, is to provide Ecological Restoration or Repair to habitat damaged by authorized or unauthorized off-highway vehicle use. 

The DTPC seeks restoration funds to prevent continued habitat degradation related to unauthorized off-highway vehicle activity on approximately 4,400 acres of conservation lands, and to begin restoration of the disturbed areas to their natural state.  If funded, the DTPC will install wildlife-friendly fencing around areas of contiguous conservation lands and will use vertical mulching and other techniques for camouflage restoration of unauthorized routes in areas where fencing is not feasible.  In addition, the DTPC will work with restoration crews and volunteers to remove trash from the restoration sites and to control invasive plant infestations along closed, unauthorized routes.  Moreover, if conditions allow, the DTPC will begin collecting native seeds for future revegetation projects.

I believe that this is a very worthwhile and necessary grant application which clearly meets the purpose of your Restoration Grants Program.   As such, I urge you to approve this application and disburse these funds.

While I am currently not a California resident, I am a frequent visitor with family and friends in the state.  I was born and raised in southern California, where I spent many weekends and holidays exploring the Mojave desert.  I lived in Lancaster for a time during  the mid-1970s, and witnessed the explosion in popularity of dirt bikes and the associated proliferation of cross-country tracks and routes across formerly pristine desert landscapes.  So I have a personal connection to the Mojave desert and first-hand experience viewing the effects of cross-country OHV use.  I have also followed the good work of the DTPC for many years, and I know that they have the experience, credibility, and commitment to make good use of your grant funds and to translate them into beneficial on-the-ground results. Richard Spotts - 4/3/14

 I have reviewed the grant application for restoration funds for fencing, restoration and habitat protection of DTPC’s lands in the west Mojave Desert.
As President of Transition Habitat Conservancy a land trust holding lands in the West Mojave and managing lands in the area to benefit the desert tortoise and other species this funding is vital to conservation land management and DTPC has proven time and time again that these restoration funds will be well spent and do a great amount of good for the desert tortoise habitat and the desert species.   I highly recommend that this project be fully funded. I have lived in the West Mojave for 50+ years and have seen the intensity of OHV use increase over time.  Intensive restoration, enforcement and education in this this multi-use area is a requirement if the tortoise is to recover. Jill Bays, Transition Habitat Conservancy - 4/4/14

 I am attaching a letter from our field office in support of the Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee's grant submission. Caroline Woods, Wildlife Biologist, BLM  - 4/7/14