The nearly 25,000-acre Daggett Ridge area provides an unspoiled oasis in an otherwise developed and ecologically fragmented region. Despite its proximity to the city of Barstow, the area exhibits a remarkable degree of wildness and biological diversity. It provides highly intact habitat for the rare Mojave monkeyflower, iconic golden eagle, imperiled desert tortoise, and ancient creosote bush – the oldest known living plant in the California desert.
Recognizing the area’s distinct qualities, the BLM’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) will permanently protect the area as part of the National Landscape Conservation System and designate Areas of Critical Environmental Concern to protect high-density tortoise habitat and Mojave monkeyflower.
BLM is proposing to fragment this important ecological area with a maze of 74 miles of motor vehicle routes, many of which appear to serve no purpose. If designated, these routes would jeopardize the area’s high-quality plant and wildlife habitat and wilderness character, and undercut its designation as a National Conservation Area.
• Daggett Ridge spans nearly 25,000 acres of wilderness-quality lands.
• WEMO Plan proposes 74 miles of motorized vehicle routes in the area.
• The area will be permanently protected as a National Conservation Area under the BLM’s DRECP planning initiatives.
• Two Areas of Critical Environmental Concern protect critical desert tortoise habitat and the rare Mojave monkeyflower.
Findings from the Field:
• Household appliances, heaps of tires, and other illegal dumping along a proposed route (see right).
• Nearly all proposed routes located in desert tortoise critical habitat and the Ord Rodman Area of Critical Environmental Concern, which is designated to protect high-density and critical tortoise habitat.
• Four proposed routes in the Daggett Ridge Mojave Monkeyflower Area of Critical Environmental Concern that violate BLM’s DRECP requirement prohibiting the designation of new motorized vehicle routes in the area
• Multiple instances of illegal off-route travel associated with proposed routes throughout desert tortoise critical habitat.
• Many proposed routes that are revegetating and indiscernible from naturally occurring desert washes (see below).