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Newsom announces bill to protect California’s Joshua trees.

Joshua Tree seen along Highway 178 (Isabella Walker Pass Road near Highway 14).

George Rose | Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week introduced legislation for the first time to protect the native desert joshua tree and ban the importation, exportation, sale or removal of the species without a state permit.

a law called West Joshua Tree Conservation Actcomes after the California Fish and Game Commission failed a petition from 2019 to list the tree as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act.

The committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to postpone a decision on the petition by the Center for Biodiversity until Newsome’s proposed bill is approved or rejected by Congress.

Increased development and climate-related events such as droughts and wildfires threaten the Western Joshua tree, an iconic and ecologically important species that inhabits the state’s desert regions.recently study show The Joshua Trees are dying off in hotter, drier conditions, and without state protection, they could be largely lost from Joshua Tree National Park by the end of the century.

But opponents of the petition argue that listing trees as an endangered species could harm planned private land development and renewable energy projects in the area. . About half of the western extent of the Joshua Tree in California is privately owned, and most of the habitat is currently unprotected from development.

The bill would require the department to prepare a species conservation plan by the end of next year, with regular reviews to ensure the plan’s effectiveness and consultation with affected Native American tribes.

The permitting process for the species is more complicated than any currently listed under the California Endangered Species Act because the tree is widely distributed in public and private desert areas, according to the department.

Brendan Cummings, Conservation Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Joshua Tree resident, called Joshua Tree “an irreplaceable and highly threatened part of California’s natural heritage.”

“I am pleased that the Newsome administration has recognized its importance and has proposed groundbreaking legislation to ensure that these magnificent trees remain part of the landscape of California’s Mojave Desert,” Cummings said. said in a statement.

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/09/newsom-unveils-bill-to-protect-californias-joshua-tree.html Newsom announces bill to protect California’s Joshua trees.

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