Algodones Dunes Habitat Under Attack – Again

Algodones Dunes by Andrew Harvey

Algodones Dunes. Photo by Andrew Harvey

[From our colleagues at the Center for Biological Diversity, and crossposted from DesertBlog:]

For more than a decade, the Center for Biological Diversity has been fighting to keep southeastern California’s Algodones Dunes -the largest dune complex in the country -a safe haven for the rare plants and animals that call the shifting sands and pocket oases home. Now we need your help to make sure the dunes and the wildlife they support keep their protection.

Unchecked ORV use threatens the dunes and their unique plants and animals. These remarkable and rare species -including the secretive flat-tailed horned lizard, endemic Peirson’s milkvetch and Algodones sunflower, desert tortoise and 21 species of insects only known from the Algodones Dunes -barely eke out existence under unrelenting sun, sand-blasting winds and sparse rains, only to meet their demise by being squashed under churning ORV tires.

The Center has had great success in protecting large swaths of key habitat from off-road ruin, but now, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is proposing to eliminate protections for the dunes’ endangered species put in place a decade ago under President Clinton.

Secretary Salazar’s plan would sacrifice unique desert species and allow ORVs to run unrestricted through the fragile dunes ecosystem. Salazar’s Bureau of Land Management, which manages these unique public lands, is proposing to expand ORV-accessible areas by as much as 45 percent (adding almost 40,000 additional acres to the nearly 88,000 acres already open to unrestricted ORV use).

The Algodones Dunes need your support for increased protection. Please write to oppose any expansion of ORV areas and voice your support today for additional conservation for the rare plants and animals that call the Algodones Dunes home.

[You can compose and send a letter here. Please do. Thank you.]