Mojave NP Action Illegal?

spectr17

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Jim Matthews

7/24/02

PRESERVE ACTION ILLEGAL?: Increasingly, individuals and groups fighting the National Park Service staff over keeping man-made water sources inside the Mojave National Preserve are finding the preserve staff may be breaking the law and its own management plan in removing cattle water.

Cliff McDonald, an avid Needles hunter and conservationist who has been leading the fight against the park service, has been pouring over the various documents the NPS staff say guide -- even mandate -- their decisions with regards to water. McDonald has repeatedly found the staff has misstated or lied about what these documents mandate.

Recently, preserve superintendent Mary Martin told McDonald and a group of hunters who had met with her that the biological opinion on protecting the desert tortoise mandated that surface water be removed to protect the tortoise. After reading the massive document, McDonald says there is no such mandate.

The park service has balked at allowing conservation groups work on water projects at historic spring and man-made sources during this drought year, even though many occur above 4,000-feet, which is generally considered the highest elevation tortoises occur.

The park service's own management plan also mandates that before any water source is removed that a thorough analysis be done to determine what impacts it would have on desert wildlife. That has clearly not been done in several instances when cattle water was removed, according to McDonald.

The latest revelations are just more in a growing succession of problems the NPS staff have created for themselves by ignoring or not understanding the law the created preserve and then not following their own management plan.
 

karstic

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Shouldn't the NPS have to file an EIR for removal of the water sources?
 

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