Meeting Cancellation, July 13, 2009



To: Governing Board Members
From: Bill Havert
Date: 6/26/2009
Re: Cancellation of July meeting

Because there are no acquisition projects requiring Board action at this time, the July 13, 2009 Governing Board meeting will not be held. The next meeting is scheduled for September 14.

Three of the approved bond funded acquisition grant projects that were frozen in December and unfrozen in April are ready to proceed; however, it is unclear when the bond funds will be ready for disbursement by the State Controller’s Office. The effect of this further delay on the ability to complete the acquisitions is unknown.

The Conservancy, in its role as Acquisitions Manager for the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission (CVCC), has brought 16 acquisition projects in the Thousand Palms, Willow Hole, and Upper Mission Creek Conservation Areas totaling approximately $2.5 million to the CVCC. CVCC has approved all the projects and all are either in escrow or have already closed. At least two other projects will be presented to the CVCC for consideration at its July meeting, including the acquisition of 638.29 acres of the Palmwood property. CVMC is also working with USFWS, CDFG, and the Friends on the potential for providing required matching funds to free up some of the $6 million in federal Section 6 grant funds for acquisition of an additional portion of the property.

Geary submitted a draft of the Northern Coachella Valley Trails Plan to the Friends of the Desert Mountains and he presented an overview of the plan to the Riverside County Trails Committee.

Report from Kerrie on OHV Task Force

The OHV Task Force meeting was held on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. Derek Anderson, Chief Ranger of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) stated that Drop 31 operations near the Mecca Hills were slow with very few contacts. Sergeant Paul Herrera from the City of Cathedral City acknowledged that the Iron Door operations were more active and the Task Force issued 8 citations on June 13, 2009. Rodney Wardle from KESQ Channel 3 News joined the taskforce operations on June 13, 2009; coverage of the operations was aired on the same night and the Task Force has requested a copy of the segment from Mr. Wardle and KESQ. It was determined by consensus to cancel the June 27th operations in Sky Valley due to scheduling conflicts, strategic budgeting and to begin a limited summer schedule for the Task Force.

Lynda Gregory, Legislative Assistant for Riverside County District 4, updated the Task Force on the recent Riverside County OHV Commission. The Commission is now concentrating on proposing the DROP 31 site as an OHV Park. Jim Fagelson, Principal Planner from Riverside County’s Planning Department added that the County will apply for a lease of BLM land in the DROP 31 site and hopefully it would be granted by 2011. Mr. Fagelson also mentioned that the County is interested in the State managing the park. Jacob Alvarez, Management Analyst from Coachella Valley Association of Governments asked how receptive the State would be given its current financial situation. Mr. Fagelson commented that the State could use green sticker funds to support the park which are funds that cannot be touched by the State for purposes other that OHV related programs.

Mr. Alvarez said that he had looked at the OHV Task Force budget and prior to the June operations the Task Force had $71,000 remaining in operating funds. He also projected that the funds would support approximately 11 months of operations. He also mentioned that he had reviewed the contract and that the Task Force needed to hold at least 1 to 2 OHV Safety Workshops and that the July meeting would be dedicated to planning a workshop. He affirmed that each jurisdiction is obligated to supply a fully equipped, trained sworn employee and one Community Service Officer to provide equipment, security and to manage an information table to provide OHV literature during operations as per the OHV contract. Mr. Alvarez recommended that adherence to the contract will provide longevity of the Task Force.

The next OHV Task Force meeting will be held Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 10:00 am.