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Western Joshua Trees Have Been Listed as a Threatened Species

Source: The Bradco Companies

As President of Joseph W. Brady Inc dba, The Bradco Companies, the Mojave Rivers longest standing full-service Commercial brokerage company, I want to share a very important letter and summary from 39th District Assemblyman Juan Carrillo as it relates to the final determination about the Joshua Tree issue that has somewhat paralyzed development in many communities in California.

Assemblyman Carrillo partially represents our region with Assemblyman Tom Lackey who represents the 34th district and we truly appreciate that the leaders in Sacramento were finally able to come to an agreement after nearly 2 plus years of uncertainty.

We are working with Assemblyman Juan Carrillo and others to improve the infrastructure in our region as we expect our portion of the High Desert (The Cities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia, and Victorville ) to double in the next 20 years and want to ensure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same opportunities that we are.

(See below)

Assembly California Legislature

Juan Carillo

Joseph Brady, President The Bradco Companies

P.O. Box 2710

Victorville, CA 92393-2710

Dear Mr. Brady,

Thank you for your interest and diligence in the proceedings around the conservation of the Western Joshua Tree (WJT). Based on California Endangered Species Act (CESA) by the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) findings, an agreement has been reached and the WJT will be listed as a threatened species. Notably, it will be the first species to be listed under CESA with climate change as the primary threat.

Throughout this legislative session, I have heard from and worked with proponents and opponents of this designation to better represent our community as we negotiated the regulations that would be implemented. Knowing the risk posed to this species and the need for economic growth and development in the district, I believe that we have reached a reasonable compromise.

Our greatest success was reducing the fees for “taking” WJTs, as the initial drafts listed fees that would have priced out small business development outright. While we were unsuccessful in ensuring that “pups” would be considered part of their parent tree and not individual trees, the fee reductions have made this significantly less burdensome. We also negotiated a guarantee that the Commission effectively cannot revisit listing WJT as endangered for at least 10 years.

With all of this being said, the conservation of the WJT has been added to the California State Budget as a Trailer Bill. Highlights of the Budget Trailer Bill are as follows:

- Outlines the current and projected WJT range which includes all of our district.

- In our district the fees for “taking” a WJT are the following”

o $1,000 for each western Joshua tree five meters or greater in height.

o $200 for each western Joshua tree one meter or greater but less than five meters in height.

o $150 for each western Joshua tree less than one meter in height.

o Upon request, the department may authorize a reduction in the amount of the fees for any western Joshua tree conserved by a project proponent through the acquisition of compensatory habitat mitigation land otherwise required by law for the project.

- Requires DFW to respond to a request for a permit within 30 days

- Authorizes DFW to enter into agreements with local governments to issue take permits for single family, multi-family and accessory dwelling unit projects that take no more than 10 WJTs and for public works projects that take no more than 40 WJTs.

o DFW may suspend or revoke these delegated permitting agreements at anytime - Requires property owners who receive a permit to submit photographs of the site where WJTs were removed within 30 days of trimming or removal.

- All fees will be deposited in the Western Joshua Tree Mitigation Fund created by this bill. The fund will be used to acquire, conserve, and manage WJT conservation lands.

- Requires DFW to develop a WJT conservation plan in collaboration with Native America tribes by 12/31/2024

- Requires the Fish and Game Commission, beginning in 2026 and every 2 years thereafter to review the status of the WJT and the effectiveness of the permitting and mitigation program

- Requires the WJT to remain a candidate for listing as a threatened species under CESA until the commission makes certain findings or until July 1 2033 at which point the commission is directed to make a decision about listing WJT.

I will be watching implementation closely and will continue to work on this issue throughout his time in legislature to make sure the compromise and the resulting program allow room for economic prosperity.

I again thank you for your input and interest in this process, and of course in the growth of our community. If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to my team or me and we’ll be happy to discuss this further.

With sincere thanks,

Juan Carrillo

Assemblymember, 39th District

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