California wildlife officials said an environmental review by Cadiz Inc. is severely flawed and a permit to extract billions of gallons of water from under the Mojave Desert cannot be approved.
The Palm Springs Desert Sun reported:
The California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife says scientists for Cadiz and the Orange County-based Rancho Santa Margarita Water District wrongly claimed that a spring vital to bighorn sheep is not connected to the aquifer from which the project would draw water.
State biologists tested the company’s finding by installing GPS collars on the legally-protected sheep, which are a signature species of the California desert. The researchers found the sheep do use Bonanza Spring, a year-round watering hole that’s part of a mile-long green corridor in the Clipper Mountains. Other scientists funded by the Mojave Desert Land Trust used molecular isotopes and temperature measurements to conclude that contrary to what a Cadiz geologist claimed, the spring is not just fed by rains, but by an ancient underground aquifer that is also connected to wellfield water that would be used by the company.
Cadiz Inc. for years has wanted to pump more than 16 billion gallons of water under the Mojave Desert and pipe it to large cities in Southern California such as Los Angeles and San Diego. Environmentalists said drawing down that much water would threaten natural springs such as Bonanza Springs in the desert and threaten wildlife there.
Bonanza Springs Watchable Wildlife Area is about 22 miles west of the Mountain Springs Road exit from Interstate 40, then another three miles north on Danby Road. It’s believed the springs, which contain wildlife such as tree frogs, toads and birds, are a remnant of when the Mojave Desert was much wetter 8,000 years ago.
(Image of Bonanza Springs Watchable Wildlife Area)