Mojave Desert Land Trust Palisades Ranch Restoration Project
MND - Mitigated Negative Declaration
Present Land Use
General Plan Designation: Open Space and Public Facility; Zoning: Rural Living, Helendale Community Planning Area
The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) intends to implement a conceptual restoration and design plan for Palisades Ranch that meets state and regional priorities to identify restoration measures for critical hydrological processes and habitat health. The objectives of the restoration plan were to improve riparian and aquatic habitats for special status species (including San Emigdio blue butterfly, Mojave tui chub, southwestern willow flycatcher, western yellow-billed cuckoo, least Bell’s vireo, and Lucy’s warbler) while keeping in mind water allocation (groundwater/aquifer recharge, water conservation) and maintenance required for sustainable and successful restoration. Given that MDLT proposes to implement a habitat restoration plan within an area of conservation, MDRCD has agreed to serve as the CEQA Lead Agency for this project.
The restoration plan involves reconnecting a 170-acre abandoned agricultural field that was historically riparian habitat to the Mojave River by reestablishing a nested floodplain that resembles historic floodplain conditions. This would entail constructing a 6,600-foot main side channel, a 1,425-foot west branch side channel, and two higher elevation 5-year return interval channels within the proposed nested floodplain in the abandoned agricultural field. This approach would restore the historic floodplain and braided channel form during annual high flows, promote natural recruitment of riparian vegetation and beaver colonization, and boost groundwater storage of the floodplain aquifer. Approximately 130 acres of riparian habitat would be restored as a result of this project. The design would also include a 2-acre pond that would provide habitat for Mojave tui chub. The design would not be hard engineering, rather the design would create a system that allows natural processes to take place, creating the greatest ecological benefit possible.
The Implementation of the proposed Palisades Ranch Restoration Project—which includes fence installation, habitat restoration, and installation of signage—is anticipated to require up to 5 years (60 months) with a target completion date of 3 years (36 months), with the anticipated start date of construction in October 2022. The project could be completed as early as October 2025, though it may be completed at the latest around October of 2027.
California Air Resources Board (ARB), California Department of Conservation (DOC), California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, California Department of Transportation, District 8 (DOT), California Department of Water Resources (DWR), California Fish and Game Commission (CDFGC), California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES), California Highway Patrol (CHP), California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC), California Natural Resources Agency, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California State Lands Commission (SLC), Department of Toxic Substances Control, Office of Historic Preservation, State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Quality, State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Inland Deserts Region 6 (CDFW), California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Victorville Region 6 (RWQCB)
State Reviewing Agency Comments
California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Inland Deserts Region 6 (CDFW), California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Victorville Region 6 (RWQCB)
Recreational (1.8-mile trail system), Other (Habitat Restoration)
Site Plan, Restoration Plan
Aesthetics, Agriculture and Forestry Resources, Air Quality, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Cumulative Effects, Drainage/Absorption, Energy, Flood Plain/Flooding, Geology/Soils, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Growth Inducement, Hazards & Hazardous Materials, Hydrology/Water Quality, Land Use/Planning, Mandatory Findings of Significance, Mineral Resources, Noise, Population/Housing, Public Services, Recreation, Schools/Universities, Septic System, Sewer Capacity, Solid Waste, Transportation, Tribal Cultural Resources, Utilities/Service Systems, Vegetation, Wetland/Riparian, Wildfire
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