California’s 25 million acres of desert include 100 communities and 8 counties, 2 National Parks, a National Preserve, 6 military bases, 10 State Parks, 37 federally recognized Native American Indian Tribes, and more than 11 million acres of Bureau of Land Management public lands. All of this is within a day’s drive of 40 million people and a destination for hundreds of thousands of out-of-state visitors each year.
California deserts are home to unique wildlife and plant species, including the federally listed desert tortoise, and contain outstanding cultural and paleontological resources. In addition, deserts are vital training and testing grounds for the U.S. military.
Conflicting demands on the resource makes cooperation among federal, state, and local governments essential to supporting agency missions, protecting resources, and managing public use. The California Desert Managers Group (DMG) was established in 1994 as a forum for government agencies to discuss and address common issues. Cooperative management has helped each agency become more efficient, enhanced resource protection, and delivered better public service. The DMG mission is to develop coordinated, complimentary management, guidelines, practices, and programs to: 1) conserve and restore desert resources, 2) provide high quality recreation, public education, and visitor services, 3) provide for the safety of desert users, 4) develop and integrate databases and scientific studies for effective resource management and planning, and 5) promote compatibility in applying each agency’s mission.