A California couple fined $ 18,000 for illegally uprooting 36 Joshua Trees

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After eradicating 36 people, the couple was fined $ 18,000 Joshua Tree Make space for your house and fill it in the holes. Authorities want fines to discourage others from reaping bent limb plants, an endangered species that is being considered for protection under California’s Endangered Species Act.

“Most California citizens living in Joshua Tree habitat respect these iconic desert species, more than ever because of their declining population,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Nathaniel Arnold, Deputy Head of the Department’s Legal Enforcement Department, said. Press release. “I hope that the illegal removal of Joshua Tree for development will serve as a deterrent to others who consider it acceptable.”

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Authorities destroyed these Joshua trees (actually not trees, but the succulent Yucca brevifolia) on February 11 after a nearby resident found a neighbor who had killed dozens of plants using a tractor. We have started the investigation.Neighbors called the fish and wildlife chipline department to report it, officials said. Los Angeles Times..

Neighbors reportedly warned the couple to remove the plants. Western Joshua Tree is “illegal to disturb, move, replant, or remove,” officials said, as protection is being considered under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

Douglas Poston, a prosecutor in San Bernardino County, reportedly said he thought the couple could retrieve a Joshua tree below a certain diameter. The couple owned the land and wanted to build a house there.

“But that’s clearly not accurate,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Poston as saying. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 foot high or 20 feet high, it’s under its protection.”

“The suspect left the scene,” but “he found what was clearly a newly dug and buried hole,” officials said when state wildlife officials went to the facility. .. Wildlife policemen used a backhoe to re-dig this hole and then found the Joshua tree buried.

Authorities filed 36 misdemeanor charges against the couple on June 7, alleging “illegal use” of 36 Joshua Trees. Each act of acquiring Joshua Tree could result in a fine of up to $ 4,100 or six months’ imprisonment, officials said.

The couple, identified by authorities as Jeffrey Walter and Jonetta Nordberg Walter, were “cooperative in the investigation,” the press release said. On June 11, the San Bernardino County Superior Court submitted the couple to a pretrial return program.

Under an agreement with the court, Walter and Nordberg-Walter will each be required to pay a fine of $ 9,000. Part of this penalty has already been paid and couples can earn fine credits if they apply for Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave Desert Land Trust.

If the couple completes all pretrial detour requirements, their proceeding will be dismissed. Prosecutors will proceed with proceedings against them if they do not meet the requirements, officials said. The couple was not immediately asked for comment.

The dangers that Joshua Tree faces are becoming more and more dire. After the government’s closure, which ended in late January 2019, park workers returned to Joshua Tree National Park to find damaged trees, graffiti, and destroyed trails.Retired park manager Said The damage was “irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years.”

researcher Due to the climate crisis, only 0.02% of the current habitat of Joshua Tree National Park species is said to be viable. The increasingly hot and dry weather killed Joshua Tree. In other words, fewer young trees survive.

The August 2020 dome fire burned more than 43,000 acres in the Joshua Tree Forest, the world’s densest primeval forest in the Mojave National Preserve.Despite these challenges, local authorities Opposition He argued that additional safeguards would impede real estate development in order to better protect the Joshua tree.

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