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Mesquite Transects in Borrego Valley

The draft Borrego Basin Groundwater Sustainability Plan claims there are no viable Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) in the Borrego Basin because impacts prior to 2015 have been arbitrarily excluded from consideration; a protocol that is totally unacceptable and defies common sense. The Borrego Basin has been in overdraft for more than 60 years, so the cumulative adverse impact of the systematic dewatering of the Borrego Valley aquifer on GDEs is excluded by definition.

Mark Jorgensen had a 36-year career with the California State Parks serving as Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Naturalist and State Park Resource Ecologist before being appointed ABDSP Superintendent, a position from which he retired in 2010. He recently conducted three transects, i.e. a line or narrow area along or within which scientific data is gathered, in Borrego Valley and one in Clark Valley to assess the health of quintessentially groundwater dependent mesquite bosques. The four transects show a profound difference between the health of mesquite in the Clark Valley where virtually no pumping occurs and those dependent on the chronically overdrafted Borrego Valley aquifer.

In sum, the transect in Clark Valley, where the aquifer has not been mined, resulted in a rate of dead mesquites just over 11%. By contrast, the three transects in Borrego Valley show rates of dead mesquite at 53%, 59%, and 38%. It is clear from these data there are negative impacts of the overdraft in the Borrego Basin not addressed by the GSP as currently written.

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