"California Bill Would Protect Native Western Joshua Tree"

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The western Joshua tree won’t be listed as threatened — yet — as California’s Fish and Game Commission again delayed a decision Wednesday after a bill was proposed to provide protections to the native desert plant.

The proposed legislation, the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act, was made public late Tuesday. Backed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration, it would prohibit anyone from importing, exporting or removing the tree without a permit from the state. It would also require the state to work with Native American tribes to draft a conservation plan for the tree by 2024.

“The western Joshua tree is iconic,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham said Wednesday. “It deserves special consideration through its own law.”

Bonham said the legislation would mandate protections for the tree while also simplifying the permit process for getting permission to remove it."

Sophie Austin reports for the Associated Press February 8, 2023.

Source: AP, 02/10/2023