More than 570 acres in a critical nature preserve that was once planned as a possible site for an oil pipeline pumping station was donated by Arco to the Nature Conservancy. The decision to turn over the land in the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, 30 miles north of Palm Springs, was hailed by Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan and Nature Conservancy President Frank Boren in ceremonies at the edge of the unique desert oasis. The Nature Conservancy manages the preserve in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and San Bernardino County. The preserve is the home of 235 species of birds, including the least Bell's vireo and the yellow-billed cuckoo, both of which are endangered in California. It is also the habitat for the desert tortoise and bighorn sheep.
From Times Staff and Wire Reports
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