• Steve Brown

Shutting down Mojave Watch operations

We've had a good, if too short, run. Mojave Watch was conceived to help remedy the fact that mostly rural desert residents live not only in a literal desert, but in a news desert as well. What does that mean? It means that it's hard for regular folks to stay on top of projects and issues that stand to impact them significantly because there are no desert-wide mainstream media platforms to keep them informed.

For instance, often county and city/town governments will notify property owners that have properties bordering project sites, and within a very limited range around them - the bare minimum of notifications required by law. But with projects that can range from three to seven square miles or so, and will not only visually impact the landscape, but will scrape "protected" native plants from that landscape, create dust and potential fire hazards, etc., the required legal notifications don't begin to reach everyone who stands to be impacted through a reduction in quality of life, increased health risks, and of course, reduced property values.

Mojave Watch helped to increase public awareness of many of these kinds of projects and sought to utilize the power of social media networks to organically involve more rural desert citizens, and to increase public participation in project vetting and desert issues. For a small initiative such as this, we made some significant impacts on a range of projects and issues, reaching more than 50,000 viewers with many of our video action alerts that were organically promoted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as through our own action alerts, newsletter, and website.

There were still obstacles to overcome, and locally-focused organizations sometimes didn't want to cooperate with this effort because they viewed Mojave Watch as competition, instead of an additional way to get their message out beyond their local area and across the desert. Plans were considered to formally incorporate Mojave Watch as a nonprofit organization, but funding for that process did not come through. Funding for the initiative (appropriately) dried up, like most everything else in California, this summer, and this website will soon be archived and social media accounts will be deactivated.

For those wishing to remain in touch with Steve Brown, director of Mojave Watch, he can be reached at, or through his websites at, or Thanks to all of you who have participated in supporting a better future for our desert home, and our desert residents - human and otherwise. Please find your local conservation group and support them, and remain involved. Our home depends upon it.

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