Environmental Awards

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Date: December 7, 2009
Contact: David Burdette, 760 252-6147
Contact: Linda Slater, 760 252-6122

Mojave National Preserve was one of eight National Park areas recognized for Environmental Achievement in 2009. The National Park Service and Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Awards honor exceptional achievements in Environmental Management, Stewardship, Purchasing, Alternative Fuels and Fuel Conservation, Recycling, Sustainable Design, Sustainable Energy Practices, and Waste & Pollution Prevention.

Mojave received the award for diverting 14,000 tons of asphalt cuttings from a landfill and using the cuttings to pave 4.1 miles of Zzyzx Road. The work was completed in July and August 2009. The asphalt cuttings were recycled from a paving project on a 17-mile section of Interstate 15 near Zzyzx Road. Mojave National Preserve’s use of the cuttings eliminated the need to transport them to a distant landfill, avoiding the production of green house gases involved produced by trucking. The paving project greatly improved the road surface and eliminated the dust generated by traffic on the road that affected both people and wildlife.

Zzyzx Road provides access to the Desert Studies Center, a field station of California State University. The Center offers dormitory housing and support for educational groups visiting the desert. Additionally, they offer weekend extension classes to the general public.

“The paving of Zzyzx Road allows any type of vehicle to access the Zzyzx Desert Studies Center, including school busses,” said acting Superintendent Larry Whalon. “In addition to allowing for easier access, it will also substantially reduce yearly maintenance costs.”

A short section of the road was left unpaved to preserve natural springs near the road that are used by bighorn sheep; the short break in pavement also reduces the speed of the vehicles traveling through area that the bighorn use.

There was no cost for the asphalt cuttings or for their delivery, which resulted in substantial savings to the government. The cost savings to taxpayers for using the recycled asphalt material as opposed to using new asphalt with aggregate to pave the road was estimated at $2 million.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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