Mojave National Preserve Soda Mountain Solar Project


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5 Year Member
Nov 18, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Suburban-life in Salem, Oregon
Mojave National Preserve Soda Mountain Solar Project
Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:25 pm (PST) . Posted by: mr_mpwhite
Soda Mountain Solar Project Facts

Let decision makers know that you want Mojave National Preserve protected
and the Soda Mountain Solar Project relocated!_Take Action_
The Soda Mountain Solar Project is a proposed industrial scale renewable
energy development that would be constructed less than one mile from the
boundary of Mojave National Preserve, the third largest national park unit in
the lower 48 states. It would be one of the closest, if not the closest,
renewable energy projects to a national park unit in the entire
southwestern United States.
The proposed project is approximately 4000 acres with the solar field
occupyingaround 2500 acres, straddling both the north and south sides of
Interstate 15. It would include a substation, access road, realignment of an
existing route (Rasor Road), operations and maintenance buildings, and
lay-down areas.
The Soda Mountain Solar Project threatens bighorn sheep migration
corridors, desert tortoise habitat,natural areas,scenic viewsheds and the integrity
of adjacent wilderness study areas. Moreover, the project’s groundwater
pumping could harm water quality and quantity at Mohave Chub Spring in
Mojave National Preserve, the home of the federally endangered tui chub, one of
our most unique and rare desert fish.
Mojave National Preserve
There is both an economic and environmental imperative to protect Mojave
National Preserve- a national treasure and the lower forty-eight states’
third largest national park unit! The Preserve is 1.6 million acres and has
spectacular examples of three out of four North American desert ecosystems:
Sonoran, Mojave and Great Basin. It has elevations ranging from almost
8000 to 800 feet above sea level; 600 foot high singing sand dunes; the
largest and densest Joshua tree forest in the entire world; relict white fir
and chaparral vegetation that line high mountain peaks; and over 240
naturally occurring seeps and springs that provide sustenance for a wide variety
of desert wildlife species. The Preserve is a recreational haven for hikers,
backpackers, bicyclists, stargazers, equestrians, botanists, history buffs
and wildlife enthusiasts. As of 2010, Mojave National Preserve had over
600,000 recreational visits and those visitors spent over $13 million in
gateway communities and supported over 200 full and part time jobs.
There are significant threats from the project including the following:
1. Desert tortoise. The proposed project is located in a key habitat
linkage for the desert tortoise, identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
2. Desert bighorn sheep. Biologists specializing in desert bighorn sheep
conservation and management are working to delineate and reestablish key
migration corridors for desert bighorn. These linkages connect areas
supporting bighorn populations and, if protected and enhanced, will ensure that
bighorn populations do not become genetically isolated. Isolated populations
of bighorn sheep that become genetically isolated are less healthy and
have a greater chance of becoming extirpated. In California, one of the more
promising locations to re-establish gene flow across a major freeway (the
I-15) is between the North and South Soda Mountains where this proposed
energy project would be located. There are two ways that regular gene flow
might be re-established. One is for bighorn sheep to go under existing
highway bridges, and such bridges exist on Highway 15 between the North and South
Soda Mountains. Although sheep are rarely crossing under such bridges
if at all, it may be possible to use the addition of drinking water to bait
sheep to begin using some existing bridges. The other approach will be to
build a bridge for bighorn sheep across the highway in a strategic location.
Neither of these methods will work if the habitat on either side of the
highway is made impassible for bighorn sheep by the construction or
operation of this project.
3. Groundwater. Groundwater pumping for the construction and operation of
the proposed project could threaten the water resources at Mohave Chub
Spring in the Mojave National Preserve . Mohave Chub Spring supports a
population of the federally endangered Mohave tui chub, one of our rarest desert
fish. We are very concerned that pumping of naturally limited groundwater
to support the project may adversely impact water quantity and quality at
Mohave Chub Spring and the federally endangered Mohave tui chub.
4. Nationally significant conservation lands. The proposed project is
directly adjacent to the Soda Mountains Wilderness Study Area and the Mojave
National Preserve. The project is not compatible with maintaining scenic
viewsheds and the natural character of these two areas. The Soda Mountains
Solar Project violates San Bernardino County’s recently passed Renewable
Energy Ordinance, which states that:
“For proposed facilities within two (2) miles of the Mojave National
Preserve boundaries, the location, design, and operation of the proposed
commercial solar energy facility will not be a predominant visual feature of, nor
substantially impair, views from hiking and backcountry camping area with
the National Preserve.”
_Take Action!_
( Let decision makers know that you want Mojave National
Preserve protected and the Soda Mountain Solar Project relocated!

Mike White
Los Angeles,
CA. 90059-3400