Posts

Showing posts with the label FTHL

Wind Energy, Waste, Wildlands

Image
The Ocotillo Express Wind energy project threatens the fragmentation and destruction of over 23 square miles of public land adjacent to Anza-Borrego State Park in the Sonoran Desert of California.  The swath of land -- as big as the city of San Diego -- is a beautiful desert vista ringed by mountains near the small town of Ocotillo, but the project would etch miles of wide roads into the desert and build over 150 wind turbines that are equal in height to 30-story skyscrapers. The project would require tons of cement and steel, and the spinning blades will pose a danger to threatened bird species.  The project would be owned by Pattern Energy Group.  Renewable energy does not have to be so destructive-- solar panels on rooftops, over parking lots, and on already-disturbed lands can meet our energy needs without destroying wildlands.

The Bureau of Land Management is currently considering the proposal, and has published a draft environmental impact statement.   The deadline for public com…

Update on Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard

The US Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) decision not to list the flat-tailed horned lizard as an endangered species has been posted online, and a PDF copy is available below via scribd.  The lizard inhabits sandy hardpan or gravel flats in the Coachella Valley and Sonoran Desert, which lies south of the Mojave Desert ecosystem.

The assessment confirms that the Coachella Valley population of the flat-tailed horned lizard will likely see significant threats within the foreseeable future, and admits that the Coachella Valley Habitat Conservation Plan has not yet preserved the lizard's last remaining habitat in the area.   Nonetheless, because of conservation and land management efforts throughout the rest of its range, the USFWS believes the species remains viable and does not warrant endangered status.

FTHL ruling FWS-R8-ES-2010-0008-0042

US Rules Not to Protect Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard

According to the Los Angeles Times, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided not to list the Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard on the Endangered Species list after reviewing the proposal since last year.  The lizard has been relegated to a fraction of its former range--which used to span the Sonoran Desert--but the USFWS assessed that inter-agency and local conservation efforts have set aside sufficient land to keep the species viable.

Despite the ruling, the lizard still faces a slew of threats from illegal off-highway vehicle use, solar energy facilities, new transmission lines, and urban growth, which continue to constrain its remaining habitat.  One massive solar facility--the Imperial Valley Solar power project--would deprive the flat-tailed horned lizard of nearly 9.6 square miles of habitat.  USFWS acknowledges that some threats from energy development persists, but judges that the energy applications do not threaten the designated management areas.

Regarding urban encroachment…