Ivanpah Valley: How to Fragment a Desert Ecosystem

Photos from May 2015

May 22, 2015 - Ivanpah Valley in California and Nevada. Three sprawling solar plants carving up tortoise habitat.

^The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) turned off due to cloudy weather, which has been common this spring. The heliostats are turned upwards into reflecting the sky, and not concentrating sunlight onto the tower receiver so no electricity is being generatied by the sun.

^Stateline Solar Farm on the California side of Ivanpah Valley, where Mojave Desert scrub was bulldozed and graded for flood control channels, detention basins, and photovoltaic fields. Metamorphic Hill is in the background and a tower from ISEGS (turned off due to cloud cover).

^Foreground with graded desert of the Stateline project, middleground with the Ivanpah Dry Lake playa, then in the background the Silver State South solar project under construction with extensive grading of Mojave Desert scrub on the alluvial fan below the Lucy Gray Mountains. Primm can be seen on the left and above it a natural gas burning power plant. Connectivity corridors of intact desert for tortoise have been drastically reduced.

^Stateline solar project fragmenting lush creosote-bursage tortoise habitat.

^Stateline solar project edge. It's fine to bulldoze this sensitive habitat, however.

^Stateline Solar Farm bulldozed habitat to construct a floodwater detention basin.

^Edge of the Stateline Solar Farm with tortoise exclusion fence. Tortoise monitors have placed shelters along the fence to aid tortoises which have been relocated from their home range and may be pacing the fence trying to return. Tortoises in the past have overheated as they try to find their former burrows, and died.

^Stateline solar project detention basin.

^Bulldozed tortoise habitat, Stateline solar project. An Ivanpah solar power tower is in the background, looking south to the mountain ranges within Mojave National Preserve.

^Chainlink fence on public land, Stateline Solar Farm.

^Looking east across the creosote and Stateline solar project construction site, across the playa to Silver State South Solar Farm on the alluvial fan on the Nevada side of Ivanpah Valley.

^Eldorado-Ivanpah transmission line with ISEGS in the background.

^Gen-tie line from the the Eldorado-Ivanpah transmission line to Stateline Solar Farm. Unit 2 of ISEGS in the background.

^Sunset over the new Stateline solar project.

^Ivanpah solar power tower (not turned on) and the Stateline solar project under construction surrounding Metamorphic Hill.

^Mowed desert scrub vegetation on the Stateline project. Apparently the company First Solar wants to experiemnt with mowed versus graded solar fields for installation of photovolatic thinfilm panels. We beleive they will have problems with this approach since creosote can grow over 6 feet tall in only a few years and would be a fire fuel hazard.

^Flowering-seeding creosote in front of the Stateline solar project under construction.

^Buildings at Stateline solar project.

^Scraper-graders on Silver State South construction site in Nevada.

^ISEGS heliostst field with mowed desert, and power tower with dry-cooling building.


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