Walking in the Footprint of the Proposed Crescent Peak Wind Project

Explore This Amazing Area in a Bioblitz

April 7, 2018 - Basin and Range Watch, along with many supporters, friends, and fellow organizations, are nominating an Area of Critical Environmental Concern on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Piute Valley, Castle Mountains, Crescent Peak, and McCullough Mountains of Nevada, along the border of California and the Mojave National Preserve and the new Castle Mountains National Monument. These lands are primarily located in Clark County, Nevada and the bioblitz covers the "place" named Castle Mountains Nevada over roughly 38,000 acres in extent. As part of the revision of the BLM Southern Nevada Office Resource Management Plan, we are taking this opportunity to seek heightened conservation status for this area, which is threatened by urban development, mining, and the Crescent Peak Wind Project proposal.

Come out to the Bioblitz on the weekend of April 28-29, the launch date! We are keeping the project into November so we can all return at our leisure to add observations when we can. So please feel to send us any observations if you do not upload them to iNaturalist.

We have two botanists, birders, and Dr. James Patton of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley who, will undertake small mammal surveys here. BRW volunteers will observe reptiles and record our photographs. We also have a park historian participating, to record the unique history and archaeology of the region.

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/castle-mountains-nevada-bioblitz

Meet at the Wee Thump East Road at noon on April 28, and then we will go explore. The next morning the birders can get up early and look for birds. We are keeping the bioblitz open for the rest of the summer so anyone can visit the area and record observations.

Anyone can make an iNaturalist account and join. Use your smart phone to directly upload photos and observations, or upload them later on your desktop. Or record your observations and email them to us at emailbasinandrange@gmail.com.

Two retired National Park Service superintendents endorse conserving this place, and not developing an industrial wind project here: https://m.lasvegassun.com/news/2018/apr/07/yes-to-clean-energy-but-no-to-this-site/

^This part of southern Nevada is incredibly diverse, with Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia), Mojave yuccas (Y. schidigera), banana yuccas (Y. baccata), catclaw acacia (Senegalia greggii), and rare Sonoran desert grasslands. Help us protect this area, and not let energy developers carve new roads and build giant wind turbine on the low ridges in this photos. Looking eastward from near Castle Mountains National Monument over Piute Valley and Searchlight NV.

Rare Desert Grasslands

The Castle Mountains contain a unique arid grassland community in both California and Nevada. This area contains rare stands of diverse C4 perennial grasslands west of the Colorado River, subtropical grasslands that are normally found in the Sonoran Desert uplands in Arizona and Mexico. Grass species common in this plant community flower and seed during the warm seasons of summer and fall, especially after strong monsoon rainfall events. Normally found in the Sonoran Region, and even as far east as the Great Plains, grasses such as Black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda), Blue grama (B. gracilis), Sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), are found in this corner of the Mojave Desert uplands, ranging into a small area of adjacent California in the Castle Mountains National Monument and Mojave National Preserve. Big galleta (Hilaria rigida) is abundant, as well as several other native grasses--both perennial and annual. This arid summer monsoon grassland community grades below into diverse creosote scrub (Larrea tridentata) and above into blackbrush scrub (Coleogyne ramosissima) and one of the world’s largest Joshua tree woodlands, providing a wide diversity of habitats for reptiles, birds, and mammals. 10,000 acres of desert tortoise habitat is within this area as well.

^Sonoran-Mohavean desert grasslands are found nowhere else in Nevada, and rarely outside of the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico.

Castle Mountains in Nevada

The new ACEC would be adjacent to the existing Piute-ElDorado Area of Critical Environmental Concern which was established to protect the desert tortoise. While the upper elevations of the ACEC are too high to be good tortoise habitat, the lower eastern half would be quite suitable and protect connectivity habitat for the species. The region also contains the highest known density of golden eagles in the region.

Very little work has been done here to document mammal diversity, bird species, reptiles, and insects. Botanical surveys have been done in adjacent California, but much more work needs to be done in Nevada.

Please join us in recording your observations of this diverse area, so that we may document the significance of this place and protect it. We will be sending our Bioblitz results to BLM to give evidence of the high biological and cultural value of this place.

^Big galleta grass, Mojave yuccas, Joshua trees, barrel cactus, and buckhorn cholla.

^Castle Peaks in California, as seen from the Nevada desert over the state line proposed for a giant wind energy project. This area should be conserved and not developed.

^Look at this unbroken, unfragmented landscape, undeveloped--a vast Joshua tree savanna with native grassland, looking northwards towards the McCullough Range, Nevada. Tis should conserved, not developed with a utility-scale energy project.

^Vast view from the Nevada Castle Mountains looking westward towards the Castle Peaks in California. A pristine landscape.

^Only a few dirt roads cut into this amazing high Mojave Desert Joshua tree savanna. We do not want more roads here. Piute Valley area, Nevada, along the border with California.

^This beautiful Castle Mountains ridge from Nevada extending into California (and the new Castle Mountains National Monument). This area should not be developed for energy. A pristine area, that reminds us of wild Africa.

^One dirt road here. Very few dirt roads cut through this vast pristine Joshua tree savanna, looking north from the Nevada Castle Mountains to the McCullough Range. A proposed wind project would industrialize and fragment this landscape with 93 miles of new roads.

^Unique desert grassland in the Mojave Desert of southern Nevada. With Joshua trees and Mojave yuccas.

^Castle Mountains, Nevada. No wind turbines here!

^Pristine native desert grasslands in Nevada along the border of Mojave National Preserve and Castle Peaks. This area should be conserved.

^Beautiful native Sonoran desert grassland on a ride in Nevada, notice the Met Tower just to the right of the foreground Joshua tree. Eolus Wind wants to develop this place for a utility-scale wind project, and we strongly disagree with this location.

^Meteorological tower to measure wind and weather, placed on BLM land in southern Nevada Castle Mountains. This is not the place to develop energy.

^Met tower on Castle Mountains, Nevada, in view of Castle Mountains National Monument in California. This is not the place to site an industrial wind energy project.

^The view from the Castle Mountains, Nevada, where Eolus Wind placed a met tower to measure wind speeds for a proposed wind project. The wind speeds here are not "high quality" and would not be a good place for a wind project. The view here overlooking Piute Valley, Nevada, is pristine. This area needs to be conserved for its natural and cultural values.

^ Red-tailed hawk flying by the ridge where proposed wind turbines could be placed, Castle Mountains, Nevada.

^ Joshua tree, barrel cactus, catclaw acacia, and big galleta grass.

^Native grass and Joshua tree savanna.

^Desert grassland and Joshua trees in Nevada, looking towards Castle Mountains National Monument in California.

^Joshia tree wash, Nevada.

^Nevada desert with buckhorn cholla, creosote, Mojave yucca, and Joshua tree. Within the proposed wind project footprint. This area should be conserved.

^Mojave yucca and Joshua tree desert savanna in need of protection by BLM.

^Castle Peaks in California, seen from the Nevada desert, in need of conservation status. This place should not be developed for energy.

Wind energy meteorological tower in this vast pristine landscape--no!

^Let's not have an industrial wind project in this Nevada mountain range right on the border of the Castle Mountains National Monument.

^View of the Cultural Landscape of Spirit Mountain in Nevada, seen from the Castle Mountains site of a met tower. This area need to be protected. This view shows many of the low ridges that would be developed for an energy project.

^Searchlight Hills, Nevada, in view of this Crescent Peak Wind Project proposal--the courts vacated the right-of-way of a proposed wind project in that area, so we are surprised another wind project is proposed so close to this.

^We oppose developing new roads and constructing giant wind turbines on this natural desert ridge in Nevada. Castle Mountains.

^A wild and undeveloped landscape in southern Nevada, looking from the Castle Mountains with a met tower, across Piute Valley to Spirit Mountain.

 

 

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