What We Saw:

Diverse Colorado Desert Habitats

Creosote - Bursage Flat and Bajadas

Palo Verde Desert Woodlands

Ironwood Groves

Smoke Tree Washes

Sand Patches

Hard-packed Sand Flats with Creosote and Galleta Grass

Desert Pavement

Stony Fans with Diverse Shrubs, Cacti, and Palo Verde


Creosote (Larrea tridentata)

Bursage (Ambrosia dumosa)

Blue palo verde (Cercidium floridum)

Ironwood (Oleya tesota)

Smoke tree (Psorothamnus spinosus)

Indigo bush (Psorothamnus sp.)

Parry's false prairie-clover (Marina parryi)

Spanish needles (Palafoxia arida)

Big galleta grass (Pleuraphis rigida)

Six-weeks three-awn (Aristida adscensionis)

Chilean chess (Bromus trinii)

Desert dandelion (Malacothrix glabrata)

Desert pincushion (Chaenactis stevoides)

Phacelia (Phacelia distans)

Cryptantha (Cryptantha sp.)

Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)

Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Arizona lupine (Lupinus arizonicus)

Chuckwalla's delight (Bebbia juncea)

Desert star (Monoptilon bellioides)

Desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi)

Rattany (Krameria sp.)

Little gold poppy (Eschscholzia minutiflora)

Desert trumpet (Eriogonum inflatum)

Cheesebush (Hymenoclea salsola)

Desert straw (Stephanomeria sp.)

Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis)

Desert lily (Hesperocallis undulata)

Woolly plaintain (Plantago paragonica)

Desert gold (Geraea canescens)

Bladderpod (Isomeris arborea)

Prickly poppy (Argemone ployanthemos)

Dune evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides ssp. deltoides)

Sand verbena (Abronia villosa)

Sandpaper bush (Petalonyx sp.)

Milkvetch (Astragalus sp.)

Rock gilia (Gilia scopulorum)

Barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus)

Foxtail cactus (Coryphantha alversonii)

Cottontop cactus (Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus)

Calico cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii)

Silver cholla (Cylindropuntia echinocarpa)

Popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys sp.)

Apricot mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

White-stemmed milkweed (Asclepias albicans)

Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata)

White tackstem (Calycoseris wrightii)

Spiny chorizanthe (Chorizanthe rigida)

Fanleaf crinkleleaf (Tiquilia plicata)

Rock cress (Arabis sp.)

Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii) (Invasive weed) - common in places, absent in other parts.


Mojave fringe-toed lizard (Uma scoparia)

Zebra-tailed lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)

Western whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris)

Desert horned lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos)

Desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis)

Shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis)


Prairie falcon

Turkey vulture

Costa's hummingbird

Mourning dove

Northern mockingbird

House finch

Loggerhead shrike

Horned lark

Western meadowlark

Black-throated sparrow

Desert Sunset or Desert Sunlight LLC?

^View looking northward to the Coxcomb Mountains and Joshua Tree National Park. The proposed project would fill the distant valley floor.

March 17, 2010 - We explored the large desert valley that is the proposed project site for First Solar Desert Sunlight LLC photovoltaic power plant near Desert Center in Riverside County, California. It fills the head of Chuckwalla Valley adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park, from the Eagle Mountains to the Coxcomb Mountains. The wildflowers were just starting to show.

^View looking eastward across the project site. Palen Mountains in the distance.

^Phacelias blooming in a creosote wash.

^Map of proposal (from the Plan of Development -- see >>here). The Right-of-Way and much of the project would surround a private farm.

^Rare Foxtail cactus and Palo verde on the western fan, within the proposed project site.

^Foxtail cactus detail.

^Foxtail cactus cluster.

^Panorama across the area by Desert Center looking to the Coxcomb Mountains.

^Arizona lupine.

^Sunset on the western fan.

^Spanish needles.


^Desert star.


^Brittlebush blooming on creosote and desert pavement, Coxcomb Mountains in the background.

^Phacelias in a wash.

^Brittlebush and Palo verde.

^Ironwood forest.

^Palo verde leaves just coming out.

^We found small patches of cryptobiotic crust on the shady north sides of stones, on the rocky bajadas to the west. Made up of algae and liches, this living soil binder can store carbon.

^Desert dandelions.

^Brittlebush and lupine.

^A barrel cactus by a wash, looking eatsward across the First Solar project site towards the Solar Millennium Palen site proposal in the distance.


^White tackstem.


^Smoke trees in a sandy wash in the middle of the Right-of-Way.

Fringe-toed Lizard Sand Habitats

^A line of sand patches, some just outside the Right-of-Way. These habitat have unique plants and are home to Mojave fringe-toed lizards.

^Sand milkvetch.

^Mojave ringe-toed lizard hiding under a creosote bush on sand.

^Desert dandelion and Sand verbena on the sand patch.

^Sand patch with Fringe-toed lizards next to the Coxcomb Mountains.

HOME.....Chuckwalla Valley.....First Solar Desert Sunlight Concerns