Last Spring at Soda Mountains?

^Panorama looking northwards from the southern Soda Mountains across the proposed project site to the northern Soda Mountains. Interstate 15 crosses the valley in the distance -- can you even see it? This valley is not disturbed but a vibrant Mojave Desert ecosystem.

March 19, 2014 - San Bernardino County CA - Basin & Range Watch visited the site of the proposed Soda Mountain Solar Project photovoltaic power plant that the multinational construction company Bechtel wants to build in the valley surrounded by the Soda Mountains west of Baker CA in March. Wildflowers were beautifully blooming, not in large masses but with just enough rain this past winter to produce good diversity.

^Moonrise over the Soda Mountains.

Desert lily (Hesperocallis undulata) blooming on the project site.

^Soda Mountains in the background with a desert lily in full bloom.

^A desert lily leaf makes a circle in the sand from winds.

^Desert fivespot (Eremalche rotundifolia).

^Desert fivespot.

^Soda Mountains from the alluvial fan where the southern solar field would be built.

^Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata).

^Brown-eyed evening primrose (Camissonia claviformis).

^Brown-eyed evening primrose plant in a wash on the project site.

^Zebra-tailed lizard (Callisaurus draconoides).

^Sunset on the project site south of the highway.

^Desert tortoise burrow.

^Chia flowers (Salvia columbariae).

^Chia plant, an annual sage.

^Desert chickory (Rafinesquia neomexicana).

^Desert dandelions (Malacothrix glabrata).

^Desert suncup (Eremothera boothii), a primrose.

^Looking across the southern project proposal which would be bulldozed.

^Desert gold poppy (Eschscholzia glyptosperma).

^Desert gold poppy.

^Lilac sunbonnet (Langloisia setosissima), which bloom dark purple on this site.

^A lighter purple sunbonnet flower.

^Lilac sunbonnet.

^Sunset on the historic Arrowhead Trail.

^Mojave aster (Xylorhiza tortifolia).

^Desert star (Monoptilon bellioides).

^Desert star.

^Looking northeast across the southern site along the Soda Mountains.

^Spiny chorizanthe (Chorizanthe rigida) and comb-bur (Pectocarya sp.).

^Blooming creosote (Larrea tridentata) near Rasor Road.

^Desert dandelion.

^Desert plantain (Plantago ovata), a favorite tortoise food.

^Parasitic tendrils of dodder (Cuscuta sp.) twine around host plants, a primrose and Cryptantha.

^Cryptantha (Cryptantha sp.).

^On the southeast side of the proposed project looking towards the southern Soda Mountains.

^Desert dandelion and pincushion (Chaenactis sp.).

^White-stemmed stick-leaf (Mentzelia albicaulis).

^Desert suncups primrose.

^Wash on the southern project site with harvester ant hills.

^Wash looking towards the southern Soda Mountains.


^Desert suncups and Cryptantha.

^Moonrise over the Soda Mountains.

^A snake track wiggling through a sand wash.

^Looking westward from the southern Soda Mountains.

^Project site south of Interstate 15, looking northward. The traffic on the highway is distant and does not disrupt the quiet of the landscape.

^The southern solar project array would destroy this creosote desert. Looking northeast.

^From the base of the southern Soda Mountains looking northeast across Interstate 15 to the northern project site.

^Edge of the southern solar proposal in sandy washes that could be connectivity habitat for Mojave fringe-toed lizards (Uma scoparia) between sand patches.

^Sunset by the project site.

^Alluvial fans at the base of the southern Soda Mountains. Solar arrays would be placed here.

^Base of the southern Soda Mountains.

^Looking towards the northern project site and Soda Mountains.

^Base of the southern Soda Mountains.

^From the base of the southern Soda Mountain, the distant transmission line can be seen, the reason Bechtel wants this valley to develop.

^Looking towards the northern proposed solar array site across the valley at sunset.

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