Construction in the Mojave Desert and Grassland

November 14, 2011 - Photos of construction on large wind projects in the Mojave Desert and Tehachapi Mountains area, Kern County, California. Photos were taken over the period of 2010 to 2011. Photos are by Basin and Range Watch unless otherwise labeled.

Mojave Fragmentation

Friends of Mojave took these photos of industrialization of west Mojave ecosystems around the town of Mojave. This area has seen a boom in wind projects on the flat desert and slopes of the Tehachapi Range. Alta Windpower Developments, LLC has requested a right-of-way (ROW) to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a 300 MW wind development facility called the Alta East Wind Project. The project would include wind turbines, access roads, maintenance facilities, and generation lines for the facility. The project would be located on approximately 3,200 acres located on both sides of State Route 58 in Southeast Kern County. See Bureau of Land Management Ridgecrest office page.

^Large swaths of Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) woodland and creosote desert are destroyed on a wind project. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^A pile of bulldozed and uprooted Joshua trees ten feet high to make way for wind turbines. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Fragmentation of a Mojave Desert ecosystem at the transition to the Tehachapi Range. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Deep hole and pad for cement foundation for a single turbine. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Dust clouds from construction. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Towers and crane. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Even when new, oil leaks out of a nacelle. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

Mojave Desert scrub meets grassland of the Tehachapi Range, now divided up by roads everywhere. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Forest of industrial Wind Turbine Generators. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Friends of Mojave go to Bakersfield to protest the wind projects surrounding their town, asking supervisors to stop the industrialization. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Wind protest, October 2011. (Photo: Friends of Mojave)

(Photo: Friends of Mojave)

^Scraper-grader makes new flat areas for a wind project lay-down area.

Tehachapi Mountains Along the Pacific Crest Trail

^Summer 2010, the Pacific Crest Trail through the Oak Creek area of Tehachapi Mountains. The trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, and dips into lower grassland, oak woodland, and Joshua tree desert in this part of southern California. In the distant upper right hills can be seen a new road and construction machinery for a wind turbine pad.

^Trail sign at a trailhead.

^View from the trail: Joshua trees, Gray pines (Pinus sabiniana), and a stream woodland with wind projects on the grasslands.

^Wind projects encroach into wild grasslands full of wildflowers and rare plants.

^Towers and crane in grassland.

^The Tehachapi Mountains have abundant native bunchgrasses such as this Nodding needlegrass (Stipa cernua).

^Enormous towers on pads cut into hill slopes.

^Over-sized truck with tower piece must access the hills.

^Tower piece on newly made pad.

^Roads and pads along ridge. The Pacific Crest Trail was diverted from this spot to go around the wind project.

^California grassland with new roads and pads.

^Electric cable being laid to a pad.

^Cement foundation for a wind turbine.

^Electric cable in ditch.

^Ditch-digging equipment.

^Wind project construction on once wild ridge.

^Pad and foundation.

^New pad and access road.

^Road with machinery.

^Native wildflowers bloom in summer here: Sapphire flower (Eriastrum eremicum).

^Cable and ditch for underground line.

^Roads scar the mountain. Pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) have been seen in these grasslands.

^New wind turbine pad disturbs habitat.

^Wind project from central yard. Trucks parked carry single turbine blades.

^Along Oak Creek Road, truck traffic is heavy at times.

^Oak Creek Road traffic signs near wind project yard.

^Equipment associated with a pad.

^Ditch from pad.

^Piece of a tower on pad.



^Wide entrance road from the paved highway, into the wind project site.

^Willow trunks dumped to the side of a creek crossing.

^New wide road over a creek, with pipe for the water, and willows torn out.

^New turbines.

^Construction yard.

^Tower sections in yard.

^Yard and ongoing construction.

^Yard and meteorological tower.

^Parking lot.

^Construction yard.

^New road bulldozed into a desert grassland with junipers and Joshua trees.

^Buried line in the hills.

^Entrance to wind project access road.


The wind turbine parts are huge. Over-size trucks need to transport them on wide roads.


^Part of a turbine tower, not the complete tower.