Defenders of Wildlife has worked with many solar energy developers to reduce the potential impacts to wildlife and wild lands of some large-scale solar projects. Our efforts have helped move forward the permitting of some 2,595 megawatts on public lands in California alone.
The Calico project, however, is an example of a project that is anything BUT “smart from the start .“ The project’s location threatens high-quality habitat for imperiled species such as desert tortoise, burrowing owls, golden eagles and more. The project area--four times larger than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park--also goes against several key recommendations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Energy Commission to reconfigure the site to include already degraded agricultural lands and brown fields. Finally, the developers and the Bureau of Land Management are relying on a strategy of relocating threatened desert tortoises, a strategy with historically low success rates.
Defenders has challenged this badly designed project and notified the U.S. Department of the Interior  and developer K-Road Power of our intent to sue to protect the wealth of threatened species that call this desert home should the project move forward.