Renewable energy plants are being constructed in deserts where sun and wind are plentiful for clean energy production. Fragile desert habitat requires mitigation to off-set impacts associated with the construction of renewable energy power plants. Understanding the desert ecology aids EnviroVector in successful mitigation efforts.
The Mojave Desert is home to extraordinary plants and wildlife, some of which are endemic to the region. The Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) is the signature plant species that defines the Mojave Desert and is largely confined to the region. The Joshua tree occurs at elevations from 2,300 feet to 5,900 feet. In addition to Joshua trees, the desert is believed to support between 1,750 and 2,000 species of plants.
Microclimates created by mountain ranges, precipitation patterns, soil types, minerals, elevation, and other environmental features support a diversity of habitat types found in the Mojave Desert that include creosote bush-white bursage scrub, desert saltbush, Joshua tree woodlands, desert washes, alkali scrub, dry lake beds, juniper-pinyon woodlands, cactus-yucca scrub, fan palm oasis, and desert dunes.
Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera) and Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa) are common in the Mojave desert and provide habitat for many species (See Left Top). Photo left middle was taken from Ford dry lake showing the New York mountain range in the background.
JURISDICTIONAL DETERMINATIONS (JD)
EnviroVector specializes in protecting your investment while preserving the resource. EnviroVector performs Jurisdictional Determinations (JDs) to satisfy Federal Section 404 permits, as well as State requirements to preserve desert washes and dry lake beds.
In the left top photograph, Mr. Wambach documents that the footings of a transmission tower that is proposed for replacement is located in dry desert wash surrounded by creosote bush (Larrea tridentata)-white bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) habitat. The study would determine if the wash is regulated under Section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) or regulated under California environmental regulations. Mitigation is required for regulated desert washes through conservation measures and mitigation banking.
The left middle photo was taken while working on a project in Arizona’s Sonoran desert. Desert washes that drain to the Colorado River are typically Federally jurisdictional and require mitigation for proposed project impacts. the left bottom photo was taken on Ivanpah Dry Lake California with Primm Nevada in the background. If the Dry Lake is isolated, it is not Federally jurisdictional. However, is still regulated under the State of California.
The majority of the fauna found in the Mojave Desert also extends into the Sonoran and Great Basin deserts as well. However, many species are characteristic or endemic of the region. Some of these species are protected at the local, State, or Federal level. We perform surveys to identify species and their habitats, determine project impacts, habitat value, and propose mitigation measures to off-set potential impacts. Or goal is to optimize both 1) the usable area and 2) the monetary value of your property.
Mr. Wambach evaluates a desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) burrow in the Mojave Desert near Primm, Nevada (see top left). The desert tortoise has adapted for desert existence by storing up to a liter of water in its urinary bladder. The tortoise feeds on ephemeral plants in the spring and accumulates enough reserves of water to carry it through the remainder of the year. Other endemic fauna include the Mojave ground squirrel (Spermophilus Mojavensis) and Amargosa vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis).
Identified a red-tailed hawk on transmission tower in Mojave Desert during a raptor survey (See Left Center). A Gila woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) was identified and photographed in the Sonoran Desert during a wildlife evaluation near Tucson, Arizona (see Left Bottom).