Issues: Renewable Energy, Wildlife
Partners: Audubon Society, California Native Plant Society, California Wilderness Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Tuleyome
Airport Origin : Yolo County Airport
EcoFlight, Tuleyome and California Native Plant Society flew with Lake County supervisors over the Walker Ridge area to give elected officials a better understanding of this ecological gem and the threats posed to it by a proposed wind energy development. A virtual tour video is being produced to share the aerial perspective with more targeted passengers who were unable to join in person.
Walker Ridge is an ecological treasure with renowned biological diversity and fascinating geology. The area’s serpentine soils make it home to at least 27 rare plants, 11 of which are globally rare and endemic to this small area of California. From Walker Ridge, you might spot a bald eagle as you look east over Bear Valley, renowned for its wildflower displays, dragonflies and damselflies.
Walker Ridge is the frequent target of energy developers. The latest proposal comes from Colusa Wind LLC (aka Algonquin Power and Utility). The international company wants to build an industrial-scale wind development on BLM public lands in a largely undisturbed ridge area. The area includes three BLM Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
This is the fourth energy development proposal for the area in the past 15 years, despite the California Energy Commission’s assessment that the site has low energy potential. The current proposal would cover 2,272 acres. Roads and wind turbines would fragment important wildlife habitat that connect the northern Mendocino National Forest to the southern Cache Creek Wilderness Area and Knoxville federal and state lands. The project would threaten migratory birds and bats, native plants, and would impact recreation.
Our partners are asking the BLM to permanently designate Walker Ridge as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) which would prevent future energy development on this hidden gem of biological diversity, unique geology, and critical wildlife connectivity.