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Carrizo Plain: Exploring 'the Serengeti of the West'

May 13, 2013, 2:26 p.m.
Solar panels in the Carrizo Plain

Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch

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Solar perks and pitfalls

Another issue for pronghorn and all species that live on Carrizo Plain is one of the most controversial and difficult to navigate: Solar power. On the one hand, creating renewable energy sources is absolutely necessary, but it takes large stretches of land to erect solar farms. Two major solar power plants are being built near the monument, a process that takes up habitat and uses water supplies. Some frequent visitors to the monument have already noted the rapid construction of the solar power plants and the changed activities of wildlife. While both solar projects are participating in environmental impact studies, it can be hard for those familiar with the landscape to see changes happening so quickly and difficult to know how wildlife will respond. Solar power projects offer the benefit of a clean energy source, but it does not come without some costs.