Meeting the energy needs of Southern California

Bighorn Sheep

There is a major barrier to migration of bighorn sheep in the Soda Mountains—it is the I-15 highway

  • Interstate highway I-15 separates the North Soda Mountains from the South Soda Mountains
  • Highways are known to be major barriers to bighorn sheep migration
  • Bighorn sheep historically occupied the North Sodas but I-15 cut off access to water and, by 2004, the population of sheep there had disappeared

The project site does not have the characteristics of a habitat for bighorn sheep 

  • The sheep prefer steep, rocky terrain and to be near sources of water
  • The terrain at the project site is flat and it is not near water
  • Small portions of the project site serve as a spring foraging area but even these areas are not used year-round by the sheep

The project site is an unfavorable connectivity route for bighorn sheep 

  • The valley between the North Sodas and South Sodas is wide—generally at least 2 miles—and there are no local water sources making it a less attractive route for migrating between these two ranges than other, relatively nearby, alternatives
  • A more favorable migration route between the North Sodas to the South Sodas is at the northern pinch point of the valley, about one mile north of the northernmost point of the project site, where hills from the two ranges are close to each other on opposite sides of I-15

Soda Mountain Solar will help to reestablish the migration of sheep between the North and South Soda Mountains

  • SMS will install and maintain “guzzlers”—water troughs—at strategic locations to induce the sheep to use culverts and underpasses as a migration route
  • These guzzlers will seek to induce migration at the northern pinch point of the valley where there are hills close to I-15 on both sides
  • We will also conduct a 10 year monitoring study to document the effects of the project on bighorn sheep, and will contribute $250,000 to California Department of Fish and Wildlife towards building a wildlife bridge or for other migration enhancement efforts

What They’re Saying…

“Today’s approval is the result of a comprehensive, multi-year environmental review and extensive consultation process, including scientific analysis and meaningful mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts to resources. The rigorous standards of outreach, analysis and mitigation for the project reflect this Administration’s commitment to facilitate responsible clean energy development in the right places and in the right ways.”

Janice Schneider

Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Department of the Interior