Current Mitigation Measures for Development

Given the range and intensity of earthwork processes that will be performed and the potential ecological effects, it is important to consider what developers are doing to minimize the impacts. As with most development in California, the applicant is required to utilize BMPs in order to mitigate the ecological impact of any activity. An in-depth analysis of mitigation measures and biological resource BMPs can be found in the  Recommendations  section.

Many of the solar project applications have indicated that after grading is performed, extensive BMPs will be utilized. There are a multitude of possible BMPs that a developer can rely upon to reduce the intensity of grading effects. A sample list of some of these measures includes wetting active construction areas to minimize wind erosion, stabilization of exposed areas by compression or application of polymeric soil stabilizers, application of a native seed mix to encourage revegetation, segregation and stockpiling of removed topsoil for potential reuse, and the implementation of drainage control measures.1

Due to a high fire risk in portions of this region, fire protection measures are non-negotiable for developers and must be implemented. Yet developers are not required to mitigate any indirect effects that may result from these fire protection measures. For example, typically developers have to remove vegetation from within the field of solar arrays and around buildings to prevent fires, however, any subsequent impacts that result from the removal of this vegetation, such as increased wind or water erosion, are not required to be addressed. Despite this, there are a few special circumstances in which developers are including some BMPs. For example, when special-status plant species must be removed in order to reduce the risk of fire on site, then developers often include some mitigation measures to offset this impact.

1 SES-Tessera, Calico (formerly Solar One) Solar Facility Project Proposal: Application for Certification, Environmental Information – Soils, 5.4-10 to 5.4-11.