Paper No. 45
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
MAPPING EPISODIC STREAM ACTIVITY FOR THE RIDGECREST SOLAR POWER PROJECT, KERN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Large-scale renewable energy projects are being developed in the California desert region on large tracts of predominantly undeveloped land (total area of developed land for individual project sites vary from 327 acres to 8,230 acres). The absence of a standard method of identifying and accounting for episodic streams in arid and semi-arid (dryland) regions is an area of conflict between project developers and the government agencies responsible for protecting natural resources and permitting renewable energy projects. There is a need for an accurate dryland stream delineation protocol that is consistent, efficient, accessible, and accurately reflects the extent and distribution of streams on a site. Dryland stream delineation protocol based on a scientific, geomorphic and ecological understanding of dryland stream processes will help ensure dryland streams are accurately identified for the purposes of environmental impact assessments and project permitting. Such a method is currently being developed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). This thesis work critically evaluates the stream delineation and stream impact assessment previously completed by the developer for the proposed renewable energy project in El Paso Fan, El Paso Mountains, Ridgecrest, Kern County, California. This evaluation is then compared and contrasted with the results achieved in the field using the MESA (Mapping Episodic Stream Activity) stream delineation methods and protocols and mobile GIS mapping technology.