Announcement! Public Meeting for new Solar Development!!

Announcement! Public Meeting for new Solar Development!!

On Thursday, February 15, your voice is needed at a Bureau of Land Management meeting at the Yuma Public Library where the BLM will discuss a proposal for utility-scale solar energy development on public lands in Arizona.

February 15, 2024, 5:00- 7:00 pm – Mountain Time
Yuma Public Library
Room A+B+C
2951 S 21st Drive
Yuma, Arizona

The plan preferred by the BLM would allow for solar development across 2.3 million acres of BLM-managed ground in Arizona, a move that could have broad impacts to habitat for deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and other huntable species such as upland birds.

While most of the proposed acres do not conflict with priority big game habitat, the preferred alternative allows for significant development in mapped mule deer migration and winter range habitat utilized by the Kaibab North mule deer herd, as well as the Paunsaugunt herd that travels south out of Utah to winter in northern Arizona. The Kaibab deer herd offers some of the most sought-after mule deer buck hunting in the world in units 12A and 12B. In 2019, the Kaibab herd had an estimated population of 10,200. The loss of winter range and migration habitats to utility-scale solar development would have adverse impacts on the herd.

The TRCP asks you to consider participating in Thursday’s public meeting and to provide comments in-person or online to ensure that solar energy is developed responsibly on BLM-managed lands in a manner that conserves important wildlife populations and big game habitat. Request that the BLM protect big game migration corridors and important seasonal ranges from solar development.

We have provided talking points at the bottom of this email for your convenience.

If you cannot attend the in-person event, there is a virtual meeting that starts at 10 a.m. PDT on Wednesday March 6. Pre-registration is required at this link.

Please reach out with any questions beforehand. Thank you for your time and for supporting the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.


●  I request that the BLM make changes to the Solar PEIS to protect from development in Arizona the winter range and migration corridors of the Kaibab North and Paunsaugunt deer herds.

●  Public lands contain critical, unfragmented habitats for fish and wildlife populations that offer world class hunting and angling opportunities, and improperly sited, high-fenced utility-scale solar facilities may adversely impact these values. Special places could additionally be impacted.

●  While we recognize that public lands have a role in meeting the nation’s renewable energy needs, there are opportunities to meet those needs that do not involve impacting public lands and their use. Read our public lands solar blog here.

●  We support smart-from-the-start siting principles to avoid impacts when possible. Any deployment of utility-scale solar energy on public lands must ensure that the most sensitive habitats for fish and wildlife populations are not affected, and that hunting and angling access and opportunities are not diminished.

●  Migratory big game populations are likely to be disproportionately impacted by poorly sited utility-scale solar facilities because these facilities are fenced and impose a complete barrier to big game movements. Once severed, the loss of big game migrations may be irreversible and unmitigable, so avoiding migration corridors and other connected seasonal big game habitats is the key to preventing the loss of migrations that are critical for maintaining healthy big game populations across the west.

●  The BLM’s Draft Solar PEIS preferred alternative identifies 22 million acres of public lands as open for solar development, 2.3 million in Arizona alone. Limiting winter ranges should be off limits for utility-scale solar development.

●  We urge the BLM to incentivize development near existing and planned transmission and on previously disturbed lands, leaving remaining public lands for other uses, including fish and wildlife habitat, hunting and angling, and cultural resources.

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