By Miriam Raftery
March 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Could big energy projects proposed in East County lead to the decimation of federally endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep?
From 1972 to the present, the Carrizo Gorge band of these bighorns has plummeted from about 120 sheep to less than 40. “Off-road vehicles, trespassing cattle, poaching in the 1960s and ‘70s, drought, disease and Mountain Lion predation have worked together to push this population o the edge. We hope we can save this group before it is too late,” Mark Jorgensen, advisor to the Bighorn Institute and former Superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park wrote in the Desert News.
In his comments submitted on four solar projects proposed by Soitec in Boulevard, Jorgensen writes that “Construction of yet another group of solar projects will further impede the free movement of wildlife by reducing habitat connectivity and ruining wildlife corridors.” He further notes that Soitec’s sites are very near lands purchased and set aside specifically to protect species the endangered bighorn, golden eagles and other species in peril.