This year has been defined by some major undertakings and accomplishments. In April, Ironwood began providing biological resources support for two photovoltaic solar projects near Primm, NV. Clearance surveys on approximately 4,000 acres commenced in the spring and were completed in the fall. We performed surveys per state and federal guidelines and translocated desert tortoises out of harm’s way and into approved recipient sites. Health assessments were performed on all monitored tortoises during the spring and fall. Radio tracking of transmittered tortoises continues on a regular schedule.
The team of biologists dedicated to the clearance effort did an outstanding job placing the welfare of each tortoise in high regard. We are all very grateful for the commitment to excellence that each biologist demonstrated and contributed over the span of four busy months. We also want to acknowledge the contributions of the BLM, USFWS, CDFW, and client representatives who were essential to the success of this year’s effort.
In addition to desert tortoise specific duties, the Ironwood team was responsible for surveys for desert kit fox, special status plant species, and avian resources. Cactus and yucca were identified and marked for salvage and transplantation. Through collaboration with the highly skilled avian biologists from Corvus Ecological, we monitored all active bird nests within the project sites during the nesting season as well as performed systematic point counts, burrowing owl surveys, raptor surveys, raven surveys, golden eagle surveys, and migratory bird surveys. With the onset of construction activities, Ironwood’s Designated Biologists and approved Biological Monitors ensured that biological constraints near work areas were efficiently communicated to project personnel and effects to sensitive resources were avoided and minimized.
The success of the clearance and monitoring efforts this year help establish a solid foundation for the future success of these projects.