The Carrizo Plain Conservancy

The recent approval and construction of two solar power plants, Topaz Solar Farms and California Valley Solar Ranch, has resulted in the acquisition and conservation of approximately 30,000 acres of land by the solar companies to mitigate the impacts of their projects. These projects and the newly conserved lands are separated from the National Monument by California Valley, a subdivision created in 1960, and other private farm and ranch lands. The solar power plants are slated for decommissioning and removal beginning in 2047 so that, eventually, even the plant sites will be restored as protected habitat, increasing the total conserved lands to over 40,000 acres. These new lands offer a chance to build upon and expand past investments in conservation on the Carrizo.

The Carrizo Plain Conservancy was formed to build upon the vision and energy from both the original move to establish the Carrizo Plain National Monument and the recent conservation efforts associated with the solar power facilities.

The Carrizo Plain

The Carrizo Plain

Tucked into eastern San Luis Obispo County, an hour in any direction from the nearest town or gas station, lies the Carrizo Plain. This broad, largely undeveloped valley may be one of California's best kept secrets with its rich diversity of wildlife, stunning wildflower displays and great vistas. In 2001, approximately 250,000 acres of this beautiful area was designated as the Carrizo Plain National Monument by Presidential proclamation.

Wildlife

Wildlife

The Carrizo Plain is an incredible place rich with threatened and endangered wildlife species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, giant kangaroo rat, and blunt-nosed leopard lizard. The Carrizo Plain supports working ranches and provides an important home for many plants and animals, including the reintroduced Pronghorn Antelope. The Plain is the major remnant of a similar habitat that existed in the southern San Joaquin Valley before it was transformed by modern agriculture.

Geology

Geology

Roughly 50 miles long and 15 miles wide, the Carrizo Plain has seasonal wetlands, vernal pools, shrub lands, annual grasslands, and one of the state's largest playa lakes. It is framed by the San Andreas Fault and the Temblor Range on the east, and the Caliente Range on the west.

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