Avantus partners with state and federal agencies to protect 215,000 acres of critical habitat and wildlife in California

First-of-its-kind conservation effort removes grazing rights to thin the land, protecting a swath of the Mojave Desert seven times larger than San Francisco

Los Angeles and San Francisco, November 16, 2022– (working wire) – Afantus (8 minutes earlier), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have partnered to conserve and reallocate more than 215,000 acres of active grazing allotment to an area permanently dedicated to wildlife forage in the county. Kern. The Onyx Conservation (Onyx) Project is among the largest mitigation projects in the country and will provide critical and lasting protection and enhancement for the plants of the Mojave Desert, including the western Joshua tree, and the animals that live across the extensive site.

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Onyx is notable for its historic contiguous size and is the first time that grazing rights have been withdrawn to mitigate solar projects, a new approach that balances clean energy development and conservation. A contiguous area seven times larger than the city of San Francisco, Onyx will provide greater benefits for desert species to thrive than traditional mitigation strategies, which typically involve small, unconnected pieces of land resembling a chessboard. Avantus will also invest millions of additional dollars to improve habitats across Onyx to incentivize recovery of desert plants and wildlife species.

“Our administration is committed to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Golden State’s habitat, and this groundbreaking state and federal public-private partnership provides a roadmap for how renewable energy can continue to fight climate change while providing landscape-level ecosystem benefits,” said Julie Vance, CDFW’s regional director. Native plants and wildlife.” “By purchasing permanent grazing and retirement rights, Avantus ensures that this rich and vibrant land is preserved and its inhabitants can thrive.”

Located between Ridgecrest and Mojave in Kern County, Onyx is particularly well-suited for conservation as the area’s habitat includes 20 species of sensitive wildlife including California condors, Mojave desert tortoises, American badgers, Mojave ground squirrels, and golden eagles. It is also estimated to include more than 80,000 acres of western Joshua tree habitat, including 3,000 acres of dense forest. These conservation efforts will help maintain the health and diversity of the desert ecosystem, which is supported by designated Wilderness Areas, National Desert Protected Lands, and Areas of Critical Environmental Significance. All 215,000 acres will also be opened for public recreational use, including hiking and camping.

Onyx demonstrates how collaborative public-private partnerships can advance innovative approaches to preserving precious lands and achieving President Biden’s goals America the Beautiful Campaign. The initiative has set a national goal to conserve at least 30 percent of land and fresh water in the United States by 2030, commonly referred to as 30 by 30, and is designed to help address the climate crisis at home and abroad.

“The single biggest threat facing desert ecosystems is climate change, and Avantus is proud to be driving climate solutions that decarbonise our planet at the gigaton level. Our portfolio of utility-scale energy storage and solar power centers will deliver affordability and zero emissions,” said Dr. Tom. Buttgenbach, Founder and CEO of Avantus, Energy benefits tens of millions of Americans, allowing us to embark on innovative mitigation strategies of equal scale.” In line with our ambitions to be a leader in clean energy, the Onyx Conservation Project will provide critical habitat conservation and environmental benefits. On a scale our industry has never seen before. This is a prime example of our endless pursuit of smarter and more sustainable solutions and we thank our federal and state partners for working with us on this pioneering effort.”

Avantus is one of California’s largest solar and energy storage providers, with a proven track record of success in Kern County, including the first operating solar power plant to beat fossil fuel prices and a pilot project to provide solar power with storage at record low prices. The company is on track to supply more than half of California’s utility-scale solar and storage demand over the next decade.

Avantus works closely with wildlife agencies and environmental organizations to enhance environmental efforts and protect species throughout all phases of a project’s life. Previous Avantus projects have received support from respected groups, including the Sierra Club, Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

About Avantus

Avantus is shaping the future by making clean, reliable, accessible energy a global reality. Our pioneering legacy in next-generation solar power includes developing the nation’s largest solar array and the first plant to beat fossil fuel prices. Today, we are pushing the boundaries of existing technologies to build one of the largest portfolios of smart integrated storage power plants, capable of providing 30 million people with low-cost, zero-emission energy – day and night. Through our relentless pursuit of the best, we are decarbonizing our planet at the gigaton level, delivering the benefits of clean energy to all of us.

For more information, please visit the website www.avantus.comand follow Avantus on Twitter And the linkedin.

About the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The mission of the Department of Fish and Wildlife is to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values ​​and for their use and enjoyment by the public.

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Katie Strobel, Avantus, press@avantus.com
Ken Paglia, CDFW, Ken.Paglia@Wildlife.ca.gov

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