Fellow Story

Jensen quoted in story on proposed wind project's possible damage to birds, plants

Supporters and opponents of the Strauss Wind Energy Project agree on one point: San Miguelito Canyon is unique.


Golden eagles aren’t the only protected species found in San Miguelito Canyon. It’s also a significant location for the endangered Gaviota tarplant. The yellow petals on this wildflower bloom in late summer and fall, when few other plants are flowering, according to Nick Jensen, a conservation scientist with the California Native Plant Society.

The plant does exist in the south and central parts of the county, such as Hollister Ranch and the Santa Ynez Mountains, but almost the entirety of the species is found within or near the project site, Jensen said.

“This is the epicenter of this plant from a population percentage,” Jensen said.

The California Native Plant Society—one of the groups appealing the project—and others who oppose the wind farm argue that with the eagles, tarplant, and other sensitive environmental resources in the area, the developer should choose a different site or at least rearrange some of the turbine locations.

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