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  • How It All Started | Basin and Range Watch
    questions seeking to understand this new danger to the Amargosa toad And to the desert in general Large scale solar project under construction I had started Basin and Range Watch with friends earlier that year as an informal website to track desert issues We had no intention of becoming a non profit or growing membership It was supposed to be a fun volunteer project and I had planned to put up a bunch of pages on places to hike in the Great Basin maybe an identification guide to shrubs of Death Valley a spring wildflower tracker bird watching calendars photo galleries showing the beauty of the desert Plus a few pages on conservation issues such as gold mine expansions or an off highway vehicle race that crossed a wetland All that paled now as I pondered this new perspective of industrialists on a large scale moving deep into the wilds of the Mojave Places that seemed on the edge of the known world and far from urban threats were now the bullseye for massive development covering entire valleys with metal glass and pavement The first time I explored the Mojave Desert was in 1985 on a field trip with university biologists Back then the area felt extremely remote and unvisited almost dangerous A safari into an arid lonely wonderland I learned the biodiversity was higher than I expected and the interesting human history a testament to survival in a stark and enchanting land I wanted to continue to explore and uncover the secrets of the desert in the years to come The prospect of huge swaths of this primeval desert going under the bulldozer was thus a shock So many secrets remain to explore My colleagues and I discussed the need to redirect this push for renewable energy development from the raw desert to locations that would not impact so many wildflower fields tall green yuccas tortoises kit foxes black throated sparrows pupfish bighorn sheep and local towns There must be better ways to go about locating green energy There must be a plan to follow That turned out to be a mighty big job tracking solar wind and transmission projects on public lands writing comment letters trying to participate in the agency process seeking to educate people I m not sure we have succeeded in saving much desert after four years but if no one tries then the situation might be worse I tell myself And my goal of local desert activism untried and unspoken L C Share this Email This entry was posted in Uncategorized on December 22 2012 by Basin and Range Watch Post navigation Swainson s hawks 2 thoughts on How It All Started Brian Swope January 3 2013 at 7 23 pm This is indeed a challenge of epic proportions which seems at times to be insurmountable Thank you for all your diligence in protecting as much of our beloved desert as possible Parke Ewing January 3 2013 at 8 42 pm Thank you for

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/basinandrangewatch/2012/12/22/how-it-all-started/ (2015-09-25)
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  • July | 2013 | Basin and Range Watch
    avail The project was approved as so many are despite public outcry and then we watched the dust plumes rise in our backyard desert from a large tractor dozer pushing through the creosote and cactus Long tractor trailer trucks hauled out the poles and ridgelines were cut in so that the trucks could maneuver Dozens of support vehicles drove back and forth kicking up more dirt and helicopters are scheduled to finish the job of pulling the lines through An entirely new well graded dirt road was created overnight where none was before The area was previously remote from access and little visited except by kit foxes sage sparrows and golden eagles Archaeological sites and artifacts are stunning in this place so long hidden from collectors and wheeled vehicles There are lithic scatters house rings petroglyphs geoglyphs hunting blinds and ancient trails A person willing to hike out there with water could visit them and marvel but no road disturbed their preservation through the millennia Now off roaders use the new transmission road as an access to the open desert Don t get me wrong I like a good four wheel drive road myself and often take my 4 4 on explorations up remote dirt roads But there were already plenty of roads crawling out into the hills and ravines here Why did we need yet another one The wildlife biologist A Starker Leopold son of conservationist Aldo Leopold said in 1949 Must there be a cow on every hill a road in every valley He had just visited a natural wilderness in Mexico that was doomed to development There is a value to civilization I think a value to agricultural areas that feed us and recreational lands that we can escape to And equally a value to reasonable areas of landscape free from the fragmentation of towering transmission lines roads with the roar of engines metal and cement concoctions littering the view of the purple sunset horizon Landscapes where only horned lizards and harvester ants dwell where the only largescale movements are dust devils whirling across sandy washes Where the silence makes you remember everything you had forgotten The last five years or so has seen this story play out many many times with the push for energy development on public lands and the consequent hemming in of rural communities I can think of several large scale green transmission projects that have caused the formation of activist groups in opposition I now know exactly how they feel I look west towards the mountain range that forms the horizon out across miles of Mojave Desert scrub alive with the clicking of creosote grasshoppers and nighthawks winging about in the dusk sky Formerly there was a serene view of naturally rounded hills and valleys to frame the setting New Moon crescent and nearby planet Venus now there are transmission line poles starkly standing across the entire view up the hills and over to remind me that there are vanishingly few areas

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/basinandrangewatch/2013/07/ (2015-09-25)
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  • June | 2013 | Basin and Range Watch
    a state where so many basins and wide valleys are connected to the outside world with the merest of a dirt road And sometimes impassable with mud after a snowy melt off There have been times when I was relieved to finally reach the comfort of the Loneliest Highway Interstate 50 that cuts across central Nevada I ll share more secrets of Nevada for desert lovers in coming posts Laura Cunningham Share this Email This entry was posted in Uncategorized on June 7 2013 by Basin and Range Watch The view from Wildrose Peak by Basin and Range Watch Leave a reply Share this Email This entry was posted in Uncategorized on June 6 2013 by Basin and Range Watch Swainson s hawks by Basin and Range Watch Leave a reply Swainson s hawks Buteo swainsoni make incredible migrations annually from the Pampas of Argentina to breed in the western US Mexico and Canada They hunt grasshoppers dragonflies rodents reptiles and small birds in grasslands deserts and agricultural fields Commonly these hawks nest in cottonwood trees and other lone trees or river groves This photo shows a dark color phase individual in Fish Lake Valley Nevada taking advantage of an elm tree perch overlooking alfalfa fields where the hunting is good Other individuals may be light colored with cream bellies or reddish feathers Dark phase Swainson s hawk in Fish Lake Valley Nevada In California these raptors have suffered a plunge in population due to habitat removal they like to nest in riparian groves along rivers vegetation which has been highly modified and removed in the age of dams dikes and levies in the Central Valley They are beginning to make a comeback yet threats continue to be thrown in their way Large transmission lines and 400 plus foot wind turbines are being increasingly built in the very mountain passes through which these birds migrate Developers are supposed to mitigate and compensate for potential collision deaths and habitat removal yet the details are still fuzzy and we have heard rumors that not all mitigation measures and compensatory land acquisition promises have been met There was a time when thousands of these hawks flew in groups along the desert mountain fringes of southern California on their northward routes up to the fertile plains and rivers of central California I have seen small groups less than a dozen or single individuals flying over West Mojave creosote during spring and fall At Borrego Springs volunteers sometimes count hundreds in gregarious kettles flying through on migration This spring nearly 500 Swainson s hawks took a detour together and rode the winds up the Colorado River to stop near Boulder City in southern Nevada to land on yuccas and desert scrub feasting on an outbreak of grasshoppers hatched from winter rains in that spot They somehow know where to go to find the buffets on their way to nesting territories Let s hope we can stay out of their way Share this Email This entry

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/basinandrangewatch/2013/06/ (2015-09-25)
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  • December | 2012 | Basin and Range Watch
    and applications for Right of Ways for solar power plants really big solar plants he said They want to pump groundwater and it might impact the watershed and toad habitat upstream The group was silent for a moment None of us had seen development this large in the midst of vast relatively undisturbed desert ecosystems And next to Death Valley National Park We asked many questions seeking to understand this new danger to the Amargosa toad And to the desert in general Large scale solar project under construction I had started Basin and Range Watch with friends earlier that year as an informal website to track desert issues We had no intention of becoming a non profit or growing membership It was supposed to be a fun volunteer project and I had planned to put up a bunch of pages on places to hike in the Great Basin maybe an identification guide to shrubs of Death Valley a spring wildflower tracker bird watching calendars photo galleries showing the beauty of the desert Plus a few pages on conservation issues such as gold mine expansions or an off highway vehicle race that crossed a wetland All that paled now as I pondered this new perspective of industrialists on a large scale moving deep into the wilds of the Mojave Places that seemed on the edge of the known world and far from urban threats were now the bullseye for massive development covering entire valleys with metal glass and pavement The first time I explored the Mojave Desert was in 1985 on a field trip with university biologists Back then the area felt extremely remote and unvisited almost dangerous A safari into an arid lonely wonderland I learned the biodiversity was higher than I expected and the interesting human history a testament to survival in a stark and enchanting land I wanted to continue to explore and uncover the secrets of the desert in the years to come The prospect of huge swaths of this primeval desert going under the bulldozer was thus a shock So many secrets remain to explore My colleagues and I discussed the need to redirect this push for renewable energy development from the raw desert to locations that would not impact so many wildflower fields tall green yuccas tortoises kit foxes black throated sparrows pupfish bighorn sheep and local towns There must be better ways to go about locating green energy There must be a plan to follow That turned out to be a mighty big job tracking solar wind and transmission projects on public lands writing comment letters trying to participate in the agency process seeking to educate people I m not sure we have succeeded in saving much desert after four years but if no one tries then the situation might be worse I tell myself And my goal of local desert activism untried and unspoken L C Share this Email This entry was posted in Uncategorized on December 22 2012 by Basin and Range

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/basinandrangewatch/2012/12/ (2015-09-25)
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  • Biography | Coyote Crossing
    week that the Palen solar project which was abandoned when its owner went bankrupt and then abandoned again when its new owner couldn t gloss over the unimaginable toll the project would take on wildlife is going to be revived again by its remaining owner and the state and the feds fully intend to approve it Will writing about it help I have more of my articles introduced into the California Energy Commission s proceedings official record on Palen than I can count I could write a thousand more articles on the thing or I could Kryptonite my neck to a bulldozer Which would be more effective at stopping the project Or perhaps cutting the project fence trespassing onto the construction site and revegetating the landscape with Pleuraphis divisions ready to come out of their one gallon pots Though I d probably only get away with that once And that s just Palen Palen is just one project in a desert full of them The Executive Branch and the California Governor and the well funded comfortable sector of the mainstream environmental movement have all decided that the landscape I love is an acceptable sacrifice to their larger goals just as Floyd Dominy et al decided Black and Glen Canyons were acceptable sacrifices to the larger goals of building Phoenix and Las Vegas and Los Angeles I m not about to pack up and leave just yet but I am more and more certain I don t want to be sitting in this here front row seat when the final act starts Increasingly I have come to realize I d like to spend most of the rest of my life being somewhere else doing something else Growing plants to feed the people I love and to restore a little corner of the planet in a place where the land is both slightly forgiving and in need of help in a place where my household can be reasonably assured of a small amount of water to meet our needs if we husband it wisely I can easily imagine never writing again I only started writing in my 30s so I have a lot of years as a non writer to use as a model But even better writing only when I am moved to write writing only what I am moved to write with as little of an online presence as I can reasonably manage Slowing all the way down in other words living my life at a pace to match the slow unfolding of seedlings and the passage of increasingly precious rainclouds across the sky Five years seems a reasonable timeline Share this Email Like this Like Loading This entry was posted in Activism Biography Writing on April 12 2015 by Chris Clarke Click by Chris Clarke 4 Replies Senna armata I drove a few days back with a friend I had not seen for years through the Pinto Basin and into the Chuckwalla Valley She drove which afforded me an unusual opportunity Living alone except for Heart I am usually the one behind the wheel On Saturday I had the chance to gawk at the desert through which we drove There were wonders The Pinto Basin ocotillos are in fine bloom and psychotropically magenta flowers blaze from every clump of hedgehog cactus and the roadsides were lined everywhere other than the pits of washes with desert senna blooming yellow like wallflowers in a cottage garden The palo verdes bore sprays of blossoms translucent yellow veils showing uninterrupted blue sky beyond Even the desert ironwoods outside looked greener their usual washed out olive drab leaves and charcoal trunks a bit less washed out drab I looked past them all to the bunchgrasses the big galleta grass overflowing from the washes Near my house where big galleta is the third most common perennial plant after creosote and senna each bunch is maybe a foot tall with a dozen or fewer new flower stems per bunch They bring me joy to watch them knitting the desert together but it is a special kind of rarefied austere joy the feeling that seeps in to fill the void when you give up at long last on disappointment In the Pinto Basin though the big galleta is lush and green fair billowing across the smoketree studded washes and I fell into place with a click so profound I looked at my friend to see whether the noise had startled her My life is good these days I have frustrations and sadnesses in full measure fears and regrets and yet I think when I look back at the full run of my life from some vantage point toward its end the weeks since last autumn will be one of the highlights one of the stretches of which I will say that That was the entire point of this exercise A few weeks back I walked in the Oakland Hills along trails I once knew well and counted one wild plant species after another that I had not seen in years The weather was perfect the company even more so and I had a moment of unnerving split perspective like the one provided by the bifocals I have finally relented to wearing I was suddenly seeing the world from two perspectives at once I was in my old haunts but looking forward to future happiness no Marley s Chain of memory and regret dragging behind me I was home at last and yet I was away from home a long haul over the Tehachapis between me and the thin joys of big galleta Pleuraphis rigida big galleta grass Share this Email Like this Like Loading This entry was posted in Biography Desert Solitudinousness Heart The Neighborhood on March 30 2015 by Chris Clarke Decision by Chris Clarke 3 Replies I stood tonight at sundown at the south edge of the Mojave National Preserve after a day spent seeing one wonderful aspect of the Mojave after another and the

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/crossing/category/biography/ (2015-09-25)
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  • Running the creek | Coyote Crossing
    shoes where it hugged my right heel and banked southward The next weekend someone mowed a broad swath of the grass on either side of the levee Sunday morning we found what was left of a gopher snake cut in two by the blades This one looked somewhat smaller than the one that used my shoe as a bumper I hope my snake is still out there unmown Share this Email Like this Like Loading This entry was posted in Hiking The Creek Wildlife on May 29 2003 by Chris Clarke Post navigation Credit where due Dark night Search for On the Coyot es Network On Forgetting My Field Guide Birds and Words Published on September 16 2015 by Julia Zarankin My Hit Single Are Warblers Less Important Than Tigers Reconciliation Ecology Published on September 12 2015 by Madhusudan Katti Making Friends With Crows The Corvid Blog Published on August 2 2015 by The Corvid Blog The Heart of Freedom Cecil the Lion Wild Within Published on July 29 2015 by Jennifer Molidor There s Gold in Them Hills Dispersal Range Published on June 28 2015 by Meera Lee Sethi California note 1 Slow Water Movement Published on July 7 2015 by slowwatermovement Joe Eaton calls Fowl A Review Toad In The Hole Published on July 4 2015 by Joe Eaton The other invisible hand View from Elephant Hills Published on 5 June 2015 by T R Shankar Raman The Silurian Valley spared but will it be conserved Miracle or Mirage Published on December 5 2014 by Patrick Donnelly Lone Pine s lone pine Is Dead InyoOwnWay Published on August 13 2014 by Mike Prather A Good Defense Is Not Enough The Not Essential List Published on August 18 2013 by Shaun G Nevada Part 2 Basin and Range Watch Published on July 17 2013 by Basin and Range Watch Recent Posts Some reasons I have been called a radical environmentalist And this is his sofa is it Let Er Drift Louis Sahagun makes it into the Joshua Tree book Moon s up Recent Comments cithra on Some reasons I have been called a radical environmentalist katrinkavt on Some reasons I have been called a radical environmentalist chigau on Some reasons I have been called a radical environmentalist Dale Favier on And this is his sofa is it eamon knight on Social media isn t Get my free email newsletter Enter your email address powered by TinyLetter On Twitter Tweets by canislatrans Feeds RSS Posts RSS Comments My writing at Beacon Napping In the Belly Of The King August 27 2015 The Central Valley s Second Coming May 27 2015 The Desert Is Not Your Blank Canvas April 19 2015 Cynicism and Sentiment In The Desert February 17 2015 Coyote Hunting January 14 2015 What Kind Of Jerk Kills Coyotes For Fun December 10 2014 Permanence December 5 2014 My writing at KCET You Can Help Clean Up Ocean Plastic on Coastal Cleanup Day September 18 2015 It s Up

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/crossing/2003/05/29/running-the-creek/ (2015-09-25)
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  • Visit to the Brenda Solar Energy Zone | Coyote Crossing
    up this absurd test is as good as any other I have seen for approval any signs of modern or ancient man habitation in the past rubber stamp approval regardless of environmental or other concerns Karen on September 21 2011 at 3 07 pm Chris I love the desert as much as anyone in fact I plan to retire to the high desert along hwy 395 south of the 395 108 intersection But I worry about you You need a job that will put food on the table and pay for health insurance You re a bright thoughtful sensitive guy years of reading your blogs have taught me that Your voice is needed in the collective cry for the protection of the desert but not at the expense of yourself And in fact painful though it is losing a bit of the desert to these projects can raise a huge rallying cry for never again and protect the rest There are several proposals for limiting access in the mountains east of the Owens Valley for instance Karen the geologist is aghast at these some of the best geology stories in the country are told in those rocks Karen the environmentalist applauds them There are some very sensitive microclimates up there But still the rocks I don t mean to sound all hopey changey because I know there are HUGE fights ahead You with your eloquence can actually spearhead some of them But you can t do that with an empty belly and an untreated infection Go forth and try to sell me stuff or document the doings of your local pols or whatever Add a Southern Desert t bureau to Sierra Wave Come home at night and fight the good fight But take care of yourself first We need you Search On the Coyot es Network On Forgetting My Field Guide Birds and Words Published on September 16 2015 by Julia Zarankin My Hit Single Are Warblers Less Important Than Tigers Reconciliation Ecology Published on September 12 2015 by Madhusudan Katti Making Friends With Crows The Corvid Blog Published on August 2 2015 by The Corvid Blog The Heart of Freedom Cecil the Lion Wild Within Published on July 29 2015 by Jennifer Molidor There s Gold in Them Hills Dispersal Range Published on June 28 2015 by Meera Lee Sethi California note 1 Slow Water Movement Published on July 7 2015 by slowwatermovement Joe Eaton calls Fowl A Review Toad In The Hole Published on July 4 2015 by Joe Eaton The other invisible hand View from Elephant Hills Published on 5 June 2015 by T R Shankar Raman The Silurian Valley spared but will it be conserved Miracle or Mirage Published on December 5 2014 by Patrick Donnelly Lone Pine s lone pine Is Dead InyoOwnWay Published on August 13 2014 by Mike Prather A Good Defense Is Not Enough The Not Essential List Published on August 18 2013 by Shaun G Nevada Part 2 Basin and Range

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/crossing/2011/09/19/visit-to-the-brenda-solar-energy-zone/ (2015-09-25)
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  • Blogging | Coyote Crossing
    is directly proportional to the number of other commenters who ve already said the same thing up thread Share this Email Like this Like Loading This entry was posted in Blogging on June 18 2014 by Chris Clarke Boundaries by Chris Clarke 1 Reply On days like this I m not sure whether I m too lonely or not lonely enough On the one hand I spent the day alone aside from the cat A few minutes phone conversation for work a few more catching up with Annette and thirty seconds of conversation when I dropped off the rent check and that aside I had solitude I could happily have had more of those contacts less of that solitude And yet I recoiled from other kinds of contact today Two people I don t know got in touch with open ended demands on my time and attention Not asking me to write or asking for other discrete favors just asking for energy And time And attention Out of the blue I won t offer more details except to say they both made the hairs on the nape of my neck jump to attention A few weeks ago I decided to scale back my time spent on Facebook and the fact that both of these people found me through that venue didn t do much to change my mind It s odd I ve done much of my socializing online for the last 20 years It used to seem a complement to an emotionally healthy life and it brought me joy Now it feels like a synthetic substitute for real connection I think the difference between then and now may lie in non reciprocality In 1994 I socialized in a newsgroup with maybe 30 people in it It was a community of sorts Everyone participated and contributed to the discussion Now I have tens of thousands of readers Many of them are incredibly kind and supportive in fact I couldn t do the work I do without their aid Some of the people with whom I ve become acquainted online in the last few years are people I m very glad to know So it feels crass to say that life online feels less like a community than it used to But it does All of us online grapple with this relationship a new one in human history I think Facebook opened us up to a world of drama when it bestowed the name friend on its basic unit of relationship I have unfriended a few people in the last week and how much less fraught would that have been if it was called removing this person from your contact list I have several dozen contacts on Facebook I ve never met with whom I d unhesitatingly make coffee plans I have many more with whom I have hardly any interaction aside from the occasional like And then there is the third group a small but growing number of people with whom I have to remind myself that we are all muddling through this world with our desires to fix others problems and sadnesses The people who forget that they do not actually know me It s usually benign I am mildly prominent online and the temptation to treat mildly prominent people as a favorite TV show is well documented Sometimes it gets annoying but forgivable as when strangers with familiar names offer unsolicited advice on health or relationship issues Mainly everyone means well But sometimes as today it goes over the line into block this person and forswear all contact country My work is a combination of writing and activism and having a wide group of cooperative sources and collaborators is part of what has given that work whatever degree of success it can claim There s no way for me to refuse to give out an email address to a stranger that asks for one to talk about something as that s how some of my best work has been sparked The percentage of contacts who fail to respect personal boundaries is fractional at this point but it seems to be growing I guess it s an inevitable consequence of relying on a trust based system some will take advantage of it knowingly or not It makes me tired Share this Email Like this Like Loading This entry was posted in Activism Blogging Politics on June 2 2014 by Chris Clarke Ancient historical document restored by Chris Clarke 7 Replies I realized tonight that this work of mine has been offline for some time So here it is The backstory is here but the short version it s an in jokey satire of a book of the same name by Michael Bérubé Michael s book won some acclaim back in 2006 and then so in a smaller way did my riff and there was much rejoicing excepting at some places And then as my blog and I went through various server changes and URL revisions and divorces and such WTATLA TGN fell off the Internet somehow So here it is back again for the digital historians in an embedded PDF form that those of us back in 2006 could only dream of Oh that was a happier time work may not technically be actually mine in either a legal or ethical sense What s Liberal About The Liberal Arts The Graphic Novel by Chris Clarke Share this Email Like this Like Loading This entry was posted in Biography Blogging Satire on December 6 2013 by Chris Clarke Some thoughts on semantic HTML tags for nature writers by Chris Clarke 3 Replies So you know the i italics tags i we all once used to italicize text are widely deprecated these days right And for good reason The same goes for b bold tags b which nowadays we are told we should not use to make our web text bold The reason is that italics and bold are visual styles

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/crossing/category/blogging/ (2015-09-25)
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