Finalization of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan balances clean energy development and land conservation in the California desert

Sep 14, 2016

Critical desert landscapes, like the Silurian Valley in California, will be protected by the DRECP.

Bob Wick/BLM.
Landmark plan addresses the challenges of climate change while protecting desert resources.

Dan Smuts, Senior Director, Pacific Region, (415) 254-7271,
Chase Huntley, Director of Energy & Climate Program, (202) 429-7431
Phil Hanceford, Assistant Director, Agency Policy & Planning, (303) 225-4636
Jennifer Dickson, Senior Communications Manager, Southwest Region, (202) 316-2555

The Wilderness Society welcomes the finalization of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). This landmark collaborative effort by stakeholders, state and federal agencies, marks a major step forward in meeting California’s ambitious renewable energy goals and addressing climate change, while also protecting critical wildlife habitat, historic and natural resources on our shared public lands.

The DRECP will help streamline the permitting process and provide certainty for clean energy development, while guiding utility-scale projects to the most appropriate locations and conserving valuable and vulnerable wild places in the California desert.

Credit: Marty Schnure, The Wilderness Society

The following statement is from Dan Smuts, Senior Director, Pacific Region for The Wilderness Society.

“This plan is a thoughtful and balanced blueprint for the future of the California desert. It provides a model for the entire nation by addressing the urgent need for clean energy while protecting important lands for wildlife and plants.

The California desert offers some of the best renewable energy resources in the world, but it is also home to historic trails, ancient Native American petroglyphs, and remarkable wildlife like bighorn sheep and desert tortoise. It’s a region of spectacular vistas and exceptional recreational opportunities. The finalization of phase one of the DRECP demonstrates to the entire nation that through intelligent planning, we can provide renewable energy solutions and protect our cherished wild lands."

Additional Resources:
Media resources for Desert Renewable Conservation Energy Plan September 2016
Finally! California desert plan strikes right balance for conservation and clean energy
Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
Desert Treasures: Help us protect these 12 California gems
A photographic tour through California’s Desert Treasures


The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.