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What it May Take to Harness Solar Energy on Native Lands

Felicity Barringer
May 6 2021

The Navajo Nation has the most capacity, but its troubled energy history and culture of livestock grazing make solar development fraught.

The Kayenta 1 solar plant near Shiprock, Arizona opened in 2017 ; followed by a second installation two years later. About 200,000 panels produce 52 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 36,000 homes

Something new under the sun The Kayenta 1 solar plant near Shiprock, Arizona opened in 2017 ; followed by a second installation two years later. About 200,000 panels produce 52 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 36,000 homes.   Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

By Felicity Barringer

To understand the potential for expanding renewable energy on Native territory in the West, three words are key: transmission, land, and history.

Transmission is needed to get power to individual homes, community centers, and to the lucrative markets of Los Angeles, Phoenix and El Paso. Land is needed to get the power in the first place. Without a place to put panels creating photovoltaic energy, there’s no energy.

To meet the international commitments made at President Biden’s recent climate summit, the United States must develop as many renewable energy sources as possible. The indigenous lands of the West have some of the best conditions for harvesting solar and wind energy. But making that happen can be complicated.

On the 27,000 square miles of the Navajo Nation, efforts to harness the estimated 1.83 billion megawatts of solar energy depend on people like Ella Todacheene. A grandmother who died in 2015 at the age of 87, Todacheene was a member of the Kayenta Chapter of the Navajo Nation; she always cooked and sewed by the light of a headlamp. In 2013, she ceded her family’s right to graze livestock on land around their homes, convinced by representatives of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, the major tribal utility, that her land could be better used for power than for sheep. The plan: produce 27 megawatts of electricity for use in hundreds of Navajo homes that were off the grid.

Navajo history is more important than many in the energy world realize -- both the history of grazing rights and the history of the coal-fired power plants that for six decades used Navajo coal to enrich the nation and pollute it. Planners blind to the background may find their projects going sideways.

“The challenge for non-Indians is they don’t see grazing rights as a traditional cultural right,” Ezra Rosser, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, said in an interview.

On Indigenous Lands, Ample Prospects for Renewable Energy

Solar Irradiance, Annual Average of Daily Kilowatts Per Square Meter

Map: Solar Irradiance, Annual Average of Daily Kilowatts Per Square Meter.

Tribal Lands with the Highest Technical Potential for Solar Electricity Generation

Chart: Tribal Lands with the Highest Technical Potential for Solar Electricity Generation.

Tribal Lands with the Highest Technical Potential for Wind Electricity Generation

Chart: Tribal Lands with the Highest Technical Potential for Wind Electricity Generation.

Sources: National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Census Bureau

Geoff McGhee/Bill Lane Center for the American West

“Livestock is a generational program”

What role do grazing permits play in Navajo life? “Livestock, in particular sheep and goats, are a fundamental part of the lifestyle and identity” of tribal members, Rosser wrote in a 2019 Connecticut Law Review article. “Navajo people are so into grazing, that is priority,” one tribal member told a researcher from the Diné Policy Institute. “… Money means nothing to people with grazing permits. They value their livestock more than anything. Livestock is a generational program.”

Living memory of the federal destruction of Navajo herds is disappearing, but when the subject of ceding grazing rights arises, there is a distant echo of the New Deal livestock-reduction policy, which led to the slaughter of half of the Navajos’ million sheep between 1933 and 1946. Still, Ella Todacheene and other chapter members opted to cede rights on 300 acres. (A chapter is the community level of tribal government.)

The Kayenta 1 solar plant opened in 2017; Kayenta 2 opened two years later. About 200,000 panels produce 52 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 36,000 homes. Recalling the discussions, Glenn Steiger, the executive consultant in the office of NTUA’s general manager said, “Every negotiation [with chapter members] is unique. But there’s a core group of benefits.”

Holders of grazing rights who had had no access to grid electricity would be connected. “But beyond that we made it clear that the community of Kayenta itself would benefit – there would be jobs and tax revenue,” Steiger said.

A flock of sheep on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Monument Valley.

A flock of sheep on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Monument Valley.   Stanislav Beloglazov via Alamy Stock Photos

 

Smaller, nimbler tribes take an early lead in solar development

Working with a large community, like the 110 chapters where approximately 173,000 Navajo live, can be complicated. “If you have a smaller tribe… it’s much more easily done to put in a project,” said Sandra Begay, a Navajo engineer at Sandia National Laboratory who has worked for decades to expand renewable electricity in Indian country.

Case in point: a leader in installing utility-scale solar is the 238-member Moapa Band of Paiutes, with tribal land northeast of Las Vegas. A 250-megawatt plant, five times more powerful than the two Kayenta plants, opened in 2017 on 2,000 acres on the reservation. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, one of the Southwest’s biggest energy consumers, is buying the electricity for 25 years.

LADWP says it spends about $54 million annually for 618,000 megawatt hours of power from the Moapa Paiute plant. Previously it used more than six times as much – 3.8 million megawatt hours annually – from the now-demolished coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. With aggressive goals for increasing renewable energy, LADWP seeks renewable power to make up the other 80-plus percent of the power it bought from the coal plant.

Two other major solar plants are planned on Moapa Paiute land, one a 200-megawatt plant set to open in December, the other a 300-megawatt project set to open in 2023. Adjoining the tribal land is a newly constructed 500-kilovolt transmission line to take the power to market; its federally subsidized cost was about $500 million.

The Navajo Nation is 240 times larger than the Moapa Paiutes’ 75,000 acres in Nevada. According to a Sandia Laboratory technical report, it has the most photovoltaic capacity available in Indian Country, more than 1.8 gigawatt-hours – enough to power half a million homes or more. It also owns much of the capacity of a 500-kilovolt transmission line that was originally built to carry Navajo Generating Station power. NGS closed 18 months ago and was razed. Even after the plant’s removal, LADWP retains some transmission capacity; it “intends on fully using its transmission entitlements from the Navajo 500kV switching station … to deliver renewable energy.”

A Potential Solar Engine on the Electrical Superhighway

Thanks to its historic role in coal mining and coal-powered energy, the Navajo Nation is well-connected to the power grid. Yet few major solar projects have come online, relative to smaller and nimbler tribal governments like the Moapa Paiute near Las Vegas.

Map: Thanks to its historic role in coal mining and coal-powered energy, the Navajo Nation is well-connected to the power grid.

Sources: Energy Information Administration; Census Bureau; ESRI (satellite imagery);

Geoff McGhee/Bill Lane Center for the American West

Solar power follows on troubled legacy of Navajo energy production

Solar installations would be an obvious source. LADWP said it “is continuing our discussions with Navajo Nation to explore the feasibility of working together and to identify potential opportunities to reach our mutual renewable goals.”

“The cards are laid out technically,” Begay said. “You’ve got the land. You’ve got transmission. Clean-energy people want to use it, and the land is in control of a sovereign nation. All the parts fit together, but you have to get agreement from the land’s [residents] that grazing might not be the best use of the land.” The Navajo energy future is also burdened by the past. Six decades of dealing with energy projects, first with mines that produced uranium and coal and then with a ring of coal-fired power plants, have left Navajo citizens ambivalent about new projects.

Coal-fired plants have supported – and polluted – the Navajo Nation since the early 1960s. The Navajo Generating Station was a 2.25-gigawatt behemoth on the northeast corner of the reservation, supplied by a coal mine via a dedicated 80-mile railway from Kayenta. Some 800 people, most Navajo or Hopi, worked at these facilities.

Other huge, likely doomed, coal-fired plants are also major employers. Two years ago, the two biggest plants -- the then-operating Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and the Four Corners Power Plant in New Mexico -- created “more than $50 million in direct revenues annually to the Navajo Nation” or about 25 percent of the tribal government’s budget, according to a 2020 report from Sandia National Laboratory.

The coal-powered Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona was closed 18 months ago and razed in December 2020.

The coal-powered Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona was closed 18 months ago and razed in December 2020.   Alan Stark via Flickr

Coal’s economic benefit had a cost. In 2017, the University of New Mexico School of Law reported that air pollution from coal mines meant Navajo living 20 miles from the Four Corners plant “are five times more likely to be treated at medical facilities for respiratory complaints” than residents of more distant communities.

“It would be nice if whoever builds a plant could run electricity to everyone.”

The loss of the coal economy and the newly available transmission capacity are boons for solar advocates. Two more Navajo solar plants are on deck. First, construction is beginning at NTUA’s 70-megawatt Red Mesa Tapaha plant in southeast Utah.

In an interview published in the Salt Lake Tribune last month, Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez said, “Our communities were once heavily dependent on fossil fuel energy, but now we are seeing change happen.” He added, ““[The Red Mesa solar farm] is another milestone for the Navajo Nation as we continue to transition to clean, emissions-free renewable energy for our communities and in the open market.”

Newly announced plans map out a 200-megawatt NTUA plant in Cameron, near Grand Canyon National Park. This plant’s output will go over the Navajo Generating Station’s high-voltage line to the Salt River Project, a big Arizona public-power utility. The output of the Red Mesa plant will travel on a smaller transmission line to a utility serving Utah municipalities. The tribe benefits from the land lease and tax payments linked to the sale of power; NTUA, a nonprofit, uses its income to keep rates low and extend service to previously unserved homes, Steiger said.

Herman Farley, president of the Red Mesa Chapter, said his chapter approved the plant, with 600 acres withdrawn from grazing permittees. “Nowadays there’s not much in the way of livestock ownership,” he said. He added that economic development, college scholarships, and connections for 202 unserved families would likely result. Charlie Smith, a retired policeman who is president of the Cameron Chapter, said, “It would be nice if whoever builds a plant could run electricity to everyone. That would be awesome.”

The prospects for building another utility-scale plant close to the site of the now-demolished Navajo Generating Station are unclear; members of the LeChee Chapter, whose land would likely be needed, are not yet ready to give up grazing rights. “The economic benefit will definitely be there, during the construction,” said the LeChee chapter president, Jo Ann Yazzie-Pioche. “After that, it doesn’t take a whole lot of people to run the plant.”

In 2019, she said, the chapter voted to reject NTUA projects, feeling the company was ignoring them and dealing primarily with the central government at Window Rock. “There is a need in every chapter to work with the local people, especially the permit holders,” she feels. The biggest factor in grazing-right decisions, she said, “will be the connection to the land. Once it’s taken, it’s taken.” But the chapter leadership also considers possible benefits. “We would like to work with solar companies that can help the chapter in some ways – scholarships, jobs.”

Does the 1930s government slaughter of Navajo herds still matter?

The New Deal destruction of Navajo livestock still reverberates, faintly. “The whole economy of a people and a way of life was at stake,” the historian Richard White wrote in his 1983 book, ‘The Roots of Dependency.’ The Bureau of Indian Affairs ordered the livestock reduction during the Dust Bowl, to end overgrazing and to keep dust from silting up Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The practice was brutal. Animals were forcibly taken; deputies shot some or slit their throats in front of Navajo owners who depended on their wool. Grazing permits were established later.

“Livestock reduction caused a lot of sorrow and grief. Considering the importance of sheep in Navajo culture and life, the reduction was seen as a strike against the people and their wealth,” according to ”Land Reform for the Navajo Nation” a 2018 report of the Dine Policy Institute. “In a subsistence economy, livestock was considered a source of wealth.”

How much do old resentments affect the current generation as it wrestles with the loss of coal income and weighs grazing rights against a solar-powered future? “I would say the grazing rights have more impact,” said Andrew Curley, a Navajo tribal member and an assistant professor of geography at the University of Arizona. “It’s more consequential to the potential success of a solar field than these lingering resentments. It’s a generational thing. A lot of young people… are coming more into leadership roles and understand the potential for renewable energy.”

He echoed Sandra Begay: “If you want to build big projects, [it’s easier] if you have a concentration of power in a smaller group.” He added, “I think we have a really robust democratic culture in the Navajo Nation that sometimes prevents things.”

Small regional utilities partner with NTUA to fix or install systems in rural areas. Here, workers from Ohio’s Piqua Power connect a Navajo home.

Small regional utilities partner with NTUA to fix or install systems in rural areas. Here, workers from Ohio’s Piqua Power connect a Navajo home.   Alysa Landry/American Public Power Association

Big solar plants are not Navajos’ only access to NTUA power, which comes from a mixture of renewable and fossil-fuel sources. The utility also runs wires carrying power to remote homes along a pole line. “We might have to build 10 miles of pole line with a single wire to connect one to four houses,” at a cost of $1 million, Steiger said. NTUA connects 500 houses a year; about 14,000 remain unconnected.

Some remote homes get power from a nearby pole topped by a triangular apparatus with a solar panel, a battery to store power and perhaps a small windmill. This powers a refrigerator and a few lights.

A pumped-storage hydro project could capture solar energy for later use

Photovoltaic arrays are one way to produce electricity directly. Another, indirect, method is pumped storage. A $3.6 billion proposal envisions using solar power to pump water from the southern shore of Lake Powell up to a mountaintop reservoir as part of a 2.2 gigawatt project. Projects like these, which use reservoirs as a “battery,” would complement solar and wind energy production by making power generation available at night and when there’s no wind. Last year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Daybreak Power a preliminary permit to explore the feasibility of its proposed Navajo Energy Storage Station.

Map from Daybreak Power’s FERC application for its proposed Navajo Energy Storage Station.

 

Map from Daybreak Power’s FERC application for its proposed Navajo Energy Storage Station   USGS, Bureau of Reclamation, Navajo Energy Storage Station

A Utility Dive article explained the Navajo Mountain reservoir would send water down hundreds of yards to a powerhouse with eight turbines. An 18-mile transmission line would connect to the existing NGS line, sending power across the Southwest. But a punishing drought has diminished the Colorado River flow that feeds Lake Powell. Environmentalists mock this proposal; Gary Wockner, who heads the group Save the Colorado, has said, “Lake Powell is doomed -- it’s nonsensical to build a $3.6 billion straw that will likely end up sucking air.”

As the Navajo Nation continues to plan photovoltaic plants and considers pumped storage, neighboring reservations are finding their own way to a solar future: another solar plant is coming online on Jicarilla Apache land nearby. The New Mexico utility PNM is building a $60 million, 50-megawatt solar plant on 500 acres of tribal land near the Colorado border. PNM’s transmission lines connect to the reservation.

Energy companies continue to plan solar and wind projects in the Southwest as the energy economy transitions to a renewable future. How will the Navajo Nation benefit? The 20th-century coal projects were a big boon to western energy markets and an economic boon to the tribe. The government at Window Rock was able to prosper thanks to the revenues. “Coal was just big, big money,” said Rosser of American University. “I don’t know if any of these solar projects are envisioning that same scale” of direct revenue to the tribal government.

Unless, perhaps, companies build Navajo economic support into their rates. Rosser argues that even in a world of market competition, the companies using Native land for renewable energy should not expect to sell it cheaply. Rosser said, “We as a country have gotten so used to cheap power,” he said. “Navajos getting fair compensation for their resources has to be both an environmental-justice question and a full recognition of their sovereignty.”

 

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Edited by Geoff McGhee.

 

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Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Visited Bears Ears as crowds of tourists and looters frustrate advocates seeking to restore the original scope of the national monument. Former President Trump shrank the areas of monuments at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in 2017, reversing Obama-era protections. Haaland must decide whether to recommend that Biden restore the previous boundaries. Indigenous groups want to see the monument expanded, while Republican politicians, ranchers and miners in Utah resist increased federal protections. Washington Post

Las Vegas Pushing to Become First City to Ban Ornamental Grass. This desert gambling metropolis, whose utility has for nearly two decades rewarded homeowners for replacing grass with dry landscaping – xeriscaping – is planning to go one step further. The utility is asking Nevada state legislators to outlaw about 40 percent of the remaining greensward, arguing that there are almost eight square miles of grass in medians or office parks that no one walks on. Last year was among the driest in the region’s history; for a record 240 days, there was no measurable rainfall. About 90 percent of southern Nevada's water comes from the Colorado River, whose reservoirs at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are near record lows. Associated Press

What’s In Toxic Wildfire Smoke? To find answers, scientists chase storms and rig cargo planes to become flying laboratories. Chemists, immunologists, and other experts have begun using air and ash samples from recent catastrophic fire seasons to unravel the human health impacts of wildfire emissions, though they say fully understanding the long-term effects may take years. National Geographic

Three Interest Groups Face Off In a Scramble Over Temperate Rainforests on the southwest corner of Vancouver Island. A century of logging has depleted about 80 percent of the old-growth trees on the island in British Columbia. An anti-logging group is blockading an area near Fairy Creek. But the Pacheedat First Nation, which gets provincial compensation in exchange for allowing logging in their territory, has not agreed to the blockade, though some tribal members sympathize. Legal action is pending. The Tyee

A New Wildlife Refuge In Albuquerque will become the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest, officially opening this fall. The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge promises more open space for historically disenfranchised Chicano communities. The new amenities are expected to raise property values, opening the town to potential gentrification, cultural change and excess tourism. Equitable representation for community members in the preserve will be key to grounding the refuge in the values of environmental justice, the refuge’s supporters say. High Country News

Cattle Ranchers Seek Control of Free-Roaming Tule Elk In Point Reyes, prompting opposition from conservationists. When Congress designed the national seashore as public land not only for nature preservation but also for farmers’ “cultural heritage,” it sowed the seeds of repeated conflicts. In the late 19th century, human development nearly drove the elk extinct. Though herds were reintroduced in the 1960s, the species returned to a landscape shaped by cattle. Now, it’s unclear who will control the future of that landscape. Biographic

‘Glamping’ Project In Joshua Tree Puts Sustainable Development To The Test as Airstream tourism company AutoCamp breaks ground on its first high desert tourism attraction. While its designers tout the eco-friendly features of the campus, residents worry that tourism could send housing prices soaring and that heavy tourist traffic could harm desert ecosystems. Desert Sun

Grasshoppers, Opera, And Ecological Collapse intertwine in this audio story of a Wyoming entomologist and his quest to find the truth about a melting glacier. Atlas Obscura

Articles Worth Reading: March 29, 2021

Latino Neighborhoods in the Southwest Are Far Hotter than Anglo neighborhoods, which have more trees and shade. The difference is as much as seven degrees in southern California, according to a new study of 20 urban areas. It shows the poorest 10 percent of neighborhoods are much hotter — four degrees Fahrenheit on average — than the wealthiest neighborhoods nearby. In particular, areas with large Latino populations bear an unequal burden. Arizona Republic

The Interior Department Rescinded a Decision That Had Eliminated Tribal Ownership of a portion of the Missouri River on the Fort Berthold Reservation and given it to the state of North Dakota. Under the Trump administration, a department statement said, Interior had agreed that North Dakota owned mineral rights despite eight decades of legal precedent to the contrary. Now the department says it needs to look more closely at the legality of ignoring the ownership rights of the Mandan, Hidatsa and the Arikara Nation. The Hill

A Republican Congressman’s Proposal to Breach Four Snake River Dams has reopened more than a century of arguments over the structures. Their construction violated treaties, flooded 14,4000 acres, crippled salmon runs and provided both a modest amount of electricity and the ability to barge inland crops to Pacific ports. Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson’s $33.5 billion plan to breach the four dams has renewed that debate. A look at the pros and cons of the proposal, and an advocate’s website visualizing the impact of dam removal. Oregonian Spokesman-Review Magic Valley Save Our Wild Salmon

What Western Governors Say They Care About is reflected in this summary – complete with a word-cloud graphic – from their association’s office’s report on recent state-of-the-state addresses. Not surprisingly, the most prevalent word is “Covid.” It’s followed by “Vaccine,” “Education,” “Infrastructure,” and “Broadband.” Western Governors Association

Covering 4,000 Miles of California Canals With Solar Panels would annually save 63 billion gallons of water from evaporating and provide 13 gigawatts of renewable power, according to a feasibility study published in the journal Nature Sustainability. That is roughly half the new capacity the state needs to meet its decarbonization goals by the year 2030. Wired

The West is Losing the War to Preserve Sage-Grouse Habitat. Human activity and fire have destroyed millions of acres of habitat for the greater sage grouse. A new federal study is deeply pessimistic about the future of the bird as it loses its essential range. Expanding, ferocious wildfires play a major part in the destruction, but so do invasive, quick-burning plants like cheatgrass. Federal and multistate efforts have helped cut the rate of destruction, but a warming climate means land managers are losing their fight. E&E Daily

Ways of Emitting Less Methane, both from leaking oil and gas wells, intentional venting of gas, and even cow burps, are getting new attention. New Mexico’s Oil and Gas Commission just adopted new rules to control oil fields’ venting and flaring of gas. And researchers at the University of California, Davis have increasing evidence that adding tropical red seaweed to cow feed can reduce bovine methane emissions by up to 82 percent. Associated Press Grist

As the Nation’s Largest Wind Farm Is Readied In the Wyoming Town of Rawlins, immense pride in the coal mining that used to power its economy remains. The New York Times “The Daily” Podcast

Larry McMurtry, Novelist of the West, Dies at 84. McMurtry’s stock in trade was de-mythologizing the West of early paperbacks and mid 20th-century television series, and offering a portrait that was more raw and more real. He did so most memorably in the 843-page novel “Lonesome Dove,” about two Texas rangers driving stolen cattle from the Rio Grande to Montana in the 1870s. He was also part of the creative force behind the movie “Brokeback Mountain.” The New York Times Dallas Morning News

Articles Worth Reading: March 15, 2021

California Tribes Fight A Gold Mining Project Near Death Valley which would build an open pit mine on BLM land. K2 Gold Corp., of Vancouver, Canada, hopes to capitalize on rising gold prices using a new cyanide leaching technique to increase yields. The Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe and local environmentalists oppose the project citing its impact to natural and cultural resources Los Angeles Times

Energy Companies Have Stuck Colorado With Clean-Up Costs of Billions of Dollars for old oil and gas wells. If left unplugged, wells can leak toxins into groundwater and emit methane and other greenhouse gases. Companies are legally required to pay for cleanup, but the funds they provided to the state would only cover two percent of the wells. High Country News

Butterflies Are Vanishing Out West. Scientists Say Climate Change is to Blame. As the region has become hotter and drier, butterfly numbers have declined steadily, according to a study published in the journal Science. Washington Post

Biden Shows Support for Controversial Road in Alaska Refuge. The development project in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge -- first advanced by the Trump Administration -- has been the contested in federal courts by environmental groups. Seattle Times

Oregon Has a New Carbon Cap Program. After Republican legislators walked out on the latest climate bill, Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order for state agencies to draft carbon-reduction rules that would meet the same targets. They hope to have the program running by 2022. Oregonian

Most Colorado River Basin States Plan to Negotiate About Cutting Use. Not Utah. During negotiations over water usage from the Colorado River, Utah is organizing to push for an increased share. Drought conditions have led other states in the region to seek decreases in water usage. “The goal of renegotiating is figuring out how to use less,” said John Fleck, a water scholar. It’s not “staking out political turf to try to figure out how to use more.” Associated Press

A Texas Bill Seeks to Punish Companies That Divest From Fossil Fuels by cutting them off from state investment funds. Republican lawmakers are championing the bill, even as many Wall Street firms shift their portfolios to better reflect climate change. If passed, it would direct the state’s massive investment funds to divest from companies that boycott oil, gas, and other fossil fuels. Texas Tribune

Graphics & the West

Where California Grows Its Food

See the most detailed survey ever done of crops and land use in California. It covers nine million acres of land devoted to grapes, alfalfa, cotton, plums, you name it – food for people and animals all over the world. View map »

California's Changing Energy Mix

A look at the energy sources California utilities have used gives us insights into the state’s progress in decarbonizing its electricity supply. In 2015, 35% of total electricity generation (in-state generation plus imported electricity) came from zero-greenhouse-gas sources, which include solar, wind, hydropower, and nuclear. View Graphic »

U.S. Conservation Easements

Conservation easements of various kinds cover more than 22 million acres of land in the United States, according to the National Conservation Easement Database, a public-private partnership. Take a look at our interactive map of nearly every conservation easement, with details on over 130,000 sites. View map »

 

Recent Center News

Jun 21 2021 | ... & the West Blog, ... & the Best | Stories Recommended by the ‘... & the West’ Blog
The tentacles of the West’s megadrought reach across all sort of communities and businesses; enlisting artificial intelligence to get earlier alerts as wildfires break out; the Keystone Pipeline was planned in one world 14 ears ago, but then the world changed around it, eventually leading its promoters to withdraw; Interior Secretary Halaand wants two Utah monuments fully restored, and other environmental news from around the West.
Jun 15 2021
A new CivicPulse survey of local policymakers reveals strong support for roads, water, electricity, and broadband but disagreement on mass transit and clean energy.
Jun 7 2021 | ... & the West Blog
When a historic drought gripped California and the Bay Area, water managers came together to keep drinkable water in the homes of vulnerable areas in Marin and Contra Costa Counties. Two veterans of those efforts describe the dramatic process, and consider lessons it offers for today’s imminent drought.