Recommendations for Solar Development: Minimize Impacts to Gopher Tortoises
As solar energy investments come to the southeastern United States, there is growing need for conscientious development of utility-scale projects in a manner consistent with environmental protection. Often, lands that are undeveloped and being considered for solar arrays are native habitats for protected species and support other valuable ecological resources. In keeping with the environmental benefits of solar energy, we urge the solar industry to consider conservation when moving forward with projects. We believe this awareness should apply broadly to all energy development, not solar alone; however, as the newest and emerging source of green energy in the Southeast best management practices relevant to solar development are urgently needed.
The following resources provide Voluntary Best Management Practices for the solar industry to minimize and possibly avoid impacts to at-risk species and habitats, like the gopher tortoise and sandhills. It is important to note that some states, such as Florida, have regulatory requirements for impacts to gopher tortoises and other wildlife on sites proposed for solar farm development.
The Minimum Viable Population Report has Been Released
We have the complete report, papers and discussions available for your reference.