ND-ECI Seminar: Patrick Donnelly


Location: Zoom


Please join the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative for a virtual seminar presented by Patrick Donnelly, Director of Great Basin at the Center for Biological Research.

The title of his talk is "No Matter the Cause: Fighting to Stop Extinction in the Southwestern US due to Inappropriate Clean Energy Projects."

Abstract:The arid and semi-arid regions of the Southwestern United States harbor exceptional biodiversity. Hundreds of narrowly endemic plants and animals occupy niche habitats across the region, while landscape-scale species such as the greater sage-grouse and the Mojave desert tortoise are focal points for conservation. Meanwhile this same region, which is primarily comprised of federally-managed public lands, has been targeted for clean energy development as a potential solution to climate change. Utility-scale solar facilities, geothermal power plants, wind energy facilities, lithium mining operations and pumped storage proposals have proliferated across the Southwest, with several hundred projects in the pipeline. Dozens of these projects pose significant threats to biodiversity, and some risk the complete extinction of one or more species. Conservation biologists have been using litigation, Endangered Species Act petitions, administrative interventions, public engagement, land preservation proposals, and more to fight extinction from inappropriate projects. This talk will describe the fight to stop inappopriate clean energy projects, and how advocates are trying to put forward a positive vision for the future of the clean energy transition.

Bio: Patrick Donnelly is an advocate and conservation biologist based in Shoshone, California, on the edge of Death Valley. He has been active in desert conservation for twenty years, developing and implementing large-scale habitat restoration projects for desert tortoise and riparian species, leading young people in hands-on conservation and outdoor education trips, and spending upwards of a hundred days per year in the field conducting species and habitat monitoring. For the past nine years, he's been a full time activist, defending the biodiversity and public lands of the Great Basin and northern Mojave deserts. His particular interests including groundwater hydrology, narrow endemic species, and land use planning.