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Around SLO: Bald Eagle Returns / Biggest Solar Plant Completed / Wine & Olive Ranch To Expand

November 30,2104 –

click to enlarge photo by Tom Dalton

click to enlarge
photo by Tom Dalton

Bald Eagle Returns To Sweet Springs Nature Preserve

For the second winter in a row a young bald eagle has returned to the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in Los Osos in SLO County.The preserve sits on the south bay estuary. The impressive eagle with its distinctive white head was spotted for the first time here last December.The eagle appears to fly back and forth between the large pines and eucalyptus at Sweet Springs and also perches closer to Montana De Oro SP to the south along the estuary.
This eagle,our national symbol, has become somewhat of a celebrity drawing nature photographers like Linda and Tom Dalton who snapped this picture in recent days.Tom Dalton  also shot  some photos of the bird last winter when it appeared more juvenile says Tom.
The bird is seen eating both small birds as well as fish, both in abundance  here, and seems to sometimes duel for both a catch and territory with a visiting osprey, another large bird of prey. Sweet Springs offers a grand view of it all – off a boardwalk dock that juts out out into the south Bay – now often crowded with visitors have come to get a glimpse of the impressive bird.
Known for migratory and resident birdlife, the area is not known for eagles, but it is becoming that way.

Biggest Solar Plant Now Complete

Topaz Solar Farm, built by First Solar in eastern San Luis Obispo County is now completed as well as in-service some months ahead of schedule. The last 40-megawatt phase of the project is done making this 550MW project the first 500-plus megawatt solar farm to come on -line in the US or worldwide. The  $2.5 billion project sports 9 million solar panels over a 9.5 square mile area. Construction began in 2011. Power has been sold to PG&E.

Wine & Olive Oil Ranch To Expand

SLO County has received a request by Willow Creek NewCo. LLC for a Minor Use Permit to allow for the phased expansion of an existing agricultural processing facility (olive oil and wine). Construction is proposed to include demolition and replacement of an existing 6,946 sf barn and two new buildings (2,600 sf and 3,000 sf) that will include processing areas, tasting room, retail sales, commercial kitchen, office, and storage. The project also includes a request for 25 temporary events annually with no more than 200 guests per event and to allow for the processing of off-site olives. Willow Creek is located on Vineyard Drive west of  Paso Robles.

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