The creek seemed to be running clear or green, not the colors I remember from 25 years ago. But there wasn't much water ....
As for Panoche Valley, I saw a few hand-written signs proclaiming that Ag land is for farming and ranching, not solar. Frankly, whether sheep or cattle, a lot of the region looks over-grazed to my uneducated eyes. Very little grass in the fenced areas ... and lots of worn cattle trails across the hills. At this time of year I would have expected more grass/weeds/shrubs even if already brown. Not really pretty in any conventional sense, and definitely not as natural looking as the Carrizo Plain, but still deeply satisfying that there's such open space so close to Silicon Valley and I-5.