Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft Environmental Assessment; West Butte Wind Project, Crook and Deschutes Counties, OR, 4825-4826 [2012-1999]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 20 / Tuesday, January 31, 2012 / Notices Number of respondents Task Total ....................................................................................................................... Status of the proposed information collection: Revision of previously approved collection. Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended. Dated: January 25, 2012. ´ Mercedes Marquez, Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. [FR Doc. 2012–2048 Filed 1–30–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–MB–2012–N0010; FXMB12320100000P2–123–FF01M01000] Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft Environmental Assessment; West Butte Wind Project, Crook and Deschutes Counties, OR Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; extension of public comment period. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are extending the public comment period on a draft environmental assessment (DEA) for an application for the programmatic take of golden eagles. The DEA evaluates alternatives for the application we have received from West Butte Wind Power, LLC, for programmatic permit for the take of golden eagles. If issued, the permit would be the first programmatic permit issued under our new permitting regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). We announced receipt of the application and the availability of the DEA in our January 3, 2012, Federal Register notice, which also opened the 30-day public comment period. If you have previously submitted comments, please do not resubmit them, because we have already incorporated them in the public records and will fully consider them in our final decision. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by February 17, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may download a copy of the DEA on the Internet at http:// www.fws.gov/pacific/migratorybirds/ nepa.html. Alternatively, you may use one of the methods below to request wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:20 Jan 30, 2012 Jkt 226001 hard copies or a CD–ROM of the documents. Please specify the ‘‘DEA for the West Butte Wind Project’’ on all correspondence. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more information by one of the following methods. • Email: pacific_birds@fws.gov. Include ‘‘DEA for the West Butte Wind Project’’ in the subject line of the message. • U.S. Mail: Please address written comments to Michael Green, Acting Chief, Division of Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 911 NE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97232. • Fax: Michael Green, Acting Chief, Division of Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs, (503) 231–2019, Attn.: DEA for the West Butte Wind Project. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Green, Acting Chief, Division of Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (503) 231–2019 (phone); pacific_birds@fws.gov (email, include ‘‘DEA for the West Butte Wind Project’’ in the subject line of the message). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering an application under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668a-d; BGEPA) for a programmatic golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) take permit from West Butte Wind Power, LLC. The company plans to develop the West Butte wind-power project in central Oregon, and there is a risk of eagle fatalities as a result of the operation of this facility. The application includes an avian and bat protection plan combined with an eagle conservation plan that describes actions taken and proposed future actions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on eagles. The eagle conservation plan was developed in collaboration with the Service. The Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) analyzes the alternatives associated with this permit application in light of our BGEPA permitting regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 22.26. If PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1,150 Frequency of response ........................ 4825 Total U.S. burden hrs 336,000 the results of this analysis lead us to issue this permit, it will be the first programmatic permit issued under these new regulations, as well as the first eagle take permit issued to a windenergy company. Background BGEPA allows us to authorize bald eagle and golden eagle programmatic take (take that is recurring, is not caused solely by indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term or in a location or locations that cannot be specifically identified). Such take must be incidental to actions that are otherwise lawful. BGEPA’s implementing regulations define ‘‘take’’ as ‘‘to pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest, or disturb individuals, their nests and eggs’’ (50 CFR 22.3); and ‘‘disturb’’ is further defined as ‘‘to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes … injury to an eagle, … a decrease in its productivity, … or nest abandonment’’ (50 CFR 22.3). The West Butte Wind Project potentially will result in one or more recurring eagle mortalities over the life of the project, so the appropriate type of take permit is the programmatic permit under 50 CFR 22.26. To obtain a programmatic permit under BGEPA and 50 CFR 22.26, the applicant must (1) avoid and minimize take to the maximum extent achievable; (2) conduct adequate monitoring to determine effects; (3) offset through compensatory mitigation any remaining take, such that the net effect on the eagle population is, at a minimum, no change for eagle management populations that cannot sustain additional mortality; and (4) ensure that the direct and indirect effects of the take and required mitigation, together with the cumulative effects of other permitted take and additional factors affecting eagle populations, are compatible with the preservation of bald eagles and golden eagles. Applicant’s Proposal The 104-megawatt (MW) project is to be built in Crook and Deschutes Counties, Oregon. As a result of monitoring studies conducted on the proposed project site, the applicant considers the use of the site by eagles to be low, and has requested in their application a permit for the legal take of E:\FR\FM\31JAN1.SGM 31JAN1 4826 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 20 / Tuesday, January 31, 2012 / Notices ‘‘1 to 2 Golden Eagles over the 20 to 30 year life of the project.’’ The applicant developed an eagle conservation plan, following recommendations provided by the Service (Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance, January 2011, http://www. fws.gov/windenergy/docs/ECP_draft_ guidance_2_10_final_clean_omb.pdf ). As recommended in the Service’s guidance, the applicant’s plan outlines avoidance and minimization measures and potential advanced conservation practices, assesses risk from preconstruction monitoring data, makes commitments for mitigating eagle mortalities, and commits to postconstruction monitoring. This plan was submitted as part of the permit application, and if we issue the permit following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, then the conservation commitments would become conditions of the permit. The Service independently evaluated the risk of eagle fatalities from the construction of this project and compared that risk to the conservation measures, largely mitigation actions, to which the applicant has committed. This is an essential step in the Service’s evaluation of an application for a permit for programmatic take of eagles, since issuing criteria require permitted take to be in compliance with the BGEPA’s preservation standard. The Service has interpreted this standard to require maintenance of stable or increasing breeding populations of eagles (74 FR 46836; September 11, 2009). The evaluation of risk and offsetting conservation measures, and the implications for direct, indirect, and cumulative effects under three alternatives, are discussed in detail in the DEA. wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Next Steps The public process for the proposed Federal permit action will be completed after the public comment period, at which time we will evaluate the permit application and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the permitting requirements under BGEPA, applicable regulations, and NEPA requirements. Upon completion of that evaluation, we will select our course of action. Public Comments We invite public comment on the proposed DEA. If you wish, you may submit comments by any one of the methods discussed above under ADDRESSES. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:20 Jan 30, 2012 Jkt 226001 Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. You can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority We provide this notice under section 668a of the Act (16 U.S.C. 668–668c) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Dated: January 12, 2012. Hugh Morrison, Acting Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, Portland, Oregon. [FR Doc. 2012–1999 Filed 1–30–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCO910000–L10100000.PH0000] Notice of the Joint Colorado Resource Advisory Council Meeting Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of public meetings. AGENCY: In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council (RAC), Southwest RAC, and Front Range RAC will meet as indicated below. DATES: The Northwest, Southwest and Front Range Colorado RACs have scheduled a joint meeting for March 6, 7 and 8, 2012. March 6 the meeting will begin at 1 p.m. and adjourn at 4:45 p.m.; on March 7 the meeting will begin at 8 a.m. and adjourn at 5 p.m.; on March 8 the meeting will begin at 8 a.m. and adjourn at noon. A 55-minute public comment period, from 3:50 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., is scheduled for March 6, 2012. The Northwest, Southwest and Front Range RACs will hold individual RAC meetings from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on March 7 and 8 a.m. to noon on March 8. ADDRESSES: The Joint Colorado RAC (JCRAC) meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1391 South Townsend Avenue, Montrose, CO 81401. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deanna Masterson, Public Affairs Specialist, BLM Colorado State Office, 2850 Youngfield St., Lakewood, CO 80215, telephone (303) 239–3671. The Colorado RACs advise the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, on a variety of public land issues in Colorado. Topics of discussion during the RAC meeting may include working group reports, the National Landscape Conservation System strategy implementation, vegetation management, BLM internet, air quality and the General Land Office anniversary. These meetings are open to the public. The public may present written comments to the RAC. There will also be time, as identified above, allocated for hearing public comments. Depending on the number of people who wish to comment during the public comment period, individual comments may be limited. The Northwest RAC will consider one fee adjustment proposal for the Kremmling Field Office from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on March 8, with a specific public comment period on that proposal scheduled for 9:30 a.m. The fee adjustment proposal would adjust the fee structure at the Pumphouse and Radium recreation sites along the Upper Colorado River. Fees have been charged here since 1998. Adjustments are needed to keep pace with increased costs of maintaining and improving these areas. More information about this proposal and the complete agenda for the individual Northwest RAC meeting are available on the Northwest RAC’s Web site at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/ en/BLM_Resources/racs/nwrac.html. A second, general public comment period that does not include the fee adjustment proposal is scheduled for the Northwest RAC at 10 a.m. on March 8. Topics of discussion for all Southwest Colorado RAC meetings may include field manager and working group reports, recreation, fire management, land use planning, invasive species management, energy and minerals management, travel management, wilderness, land exchange proposals, cultural resource management and other issues as appropriate. Topics of discussion at the Front Range RAC meeting may include manager updates and resource management planning. A general public comment period is scheduled for the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\31JAN1.SGM 31JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 20 (Tuesday, January 31, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4825-4826]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1999]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-MB-2012-N0010; FXMB12320100000P2-123-FF01M01000]


Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft 
Environmental Assessment; West Butte Wind Project, Crook and Deschutes 
Counties, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; extension of public comment period.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are 
extending the public comment period on a draft environmental assessment 
(DEA) for an application for the programmatic take of golden eagles. 
The DEA evaluates alternatives for the application we have received 
from West Butte Wind Power, LLC, for programmatic permit for the take 
of golden eagles. If issued, the permit would be the first programmatic 
permit issued under our new permitting regulations under the Bald and 
Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). We announced receipt of the 
application and the availability of the DEA in our January 3, 2012, 
Federal Register notice, which also opened the 30-day public comment 
period. If you have previously submitted comments, please do not 
resubmit them, because we have already incorporated them in the public 
records and will fully consider them in our final decision.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
February 17, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may download a copy of the DEA on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/migratorybirds/nepa.html. Alternatively, you may 
use one of the methods below to request hard copies or a CD-ROM of the 
documents. Please specify the ``DEA for the West Butte Wind Project'' 
on all correspondence.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies 
or more information by one of the following methods.
     Email: pacific_birds@fws.gov. Include ``DEA for the West 
Butte Wind Project'' in the subject line of the message.
     U.S. Mail: Please address written comments to Michael 
Green, Acting Chief, Division of Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs, 
Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 911 NE 11th Ave, 
Portland, OR 97232.
     Fax: Michael Green, Acting Chief, Division of Migratory 
Birds and Habitat Programs, (503) 231-2019, Attn.: DEA for the West 
Butte Wind Project.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Green, Acting Chief, Division 
of Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, (503) 231-2019 (phone); pacific_birds@fws.gov (email, include 
``DEA for the West Butte Wind Project'' in the subject line of the 
message). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), 
please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-
8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Introduction

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering an application 
under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668a-d; 
BGEPA) for a programmatic golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) take permit 
from West Butte Wind Power, LLC. The company plans to develop the West 
Butte wind-power project in central Oregon, and there is a risk of 
eagle fatalities as a result of the operation of this facility. The 
application includes an avian and bat protection plan combined with an 
eagle conservation plan that describes actions taken and proposed 
future actions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on 
eagles. The eagle conservation plan was developed in collaboration with 
the Service.
    The Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) analyzes the alternatives 
associated with this permit application in light of our BGEPA 
permitting regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 
CFR 22.26. If the results of this analysis lead us to issue this 
permit, it will be the first programmatic permit issued under these new 
regulations, as well as the first eagle take permit issued to a wind-
energy company.

Background

    BGEPA allows us to authorize bald eagle and golden eagle 
programmatic take (take that is recurring, is not caused solely by 
indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term or in a location 
or locations that cannot be specifically identified). Such take must be 
incidental to actions that are otherwise lawful. BGEPA's implementing 
regulations define ``take'' as ``to pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, 
wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest, or disturb 
individuals, their nests and eggs'' (50 CFR 22.3); and ``disturb'' is 
further defined as ``to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a 
degree that causes [hellip] injury to an eagle, [hellip] a decrease in 
its productivity, [hellip] or nest abandonment'' (50 CFR 22.3). The 
West Butte Wind Project potentially will result in one or more 
recurring eagle mortalities over the life of the project, so the 
appropriate type of take permit is the programmatic permit under 50 CFR 
22.26.
    To obtain a programmatic permit under BGEPA and 50 CFR 22.26, the 
applicant must (1) avoid and minimize take to the maximum extent 
achievable; (2) conduct adequate monitoring to determine effects; (3) 
offset through compensatory mitigation any remaining take, such that 
the net effect on the eagle population is, at a minimum, no change for 
eagle management populations that cannot sustain additional mortality; 
and (4) ensure that the direct and indirect effects of the take and 
required mitigation, together with the cumulative effects of other 
permitted take and additional factors affecting eagle populations, are 
compatible with the preservation of bald eagles and golden eagles.

Applicant's Proposal

    The 104-megawatt (MW) project is to be built in Crook and Deschutes 
Counties, Oregon. As a result of monitoring studies conducted on the 
proposed project site, the applicant considers the use of the site by 
eagles to be low, and has requested in their application a permit for 
the legal take of

[[Page 4826]]

``1 to 2 Golden Eagles over the 20 to 30 year life of the project.''
    The applicant developed an eagle conservation plan, following 
recommendations provided by the Service (Draft Eagle Conservation Plan 
Guidance, January 2011, http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/docs/ECP_draft_guidance_2_10_final_clean_omb.pdf ). As recommended in the 
Service's guidance, the applicant's plan outlines avoidance and 
minimization measures and potential advanced conservation practices, 
assesses risk from pre-construction monitoring data, makes commitments 
for mitigating eagle mortalities, and commits to post-construction 
monitoring. This plan was submitted as part of the permit application, 
and if we issue the permit following the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) process, then the conservation commitments would become 
conditions of the permit.
    The Service independently evaluated the risk of eagle fatalities 
from the construction of this project and compared that risk to the 
conservation measures, largely mitigation actions, to which the 
applicant has committed. This is an essential step in the Service's 
evaluation of an application for a permit for programmatic take of 
eagles, since issuing criteria require permitted take to be in 
compliance with the BGEPA's preservation standard. The Service has 
interpreted this standard to require maintenance of stable or 
increasing breeding populations of eagles (74 FR 46836; September 11, 
2009). The evaluation of risk and offsetting conservation measures, and 
the implications for direct, indirect, and cumulative effects under 
three alternatives, are discussed in detail in the DEA.

Next Steps

    The public process for the proposed Federal permit action will be 
completed after the public comment period, at which time we will 
evaluate the permit application and comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the application meets the permitting requirements 
under BGEPA, applicable regulations, and NEPA requirements. Upon 
completion of that evaluation, we will select our course of action.

Public Comments

    We invite public comment on the proposed DEA. If you wish, you may 
submit comments by any one of the methods discussed above under 
ADDRESSES.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comments, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. You can ask us 
in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from 
public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Authority

    We provide this notice under section 668a of the Act (16 U.S.C. 
668-668c) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: January 12, 2012.
Hugh Morrison,
Acting Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2012-1999 Filed 1-30-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P