Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft Environmental Assessment; Shiloh IV Wind Project, Solano County, California, 59710-59711 [2013-23732]

Download as PDF 59710 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 188 / Friday, September 27, 2013 / Notices at the address shown above or at (916) 414–6651 (telephone). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–MB–2013–N138; FXMB12320100000P2–123–FF01M01000] Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft Environmental Assessment; Shiloh IV Wind Project, Solano County, California Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment. AGENCY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availably of a draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the issuance of a take permit for golden eagles pursuant to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act), in association with the operation of the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, California. The DEA was prepared in response to an application from Shiloh IV Wind Project, LLC (applicant), an affiliate of EDF Renewable Development, Incorporated, for a 5-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) under the Eagle Act. The applicant would implement a conservation program to avoid, minimize, and compensate for the project’s impacts to eagles, as described in the applicant’s Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP). We invite public comment on the DEA, which evaluates alternatives for this permit. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received on or before November 12, 2013. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download copies of the DEA on the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/cno/ conservation/migratorybirds.html. Alternatively, you may use one of the methods below to request a CD–ROM of the document. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more information by one of the following methods. • Email: ShilohIV_comments@ fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Regional Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W–2605, Sacramento, CA 95825. • Fax: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, 916–414–6486, Attn: Shiloh IV Wind Project DEA Comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:21 Sep 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 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; Eagle Act) for a programmatic golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) take permit from the Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, (applicant) an affiliate of EDF Renewable Development, Incorporated, for a 5-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles. The Shiloh IV Wind Project is an existing, operational wind facility in the Montezuma Hills Wind Resource Area (WRA) within Solano County, California. The application includes an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) as the foundation of the applicant’s permit application, as well as a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy (BBCS). The ECP and BBCS describe actions taken and proposed future actions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on eagles, birds, and bats. We have prepared this DEA to evaluate the impacts of several alternatives associated with this permit application for compliance with our Eagle Act permitting regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 22.26, as well as impacts of implementation of the supporting ECP, which is included as an appendix to the DEA. Background The Eagle Act 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. The Eagle Act’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 . . . (1) injury to an eagle, . . . (2) a decrease in its productivity, . . . or (3) nest abandonment’’ (50 CFR 22.3). The Shiloh IV Wind Project will result in 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. We may consider issuance of programmatic eagle take permits if: (1) The incidental take is necessary to protect legitimate interests; (2) the take PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 is compatible with the preservation standard of the Eagle Act—providing for stable or increasing breeding populations; (3) the take has been avoided and minimized to the degree achievable though implementation of Advanced Compensation Practices (ACPs), and the remaining take is unavoidable; and (4) compensatory mitigation will be provided for any remaining take. The Service must determine 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 permit applicant, Shiloh IV, is operating a 100-megawatt (MW) commercial wind-energy facility, consisting of 50 wind turbines, each with a 2–MW generation capacity, in the Montezuma Hills WRA of Solano County, California. This project was constructed adjacent to other existing wind-energy-producing facilities. The recently constructed (December 2012) Shiloh IV Wind Project was a repowering and infill project entailing the decommissioning and removal of approximately 230 Kennetech wind turbines originally constructed in the late 1980s. The applicant submitted an ECP on August 3, 2012 that was developed following recommendations provided by the Service and consistent with our January 2011 Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance (http://www.fws.gov/ windenergy/docs/ECP_draft_guidance_ 2_10_final_clean_omb.pdf). As recommended in the Service’s draft guidance, the applicant’s plan outlines avoidance and minimization measures, contains a risk assessment, includes experimental advanced conservation practices, and adaptive management. The applicant submitted the ECP 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 project operations and compared that risk to the conservation measures 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 because issuing criteria require permitted take to comply with the Eagle Acts’s preservation standard. The Service has E:\FR\FM\27SEN1.SGM 27SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 188 / Friday, September 27, 2013 / Notices interpreted this standard to require maintenance of stable or increasing breeding populations of eagles (74 FR 46836; September 11, 2009). We evaluate the risk and offsetting conservation measures, and the implications for direct, indirect, and cumulative effects under four alternatives in the DEA. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLWO300000.L14300000.xx0000] Renewal of Approved Information Collection 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 thereupon to determine whether the application meets the permitting requirements under the Eagle Act, applicable regulations, and NEPA requirements. Upon completion of that evaluation, we will select our course of action. We will make the final permit decision no sooner than 30 days after the close of the public comment period. 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 We will consider public comments on the DEA when making the final determination on NEPA compliance and permit issuance. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES We provide this notice under Section 668a of the Eagle Act (16 U.S.C. 668– 668c) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Dated: September 24, 2013. Alexandra Pitts, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. 2013–23732 Filed 9–26–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:21 Sep 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: 60-Day notice and request for comments. AGENCY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) invites public comments on, and plans to request approval to continue, the collection of information from individuals, private entities, and State or local governments seeking leases, permits, and easements for the use, occupancy, or development of public lands administered by the BLM. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has assigned control number 1004–0009 to this information collection. DATES: Please submit comments on the proposed information collection by November 26, 2013. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by mail, fax, or electronic mail. Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street NW., Room 2134LM, Attention: Jean Sonneman, Washington, DC 20240. Fax: to Jean Sonneman at 202–245– 0050. Electronic mail: Jean_Sonneman@ blm.gov. Please indicate ‘‘Attn: 1004–0009’’ regardless of the form of your comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Holdren at 202–912–7335. Persons who use a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339, to leave a message for Mr. Holdren. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB regulations at 5 CFR 1320, which implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501–3521, require that interested members of the public and affected agencies be given an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8 (d) and 1320.12(a)). This notice identifies an information collection that the BLM plans to submit to OMB for approval. The Paperwork Reduction Act provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 59711 of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated to respond. The BLM will request a 3-year term of approval for this information collection activity. Comments are invited on: (1) The need for the collection of information for the performance of the functions of the agency; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s burden estimates; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and (4) ways to minimize the information collection burden on respondents, such as use of automated means of collection of the information. A summary of the public comments will accompany our submission of the information collection requests to OMB. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. The following information is provided for the information collection: Title: Land Use Application and Permit (43 CFR Part 2920). OMB Control Number: 1004–0009. Summary: Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) (43 U.S.C. 1732) and regulations at 43 CFR part 2920 authorize the issuance of leases, permits, and easements for the use, occupancy, or development of public lands administered by the BLM. A variety of land uses are permissible. The burdens to respondents also can vary. Frequency of Collection: On occasion. Forms: Form 2920–1, Land Use Application and Permit. Description of Respondents: Individuals, private entities, and State or local governments seeking leases, permits, and easements for the use, occupancy, or development of public lands. Estimated Annual Responses: 407. Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 1,597. Estimated Annual Non-Hour Costs: $131,760. The following table itemizes the estimated annual burdens for respondents: E:\FR\FM\27SEN1.SGM 27SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 188 (Friday, September 27, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59710-59711]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23732]



[[Page 59710]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-MB-2013-N138; FXMB12320100000P2-123-FF01M01000]


Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft 
Environmental Assessment; Shiloh IV Wind Project, Solano County, 
California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availably of 
a draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) under the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) for the issuance of a take permit for golden eagles 
pursuant to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act), in 
association with the operation of the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano 
County, California. The DEA was prepared in response to an application 
from Shiloh IV Wind Project, LLC (applicant), an affiliate of EDF 
Renewable Development, Incorporated, for a 5-year programmatic take 
permit for golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) under the Eagle Act. The 
applicant would implement a conservation program to avoid, minimize, 
and compensate for the project's impacts to eagles, as described in the 
applicant's Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP). We invite public comment on 
the DEA, which evaluates alternatives for this permit.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received on or 
before November 12, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download copies of the DEA on 
the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/cno/conservation/migratorybirds.html. Alternatively, you may use one of the methods 
below to request a CD-ROM of the document.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies 
or more information by one of the following methods.
     Email: ShilohIV_comments@fws.gov.
     U.S. Mail: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Regional Office, 2800 
Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825.
     Fax: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, 916-414-6486, 
Attn: Shiloh IV Wind Project DEA Comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird 
Program, at the address shown above or at (916) 414-6651 (telephone).

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; Eagle 
Act) for a programmatic golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) take permit 
from the Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, (applicant) an affiliate of EDF 
Renewable Development, Incorporated, for a 5-year programmatic take 
permit for golden eagles. The Shiloh IV Wind Project is an existing, 
operational wind facility in the Montezuma Hills Wind Resource Area 
(WRA) within Solano County, California. The application includes an 
Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) as the foundation of the applicant's 
permit application, as well as a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy 
(BBCS). The ECP and BBCS describe actions taken and proposed future 
actions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on eagles, 
birds, and bats.
    We have prepared this DEA to evaluate the impacts of several 
alternatives associated with this permit application for compliance 
with our Eagle Act permitting regulations in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 22.26, as well as impacts of implementation 
of the supporting ECP, which is included as an appendix to the DEA.

Background

    The Eagle Act 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. The Eagle Act'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 . . . (1) injury to an eagle, . . 
. (2) a decrease in its productivity, . . . or (3) nest abandonment'' 
(50 CFR 22.3). The Shiloh IV Wind Project will result in 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.
    We may consider issuance of programmatic eagle take permits if: (1) 
The incidental take is necessary to protect legitimate interests; (2) 
the take is compatible with the preservation standard of the Eagle 
Act--providing for stable or increasing breeding populations; (3) the 
take has been avoided and minimized to the degree achievable though 
implementation of Advanced Compensation Practices (ACPs), and the 
remaining take is unavoidable; and (4) compensatory mitigation will be 
provided for any remaining take. The Service must determine 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 permit applicant, Shiloh IV, is operating a 100-megawatt (MW) 
commercial wind-energy facility, consisting of 50 wind turbines, each 
with a 2-MW generation capacity, in the Montezuma Hills WRA of Solano 
County, California. This project was constructed adjacent to other 
existing wind-energy-producing facilities. The recently constructed 
(December 2012) Shiloh IV Wind Project was a repowering and infill 
project entailing the decommissioning and removal of approximately 230 
Kennetech wind turbines originally constructed in the late 1980s.
    The applicant submitted an ECP on August 3, 2012 that was developed 
following recommendations provided by the Service and consistent with 
our January 2011 Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance (http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/docs/ECP_draft_guidance_2_10_final_clean_omb.pdf). As recommended in the Service's draft guidance, the 
applicant's plan outlines avoidance and minimization measures, contains 
a risk assessment, includes experimental advanced conservation 
practices, and adaptive management. The applicant submitted the ECP 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 project operations and compared that risk to the conservation 
measures 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 because issuing criteria require permitted 
take to comply with the Eagle Acts's preservation standard. The Service 
has

[[Page 59711]]

interpreted this standard to require maintenance of stable or 
increasing breeding populations of eagles (74 FR 46836; September 11, 
2009). We evaluate the risk and offsetting conservation measures, and 
the implications for direct, indirect, and cumulative effects under 
four alternatives 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 thereupon to 
determine whether the application meets the permitting requirements 
under the Eagle Act, applicable regulations, and NEPA requirements. 
Upon completion of that evaluation, we will select our course of 
action. We will make the final permit decision no sooner than 30 days 
after the close of the public comment period.

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

    We will consider public comments on the DEA when making the final 
determination on NEPA compliance and permit issuance. Before including 
your address, phone number, email address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Authority

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

    Dated: September 24, 2013.
Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2013-23732 Filed 9-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P