Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Maricopa Sun Solar Complex Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan, Kern County, California, 72696-72698 [2014-28696]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 72696 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 235 / Monday, December 8, 2014 / Notices 2. Any individual or entity, and any Related Party (as such term is defined in the Qualification Statement) of such individual or entity, that is a mortgagor, healthcare operator, or a member of a hospital Board of Directors with respect to any of HUD’s multifamily and/or healthcare programs (excluding the Mortgage Loan being offered in the Loan Sale) and that has failed to file financial statements or is otherwise in default under such mortgage loan or is in violation or noncompliance of any regulatory or business agreements with HUD and fails to cure such default or violation by no later than December 3, 2014. 3. Any individual or entity that is debarred, suspended, or excluded from doing business with HUD pursuant to Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 24, and Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 2424; 4. Any contractor, subcontractor and/ or consultant or advisor (including any agent, employee, partner, director, principal or affiliate of any of the foregoing) who performed services for, or on behalf of, HUD in connection with HLS 2015–1; 5. An FHA-approved mortgagee, including any principals, affiliates, or assigns thereof, that has received FHA insurance benefits for the same Mortgage Loan being offered in the Loan Sale; 6. An FHA-approved mortgagee and/ or loan servicer, including any principals, affiliates, or assigns thereof, that originated the Mortgage Loan being offered in the Loan Sale if the Mortgage Loan defaulted within two years of origination and resulted in the payment of an FHA insurance claim; 7. Any employee of HUD, a member of such employee’s family, or an entity owned or controlled by any such employee or member of such an employee’s family; 8. Any individual or entity that uses the services, directly or indirectly, of any person or entity ineligible under provisions (1) through (7) above to assist in preparing its bid on the Mortgage Loan.10. Any affiliate, principal or employee of any person or entity that, within the two-year period prior to December 1, 2014, serviced the Mortgage Loan or performed other services for or on behalf of HUD; 9. Any contractor or subcontractor to HUD that otherwise had access to information concerning the Mortgage Loan on behalf of HUD or provided services to any person or entity which, within the two-year period prior to December 1, 2014, had access to information with respect to the Mortgage Loan on behalf of HUD; VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:19 Dec 05, 2014 Jkt 235001 10. Any employee, officer, director or any other person that provides or will provide services to the prospective bidder with respect to the Mortgage Loan during any warranty period established for the Loan Sale, that serviced the Mortgage Loan or performed other services for or on behalf of HUD within the two-year period prior to December 1, 2014, or provided services to any person or entity which serviced, performed services or otherwise had access to information with respect to the Mortgage Loan for or on behalf of HUD. The Qualification Statement provides further details pertaining to eligibility requirements. Prospective bidders should carefully review the Qualification Statement to determine whether they are eligible to submit bids on the Mortgage Loan in HLS 2015–1. Freedom of Information Act Requests HUD reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to disclose information regarding HLS 2015–1, including, but not limited to, the identity of any successful bidder and its bid price or bid percentage for the Mortgage Loan, upon the closing of the sale of the Mortgage Loan. Even if HUD elects not to publicly disclose any information relating to HLS 2015–1, HUD will have the right to disclose any information that HUD is obligated to disclose pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and all regulations promulgated thereunder. Scope of Notice This notice applies to HLS 2015–1 and does not establish HUD’s policy for the sale of other mortgage loans. Dated: November 26, 2014. Biniam Gebre, Acting Assistant Secretary for Housing— Federal Housing Commissioner. Laura M. Marin, Associate General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing—Associate Deputy Federal Housing Commissioner. [FR Doc. 2014–28701 Filed 12–5–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2014–N242; FXES11120800000–145–FF08E00000] Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Maricopa Sun Solar Complex Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan, Kern County, California Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Maricopa Sun Solar Complex Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and its implementing regulations, as well as in compliance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The final EIS was updated to address the comments received on the 2014 draft EIS and considers the environmental effects of issuing an incidental take permit for five animal species in response to the application from Maricopa Sun, LLC (Applicant). The Applicant has prepared the final Maricopa Sun Solar Complex Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to describe and implement a conservation plan that will minimize and mitigate environmental effects associated with the incidental take of five animal species (‘‘Covered Species’’) associated with the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of an up to 700 megawatt photo-voltaic power generating facility and implementation of conservation actions associated with the HCP in Kern County, California. DATES: A Record of Decision will be signed no sooner than 30 days after the publication date announcing this final EIS. We will accept comments received by January 7, 2015. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download copies of the final EIS and final HCP from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office Web site at http:// www.fws.gov/sacramento. Alternatively you may use one of the methods below to request a CD–ROM of the documents. Please send your requests or comments by any one of the following methods. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more information by one of the following methods. • U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Sacramento Fish and Wildlife SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\08DEN1.SGM 08DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 235 / Monday, December 8, 2014 / Notices Office; Attn: Mr. Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Division; 2800 Cottage Way, W–2605, Sacramento, CA 95825. • In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Telephone 916–414–6600 to make an appointment during regular business hours to drop off comments or view received comments at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. • Fax: Mr. Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Division, 916– 414–6713. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Division, or Eric Tattersall, Deputy Assistant Field Supervisor, at the address in ADDRESSES or at (916) 414–6600 (telephone). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877–8339 to contact the above individuals during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individuals. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice announces the availability of the final EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321–4347 et seq.; NEPA), and its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1500–1508, as well as in compliance with section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531–1544 et seq.; Act). mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Background Information Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531– 1544 et seq.) and Federal regulations at 50 CFR 17 prohibit the taking of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened under section 4 of the Act. Take of federally listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act as to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in such conduct’’ 16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term ‘‘harm’’ is defined in the regulations as ‘‘an act which actually kills or injures wildlife such act may include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering’’ (50 CFR 17.3). However, under specified circumstances, the Service may issue permits that allow the take of federally listed fish or wildlife species, provided that the take that occurs is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:19 Dec 05, 2014 Jkt 235001 Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act contains provisions for issuing such incidental take permits to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: (1) The taking will be incidental; (2) The applicants will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking; (3) The applicants will develop a proposed HCP and ensure that adequate funding for the HCP will be provided; (4) The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (5) The applicants will carry out any other measures that the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. The final HCP addresses, and the Applicant seeks incidental take authorization for, five animal species (three federally endangered and two federally non-listed). The proposed permit would provide take authorization for all species identified in the final HCP as Covered Species. Take authorized for listed Covered Species would be effective upon permit issuance. Take authorization for currently non-listed Covered Species would become effective concurrent with listing, should the species be listed under the Act during the proposed 35year Permit Term. The following three federally listed endangered species are included as Covered Species in the HCP: Bluntnosed leopard lizard (Gambelia sila), Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides), and San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). The following two federally non-listed species are included as Covered Species in the HCP: Western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) and Nelson’s antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus nelsoni). Activities proposed for coverage under the incidental take permit (‘‘Covered Activities’’) include, but are not limited to the following general categories: Construction and operation activities within Solar Sites; management and maintenance activities within Movement Corridors; management activities within the areas designated for conservation (Conservation Sites), including monitoring and reporting actions; activities associated with implementation of the conservation program specified in the final HCP; PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 72697 decommissioning; and implementation of the conservation program. Construction-related activities could include grading and compaction, trenching, paving of access roads, installation of solar arrays, meteorological stations, transmission lines, septic leech fields, fencing, and landscaping. Construction of solar facilities on all sites is anticipated to be completed over an 8-to-10-year period from the commencement of the initial development; however, could it extend to a 10-to-15-year period. Construction of the project will occur in a series of approximately 1-megawatt blocks, generally consisting of 5 to 8.64 acres each. It is anticipated that construction of each section (640 acres) within the Maricopa Sun Solar Complex will take 12 to 18 months. Operation-related activities could include solar panel maintenance, on-site parking, operation of solar modules, inspection, and repair of equipment, and operation of lighting. Typical activities associated with decommissioning of the solar energy facility include removal of all solar electric systems, buildings, cabling, electrical components, breaking up of concrete pads and foundations, removal of access roads, additional grading, and replacement of soil disturbed from decommissioning. Preservation/ enhancement and conservation plan management activities could include vegetation control (i.e., grazing and mowing), fence installation, special status species monitoring (i.e., surveys such as trapping, use of remote cameras and spotlighting), and habitat restoration and creation. The proposed Covered Activities related to development and operations and maintenance of the solar sites would result in the permanent or temporary disturbance of up to 3,798 acres of existing land cover within the proposed 5,784-acre Permit Area. The proposed Covered Activities related to management of the Conservation Sites would also result in some disturbance of land cover, but overall these actions are expected to benefit the Covered Species. The Solar Site Parcels encompass 3,798 acres (plus 91 acres of existing public easements), and Conservation Sites total 1,894 acres. The Covered Lands are primarily comprised of currently undeveloped and vacant agricultural land, and are relatively flat. Surrounding land uses are both active and inactive agricultural land; they also include lands designated as flood hazard areas, public facilities, lands designated for the protection of important watershed recharge areas or wildlife habitat, lands having important value as a buffer between resource areas E:\FR\FM\08DEN1.SGM 08DEN1 72698 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 235 / Monday, December 8, 2014 / Notices and urban areas, and lands designated for industrial uses. Covered Activity impacts to existing land cover types were used as a surrogate to identify maximum potential impacts to species and the potential take of each Covered Species. The proposed HCP conservation strategy prescribes conditions for implementing each Covered Activity that avoid or minimize potential take of the Covered Species, and identifies mitigation for species impacts that cannot be avoided. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance Our proposed permit issuance decision triggers compliance with NEPA, which requires that environmental information be available to public officials and citizens before Federal decisions are made and before Federal actions are taken. We formally initiated an environmental review of the draft EIS through publication of a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare a draft EIS in the Federal Register on Friday, December 23, 2011 (76 FR 80385). That notice also announced a public scoping period, during which we invited interested parties to provide written comments expressing their issues or concerns related to the proposal. A public scoping meeting was held in Bakersfield, California, on January 23, 2012. We prepared a draft EIS and published a notice of availability (NOA) in the Federal Register on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 (79 FR 30638). We received one comment letter on the draft EIS. A response to the comment received has been included in the final EIS and revisions to the final EIS. The analysis provided in the final EIS is intended to accomplish the following: Inform the public of the Service’s proposed permit action and alternatives and the environmental impacts of the alternatives, and address public comments received on the draft EIS. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Public Comments The Service invites the public to review the permit application, final EIS, and final HCP during the public comment period (see DATES). You may submit any comments and materials by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. Before including your address, phone number, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—might 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:19 Dec 05, 2014 Jkt 235001 cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Next Steps We will evaluate the application, associated documents, and comments submitted to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. The Service will then prepare a Record of Decision. A permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 days after the publication of the final EIS notice in the Federal Register and completion of the Record of Decision. Dated: December 2, 2014. Paul B. McKim Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. 2014–28696 Filed 12–5–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNML00000 L71220000.FR0000 LVTFG13G4430; NMNM 124261] Notice of Realty Action: Proposed Non-Competitive Lease of Public Land in Sierra County, NM Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Las Cruces District Office, proposes to lease two parcels of public land totaling 4.12 acres in Sierra County, New Mexico, for agricultural purposes (pecan orchard). The subject parcels were inadvertently developed by the adjacent landowner into a pecan orchard without authorization. The area has a long history of agricultural use and the proposed lease would provide the BLM with a reasonable option to resolve the continued unauthorized use of the affected public lands. The BLM proposes to lease the lands for not less than the fair market value to Winder Farm. The BLM White Sands Resource Management Plan, dated October 1986, does not exclude the subject parcel from the authorized officer’s discretion to consider lease proposals in the subject area. DATES: Written comments may be submitted to the address below. The BLM must receive your comments on or before January 22, 2015. ADDRESSES: Send written comments concerning the proposed lease to the District Manager, BLM, Las Cruces District Office, 1800 Marquess Street, Las Cruces, NM 88005. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anthony Hom, Realty Specialist, at the address above, or by telephone at 575– 525–4331, or by email at ahom@ blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individual during business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM has determined that the two parcels of land described below are suitable for consideration as an agricultural lease under Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1732), (FLPMA) and the implementing regulations at 43 CFR 2920. Parcel A: New Mexico Principal Meridian, Sierra County, New Mexico A portion of land situated in the southeast quarter (SE1/4) of the northwest quarter (NW1/4) of section 10, township 18 south, range 7 west, New Mexico Principal Meridian, Sierra County, New Mexico. Depicted in the Survey of Farmed Lands by Underwood Engineering Inc., signed September 16, 2013, and shown as Parcel A and is described as follow: BEGINNING at the northeast corner of PARCEL A. Said point of beginning hereinafter referred as ‘‘Corner No. 1 of Parcel A’’ for this description. From said point of beginning of Parcel A, the center north one-sixteenth (1/16) section corner bears S. 89°15′41″ E., a distance of 309.39 feet. THENCE, S. 16°01′00″ W., a distance of 325.87 feet to corner No. 2 of Parcel A; THENCE, N. 81°28′42″ W., a distance of 414.02 feet to corner No. 3 of Parcel A; THENCE, N. 31°47′03″ W., a distance of 290.69 feet to corner No. 4 of Parcel A; THENCE, N. 13°52′20″ W., a distance of 13.63 feet to corner No. 5 of Parcel A; THENCE, S. 89°15′41″ E., a distance of 655.80 feet to the POINT OF BEGINNING OF PARCEL A containing 3.50 acres of land. Parcel B: New Mexico Principal Meridian, Sierra County, New Mexico A portion of land situated in the northeast quarter (NE1⁄4) of the southwest quarter (SW1⁄4) of section 10, township 18 south, range 7 west, New Mexico Principal Meridian, Sierra County, New Mexico. Depicted in the E:\FR\FM\08DEN1.SGM 08DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 235 (Monday, December 8, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 72696-72698]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28696]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2014-N242; FXES11120800000-145-FF08E00000]


Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Maricopa 
Sun Solar Complex Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan, Kern County, 
California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 
Maricopa Sun Solar Complex Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan 
(HCP), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and its implementing regulations, as well as 
in compliance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). The final EIS was updated to address the comments received on 
the 2014 draft EIS and considers the environmental effects of issuing 
an incidental take permit for five animal species in response to the 
application from Maricopa Sun, LLC (Applicant). The Applicant has 
prepared the final Maricopa Sun Solar Complex Habitat Conservation Plan 
(HCP) to describe and implement a conservation plan that will minimize 
and mitigate environmental effects associated with the incidental take 
of five animal species (``Covered Species'') associated with the 
construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of an up to 
700 megawatt photo-voltaic power generating facility and implementation 
of conservation actions associated with the HCP in Kern County, 
California.

DATES: A Record of Decision will be signed no sooner than 30 days after 
the publication date announcing this final EIS. We will accept comments 
received by January 7, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download copies of the final 
EIS and final HCP from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office Web site 
at http://www.fws.gov/sacramento. Alternatively you may use one of the 
methods below to request a CD-ROM of the documents. Please send your 
requests or comments by any one of the following methods.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies 
or more information by one of the following methods.
     U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Sacramento Fish 
and Wildlife

[[Page 72697]]

Office; Attn: Mr. Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Division; 
2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825.
     In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Telephone 916-414-
6600 to make an appointment during regular business hours to drop off 
comments or view received comments at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife 
Office.
     Fax: Mr. Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning 
Division, 916-414-6713.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation 
Planning Division, or Eric Tattersall, Deputy Assistant Field 
Supervisor, at the address in ADDRESSES or at (916) 414-6600 
(telephone). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 
877-8339 to contact the above individuals during normal business hours. 
The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message 
or question with the above individuals. You will receive a reply during 
normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice announces the availability of 
the final EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347 et seq.; NEPA), and its implementing 
regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1500-
1508, as well as in compliance with section 10(c) of the Endangered 
Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.; Act).

Background Information

    Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations at 50 CFR 17 prohibit the taking of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered or threatened under section 4 of the Act. 
Take of federally listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act as 
to ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect, or attempt to engage in such conduct'' 16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). 
The term ``harm'' is defined in the regulations as ``an act which 
actually kills or injures wildlife such act may include significant 
habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures 
wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, feeding, or sheltering'' (50 CFR 17.3). However, 
under specified circumstances, the Service may issue permits that allow 
the take of federally listed fish or wildlife species, provided that 
the take that occurs is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an 
otherwise lawful activity.
    Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species 
are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Act contains provisions for issuing such incidental take permits to 
non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, 
provided the following criteria are met:
    (1) The taking will be incidental;
    (2) The applicants will, to the maximum extent practicable, 
minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking;
    (3) The applicants will develop a proposed HCP and ensure that 
adequate funding for the HCP will be provided;
    (4) The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the 
survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and
    (5) The applicants will carry out any other measures that the 
Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes 
of the HCP.
    The final HCP addresses, and the Applicant seeks incidental take 
authorization for, five animal species (three federally endangered and 
two federally non-listed). The proposed permit would provide take 
authorization for all species identified in the final HCP as Covered 
Species. Take authorized for listed Covered Species would be effective 
upon permit issuance. Take authorization for currently non-listed 
Covered Species would become effective concurrent with listing, should 
the species be listed under the Act during the proposed 35-year Permit 
Term.
    The following three federally listed endangered species are 
included as Covered Species in the HCP: Blunt-nosed leopard lizard 
(Gambelia sila), Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides 
nitratoides), and San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). The 
following two federally non-listed species are included as Covered 
Species in the HCP: Western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) and 
Nelson's antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus nelsoni).
    Activities proposed for coverage under the incidental take permit 
(``Covered Activities'') include, but are not limited to the following 
general categories: Construction and operation activities within Solar 
Sites; management and maintenance activities within Movement Corridors; 
management activities within the areas designated for conservation 
(Conservation Sites), including monitoring and reporting actions; 
activities associated with implementation of the conservation program 
specified in the final HCP; decommissioning; and implementation of the 
conservation program.
    Construction-related activities could include grading and 
compaction, trenching, paving of access roads, installation of solar 
arrays, meteorological stations, transmission lines, septic leech 
fields, fencing, and landscaping. Construction of solar facilities on 
all sites is anticipated to be completed over an 8-to-10-year period 
from the commencement of the initial development; however, could it 
extend to a 10-to-15-year period. Construction of the project will 
occur in a series of approximately 1-megawatt blocks, generally 
consisting of 5 to 8.64 acres each. It is anticipated that construction 
of each section (640 acres) within the Maricopa Sun Solar Complex will 
take 12 to 18 months. Operation-related activities could include solar 
panel maintenance, on-site parking, operation of solar modules, 
inspection, and repair of equipment, and operation of lighting. Typical 
activities associated with decommissioning of the solar energy facility 
include removal of all solar electric systems, buildings, cabling, 
electrical components, breaking up of concrete pads and foundations, 
removal of access roads, additional grading, and replacement of soil 
disturbed from decommissioning. Preservation/enhancement and 
conservation plan management activities could include vegetation 
control (i.e., grazing and mowing), fence installation, special status 
species monitoring (i.e., surveys such as trapping, use of remote 
cameras and spotlighting), and habitat restoration and creation.
    The proposed Covered Activities related to development and 
operations and maintenance of the solar sites would result in the 
permanent or temporary disturbance of up to 3,798 acres of existing 
land cover within the proposed 5,784-acre Permit Area. The proposed 
Covered Activities related to management of the Conservation Sites 
would also result in some disturbance of land cover, but overall these 
actions are expected to benefit the Covered Species. The Solar Site 
Parcels encompass 3,798 acres (plus 91 acres of existing public 
easements), and Conservation Sites total 1,894 acres. The Covered Lands 
are primarily comprised of currently undeveloped and vacant 
agricultural land, and are relatively flat. Surrounding land uses are 
both active and inactive agricultural land; they also include lands 
designated as flood hazard areas, public facilities, lands designated 
for the protection of important watershed recharge areas or wildlife 
habitat, lands having important value as a buffer between resource 
areas

[[Page 72698]]

and urban areas, and lands designated for industrial uses. Covered 
Activity impacts to existing land cover types were used as a surrogate 
to identify maximum potential impacts to species and the potential take 
of each Covered Species. The proposed HCP conservation strategy 
prescribes conditions for implementing each Covered Activity that avoid 
or minimize potential take of the Covered Species, and identifies 
mitigation for species impacts that cannot be avoided.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    Our proposed permit issuance decision triggers compliance with 
NEPA, which requires that environmental information be available to 
public officials and citizens before Federal decisions are made and 
before Federal actions are taken. We formally initiated an 
environmental review of the draft EIS through publication of a notice 
of intent (NOI) to prepare a draft EIS in the Federal Register on 
Friday, December 23, 2011 (76 FR 80385). That notice also announced a 
public scoping period, during which we invited interested parties to 
provide written comments expressing their issues or concerns related to 
the proposal. A public scoping meeting was held in Bakersfield, 
California, on January 23, 2012. We prepared a draft EIS and published 
a notice of availability (NOA) in the Federal Register on Wednesday, 
May 28, 2014 (79 FR 30638). We received one comment letter on the draft 
EIS. A response to the comment received has been included in the final 
EIS and revisions to the final EIS. The analysis provided in the final 
EIS is intended to accomplish the following: Inform the public of the 
Service's proposed permit action and alternatives and the environmental 
impacts of the alternatives, and address public comments received on 
the draft EIS.

Public Comments

    The Service invites the public to review the permit application, 
final EIS, and final HCP during the public comment period (see DATES). 
You may submit any comments and materials by one of the methods listed 
in ADDRESSES. Before including your address, phone number, or other 
personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware 
that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--might 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.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the application, associated documents, and 
comments submitted to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. The Service will then prepare 
a Record of Decision. A permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 
days after the publication of the final EIS notice in the Federal 
Register and completion of the Record of Decision.

    Dated: December 2, 2014.
Paul B. McKim
Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest 
Region, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2014-28696 Filed 12-5-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P