Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Habitat Conservation Plan for the Proposed Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project, Alameda County, California; Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment, 32044-32046 [2020-11369]

Download as PDF 32044 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 103 / Thursday, May 28, 2020 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2019–0116; FXES11140900000–190–FF08E00000] Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Habitat Conservation Plan for the Proposed Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project, Alameda County, California; Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) permit to conduct activities with the potential for take of endangered and threatened species that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out otherwise lawful activities. We invite comments on the applicant’s permit application and habitat conservation plan (HCP), and the associated environmental assessment, which we have prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. We will take comments into consideration before issuance of the requested permit. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by July 29, 2020. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: • Electronic copies: The documents this notice announces, as well as any comments and other materials that we receive, will be available for public inspection online in Docket No. FWS– R8–ES–2019–0116 at http:// www.regulations.gov. You may also obtain electronic copies of the draft Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project Habitat Conservation Plan (draft HCP) and draft environmental assessment (EA) from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office website at http://www.fws.gov/ sacramento. (See FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.) Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Internet: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments under Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2019– 0116. • U.S. mail: Public Comments Processing; Attn: Docket No. FWS–R8– ES–2019–0116; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: PERMA; jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 May 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. For more information, see Public Comment Procedures under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. • Facsimile: 916–414–6713, attn. Ryan Olah. We request that you send comments by only the methods described above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Claudia Funari, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), 916–414–6600 (telephone). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have prepared an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the proposed Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project in response to an application from Rooney Ranch Wind, LLC (applicant) for a 36-year incidental take permit for three species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The application addresses the potential for ‘‘take’’ of the following three federally listed animals: The Central California distinct population segment of the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) (central CTS), the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), and the San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). The applicant would implement a conservation program to minimize and mitigate the project impacts, as described in the applicant’s habitat conservation plan (HCP). We invite comments on the applicant’s permit application, HCP, and the associated EA, which we have prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6. We will take comments into consideration before issuance of the requested permit. The applicant has submitted a draft HCP as part of the application for an ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The draft HCP includes measures necessary to minimize and mitigate the impacts, to the maximum extent practicable, of potential taking of federally listed species to be covered by the HCP, and the habitats upon which they depend, resulting from construction and operation of the proposed Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project within the project area, to include portions of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (APWRA) in Alameda County, California. Background Information Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the take of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered; as applicable to the species affected by the proposed action, the ESA implementing regulations also prohibit take of fish or wildlife species listed as threatened, with exceptions for certain ranching activities on private and tribal lands as described in 50 CFR 17.43(c)(3)(i)–(xi) and 50 CFR 17.43(d)(3)(i)–(xi). Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. For more about the Federal habitat conservation plan (HCP) program, go to http://www.fws.gov/ endangered/esa-library/pdf/hcp.pdf. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires Federal agencies to analyze their proposed actions to determine whether the actions may significantly affect the human environment. In these NEPA analyses, the Federal agency will identify direct, indirect, and cumulative effects, as well as possible mitigation for effects on environmental resources that could occur with implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. Proposed Action Alternative We would issue an ITP to the applicant for a period of 36 years for certain covered activities (described below). The applicant has requested an ITP for three federally listed species. The HCP addresses four types of proposed activities (referred to as covered activities in the HCP): (1) Construction of facilities, (2) operation and maintenance (O&M) of facilities, (3) conservation actions, and (4) restoration actions. The project would consist of the installation of large-scale modern wind turbines with generating capacities between 2.3 and 4.0 megawatts (MW), all generally similar in size and appearance, to develop up to 25.1 MW. The proposed layout would include seven new-generation wind turbines. Generally, existing roads would be used, with temporary widening of approximately 2.7 miles of roads and construction of approximately 0.3 mile of new roads. An existing on-site substation, consisting of an approximately 0.2-acre gravel-covered footprint area, may be expanded by 0.1 acre to accommodate installation of upgraded equipment. Construction activities would result in 1.8 acres of permanent impacts to landcover from the installation of facilities, roads, and turbine structures. Construction activities would also result in 42.9 acres E:\FR\FM\28MYN1.SGM 28MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 103 / Thursday, May 28, 2020 / Notices of temporary land cover impacts from activities such as grading, trenching, excavation, access roads, and staging areas. Operations and maintenance activities would result in temporary landcover disturbance of up to 3.0 acres over the life of the permit. The project would result in 1.8 acres of permanent impacts (construction) and 45.9 acres of temporary impacts (construction + operations/maintenance). jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Habitat Conservation Plan Area The geographic scope of the draft HCP area comprises two separate permit areas: The project permit area and the mitigation permit area. The project permit area encompasses approximately 582 acres within the APWRA in eastern Alameda County, California, consisting of two Santa Clara City-owned parcels between I–580 to the south and Altamont Pass Road to the north. The repowering project would be constructed entirely within the project permit area. The mitigation permit area comprises potential mitigation lands, still to be identified, that the applicant, in coordination with the Service, is evaluating in Alameda County. Based on where the mitigation lands are located in the County, the estimated acreage required of the mitigation site would range from 48.3 to 51.3 acres. When the permit areas are combined, the HCP area will cover approximately 633.3 acres. Covered Activities The proposed ESA section 10 ITP would allow take of three covered species resulting from certain covered activities in the proposed HCP area. The proposed covered activities under this HCP include constructing and installing seven wind turbines and associated electrical facilities and access roads, installing a meteorological tower, a power collection system, expanding a substation as well as maintaining the new wind turbines and the associated facilities, and restoring the site. Specifically, proposed covered activities include grading, excavating to support access roads, trenching to install underground electrical lines, installing erosion-control measures during construction and maintenance covered activities, installation or temporary expansion of gravel roads, pouring a cement footing to support each turbine, installing of other infrastructure, gravel placement for road maintenance, vehicle travel, transport of equipment and supplies, and other similar actions necessary to support the construction, maintenance, and operation of the proposed Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project. All activities VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:32 May 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 associated with monitoring and maintenance of habitat and listed species populations within the mitigation site would also be considered covered activities. The applicant proposes to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the effects to the covered species associated with the covered activities by fully implementing the HCP. The following mitigation measures will be implemented for covered species as part of the HCP: Minimize impact area; avoid injury of covered species during implementation of covered activities through such measures as seasonal and daytime work limitation, the presence of a biological monitor, and the placement of wildlife exclusionary fencing in key areas; avoid habitat impacts associated with erosion and sedimentation generated by covered activities; minimize the risk of projectrelated toxic spills that could adversely affect listed species habitat; restore all temporarily disturbed listed species’ habitat in the HCP area to pre-project conditions within 1 year of disturbance; ensure implementation of the avoidance and minimization measures; offset unavoidable impacts on covered species through the purchase of approximately 48.3 to 51.3 acres of covered species habitat to ensure that temporary and permanent effects are mitigated. Covered Species The applicants have requested an ITP for three federally listed threatened species: The threatened California redlegged frog (Rana draytonii), the threatened Central California distinct population segment (DPS) of the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) (Central California tiger salamander), and the endangered San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). All species included on the ITP would receive assurances under the Service’s ‘‘No Surprises’’ regulations at 50 CFR 17.22(b)(5). National Environmental Policy Act Compliance The draft EA was prepared to analyze the impacts of issuing an ITP based on the draft HCP and to inform the public of the proposed action, alternatives, and associated impacts and to disclose any irreversible commitments of resources. The proposed action presented in the draft EA will be compared to the noaction alternative. The no-action alternative represents estimated future conditions to which the proposed action’s estimated future conditions can be compared. Other alternatives were not considered or addressed in the draft EA, because they did not fulfill the purpose and need of the project. PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32045 No Action Alternative Under the no-action alternative, the HCP would not be implemented, and the proposed ITP would not be issued. There would be no take of federally listed species as a result of the project. This alternative assumes that existing wind power production facilities and approved repowering wind production facilities in the APWRA would continue to operate into the future. Environmental Review and Next Steps As described in our EA, we have made the preliminary determination that approval of the draft HCP and issuance of the permit would qualify as finding of no significant impact (FONSI) under NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as provided by Federal regulations (40 CFR 1500.5(k), 1507.3(b)(2), 1508.4) and the Department of the Interior Manual. Our EA articulates the project effects on all potential resources that could be adversely affected, including aesthetics, air quality and climate change, biological resources, cultural resources, geology, hazardous materials and public safety hazards, hydrology and water quality, noise, and traffic and transportation. It also includes an analysis of alternatives and other required analysis such as unavoidable adverse effects, irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources, and finally, short-term uses versus longterm productivity and cumulative effects. Public Comment Procedures All comments and materials we receive in response to these requests will be available for public review at http://www.regulations.gov. 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. Next Steps Issuance of an ITP is a Federal proposed action subject to compliance with NEPA. The FWS will evaluate the application, associated documents, and any public comments we receive to determine whether the application meets the requirements of NEPA regulations and section 10(a) of the ESA. If the FWS determines that those requirements are met, we will issue a permit to the applicant for the E:\FR\FM\28MYN1.SGM 28MYN1 32046 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 103 / Thursday, May 28, 2020 / Notices incidental take of the covered species from the implementation of the covered activities described in the HCP. A permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Authority We issue this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32), and the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6 and 43 CFR 46.305). Jennifer Norris, Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. 2020–11369 Filed 5–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLMTC02000.L51100000.GA0000. LVEME14CE500] Notice of Termination of Spring Creek Coal Mine Environmental Impact Statement, Big Horn County, MT Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of termination. AGENCY: The preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Spring Creek Coal Mine is no longer necessary and the process is hereby terminated. DATES: This termination takes effect immediately. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Irma Nansel, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, Miles City Field Office, telephone: 406–233–3653, email: inansel@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact Ms. Nansel during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality regulations, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register on December 14, 2016 (81 FR 90380). jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:32 May 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 The EIS was to evaluate the potential impacts of four proposed actions related to coal mining at the Spring Creek Mine in Big Horn County, Montana: (1) Federal Coal Lease by Application; (2) Application To Modify Federal Coal Lease; (3) Application To Amend Land Use Permit; and (4) Application for a Land Use Lease. The proposed actions involved the potential sale of two tracts of Federal coal through a Lease-ByApplication (LBA) and a lease modification application. Both applications covered proposed actions for Federal coal within the Spring Creek Mine. Related to these leasing requests, the EIS would have also evaluated proposed amendments to an existing land use permit to maintain access to mine monitoring and gauging stations and an existing land use lease to provide room for the placement of overburden and infrastructure. Since the publication of the NOI to prepare an EIS, the BLM no longer proposes to take action due to the unknown timeframe to complete required lease transfers to the new company (the previous company filed for bankruptcy after the NOI was published). Lease transfers may be prolonged due to ongoing bankruptcy court proceedings and the primary need to obtain required State permits to continue current mine operations. In addition, depending on the request by the new company owner, the BLM would need to determine the type of NEPA document to be completed for the proposed action while considering the Miles City Field Office Supplemental EIS Record of Decision, which was signed on November 24, 2019. The lack of lease and mine permit transfers in the near future, in addition to an unknown proposed action, has eliminated the need for detailed analysis. Therefore, the BLM hereby terminates preparation of an EIS for the Spring Creek Coal Mine. (Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10) John Mehlhoff, State Director, Montana/Dakotas BLM. [FR Doc. 2020–11441 Filed 5–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–DN–P PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNVL0000–L51100000–GN0000– LVEMF1905850 19X MO #4500144424] Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Robinson Mine Plan of Operations Amendment and Proposed Resource Management Plan Amendment, White Pine County, Nevada Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District (EYDO), Nevada, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Robinson Mine Plan of Operations Amendment and proposed Amendment of the BLM Ely District Resource Management Plan (RMP). By this Notice, BLM is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues. DATES: This Notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS. Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until June 29, 2020. To maximize the opportunity for public input on this project while prioritizing the health and safety of BLM employees and the interested public, BLM will host online virtual public scoping meetings to provide information and gather input on the project. The date(s) and information on how to login and participate in these virtual scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local media and on the BLM website at https://go.usa.gov/xvYad. In order to be considered in the scope of analysis for the Draft EIS, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 30-day scoping period or 15 days after the last public scoping meeting, whichever is later. We will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft EIS. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Robinson Mine Plan of Operations Amendment and Proposed Ely District RMP Amendment by any of the following methods: • Website: https://go.usa.gov/xvYad. • Email: blm_nv_edyo_robinson_eis@ blm.gov. • Mail: BLM Bristlecone Field Office, ATTN: Robinson EIS Project, 702 North Industrial Way, Ely, Nevada 89301. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28MYN1.SGM 28MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 103 (Thursday, May 28, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32044-32046]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-11369]



[[Page 32044]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2019-0116; FXES11140900000-190-FF08E00000]


Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Incidental Take 
Permit Application and Habitat Conservation Plan for the Proposed 
Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project, Alameda County, California; 
Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application for an incidental take permit under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA) permit to conduct activities with the 
potential for take of endangered and threatened species that is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out otherwise lawful 
activities. We invite comments on the applicant's permit application 
and habitat conservation plan (HCP), and the associated environmental 
assessment, which we have prepared pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act. We will take comments into consideration 
before issuance of the requested permit.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
July 29, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents:
     Electronic copies: The documents this notice announces, as 
well as any comments and other materials that we receive, will be 
available for public inspection online in Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2019-
0116 at http://www.regulations.gov.
    You may also obtain electronic copies of the draft Rooney Ranch 
Wind Repowering Project Habitat Conservation Plan (draft HCP) and draft 
environmental assessment (EA) from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife 
Office website at http://www.fws.gov/sacramento. (See FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.)
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
     Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments under Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2019-
0116.
     U.S. mail: Public Comments Processing; Attn: Docket No. 
FWS-R8-ES-2019-0116; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: 
PERMA; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

    For more information, see Public Comment Procedures under 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
     Facsimile: 916-414-6713, attn. Ryan Olah.

    We request that you send comments by only the methods described 
above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Claudia Funari, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), 916-
414-6600 (telephone). If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-
8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have 
prepared an environmental assessment under the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) for the proposed Rooney Ranch Wind Repowering Project 
in response to an application from Rooney Ranch Wind, LLC (applicant) 
for a 36-year incidental take permit for three species under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). The application addresses the potential for ``take'' of the 
following three federally listed animals: The Central California 
distinct population segment of the California tiger salamander 
(Ambystoma californiense) (central CTS), the California red-legged frog 
(Rana draytonii), and the San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). 
The applicant would implement a conservation program to minimize and 
mitigate the project impacts, as described in the applicant's habitat 
conservation plan (HCP). We invite comments on the applicant's permit 
application, HCP, and the associated EA, which we have prepared 
pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended 
(NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing regulations in the 
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6. We will take 
comments into consideration before issuance of the requested permit.
    The applicant has submitted a draft HCP as part of the application 
for an ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The draft HCP includes 
measures necessary to minimize and mitigate the impacts, to the maximum 
extent practicable, of potential taking of federally listed species to 
be covered by the HCP, and the habitats upon which they depend, 
resulting from construction and operation of the proposed Rooney Ranch 
Wind Repowering Project within the project area, to include portions of 
the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in Alameda County, 
California.

Background Information

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the take of fish or wildlife species 
listed as endangered; as applicable to the species affected by the 
proposed action, the ESA implementing regulations also prohibit take of 
fish or wildlife species listed as threatened, with exceptions for 
certain ranching activities on private and tribal lands as described in 
50 CFR 17.43(c)(3)(i)-(xi) and 50 CFR 17.43(d)(3)(i)-(xi). Regulations 
governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 
17.22 and 17.32. For more about the Federal habitat conservation plan 
(HCP) program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/hcp.pdf.
    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) requires Federal agencies to analyze their proposed actions to 
determine whether the actions may significantly affect the human 
environment. In these NEPA analyses, the Federal agency will identify 
direct, indirect, and cumulative effects, as well as possible 
mitigation for effects on environmental resources that could occur with 
implementation of the proposed action and alternatives.

Proposed Action Alternative

    We would issue an ITP to the applicant for a period of 36 years for 
certain covered activities (described below). The applicant has 
requested an ITP for three federally listed species. The HCP addresses 
four types of proposed activities (referred to as covered activities in 
the HCP): (1) Construction of facilities, (2) operation and maintenance 
(O&M) of facilities, (3) conservation actions, and (4) restoration 
actions. The project would consist of the installation of large-scale 
modern wind turbines with generating capacities between 2.3 and 4.0 
megawatts (MW), all generally similar in size and appearance, to 
develop up to 25.1 MW. The proposed layout would include seven new-
generation wind turbines. Generally, existing roads would be used, with 
temporary widening of approximately 2.7 miles of roads and construction 
of approximately 0.3 mile of new roads. An existing on-site substation, 
consisting of an approximately 0.2-acre gravel-covered footprint area, 
may be expanded by 0.1 acre to accommodate installation of upgraded 
equipment. Construction activities would result in 1.8 acres of 
permanent impacts to landcover from the installation of facilities, 
roads, and turbine structures. Construction activities would also 
result in 42.9 acres

[[Page 32045]]

of temporary land cover impacts from activities such as grading, 
trenching, excavation, access roads, and staging areas. Operations and 
maintenance activities would result in temporary landcover disturbance 
of up to 3.0 acres over the life of the permit. The project would 
result in 1.8 acres of permanent impacts (construction) and 45.9 acres 
of temporary impacts (construction + operations/maintenance).

Habitat Conservation Plan Area

    The geographic scope of the draft HCP area comprises two separate 
permit areas: The project permit area and the mitigation permit area. 
The project permit area encompasses approximately 582 acres within the 
APWRA in eastern Alameda County, California, consisting of two Santa 
Clara City-owned parcels between I-580 to the south and Altamont Pass 
Road to the north. The repowering project would be constructed entirely 
within the project permit area. The mitigation permit area comprises 
potential mitigation lands, still to be identified, that the applicant, 
in coordination with the Service, is evaluating in Alameda County. 
Based on where the mitigation lands are located in the County, the 
estimated acreage required of the mitigation site would range from 48.3 
to 51.3 acres. When the permit areas are combined, the HCP area will 
cover approximately 633.3 acres.

Covered Activities

    The proposed ESA section 10 ITP would allow take of three covered 
species resulting from certain covered activities in the proposed HCP 
area. The proposed covered activities under this HCP include 
constructing and installing seven wind turbines and associated 
electrical facilities and access roads, installing a meteorological 
tower, a power collection system, expanding a substation as well as 
maintaining the new wind turbines and the associated facilities, and 
restoring the site. Specifically, proposed covered activities include 
grading, excavating to support access roads, trenching to install 
underground electrical lines, installing erosion-control measures 
during construction and maintenance covered activities, installation or 
temporary expansion of gravel roads, pouring a cement footing to 
support each turbine, installing of other infrastructure, gravel 
placement for road maintenance, vehicle travel, transport of equipment 
and supplies, and other similar actions necessary to support the 
construction, maintenance, and operation of the proposed Rooney Ranch 
Wind Repowering Project. All activities associated with monitoring and 
maintenance of habitat and listed species populations within the 
mitigation site would also be considered covered activities.
    The applicant proposes to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the effects 
to the covered species associated with the covered activities by fully 
implementing the HCP. The following mitigation measures will be 
implemented for covered species as part of the HCP: Minimize impact 
area; avoid injury of covered species during implementation of covered 
activities through such measures as seasonal and daytime work 
limitation, the presence of a biological monitor, and the placement of 
wildlife exclusionary fencing in key areas; avoid habitat impacts 
associated with erosion and sedimentation generated by covered 
activities; minimize the risk of project-related toxic spills that 
could adversely affect listed species habitat; restore all temporarily 
disturbed listed species' habitat in the HCP area to pre-project 
conditions within 1 year of disturbance; ensure implementation of the 
avoidance and minimization measures; offset unavoidable impacts on 
covered species through the purchase of approximately 48.3 to 51.3 
acres of covered species habitat to ensure that temporary and permanent 
effects are mitigated.

Covered Species

    The applicants have requested an ITP for three federally listed 
threatened species: The threatened California red-legged frog (Rana 
draytonii), the threatened Central California distinct population 
segment (DPS) of the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma 
californiense) (Central California tiger salamander), and the 
endangered San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). All species 
included on the ITP would receive assurances under the Service's ``No 
Surprises'' regulations at 50 CFR 17.22(b)(5).

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The draft EA was prepared to analyze the impacts of issuing an ITP 
based on the draft HCP and to inform the public of the proposed action, 
alternatives, and associated impacts and to disclose any irreversible 
commitments of resources. The proposed action presented in the draft EA 
will be compared to the no-action alternative. The no-action 
alternative represents estimated future conditions to which the 
proposed action's estimated future conditions can be compared. Other 
alternatives were not considered or addressed in the draft EA, because 
they did not fulfill the purpose and need of the project.

No Action Alternative

    Under the no-action alternative, the HCP would not be implemented, 
and the proposed ITP would not be issued. There would be no take of 
federally listed species as a result of the project. This alternative 
assumes that existing wind power production facilities and approved 
repowering wind production facilities in the APWRA would continue to 
operate into the future.

Environmental Review and Next Steps

    As described in our EA, we have made the preliminary determination 
that approval of the draft HCP and issuance of the permit would qualify 
as finding of no significant impact (FONSI) under NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 
et seq.), as provided by Federal regulations (40 CFR 1500.5(k), 
1507.3(b)(2), 1508.4) and the Department of the Interior Manual. Our EA 
articulates the project effects on all potential resources that could 
be adversely affected, including aesthetics, air quality and climate 
change, biological resources, cultural resources, geology, hazardous 
materials and public safety hazards, hydrology and water quality, 
noise, and traffic and transportation. It also includes an analysis of 
alternatives and other required analysis such as unavoidable adverse 
effects, irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources, and 
finally, short-term uses versus long-term productivity and cumulative 
effects.

Public Comment Procedures

    All comments and materials we receive in response to these requests 
will be available for public review at http://www.regulations.gov.
    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.

Next Steps

    Issuance of an ITP is a Federal proposed action subject to 
compliance with NEPA. The FWS will evaluate the application, associated 
documents, and any public comments we receive to determine whether the 
application meets the requirements of NEPA regulations and section 
10(a) of the ESA. If the FWS determines that those requirements are 
met, we will issue a permit to the applicant for the

[[Page 32046]]

incidental take of the covered species from the implementation of the 
covered activities described in the HCP. A permit decision will be made 
no sooner than 30 days after the date of publication of this notice in 
the Federal Register.

Authority

    We issue this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 
17.32), and the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6 and 43 CFR 
46.305).

Jennifer Norris,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2020-11369 Filed 5-27-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P