Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit, High Prairie Wind Energy Facility, Schuyler and Adair Counties, Missouri
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from TG High Prairie, LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), for its High Prairie Wind Energy Facility. If approved, the ITP would be for a 6-year period and would authorize the incidental take of covered species, including the endangered Indiana bat, threatened northern long-eared bat, and the little brown bat, currently under discretionary review. While the ITP is for 6 years, the wind energy project is scheduled to be operational for thirty years and intensive monitoring conducted during this permit term will inform the need for future avoidance or a new long-term ITP that will comply with a new NEPA analysis and habitat conservation plan (HCP). The applicant has prepared a HCP that describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the covered species for the first 6 years. We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment, which has been prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant's proposed HCP, the Service's draft environmental assessment, prepared pursuant to NEPA and associated documents. We provide this notice to seek review and comment from the public and Federal, Tribal, State and local governments.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Status for the Peppered Chub and Designation of Critical Habitat
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the peppered chub (Macrhybopsis tetranema) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The peppered chub is a freshwater fish historically found in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, and is now extirpated in all but approximately 6 percent of its historical range. After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the peppered chub is warranted due to a dramatic reduction in the species' range (a loss of all but one population) and the low resiliency level of the remaining population. The primary stressors affecting the peppered chub are habitat fragmentation and degradation resulting from several sources, as discussed in this document and its supporting materials. Because we have found the species is at risk of extinction, we propose to list the peppered chub as an endangered species under the Act. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would add this species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and extend the Act's protections to the species. We also propose to designate critical habitat for the peppered chub under the Act. The proposed critical habitat designation includes approximately 1,068 river miles (1,719 river kilometers) in four units in Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. We announce the availability of a draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation.