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Incidental Take Permit for Buckeye Wind Project Issued
Midwest Region, July 18, 2013
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The Buckeye Wind project includes up to 100 wind turbines in Champaign County, Ohio.
The Buckeye Wind project includes up to 100 wind turbines in Champaign County, Ohio. - Photo Credit: Melanie Cota, USFWS

This summer, the Service issued the first incidental take permit for Indiana bats at a wind power facility. The permit was issued to Buckeye Wind, LLC for construction and operation of up to 100 wind turbines in Champaign County, Ohio. The Service and Buckeye Wind have been working toward protection of Indiana bats on this project since 2007, and issuance of the permit is the culmination of this collaborative effort.

 

To obtain the permit, Buckeye Wind submitted a habitat conservation plan, which describes the avoidance, minimization, mitigation, monitoring, and adaptive management that will be implemented to limit take of Indiana bats, and to offset the impact of the take. The Service was responsible for completing a National Environmental Policy Act analysis prior to making a permit decision, to fully evaluate the impact of the project on the human environment. To satisfy NEPA, the Service completed an environmental impact statement , and concurrent with the permit, also issued the Record of Decision, concluding the NEPA process. Additionally, the Service conducted an internal formal consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, resulting in a biological opinion with the finding that the project would not jeopardize the Indiana bat.

Buckeye Wind intends to begin construction on the wind project in late 2013 or early 2014. Minimization measures will be implemented during construction to limit impacts to suitable Indiana bat habitat. Once operational, the turbine blades will be feathered (ie., not spinning) at low wind speeds during the night, from April through October. The wind speeds at which the turbine blades start to spin during these periods are determined by season and habitat quality. Mortality monitoring will occur to ensure that take of Indiana bats does not exceed the quantity allowed by the incidental take permit. Adaptive management will be used to refine operations based on the results of the mortality monitoring.

Development of the habitat conservation plan, environmental impact statement and associated documents involved close coordination with many partners including: Buckeye Wind and its consultant team (Stantec and WEST, Inc.); the Service's Ohio Field Office, Region 3 Regional Office, and other field offices; Department of Interior Solicitors; Ohio Department of Natural Resources; U.S. Geological Survey; Environmental Resources Management; Ohio Public Utilities Commission; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District; Ohio State Historic Preservation Office; and many others.


Contact Info: Megan Seymour, (614) 416-8993 x 16, megan_seymour@fws.gov



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