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Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

to support issuance of an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the Federally Endangered Lampsilis higginsii mussel and the candidate mussel species Plethobasus cyphyus related to operations of the Quad Cities Station (QCS)

 

Prepared by:

Exelon Generation

 

Submitted to:
Field Supervisor, United States Department of the Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service
1511 47thAvenue
Moline, Illinois 61265-7022

 

Below is the "Executive Summary" and the "Introduction and Background." Go here for the complete 98-page PDF version of the HCP.

 

Executive Summary

Exelon Generation (Applicant) has prepared this Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to fulfill requirements of Section 10 (a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act to address the potential incidental take of two mussel species: Lampsilis higginsii (Higgins eye pearlymussel) and Plethobasus cyphyus (sheepnose mussel). Downstream of Exelon Generation’s (Exelon) Quad Cities Station (QCS) discharge is a mussel bed, commonly referred to as the Cordova Mussel Bed, which has been designated as one of the essential habitats for the Higgins eye pearlymussel. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service originally listed the Higgins eye pearlymussel as an endangered species on June 14, 1976 (Federal Register, 41 FR 24064). One specimen of sheepnose mussel (Plethobasus cyphyus), which is a candidate for federal listing, was recently collected in the Cordova mussel bed.

 

Based on recent discussions with U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) staff, the sheepnose mussel has been included in this Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) because it is likely to be federally listed in the near future.

 

Exelon plans to apply for an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884) as amended, (ESA) from the USFWS for the potential incidental take of the Higgins eye mussels and sheepnose mussels.

 

The ITP will also serve to authorize Exelon intentional take of Higgins eye and sheepnose mussels associated with implementation of minimization measures (i.e., mussel collection and relocation associated with pre-activity surveys, thermal tolerance studies) and mitigation measures (see Section 5.4). The duration of the requested permit is 24 years.

 

This HCP describes measures that will be implemented by the QCS to minimize and mitigate potential impacts of three activities (Section 3.2): 1) implementation of an alternate thermal standard, 2) periodic maintenance dredging in front of the intake forebay, and 3) the removal of Edison Pier. This HCP also describes measures to ensure that elements of the HCP are properly implemented. Funding sources for implementation, actions to be taken for changed circumstances and unforeseen events, alternatives to the proposed project, and other measures required by USFWS are also addressed in this document.


1.0 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

1.1 Overview/Background

On April 19, 2007, Exelon informed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) of its plans to conduct additional fishery and mussel studies related to the QCS thermal discharge. These additional investigations and studies were planned and implemented to support the QCS Alternative Thermal Standard (ATS) Project to obtain additional fishery and mussel information that, when combined with the extensive data and information previously obtained, should be sufficient to assess whether alternate thermal limits are appropriate for QCS and, if so, what those limits should be. On June 7, 2007, USFWS provided its initial review comments on Exelon’s proposed monitoring plan, including comments regarding how alternate thermal limits potentially could adversely affect the federally listed mussel species. Those listed species currently being considered are the Higgins eye and Sheepnose mussel. USFWS proposed that QCS prepare an HCP and file an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application to ensure the proposed actions are in compliance with the ESA. On August 30, 2007, Exelon met with USFWS to discuss developing such a program. Follow-up discussions with USFWS took place on October 26, 2007. Exelon submitted an initial Draft HCP to the USFWS on January 25, 2008, at which time the formal HCP consultation process began. USFWS provided comments on the Draft HCP on March 4, 2008 and again on April 17, 2008. Exelon submitted revised drafts of the HCP to the USFWS on May 7, 2008, September 15, 2008, December 2, 2008 and February 20, 2009 to continue the formal HCP consultation process. Exelon submitted the HCP to the Illinois DNR and to the Iowa DNR for their review on December 23, 2008.

 

Many agencies, organizations and individuals have been involved in reviewing and overseeing environmental matters related to thermal discharges from QCS since the plant began operating in 1972, and will continue to be involved in the implementation of this HCP. The QCS Biological Steering Committee and the USFWS will provide oversight of the HCP activities. The Steering Committee is composed of the members of the QCS Long-term Monitoring Program Steering Committee (Section 10.0, Appendices) as well as additional experts, both government and non-government, in the mussel field.

 

Back to HCP page

 

Last updated: April 1, 2014