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Habitat Conservation Plan for Indiana Bat
Buckeye Wind Power Project - Federal Register Notice of Intent
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Indiana Bat; 30-Day Scoping Period for a National Environmental Policy Act Decision on a Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan and Incidental Take Permit
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of intent to conduct a 30-day scoping period for a National Environmental Policy Act decision on a proposed habitat conservation plan and incidental take permit; request for comments.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to prepare a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document for a decision on a proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) and incidental take permit (ITP) for the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) at a wind power project in Champaign County, Ohio. We provide this notice to advise other agencies, tribes, and the public of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of the NEPA review and issues to consider in the planning process. We are also using this opportunity to seek comments on the appropriate level of NEPA review, and whether an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be the appropriate level.
DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by March 1, 2010.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments
by one of the following methods:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Megan Seymour at (614) 416–8993, extension 16. Individuals who are hearing-impaired or speech-impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8337 for TTY assistance.
Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the NEPA document, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ohio Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You may obtain copies of this notice by mail from the Ohio Field Office, or on the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/ midwest/Endangered/permits/hcp/ r3hcps.html.
The project is located in a rural setting, with the landscape primarily composed of agricultural properties. Woodlots are scattered throughout the project area. Several small towns (Mutual and Cable) occur within the project area, and individual homes and low-density residential areas are also scattered throughout. EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc., in conjunction with the Service, has determined that take of Indiana bats is likely to occur from development of the proposed wind power project. To authorize take, EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc. plans to develop an HCP and request issuance of an ITP from the Service. Relevant information provided in response to this notice will aid in developing the HCP and NEPA document, and potentially the ITP, should take be authorized.
At this point, the Service has not developed any alternatives for the NEPA document. Any preferred alternative developed by the Service will contain various measures to avoid and minimize impacts to Indiana bats, including the impact of lethal take. Various methods that may be considered include, but are not limited to: Protection of roost trees and surrounding habitat, set-back distances from known roost trees, mapping and avoidance of foraging areas, protection and enhancement of Indiana bat habitat outside the project area, removal of small woodlots near turbines to preclude expansion of Indiana bat usage near turbines, various curtailment regimes for turbines during prime activity or migration periods, and post-construction monitoring for fatalities.
We furnish this notice under NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22). The intent of the notice is to enable us to obtain suggestions and additional information from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues to be considered.
Dated: December 21, 2009.
Lynn M. Lewis, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort Snelling, MN.
BILLING CODE 4310–55–P
Last updated: October 24, 2012