[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 26 (Tuesday, February 8, 2011)]
[Pages 6812-6813]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-2680]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-2010-N260; 1112-0000-81420-F2]

Proposed Shiloh III Wind Plant Project, Solano County, CA; 
Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application from enXco and Pacific Gas and Electric Company 
(PG&E) (applicants) for a 36-year incidental take permit for one 
species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The 
application addresses the potential for ``take'' of one Federally 
listed animal, the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma 
californiense) (tiger salamander). The applicants would implement a 
conservation program to minimize and mitigate the project activities, 
as described in the applicants' Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan). We 
request comments on the Plan and the associated draft Environmental 
Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended (NEPA).

DATES: We must receive written comments on or before March 25, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Sheila Larsen, 
Conservation Planning Branch, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 
95825. Alternatively, you may send comments by facsimile to (916) 414-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sheila Larsen or Mike Thomas, Chief, 
Conservation Planning, at the address shown above or at (916) 414-6600 


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the Plan and EA from the individuals in 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Copies of these documents are 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during regular 
business hours, at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES). These documents are also available electronically for 
review on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office Web site at http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/.

Background Information

    Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing 
Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' of fish or wildlife species 
listed as endangered or threatened. ``Take'' is defined under the Act 
to include the following activities: To harass, harm, pursue, hunt, 
shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed animal species, or 
to attempt to engage in such conduct. However, under section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, we may issue permits to authorize incidental 
take of listed species. ``Incidental take'' is defined by the Act as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an 
otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take 
permits for endangered and threatened species, respectively, are in the 
Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32. All 
species included in the incidental take permit would receive assurances 
under our ``No Surprises'' regulations (50 CFR 17.22(b)(5) and 
    The Shiloh III Wind Plant Project would be constructed within an 
approximately 4,600-acre project area in the Collinsville-Montezuma 
Hills Wind Resources Area, immediately south of State Route 12 in 
Solano County, California (Plan Area). The Plan Area is adjacent to 
existing energy-producing facilities, most notably wind turbine 
generators in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District project area, 
the High Winds LLC project area, the enXco V (formerly U.S. Windpower) 
project area, and the Shiloh I and Shiloh II project areas.
    The applicants propose to develop a wind energy facility that would 
deliver renewable energy to the PG&E/California Independent System 
Operator power grid. Up to 59 wind turbines would be built in the Plan 
Area. The project would be constructed in a location that supports 
suitable habitat for tiger salamander, a species listed as threatened 
under the Act. The tiger salamander is the only proposed ``Covered 
    The ``Covered Activities'' included in the Plan include the 
construction and installation of wind turbines and associated 
facilities and access roads, maintenance of the wind turbines and 
associated facilities, and decommissioning of the site. Seventeen of 
the 59 turbines are located within tiger salamander grassland habitat, 
and 42 of the turbines are located in cultivated agricultural lands. 
The project is expected to result in permanent loss of 15 acres of 
grasslands. The project is expected to result in temporary loss of 70 
acres of grasslands (65 acres during construction and up to 5 acres for 
maintenance activities) and would be restored within 1 year of impact.
    The applicants propose to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the effects 
to the tiger salamander associated with the Covered Activities by fully 
implementing the Plan. The following mitigation measures will be 
implemented as part of the Plan: minimize impact area; avoid injury of 
tiger salamanders during implementation of Covered Activities; minimize 
habitat impacts associated with erosion and sedimentation generated by 
Covered Activities; minimize the risk of project-related toxic spills 
that could adversely affect tiger salamanders or their habitat; restore 
all temporarily disturbed tiger salamander habitat in the Plan Area to 
pre-project conditions within 1 year of disturbance; ensure 
implementation of the conservation measures; and mitigate permanent and 
temporary loss of tiger salamander habitat through the purchase of 50.5 
acres of tiger salamander credits at a Service and California 
Department of Fish and Game-approved conservation bank.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    Our EA analyzes the effects of the proposed action and the No 

[[Page 6813]]

alternatives on all potential resources that could be adversely 
affected, including: aesthetics, agricultural resources, air quality 
and climate change, biological resources, cultural resources, geology, 
minerals and paleontological resources, hazardous materials, hydrology 
and water quality, land use and planning, noise, public health hazards, 
recreation, traffic and transportation, utilities, and public service 
    Our proposed action is approving the applicants' Plan and issuing 
an incidental take permit for the applicants' Covered Activities. As 
required by the Act, the applicants' Plan considers alternatives to the 
take under the proposed action. The Plan considers the environmental 
consequences of a No Action alternative.
    Under the No Action alternative, we would not issue a permit, and 
the applicants would not construct the project. The No Action 
alternative would not achieve the applicants' objectives and would not 
allow the development of the project.
    Under the proposed action alternative, we would issue an incidental 
take permit for the applicants' proposed project, which includes the 
activities described above and in more detail in the Plan.

Public Comments

    The Service invites the public to comment on the permit 
application, Plan, and EA during the public comment period (see DATES). 
Please direct written comments to contact listed in the ADDRESSES 
section and questions to the Service contact listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section. All comments and materials we receive, 
including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative 
record and may be released to the public. Before including your 
address, phone number, e-mail 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

    We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act and the 
NEPA public-involvement regulations (40 CFR 1500.1(b), 1500.2(d), and 
1506.6). We will consider public comments when making the final 
determination on whether to prepare a final EA and Finding of No 
Significant Impact or an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed 
action. If the requirements are met, we will issue a permit to the 
applicants for the incidental take of the tiger salamander from the 
implementation of the Covered Activities described in the Plan. We will 
make the final permit decision no sooner than 60 days after the date of 
this notice.

Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 2011-2680 Filed 2-7-11; 8:45 am]