[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 34 (Friday, February 18, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 9529-9530]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-3700]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 22

[FWS-R9-MB-2011-N018; 91200-1231-9BPP]
RIN 1018-AX53

Migratory Birds; Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability for public comment of draft Eagle Conservation Plan 
Guidance. The Guidance provides recommendations for agency staff and 
developers to use an iterative process to avoid and minimize negative 
effects on eagles and their habitats resulting from the construction, 
operation and maintenance of land-based, wind energy facilities in the 
United States.

DATES: We must receive any comments or suggestions by the end of the 
day on May 19, 2011.

ADDRESSES: We have posted our draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance at 
http://www.fws.gov/windenergy. You may submit e-mail comments to 
windenergy@fws.gov. Please include ``Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance 
Comments'' in the subject line of the message, and your full name and 
return address in the body of your message. Please note that the e-mail 
address will be closed when the public comment period closes. 
Alternatively, you may submit comments or recommendations by mail to: 
Attention: Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance; Division of Migratory Bird 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, 
Mail Stop 4107; Arlington, VA 22203-1610.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service is charged with implementing 
statutes including the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Endangered Species Act. BGEPA 
prohibits all take of eagles unless otherwise authorized by the 
Service. A goal of BGEPA is to achieve and maintain stable or 
increasing populations of bald and golden eagles. The draft Eagle 
Conservation Plan Guidance (draft Guidance) interprets and clarifies 
the permit requirements in the regulations at 50 Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) 22.26 and 22.27, and does not impose any binding 
requirements beyond those specified in the regulations. The draft 
Guidance provides a means of compliance with BGEPA by providing 
recommendations for:
    (1) Conducting early pre-construction assessments to identify 
important eagle use areas;
    (2) Avoiding, minimizing, and/or compensating for potential adverse 
effects to eagles; and,
    (3) Monitoring for impacts to eagles during construction and 
    The draft Guidance calls for scientifically rigorous surveys, 
monitoring, risk assessment, and research designs proportionate to the 
risk to eagles. The draft Guidance describes a process by which wind 
energy developers can collect and analyze information that could lead 
to a programmatic permit to authorize unintentional take of eagles at 
wind energy facilities. The process described here is not required, but 
project proponents should coordinate closely with the Service 
concerning alternatives to insure that eagle conservation plans conform 
with requirements of BGEPA. The Service will initiate a peer review of 
the draft Guidance during the public comment period.
    The development of facilities to generate electricity from wind 
turbines has increased dramatically in the range

[[Page 9530]]

of the golden eagle in the western United States. Golden eagles are 
vulnerable to collisions with wind turbines. Because of this risk, many 
of the current and planned wind facilities require permits under the 
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to legally authorize any take of 
eagles that may occur. We are soliciting comments and recommendations 
on our draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance.
    We request comments and suggestions on the Guidance. We anticipate 
preparing further guidance to address incidental eagle takes under 
other circumstances. Explaining the reasons and rationale for your 
comments where appropriate will help as we consider them.
    We will take into consideration the relevant comments, suggestions, 
or objections that we receive by the comment due date indicated above 
in the DATES section. These comments, suggestions, or objections, and 
any additional information received may lead us to adopt a final 
guidance that differs from this guidance.

Public Availability of Comments

    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. You can ask us 
in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from 
public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    As published elsewhere in today's Federal Register, the Service is 
simultaneously soliciting comments on the draft Land-based Wind Energy 

    Authority: The authorities for this notice are the Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act, 40 Stat. 755 (16 U.S.C. 703-712); Pub. L. 95-616, 
92 Stat. 3112 (16 U.S.C. 712(2)); Pub. L. 106-108, 113 Stat. 1491, 
Note Following 16 U.S.C. 703; the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection 
Act (16 U.S.C. 668a-d), 704, 712, 742j-1, 1374(g), 1382, 1538(d), 
1539, 1540(f), 3374, 4901-4916; 18 U.S.C. 42; 19 U.S.C. 1202; and 31 
U.S.C. 9701.

     Dated: January 31, 2011.
Rowan Gould,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-3700 Filed 2-17-11; 8:45 am]