Alta East Wind Project

Alta East Wind Project. Credit: Heather Beeler/USFWS

Alta East Wind Project, Kern county, California. Credit: Heather Beeler/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received an application from Alta Wind X LLC for a 5-year eagle take permit, pursuant to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, associated with the operation of the Alta East Wind Project. Alta East Wind Project is a 153-megawatt project located on private lands and public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management within and adjacent to the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in Kern County, California. The permit application requested take of golden eagles associated with project operations. The project is currently operational and consists of 51 wind turbines within an approximately 2,300-acre area.

The applicant prepared an Eagle Conservation Plan, submitted with their application, which detailed how they proposed to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for adverse effects to eagles. Compensatory mitigation was proposed to fully offset eagle take by retrofitting power poles in areas with high densities of eagles, which reduces ongoing fatalities of eagles due to electrocution.

We prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 4321 et seq.) to assess impacts of the proposed action (i.e. issuance of an eagle take permit), as well as alternatives to the proposed action. Our analysis, as presented in the EA, considered authorization for take of up to three golden eagles over the 5-year permit duration. The alternative selected and outlined in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the EA constitutes issuing a permit in line with the Eagle Conservation Plan, but with added measures involving turbine curtailment when eagles are detected in the vicinity and additional monitoring and mitigation. Please find the FONSI and final EA documents below.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a 5-year eagle take permit to Alta Wind X LLC for operation of the Alta East Wind Project effective on December 16, 2016.

NEPA Documents

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) (11MB)

FONSI Attachment 1: Final Environmental Assessment
EA Appendix A: Eagle Conservation Plan
EA Appendix B: Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy
EA Appendix C: Tribal Contacts
EA Appendix D: USFWS Fatality Estimate
EA Appendix E: Applicant Fatality Predictions
EA Appendix F: BLM FA/FEIS Figure

FONSI Attachment 2: Response to Comments on Draft EA
FONSI Attachment 3: Final Eagle Conservation Plan

Reports (These reports were prepared by Alta Wind X, LLC and submitted to the Service)

Alta East Eagle Permit Year 1 Post-Construction Monitoring Report July 2018
Alta East Bird Year 3 Post-Construction Monitoring Report July 2017
Alta East Bird Year 2 Post-Construction Monitoring Report August 2016
Alta East Bird Year 1 Post-Construction Monitoring Report July 2015