Migratory Birds - Wind Energy
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Wind Energy

 

Wind turbines in Wyoming. Scott Covington/USFWS

Wind turbines in Wyoming. Scott Covington/USFWS

Federal and state policies on global climate change, economic recovery, and national energy security drive the development of a variety of domestic energy sources. Energy resource development is increasing, including traditional energy sources such as oil, gas and coal, and renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. Energy development is necessary to meet the needs of the American public, but there often are environmental impacts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) helps energy developers avoid and minimize those impacts.


Here you will find a list of current wind projects located in the Mountain-Priairie Region of the Service.


For more information, contact:

Email: fw6_migratorybirds@fws.gov or call: 303-236-4408
For the Migratory Birds Permit Office, call 303-236-8171


Please Note Contact Information For Each Specific Project Will Be Listed Under That Section Of The Site


Boswell Wind Project »

Boswell Springs Wind Project located in Albany County, WY

About the Project

Boswell Springs Wind Project located in Albany County, WY.
Primary Project components include the following:

  • up to 170 wind turbines,
  • an underground 34.5 kilovolt (kV) collection system, 230 kV substation,
  • a network of access roads,
  • meteorological (met) towers,
  • a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, and
  • an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) building.
  • Approximately 21,596 acres in the Project area (all facilities on private land)

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2019, with project operations starting in late 2020.

Downloads

Potential Eagle Impacts

There may be bald and golden eagle mortality due to the operation of the Boswell Springs Wind Project. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. However, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) has been delegated the authority to issue eagle take permits, where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practicable measures to avoid and minimize such take and mitigate anticipated take to the maximum extent achievable.


We expect to receive an application for an incidental take permit from Boswell Wind, LLC for the operation and maintenance of the Boswell Springs Wind Project. The project applicant is developing an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) that would summarize project design, construction, and operational measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles, and would be part of the permit application. To date, no official estimate of potential eagle take is available.


Project Review

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Boswell Springs Wind Project, namely the possible issuance of an eagle take permit. A NEPA document is being prepared to analyze the impacts associated with the proposed action. There will be a future opportunity to comment on the NEPA document and no permit decision will be made until after the NEPA process is complete.

Contact Us

Email: FW6Boswellsprings@fws.gov, please include “Boswell Springs Wind Project” in the subject line

Phone: (303)236-4770

Mail
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Migratory Birds
Attn: Hillary White
PO BOX 25486, DFC
Denver, CO 80225

 

 

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Chokecherry Sierra Madre »

Peregrine Falcon, juvenile

EIS for Eagle Take Permits for the Chokecherry Sierra Madre Phase I Project


BLM Announces Major Milestone and FWS Issues Record of Decision for Potential Eagle Take Permit for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Phase I Wind Energy Project


The BLM issued the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the potential impacts of constructing 500 wind turbines on mixed ownership land for public comment in March. The EA incorporates and builds on the analysis undertaken in a 2012 Final Environmental Impact Statement, which evaluated the potential impacts of the project as a whole. After considering public comments, the BLM prepared a Finding of No New Significant Impact (FONNSI) and Decision Record (DR) for this approval. The USFWS’ ROD and corresponding approval documents can be found below:

About the Project

On June 16, 2015, the Power Company of Wyoming LLC (PCW) requested a standard Eagle Take Permit (ETP) for construction of wind turbines and infrastructure components, and a programmatic ETP for operation of the EIS for Eagle Take Permits for the Chokecherry and Sierra Made Phase I Wind Energy Project (CCSM).

The CCSM Phase I project consists of the construction, maintenance, and decommissioning of 500 wind turbines on 53,710 acres in Carbon County, Wyoming, south of the city of Rawlins. If the project meets all the necessary approvals, it could become the largest wind facility in the United States.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is obligated to review the potential impacts on the natural and human environment associated with issuing an ETP. For this project, the USFWS has determined an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is warranted because the action may significantly impact the environment.

What is Reviewed in the USFWS EIS?

USFWS will analyze the environmental impacts associated with a decision on whether to issue eagle take permits for the construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of the project. The EIS will evaluate all reasonable action alternatives and a no action alternative. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) earlier and current analysis will be incorporated by reference.


Impacts to the following resources will be analyzed in detail:

  • 1. Wildlife including bats, eagle prey, sage grouse, migratory birds and raptors
  • 2. Habitat for eagles and other wildlife
  • 3. Eagles at local and regional population levels
  • 4. Cultural resources

Contact Us

Public Information Manager
Louise Galiher: (303) 236-8677
or louise galiher@fws.gov

Email

ccsm eis@fws.gov

Mail

Chokecherry-Sierra Madre EIS
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie Region
ATTN: Louise Galiher
P.O. Box 25486 DFC
Denver, Colorado 80225


Project Acronyms

BGEPA: Bald and Golden
Eagle Protection Act

BLM: Bureau of Land Management

CCSM: Chokecherry Sierra Madre

EIS: Environmental Impact Statement

ETP: Eagle Take Permit

NEPA: National Environmental Policy Act

PCW: Power Company of Wyoming, LLC

USFWS: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

EIS Documents

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

For ease of access the DEIS has been split into 28 separate files. All files are PDF. Need a PDF reader? Get a FREE one here


 

Public Outreach and Coordination


July 2016

April 2016

April 2014

December 2013

 

What is the Difference Between the BLM EIS and the USFWS EIS?

As a permitting agency with jurisdiction over the ETP, the USFWS has an independent obligation to comply with NEPA to review the ETP application submitted by PCW. While the BLM NEPA documents provide a foundation for the review, the USFWS EIS will focus primarily on eagles and related resources (habitat and prey), as well as migratory birds and other wildlife that might be affected by the issuance of an ETP.

The BLM performed a NEPA review because about half of the CCSM project would be located on federal land and require the issuance of a Right-of-way (ROW) grant from the BLM. As the agency with jurisdiction to issue the grant, the BLM undertook a tiered NEPA review of the CCSM Phase I project area.

The BLM issued two Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) documents relating to the CCSM Project, which led to the issuance of a Record of Decision in October 2012. BLM’s NEPA review determined that portions of the area are suitable for wind development and identified mitigation measures and design features to reduce impacts to the environment. The BLM is now conducting a review of PCW’s site-specific development plans for the infrastructure components of the project and Phase I of the wind development. Once NEPA review of these development plans is completed, the BLM will determine whether to issue the ROW grant needed by the applicant to begin construction on the project.

The BLM’s NEPA Review documents can be found at the following link:
http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/rfo/Chokecherry.html

What is an Eagle Take Permit?

Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), eagle take is defined as “to pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, destroy, molest or disturb an eagle.” An ETP is a permit issued by the USFWS which authorizes the take of eagles. The USFWS will issue eagle take permits only after the applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles.

What are the Take Regulations and Types of Permits?

Regulations established in 2009 allow for incidental and nest take. Take permit applications must do the following:

Be ‘consistent with goal of stable or increasing eagle breeding populations’ (no net loss).
Be part of an otherwise lawful activity.
Comply with all avoidance, minimization, or other mitigation measures determined as reasonable and specified in the terms by the permit.
Monitor eagle use of important eagle-use areas for up to three years or implement an Eagle Conservation Plan as set forth by the permit.
Submit an annual report on monitoring activities and eagle mortality. The service will make eagle mortality information from annual reports of programmatic permits available to the public.

BGEPA regulations allow for two non-purposeful take permit types; one for standard permits allowing individual instances of take that cannot be practicably avoided, and a second for programmatic permits that provides for recurring take that is unavoidable. The CCSM project proponent has applied for both types of ETPs.

Standard ETP: The CCSM Phase I standard take permit would last for the duration of construction activities and cover the possibility of golden eagle and bald eagle nest disturbance take.

Programmatic ETP: The CCSM Phase I programmatic take permit would take effect when the first turbine begins operating. The permit would authorize lethal take of bald and golden eagles resulting from collision with turbine blades and be valid for a maximum of five years. It is anticipated that PCW would reapply for a programmatic ETP after each five year permit cycle, for the anticipated operational duration of the CCSM Phase I Project (30 years). All predicted golden eagle take would be offset through compensatory mitigation by the proponent.

Timeline

Timeline

 

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Courtenay Wind Farm »

Courtenay Wind Farm (CWF) located north of Jamestown in Stutsman County, North Dakota.

Courtenay Wind Farm

About the Project

Northern States Power Company–Minnesota, doing business as Xcel Energy, is currently operating and maintaining the Courtenay Wind Farm (Project) located north of Jamestown in Stutsman County, North Dakota.  The Project is a 200.5-megawatt facility consisting of 100 turbines.  It interconnects to the Otter Trail Power 115/345 kilovolt substation via an approximately 17-mile long overhead transmission line and transmits power into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator grid.  The Project boundary contains approximately 24,200 acres, and approximately 19,000 acres of privately-owned land is leased for the project.

Potential Eagle Impacts

There may be bald eagle mortality due to the operation of the Project. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.   However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has been delegated the authority to issue eagle take permits, where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles.  The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize such take, and mitigate any remaining take, when applicable.

Contact Us


Email
FW6WindEnergy@fws.gov , please specify “Courtenay Wind Farm” in the subject line

Mail
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Migratory Birds
Attn: Brian Smith
P.O. Box 25486 DFC
Denver, Colorado 80225-0486

 

Project Review

We received an application for a five-year eagle take permit from Xcel Energy for the take of bald eagles related to the operation and maintenance of the Project.  The applicant has provided an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) that summarizes measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles.

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Project, namely the possible issuance of an eagle take permit.  An Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared.   The EA evaluates the impact of issuing (and not issuing) an eagle take permit for the existing Project. There will be an opportunity to comment on the EA in early 2018 and no permit decision will be made until after the NEPA process is complete.

Downloads

 

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Pioneer Wind Park »

Project Description

Sustainable Power Group, LLC (sPower), doing business as Pioneer Wind Park I, LLC (Applicant) is currently operating the Pioneer Wind Park (Project) located in Converse County, Wyoming. The Project is located on approximately 25,268 acres of private lands and 3,107 acres of Wyoming State School Trust Lands near the town of Glenrock, Wyoming. The Project consists of 46 turbines, producing a total net output of 80 megawatts of electricity. Other Project facilities include: 10.5 miles of access roads, a project substation, underground power collection lines linking to the project substation, approximately five miles of 230 kilovolt transmission line connecting the Project to the regional electrical grid, operation and maintenance facilities, one permanent meteorological tower, three radar towers, and one communication tower.

Potential Eagle Impacts

There may be bald and golden eagle mortality due to the operation of the Project. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has been delegated the authority to issue eagle take permits (ETPs), where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize such take, and mitigate any remaining take, when applicable.

Project Review

We received an application for a five-year ETP from the Applicant on March 4, 2016, for the take of bald eagles and golden eagles related to the operation of the Project. The Applicant has provided an Eagle Conservation Plan that summarizes measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles in support of the application. The Applicant has also developed a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy for this Project that describes measures to reduce the risk to migratory birds (protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act) and bats as a result of Project operation.

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Project, namely the possible issuance of an eagle take permit. A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating the impact of issuing (and not issuing) an eagle take permit for the existing Project was made available for a 30-day comment period. After public comments were evaluated and our analyses were reviewed and updated in a final EA, the Service has determined that there is no new significant information and the Service has prepared a FONSI in accordance with NEPA regulations (40 C.F.R § 1508.13). The permit will be issued under the 2009 Eagle Act regulations and will authorize non- purposeful take of up to one bald eagle and up to five bald eagles over the five-year life of the ETP.

Public Meeting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service held a public meeting on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Pioneer Wind Park on October 16, 2018 from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM at the Glenrock Branch Library located at 506 S. 4th Street, Glenrock, WY 82637.

Downloads

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Dunlap Wind Energy Project »

Map showing the location of the Dunlap Wind Project turbines located south of Casper, WY along state highway 487

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is releasing the final Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significant Impact, and findings document for the issuance of an incidental eagle take permit related to the operation of the Dunlap Wind Energy Project (Project) located southeast of the Freezeout Mountains and southwest of the Shirley Basin in Carbon County, Wyoming. The 30-year permit authorizes the potential take of bald and golden eagles associated with the operation of the existing 74-turbine wind energy Project, and outlines required conservation and compensatory mitigation measures for minimizing and offsetting potential eagle take. PacifiCorp, doing business as Pacific Power/Rocky Mountain Power (Applicant), is the developer and operator of the existing and operational Project.


Documents:


Project Description

PacifiCorp, doing business as Pacific Power/Rocky Mountain Power, is the developer and operator of the Dunlap Wind Energy Project (Project). The Project has been in operation since September 24, 2010 and has an expected life through 2049. The Project is located adjacent to the Freezeout Mountains to the northwest and Shirley Basin to the northeast in Carbon County, Wyoming and currently consists of the following:

  • 111 - megawatts (MW) of wind-generated power,
  • 74 General Electric 1.5-MW turbines with rotor diameter of 252 feet,
  • 11-mile 230-kilovolt (kV) overhead power line, connecting with the PacifiCorp’s Miners to Difficulty transmission line,
  • access roads and collection system (underground and overhead), and
  • approximately 10,347 acres are in Project Area and PacifiCorp owns most of the acreage with the exception of 640 acres owned by another entity, and 640 that are State of Wyoming lands that are leased by PacifiCorp for 35-years.

Potential Eagle Impacts

Post-construction monitoring conducted at the Project since 2011 has documented bald and golden eagle mortalities. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Bald and Golden Eagle protection Act. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (service) has been delegated the authority to issue eagle take permits, where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize such take and mitigate anticipated take to the maximum extent achievable.

We have received an application from PacifiCorp for an incidental eagle take permit for the Dunlap Wind Energy Project. The applicant has developed and provided an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) that summarizes project design, construction and operational measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles, and results of pre- and post-construction monitoring efforts. The ECP is included in the permit application.

Project Review

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Project, namely the possible issuance of an incidental eagle take permit. A draft Environmental Assessment evaluating the impact of issuing (and not issuing) an incidental eagle take permit for the existing Project was made available for a 30-day comment period. After public comments were evaluated, it was determined that they were not substantive, our analyses were adequate, and the Service has prepared a Finding of No Significant Impact in accordance with NEPA regulations (40 C.F.R § 1508.13). The incidental eagle take permit will be issued under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations and will authorize non-purposeful take of bald eagle and golden eagles.

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Glenrock Rolling Hills Wind Energy Project »

Project area map including, wind turbine locations, surface management, and section and township and range located north of the town of Glenrock, WY.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is releasing the final Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), and findings document for the issuance of an Incidental Eagle Take Permit (IETP) for the operation of the Glenrock I, Glenrock III, and Rolling Hills (also known as Glenrock Rolling Hills) Wind Energy Project (Project) located in Converse County, Wyoming. The 30-year IETP authorizes the potential take of bald and golden eagles associated with the operation of the existing 158-turbine wind energy Project, and outlines required conservation measures, post-construction mortality monitoring, and compensatory mitigation for minimizing and offsetting potential eagle take, pursuant to the 2016 regulations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act). PacifiCorp, doing business as Pacific Power/Rocky Mountain Power (Applicant), is the developer and operator of the existing and operating Project.


Documents:


Project Description

PacifiCorp, an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, is the developer and operator of the existing Glenrock I, Glenrock III, and Rolling Hills Wind Energy Projects (collectively “Glenrock Rolling Hills Wind Energy Project” or “Project”) located approximately 15 miles north of Glenrock in Converse County, Wyoming. The Project was constructed primarily on reclaimed coal mine lands that were part of the former Dave Johnston mine and has been in operation since January 17, 2009. The initial 237-megawatt (MW) Project consisted of 158 General Electric 1.5-MW turbines with a total height of 388 feet. In 2019, PacifiCorp repowered 126 of the turbines (the remaining 32 turbines were not repowered) and the Project currently consists of the following:

  • 281.1 megawatts (MW) of wind-generated power,
  • 126 General Electric 1.85-MW turbines with a total height of 413 feet,
  • 32 General Electric 1.5-MW turbines with a total height of 388 feet,
  • 13-mile 230-kilovolt (kV) overhead power line, connecting the Project from PacifiCorp’s Windstar switching substation to the Dave Johnston thermal energy generation facility, access roads and collection system (underground and overhead), and located on approximately 13,801.4 acres.

Potential Eagle Impacts

Monitoring conducted at the Project since 2009 has documented bald and golden eagle mortalities. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Eagle Act, unless otherwise permitted by the Service. The Service has been delegated the authority to issue IETPs, where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. The Service will issue IETPs for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize such take to the maximum extent achievable and agreed to complete all required compensatory mitigation.

We have received an application from the Applicant for an IETP for the Project. The Applicant has developed and provided an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) that summarizes project design, construction and operational measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles, and results of pre- and post-construction monitoring efforts. The ECP is included in the permit application and is available to the public as an attachment to the EA for reference purposes.

The Service has completed an EA for the potential issuance of the permit decision under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations. The EA assesses the potential effects of issuing an IETP and a No Action alternative (i.e., do not issue a permit) on the human and natural environment. The Service’s Collision Risk Model (CRM) predicts that up to 1.43 bald eagles and up to 10.86 golden eagles could be killed incidentally on an annual basis as a result of the operation of the Project. This was partially derived using the Evidence of Absence statistical approach to inform the CRM by analyzing post-construction mortality monitoring data collected at the project site from 2016 –2019.

Project Review

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Project, namely the possible issuance of an IETP. A draft EA evaluating the impact of issuing (and not issuing) an IETP for the existing Project was made available for a 30-day comment period. We did not receive any comments on the draft EA, and the Service has prepared a FONSI and findings document in accordance with NEPA regulations (40 C.F.R § 1508.13). The IETP will be issued under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations and will authorize non-purposeful take of bald eagle and golden eagles at the Project.

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Top of the World Wind Energy Project »

Top of the World wind energy project boundary, wind turbines, surface management, and section township and range

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is releasing the final Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), and findings document for the issuance of an Incidental Eagle Take Permit (IETP) for the operation of the Top of the World Wind Energy Project (Project) located in Converse County, Wyoming. The 30-year permit authorizes the potential take of bald and golden eagles associated with the operation of the existing 110-turbine wind energy Project, and outlines required conservation and compensatory mitigation measures for minimizing and offsetting potential eagle take, pursuant to the 2016 regulations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act). Top of the World Wind Energy, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy Renewables, Inc. (Applicant), is the developer and operator of the existing and operational Project.


Documents:


Project Description

Top of the World Wind Energy, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy Renewables, Inc. is the developer and operator of the existing Top of the World wind energy project located in Converse County, Wyoming. The Project consists of 110 wind turbines and associated infrastructure (roads, transmission lines, etc.) and has been operational since January November 1, 2010. The expected life of the project is at least 30 years. The Applicant submitted an IETP (revised and final) application and (ECP to the Service on June 03, 2020, requesting the maximum 30-year permit.

Potential Eagle Impacts

Monitoring conducted at the Project since 2010 has documented bald and golden eagle mortalities. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Eagle Act. However, the Service has been delegated the authority to issue eagle take permits, where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize such take and mitigate anticipated take to the maximum extent achievable.

The Applicant has developed and provided an ECP that summarizes project design, construction and operational measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles, and results of pre- and post-construction monitoring efforts. The appendices to the ECP are available upon request for 30 days, after the publication of this notice. Please email tomas_kamienski@fws.gov to request the ECP appendices. Please include “TOTW ECP appendices request” in the subject line.

The Service has completed an EA for the potential issuance of the permit decision under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations. The EA assesses the potential effects of issuing an IETP and a No Action alternative (i.e., do not issue a permit) on the human and natural environment. The Service’s Collision Risk Model (CRM) predicts that up to 1.8 bald eagles and up to 10.3 golden eagles could be killed incidentally on an annual basis as a result of the operation of the Project. This was partially derived using the Evidence of Absence statistical approach to inform the CRM by analyzing post-construction mortality monitoring data collected at the project site from 2014 –2018.

Project Review

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Project, namely the possible issuance of an IETP. A draft EA evaluating the impact of issuing (and not issuing) an IETP for the existing Project was made available for a 30-day comment period. We received one letter containing comments and recommendations during the public review period. It has been determined that there is no new significant information, and the Service has prepared a FONSI in accordance with NEPA regulations (40 C.F.R § 1508.13). The IETP will be issued under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations and will authorize non-purposeful take of bald eagle and golden eagles.

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Seven Mile Hill Wind Energy Project »

Seven Mile Hill wind energy project boundary, wind turbines, surface management, and section, township, and range

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is releasing the final Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), and findings document for the issuance of an Incidental Eagle Take Permit (IETP) for the operation of the Seven Mile Hill I and II (also known as Seven Mile Hill) Wind Energy Project (Project) facility located in Carbon County, Wyoming. The 30-year permit authorizes the potential take of bald and golden eagles associated with the operation of the existing 79-turbine wind energy Project, and outlines required conservation and compensatory mitigation measures for minimizing and offsetting potential eagle take, pursuant to the 2016 regulations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act). PacifiCorp (doing business as Pacific Power/Rocky Mountain Power) (Applicant), is the developer and operator of the existing and operational Project.


Documents:


Project Description

The Applicant is the developer and operator of the existing Project located in Carbon County, Wyoming. The Project consists of 79 wind turbines and associated infrastructure (roads, transmission lines, etc.) and has been operating since January 17, 2009. The expected life of the project is at least 30 years. The Applicant submitted an IETP (revised and final) application and ECP to the Service on December 30, 2019, requesting the maximum 30-year permit.

Potential Eagle Impacts

Monitoring conducted at the Project since 2009 has documented bald and golden eagle mortalities. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Eagle Act. However, the Service has been delegated the authority to issue eagle take permits, where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize such take and mitigate anticipated take to the maximum extent achievable.

The Applicant has developed and provided an ECP that summarizes project design, construction and operational measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles, and results of pre- and post-construction monitoring efforts.

The Service has completed an EA for the potential issuance of the permit decision under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations. The EA assesses the potential effects of issuing an IETP and a No Action alternative (i.e., do not issue a permit) on the human and natural environment. The Service’s Collision Risk Model (CRM) predicts that up to 3.78 bald eagles and up to 7.74 golden eagles could be killed incidentally on an annual basis as a result of the operation of the Project. This was partially derived using the Evidence of Absence statistical approach to inform the CRM by analyzing post-construction mortality monitoring data collected at the Project site from 2016 –2019. Additionally, national priors were used to update the CRM eagle exposure parameter. Lastly, collision probability prior was updated iteratively using the expected value of fatalities and adjusted for applicant-provided operational daylight hour data collected during monitored years (2016-2020).

Project Review

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Project, namely the possible issuance of an IETP. A draft EA evaluating the impact of issuing (and not issuing) an IETP for the existing Project was made available for a 30-day comment period. We received one letter containing comments and recommendations during the public review period. It has been determined that there is no new significant information, and the Service has prepared a FONSI in accordance with NEPA regulations (40 C.F.R § 1508.13). The IETP will be issued under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations and will authorize non-purposeful take of bald eagle and golden eagles.

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High Plains/McFadden Ridge Wind Energy Project »

High Plains/McFadden Ridge Wind Energy project boundary, wind turbines, surface management, and section, township, and range

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is making available for public comment a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) that analyzes the risk of bald and golden eagle incidental take associated with operation of the existing and operating High Plains and McFadden Ridge I (also known as High Plains/McFadden Ridge) Wind Energy Project located in Carbon and Albany Counties, Wyoming. PacifiCorp (doing business as Pacific Power/Rocky Mountain Power) (Applicant) is requesting a 30-year Incidental Eagle Take Permit (IETP) for the take of bald and golden eagles, pursuant to the 2016 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) regulations. As part of their application, the Applicant prepared an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) included for public reference only.

Public comments will be accepted for the draft EA for 30 days (from November 22, 2021 through December 22, 2021). You can submit comments electronically by emailing tomas_kamienski@fws.gov. Please include “High Plains/McFadden Ridge Wind Energy Project” in the subject line. Comments can also be submitted via U.S. postal mail:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior Region 7 – Upper Colorado Basin, Division of Migratory Birds, Attn: Rob Doster, P.O. Box 25486 DFC, Denver, CO 80225-0486.


Documents:


Project Description

The Applicant is the developer and operator of the existing Project located in Carbon and Albany Counties, Wyoming. The Project consists of 85 wind turbines and associated infrastructure (roads, transmission lines, etc.) and has been operating since January 2009. The expected life of the project is at least 30 years. The Applicant submitted an IETP (revised and final) application and ECP to the Service on January 16, 2020, requesting the maximum 30-year permit.

Potential Eagle Impacts

Monitoring conducted at the Project since 2009 has documented bald and golden eagle mortalities. Take, including killing of eagles, is prohibited by the Eagle Act. However, the Service has been delegated the authority to issue eagle take permits, where the take is determined to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practical measures to avoid and minimize such take and mitigate anticipated take to the maximum extent achievable.

The Applicant has developed and provided an ECP that summarizes project design, construction and operational measures taken to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles, and results of pre- and post-construction monitoring efforts.

The Service has completed a draft EA for the potential issuance of the permit decision under the 2016 Eagle Act regulations. The draft EA assesses the potential effects of issuing an IETP and a No Action alternative (i.e., do not issue a permit) on the human and natural environment. The Service’s Collision Risk Model (CRM) predicts that up to 2.5 bald eagles and up to 2.8 golden eagles could be killed incidentally on an annual basis as a result of the operation of the Project. To estimate annual fatalities at for this Project, we did not have sufficient pre-construction eagle-use data to update exposure for the CRM; therefore, we used the national prior for the eagle exposure parameter.

Project Review

The Service has an independent statutory responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate its own actions related to the Project, namely the possible issuance of an IETP. A draft EA evaluating the impact of issuing (and not issuing) an IETP for the existing Project is being made available for a 30-day comment period. All comments received by the Service as related to this draft EA will be evaluated and no decision regarding issuing the permit will be made until after the NEPA process is completed.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: November 22, 2021
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