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Nebraska ES | R-Project
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Nebraska Public Power District R-project Transmission Line Project

R-Project Transmission Line Final Signed Documents


NEWS RELEASE - February 7, 2019

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement for the R-Project Transmission Line in Nebraska

DENVER — Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing the final environmental impact statement for the Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) application for a permit for take of the endangered American burying beetle. The statement analyzes potential effects to the beetle and other factors to the human environment that would result from issuance of a take permit associated with the proposed R-Project transmission line.

The NPPD’s R-Project is a 225-mile long, 345-kilovolt transmission line that would cross high-quality migratory bird habitats, including rivers, wetlands, and meadows in the Sandhills region of north-central Nebraska. The project is intended to enhance the reliability of NPPD’s electric transmission system, relieve congestion from existing lines, and provide opportunities for development of renewable energy projects, including wind power. The project will also impact habitat for the beetle and migratory birds, which are diverse and abundant along certain areas of the R-Project route.

The Endangered Species Act prohibits “take” of a listed species, meaning that under the Act, the Service can issue permits for the “incidental take” of endangered and threatened species — take that is the unintended result of otherwise lawful activities — as long as the applicant designs and implements a comprehensive habitat conservation plan that both minimizes and mitigates harm to the impacted species during the proposed project. As a result, NPPD prepared a habitat conservation plan for the American burying beetle, as well as a migratory bird conservation plan to ensure the potential impacts to birds like whooping cranes and bald eagles would be minimized.

In the habitat conservation plan for the American burying beetle, the NPPD proposes to fully offset potential take of the beetle by setting aside 600 acres of suitable habitat for protection and management. The migratory bird conservation plan ensures impacts to migratory birds are minimized. Further, NPPD also prepared a land restoration plan that details the measures they will voluntarily implement to restore beetle habitat, fragile sandy soils, and other habitats disturbed by R-Project activities.

Upon review of the public comments on the draft environmental impact statement, concerns were expressed regarding the transmission line’s negative impacts to whooping cranes due to the potential for collision. In response, the Service conducted a scientific review and analysis, which concluded that the risk of whooping crane collision is low and is not reasonably certain to occur.

The Service continues to further the Department of the Interior’s commitment to increase the nation’s energy independence while working with our partners to develop meaningful and comprehensive avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures that conserve wildlife.

After the 30-day public inspection period, the Service will sign a Record of Decision and make a final decision on the incidental take permit if all requirements are met. To read the final environmental impact statement and conservation plans as well as the Service’s response to public comments, please see our notice in the Federal Register at regulations.gov. Additionally, documents are be available on our website and in person inspection by appointment during normal business hours at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Field Office, 9325 South Alda Road, Wood River, NE 68883 and at the following libraries:

  • North Platte Public Library, 120 West 4th Street, North Platte, Nebraska.
  • Logan County Library, 317 Main Street, Stapleton, Nebraska.
  • Hooker County Library, 102 North Cleveland Avenue, Mullen, Nebraska.
  • Garfield County Library, 217 G Street, Burwell, Nebraska.
  • Ewing Township Library, 202 East Nebraska, Ewing, Nebraska.
  • Ainsworth Public Library, 455 North Main Street, Ainsworth, Nebraska.
  • Valentine Public Library, 324 North Main Street, Valentine, Nebraska.
  • Thomas County Library, 501 Main Street, Thedford, Nebraska.

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. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen in the West, visit our website, connect with us on Instagram and Facebook, follow us on Twitter, watch our YouTube channel at and download public domain photos from Flickr.


Public Notice - October 30, 2014

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Notice of Intent to Prepare Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Incidental Take Permit and Habitat Conservation Plan for the effects of the Nebraska Public Power District R-project Transmission Line on the Endangered American burying beetle.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is publishing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will assess the natural and human effects of issuing a permit to authorize the take of the federally endangered American burying beetle. The NOI initiates a 60-day comment period for the public to review and comment on any of the topics to be addressed in the EIS. Comments can be provided electronically by accessing http://www.regulations.gov/. A PDF copy of the NOI can be accessed here.

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has requested that the Service issue this permit because the construction, operation, and maintenance of its proposed 220-mile long, 345 kV transmission line is likely to impact the American burying beetle. As a requirement of permit application, NPPD is preparing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to identify avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures for the American burying beetle.

For more information on the R-project please visit the NPPD website at http://www.nppd.com/rproject/


NEWS RELEASE - October 29, 2014

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comment on Environmental Impacts of Proposed Transmission Line in Nebraska

Contacts:

Robert Harms, 308.382.6468, ext. 17; Robert_Harms@fws.gov
Steve Segin, 303.236.4578; Robert_segin@fws.gov

GRAND ISLAND, NE— Tomorrow, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is publishing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will assess the natural and human effects of issuing a permit to authorize the take of the federally endangered American burying beetle. The NOI initiates a 60-day comment period for the public to review and comment on any of the topics to be addressed in the EIS. Comments can be provided electronically by accessing http://www.regulations.gov/. The comment period will end December 29, 2014.

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has requested that the Service issue this permit because the construction, operation, and maintenance of its proposed 220-mile long, 345 kV transmission line is likely to impact the American burying beetle. As a requirement of permit application, NPPD is preparing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to identify avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures for the American burying beetle.

Beyond analyzing the impacts on the American burying beetle, the EIS will also consider the effects on a broad range of other resources. These include other fish and wildlife species, geology and mineral resources, soil and water resources, air quality, land ownership and use, recreation, transportation, socioeconomics, visual resources, noise, cultural and paleontological resources, hazardous materials, and public health and safety. The Service is also interested in learning about the presence of archaeological sites, buildings and structures, historic sites, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic preservation concerns in the proposed project area. The Service also seeks information about the direct, indirect, or cumulative effects that implementation of the HCP could have on any of these resources, as well as the beetle. The Service is also seeking information about other reasonable alternatives to the proposed HCP and permit issuance that should be considered and their potential effects.

The Service is holding three public scoping meetings where information about the EIS, HCP and American burying beetle will be provided. Any interested party or organization is welcome to provide comments at the meetings. The public scoping meetings will be held at the following locations:

  • American Legion — November 18, 2014, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., 657 G Street, Burwell, NE 68823;
  • Village Municipal Offices — November 19, 2014, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., 1200 First Street, Sutherland, NE 69165; and
  • Thomas County Fairgrounds — November 20, 2014, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., 83861 Highway 83, Thedford, NE 69166.

A copy of the draft NOI can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/, http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ne.html, or by contacting:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Nebraska Ecological Services Field Office
9325 South Alda Road
Wood River, Nebraska 68883

Alternatively, copies can be requested by phone: (308)382-6468.

Comments on the NOI can be provided electronically by accessing http://www.regulations.gov/.

Public domain photos of the American burying beetle can be found here: http://bit.ly/1oWYUiB.

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. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USFWSMountainPrairie, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSMtnPrairie, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/

 

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: July 09, 2019
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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