[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 124 (Friday, June 27, 2014)]
[Pages 36552-36553]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-14953]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-MB-2014-N098; FXMB12320100000P2-123-FF01M01000]

Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Decision; Finding of No 
Significant Impact of Final Environmental Assessment; Shiloh IV Wind 
Project, Solano County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability 
of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and final Environmental 
Assessment (FEA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for 
the issuance of a take permit for golden eagles pursuant to the Bald 
and Golden

[[Page 36553]]

Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act), in association with the operation of 
the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, California. The FEA was 
prepared in response to an application from Shiloh IV Wind Project, LLC 
(applicant), an affiliate of EDF Renewable Development, Incorporated, 
for a 5-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles under the Eagle 
Act. The applicant will implement a conservation program to avoid, 
minimize, and compensate for the project's impacts to eagles, as 
described in the applicant's Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP). We 
solicited comments on the draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) and 
have reviewed those comments in the course of preparing our findings 
for this project. Based on the FEA the Service concludes that a Finding 
of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate. Based on the FONSI and 
findings we prepared associated with the permit application, we intend 
to issue the permit after 30 days.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download copies of the FONSI, 
FEA, our Response to Comments on the Draft EA, and the Final ECP for 
Shiloh IV Wind Project on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/cno/conservation/migratorybirds.html. Alternatively, you may use one of the 
methods below to request a CD-ROM of the document.
     Email: ShilohIV_comments@fws.gov.
     U.S. Mail: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Regional Office, 2800 
Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825.
     Fax: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program; Fax: 916-414-
6486, Attn: Shiloh IV FONSI.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird 
Program, at the address shown above or at (916) 414-6651 (telephone).



    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service evaluated an application under 
the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668a-d; Eagle Act) 
for a programmatic golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) take permit from 
the Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, (applicant) an affiliate of EDF 
Renewable Development, Incorporated, for a 5-year programmatic take 
permit for golden eagles. The Shiloh IV Wind Project is an operational 
wind facility in the Montezuma Hills Wind Resource Area (WRA) within 
Solano County, California. The application includes an Eagle 
Conservation Plan (ECP) as the foundation of the applicant's permit 
application, as well as a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy (BBCS). 
The ECP and BBCS describe actions taken and proposed future actions to 
avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on eagles, birds, and 
    We prepared this FEA to evaluate the impacts of several 
alternatives associated with this permit application for compliance 
with our Eagle Act permitting regulations in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 22.26, as well as impacts of implementation 
of the supporting ECP, which is included as an appendix to the FEA.

Public Comments on the Draft EA

    We invited public comment on the Draft EA. In response, we received 
32 comment letters: One from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 
3 from Native American tribes, 6 from nongovernmental organizations 
(NGOs), and 22 from the general public. Three NGO comment letters 
combined comments from multiple organizations, the first letter 
representing two environmental groups, the second representing six 
environmental groups, and the third representing two industry 
associations. In total, the 32 comment letters contained approximately 
125 individual comments. These comments generally fell under one of 
five main categories: (1) Effects (addressing a variety of issues 
including age of the birds killed, number of fatalities, local 
population effects, cumulative effects, other sources of fatalities, 
and overall population numbers), (2) advanced conservation practices 
(ACPs) (addressing the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), seasonal 
shutdowns, transparency of the process and future ACPs, project design, 
and seasonal curtailment), (3) mitigation (addressing methods for 
calculating mitigation requirements, monitoring of retrofits, location 
of retrofits, biological value of retrofits, and additional alternative 
measures, such as using new technologies, capturing and relocating 
eagles, and promoting establishment of new eagle nests), (4) monitoring 
and reporting (addressing frequency and length of the monitoring 
program, the reporting system, study design, and the desire to have 
third-party verification), or (5) general comments about the permitting 
program (including comments opposing the issuance of an eagle take 
    Overall, the comments raised issues regarding the opportunities and 
challenges associated with issuing eagle take permits. We made minor 
changes to three topic areas of the FEA based on these comments. First, 
under the adaptive management process, we clarified that the TAC was 
intended to include only Service staff as overseers of the permit. We 
added more detailed information on the compensation program (utility 
electric pole retrofitting) and the resource equivalency analysis 
process used to calculate compensation. We also expanded our discussion 
of climate change with respect to its potential effects to eagles. 
After considering the comments, and in light of the record, we 
determined that neither substantial revisions nor a new analysis are 
required for the FEA. Detailed responses to specific comments are 
included in the FONSI (Attachment 2).


    The Service has selected Alternative 3, issuance of a 5-year permit 
based on the applicant's ECP with additional mitigation and monitoring, 
and has determined that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is 
appropriate for this action. Based on the FONSI and findings prepared 
associated with the permit application, we intend to issue a permit 
after 30 days.


    We provide this notice under Section 668a of the Eagle Act (16 
U.S.C. 668-668c) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: June 19, 2014.
Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2014-14953 Filed 6-26-14; 8:45 am]