[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 128 (Thursday, July 3, 2014)]
[Pages 38055-38057]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15617]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FW-HQ-ES-2014-N138; FXHC11220900000-145-FF09E33000]

Proposed Information Collection; Land-Based Wind Energy 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) will ask the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC) 
described below. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and 
as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent 
burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take 
this opportunity to comment on this IC. This IC is scheduled to expire 
on December 31, 2014. We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not 
required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number.

DATES: To ensure that we are able to consider your comments on this IC, 
we must receive them by September 2, 2014.

[[Page 38056]]

ADDRESSES: Send your comments on the IC to the Service Information 
Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 2042-
PDM, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail); or hope_grey@fws.gov (email). Please include ``1018-0148'' in the subject line 
of your comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information 
about this IC, contact Hope Grey at hope_grey@fws.gov (email) or 703-
358-2482 (telephone).


I. Abstract

    As wind energy production increased, both developers and wildlife 
agencies recognized the need for a system to evaluate and address the 
potential negative impacts of wind energy projects on species of 
concern. We issued voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (http://www.fws.gov/windenergy) in March 2012 to provide a structured, 
scientific process for addressing wildlife conservation concerns at all 
stages of land-based wind energy development. The Guidelines also 
promote effective communication among wind energy developers and 
Federal, State, tribal, and local conservation agencies. When used in 
concert with appropriate regulatory tools, the Guidelines are the best 
practical approach for conserving species of concern.
    The Guidelines discuss various risks to species of concern from 
wind energy projects, including collisions with wind turbines and 
associated infrastructure; loss and degradation of habitat from 
turbines and infrastructure; fragmentation of large habitat blocks into 
smaller segments that may not support sensitive species; displacement 
and behavioral changes; and indirect effects such as increased predator 
populations or introduction of invasive plants. The Guidelines assist 
developers in identifying species of concern that may potentially be 
affected by proposed projects, including, but not limited to:
     Migratory birds;
     Bald and golden eagles and other birds of prey;
     Prairie chickens and sage grouse; and
     Listed, proposed, or candidate endangered and threatened 
    The Guidelines follow a tiered approach. The wind energy developer 
begins at Tier 1 or Tier 2, which entails gathering of existing data to 
help identify any potential risks to wildlife and their habitats at 
proposed wind energy project sites. The developer then proceeds through 
subsequent tiers, as appropriate, to collect information in increasing 
detail until the level of risk is adequately ascertained and a decision 
on whether or not to develop the site can be made. Many projects may 
not proceed beyond Tier 1 or 2, when developers become aware of 
potential barriers, including high risks to wildlife. Developers would 
only have an interest in adhering to the Guidelines for those projects 
that proceed beyond Tier 1 or 2.
    At each tier, wind energy developers and operators should retain 
documentation to provide to the Service. Such documentation may include 
copies of correspondence with the Service, results of pre- and post-
construction studies conducted at project sites, bird and bat 
conservation strategies, or any other record that supports a 
developer's adherence to the Guidelines. The extent of the 
documentation will depend on the conditions of the site being 
developed. Sites with greater risk of impacts to wildlife and habitats 
will likely involve more extensive communication with the Service and 
longer durations of pre- and post-construction studies than sites with 
little risk.
    Distributed or community-scale wind energy projects are unlikely to 
have significant adverse impacts to wildlife and their habitats. The 
Guidelines recommend that developers of these small-scale projects do 
the desktop analysis described in Tier 1 or Tier 2 using publicly 
available information to determine whether they should communicate with 
the Service. Since such project designs usually include a single 
turbine associated with existing development, conducting a Tier 1 or 
Tier 2 analysis for distributed or community-scale wind energy projects 
should incur limited nonhour burden costs. For such projects, if there 
is no potential risk identified, a developer will have no need to 
communicate with the Service regarding the project or to conduct 
studies described in Tiers 3, 4, and 5.
    Adherence to the Guidelines is voluntary. Following the Guidelines 
does not relieve any individual, company, or agency of the 
responsibility to comply with applicable laws and regulations. 
Developers of wind energy projects have a responsibility to comply with 
the law; for example, they must obtain incidental take authorization 
for species protected by the Endangered Species Act and/or Bald and 
Golden Eagle Protection Act.

II. Data

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0148.
    Title: Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines.
    Service Form Number: None.
    Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.
    Description of Respondents: Developers and operators of wind energy 
    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.
    Frequency of Collection: On occasion.

                                                             Number of       Number of       time per      Total annual       Nonhour      Total annual
         Activity (reporting and recordkeeping)             respondents      responses       response      burden hours     burden cost       nonhour
                                                                                              (hours)                      per response     burden cost
Tier 1 (desktop analysis)...............................             150             150              83          12,450          $2,000        $300,000
Tier 2 (site characterization)..........................             110             110             375          41,250           4,000         440,000
Tier 3 (pre-construction studies).......................              80              80           2,880         230,400          23,000       1,840,000
Tier 4 (post-construction fatality monitoring and                     50              50           2,550         127,500          95,000       4,750,000
 habitat studies).......................................
Tier 5 (other post-construction studies.................              10              10           2,400          24,000         191,000       1,910,000
    Totals..............................................             400             400  ..............         435,600  ..............       9,240,000

    Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: $9,240,000. Costs will depend 
on the size and complexity of issues associated with each project. 
These expenses may include, but are not limited to: Travel expenses for 

[[Page 38057]]

visits, studies conducted, and meetings with the Service and other 
Federal and State agencies; training in survey methodologies; data 
management; special transportation such as all-terrain vehicles or 
helicopters; equipment needed for acoustic, telemetry, or radar 
monitoring, and carcass storage.

III. Comments

    We invite comments concerning this information collection on:
     Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
     The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this 
collection of information;
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents.
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request 
to OMB to approve this IC. Before including your address, phone number, 
email 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. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so.

    Dated: June 27, 2014.
Tina A. Campbell,
Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-15617 Filed 7-2-14; 8:45 am]