[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 246 (Tuesday, December 22, 2020)]
[Pages 83603-83604]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-28253]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2020-N152; FXES11140800000-20212FF08ECAR00]

Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of an Incidental Take 
Permit Application for the California Condor; Availability of Draft 
Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment; Manzana Wind 
Power Project, Kern County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for public comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application from Manzana Wind LLC for an incidental take 
permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit 
would authorize take of the federally endangered California condor 
(Gymnogyps californianus) incidental to otherwise lawful activities 
associated with operation of the existing Manzana Wind Power Project. 
We invite comments on the draft conservation plan and the draft 
environmental assessment, which we have prepared pursuant to the 

[[Page 83604]]

Environmental Policy Act. We will take comments into consideration 
before deciding whether to issue an incidental take permit.

DATES: We are extending the standard 30-day comment period by 15 days 
to allow additional time for public comment. Written comments should be 
received on or before February 5, 2021.

    To obtain documents: You may view or download copies of the draft 
conservation plan and draft environmental assessment at https://www.fws.gov/carlsbad/, or you may request hardcopies of the draft 
documents by contacting our Palm Springs office (see below).
    To submit written comments: Please submit your written comments by 
either of the following methods:
    [ssquf] Email: fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov. Include ``Manzana Wind 
Power Incidental Take Permit'' in the subject line of the message.
    [ssquf] U.S. Mail: Assistant Field Supervisor, Palm Springs Fish 
and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 777 East Tahquitz 
Canyon Way, Suite 208, Palm Springs, CA 92284.
    We request that you send written comments by only the methods 
described above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Sanzenbacher, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, by mail at Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office (address 
above), by phone at 760-322-2070, extension 425, or via email at 
peter_sanzenbacher@fws.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled, please call the Federal 
Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We have received an application from Manzana 
Wind LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The 
application addresses the potential take of the federally endangered 
California condor (condor), incidental to otherwise lawful activities 
at the Manzana Wind Power Project (project), as described in the 
applicant's draft conservation plan. The project began operations in 
2012 and is in the Antelope Valley region of Kern County, California, 
along the southern foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains.


    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) and Federal regulations 
promulgated pursuant to section 4(d) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533) 
prohibit the take of endangered species without special exemption. 
Under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1539), we may issue 
permits to authorize take of listed fish and wildlife species that is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful 
activity. Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened 
species are set forth in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations at 
part 17, sections 17.22 and 17.32.
    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) requires Federal agencies to analyze their proposed actions to 
determine whether the actions may significantly affect the human 
environment. In the NEPA analysis, the Federal agency will identify the 
effects, as well as possible mitigation for effects on environmental 
resources, that could occur with the implementation of the proposed 
action and alternatives. The Federal action in this case is the 
Service's proposed issuance of an incidental take permit for the 
federally endangered California condor.

Permit Application

    The applicant has submitted a draft conservation plan that 
describes the activities covered by the permit, such as the operation 
of wind turbines and other specified activities associated with project 
components. To minimize the risk of incidental take, the applicant will 
maintain a program to detect condors approaching the project and 
temporarily curtail operating wind turbines when appropriate; the 
conservation plan also includes adaptive management to allow for 
maintaining the protection of condors as technologies, condor behavior, 
and other factors change over time. To mitigate the impact of the 
potential incidental take, the applicant proposes to work with an 
existing captive breeding facility to fund the production of additional 
condors for release into the wild. The Service and applicant used a 
population viability analysis to inform the mitigation strategy and 
ensure that the level of potential injury or mortality of condors 
permitted at the project would not impede recovery of the species. The 
population viability analysis report is appended to the draft 
conservation plan and the draft environmental assessment. A 
``Frequently Asked Questions'' document for the population viability 
analysis is also attached to the draft environmental assessment. The 
draft conservation plan and the draft environmental assessment consider 
alternatives to the proposed action, including a no action alternative.

Public Comments

    If you wish to comment on the draft conservation plan and draft 
environmental assessment, you may submit comments by one of the methods 

Public Availability of Comments

    You may submit comments by one of the methods shown under 
ADDRESSES. All comments and materials we receive in response to this 
request will become part of the decision record associated with this 
action. 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.


    We issue this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA (16 
U.S.C. 1539) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22), and NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6 and 43 CFR 46.305).

Scott Sobiech,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
[FR Doc. 2020-28253 Filed 12-21-20; 8:45 am]