Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comment on Draft Environmental Assessment, Conservation Plan for Pine Tree Wind Farm Incidental Take Permit Application
Media Contacts

Palm Springs, Calif. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment and draft conservation plan for the proposed issuance of an incidental take permit at the Pine Tree Wind Farm in Kern County, California. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which owns and has operated the project since 2009, applied for the permit. If approved, the permit would cover the incidental take of up to two free-flying California condors and two associated eggs or chicks over 30 years.

The California condor is North America’s largest bird and is listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. There have been no documented cases of a wind turbine injuring or killing a condor. However, as the species’ population in the wild increases, so does the likelihood of condor activity and potential for moralities at wind energy projects.   

The draft conservation plan describes measures the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power would take to minimize and mitigate the Pine Tree Wind Farm’s potential impact on condor populations. Minimization measures include a system to detect approaching condors and to curtail operation of wind turbines if a condor is at risk of collision. Mitigation measures include working with a captive breeding facility to fund the breeding of additional California condors for release into the wild to offset the potential loss of any adult condors, eggs or chicks. A monitoring program would also be in place to ensure plan compliance over the life of the permit.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is dedicated to achieving conservation through partnerships and finding common ground,” said Scott Sobiech, Field Supervisor for the Carlsbad and Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife offices. “Conservation plans provide a mechanism for wind energy companies to manage impacts to condors and help us recover this federally endangered species.” 

The Service regularly engages with industry groups to identify innovative strategies for conserving and recovering at-risk species found within a project area, and has a demonstrated history of successful working relationships with wind companies. Since 2013, the Service has been working with wind companies to minimize the risk to California condors at existing wind energy projects in Kern County and to support the recovery of this species. In June 2021, the Service issued an incidental take permit for the Manzana Wind Power Project, which has been in operation since 2012.

The notice is available today in the Federal Register. Copies of the draft environmental assessment and draft conservation plan are available at by searching Docket Number FWS-R8-ES-2021-0157.

Comments on the draft documents will be accepted until March 21, 2022. You may submit comments electronically to; or by mail to 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 92262. Please reference “Pine Tree Wind Farm” in the subject line of your email.