Press Release
Seeking public comment for Great Pathfinder Wind Project Habitat Conservation Plan
Media Contacts

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are seeking public comment on a proposed habitat conservation plan amendment for the Great Pathfinder Wind Project in Hamilton and Boone counties, Iowa. The plan accompanies an application to amend an Endangered Species Act permit for Great Pathfinder Wind LLC that would add authorization of incidental take of a proposed endangered species, the tricolored bat, to the currently existing authorization to incidentally take of the endangered Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat.

The proposed habitat conservation plan amendment outlines measures the company would take for conserving these species if our agency approves the requested permit. These measures include changes to wind turbine operation to reduce risk of collisions with bats and contributing to efforts to protect bats and their habitat.

The plan proposes on-site avoidance and minimization measures, including modifying operation of the wind turbines to reduce the likelihood of bats colliding with the blades. To offset the impacts of taking Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats and tricolored bats, Great Pathfinder proposes to further support bat conservation through actions that may include participating in an approved conservation bank or mitigation fund, implementing mitigation projects or contributing to a fund devoted to treating white-nose syndrome, a primary threat to the three species.

The authorized level of take from the project would be expanded to include 15 tricolored bats over the remaining 5-year duration of the incidental take permit. Great Pathfinder would also conduct intensive monitoring of bat mortality, using the data to guide future conservation actions at the facility.

Habitat conservation plans are agreements between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a landowner, private company or non-federal agency that allows that individual or organization to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property that may result in the incidental take of a federally endangered or threatened species.

Review draft documents and submit public comments by searching the Federal Register for Docket Number FWS–R3–ES–2024-0023. Please specify whether your comment addresses the amended habitat conservation plan, amended environmental action statement or any combination of these or other supporting documents. The public comment period will be open for 30 days through July 3, 2024.

Learn more about the Endangered Species Act and habitat conservation plans.

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Endangered and/or Threatened species
Land development