DENVER – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft Environmental Assessment for the Northern States Power Company, doing business as Xcel Energy, for the Courtenay Wind Farm. The draft Environmental Assessment evaluates the impact of issuing an eagle take permit for the existing 100-turbine wind facility located approximately 15 miles north of Jamestown, N.D.
The draft Environmental Assessment evaluates impacts of issuing an eagle take permit and evaluates conservation opportunities. One component of the application is an Eagle Conservation Plan that describes measures that will be implemented to avoid and minimize impacts to eagles if a permit is issued. The Eagle Conservation Plan serves as the foundation for Xcel Energy’s permit application and is available for public review as part of the draft Environmental Assessment. Based on scientific data gathered, the Fish and Wildlife Service has found that bald eagles could be affected by the proposed project.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits the “take” of eagles – defined as to pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest or disturb – without an eagle take permit. In 2009, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule authorizing take of eagle nests and the incidental (non-purposeful) take of eagles associated with an otherwise lawful activity.
The eagle take permitting system enables the Fish and Wildlife Service to work collaboratively with industry to avoid and minimize eagle deaths, ensure eagle take is mitigated when applicable, and gather essential information about eagles that will help to maximize eagle conservation across the nation.
The draft Environmental Assessment is available at https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/wind/. The Service will be publishing a notice of availability for the draft Environmental Assessment in the Federal Register in the coming days. Once published, public comments will be accepted until June 18, 2018. You will be able to submit comments electronically via email to FW6WindEnergy@fws.gov, please include “Courtenay Wind Farm Draft Environmental Assessment” in the subject line of the message.
Comments also will be accepted via U.S. mail:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Attn: Brian Smith
P.O. Box 25486 DFC
Denver, Colorado 80225-0486
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