Criterion Power Partners, LLC. (CPP) is voluntarily developing an Avian Protection Plan (APP) for the Criterion Wind Project (Project) with the goal of reducing or eliminating avian impacts and mortality caused by the Project. This APP has been designed to address potential impacts of the Project operations on species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA).
CPP is voluntarily applying for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and has developed a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (CPP 2010) as part of the application for this ITP. The HCP contains detailed measures for avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating potential impacts to bats including potential take of Indiana bat. The act of issuing an ITP is a federal action that requires compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Conservation measures outlined in this APP document are primarily designed to avoid or minimize potential impacts to avian resources occurring within the Project. These measures were identified in the scientific literature and through discussion and documents provided by the USFWS. As such, we consider these to reflect the best management practices available to minimize avian mortality from the project. Avian mortality from collision with wind turbines occurs to some extent at all wind projects, but mortality rates at wind projects in the Appalachian Mountain area is low compared to that in other areas, especially raptor mortality which can be high in some western states (AWCC 2010). However, it is our intention to minimize features of the project that would be attractive to birds, minimize avian mortality to the extent possible, and keep this mortality rate at or below the rates typical for this region. Should monitoring indicate that these measures are not working and mortality is exceeding the expected rate, we have added adaptive management measures, including mitigation, that would be implemented at that time.