The site of the proposed Deerfield Wind Project in Searsburg and Readsboro,Vermont received an environmental assessment by Arrowwood Environmental from 2003 to 2006. As part of this assessment, the existing natural resource conditions on the site were identified, mapped and evaluated. Special attention was paid to Management Indicator Species (MIS) and their habitats, Threatened, Endangered Species (TES), Regional Foresters Sensitive Species (RFSS), Species of Viability Concern (SVC), Neo-tropical Migratory Birds (NTMB) and specialized wildlife habitats. In addition, the existing forest vegetation, streams, wetlands and other surface waters were mapped and assessed.
Based on the environmental analysis outlined in this report, the proposed project will have a limited negative impact on three of the nine Management Indicator Species: the Barred Owl, the Blackpoll warbler and the chestnut sided warbler. These impacts were determined to be limited because they are restricted to the clearing areas associated with the building of the access road and towers and do not represent a threat to the species. The environmental analysis also concluded that the proposed Deerfield Wind Project will have no affect on any Threatened, Endangered Species (TES) based on lack of suitable habitat for these species within the project area. Many of the species on the Species of Viability Concern (SVC) and Regional Foresters Sensitive Species (RFSS) lists do not likely occur within the study area. While there are a few wildlife species on these lists that likely occur within the project area, the project has been designed to avoid impacts to these species. The impact that the proposed project will have on Neo-tropical Migratory Birds is variable, depending on the species. While some species may be impacted by the project from limited loss of habitat, others may benefit from habitat creation and enhancement.
Within the project area and along the preferred access route (Putnam Road Access) eight wetlands have been identified and mapped. All but one of these wetlands has been avoided. One small seepage wetland will be impacted by the construction of the Putnam Road access site. Nine streams were mapped within this area and four stream crossings have been proposed to allow access to the wind turbines. Impact from these crossings will be minimized by following the guidelines put forth by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for protecting aquatic organisms at stream crossings.
In addition to these assessments, this report also includes a description of the project area's existing vegetation, natural communities, soils and geology. The resources described in the report are shown on the four attached maps.