The Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits the "take" of listed species through direct harm or habitat destruction.
In 1982, an amendment was made to the ESA that authorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue permits for "incidental take" of endangered and threatened wildlife species.
The amendment requires that permit applicants design, implement, and secure funding for a conservation plan, commonly called a Habitat Conservation Plan, that minimizes and mitigates harm to the impacted species during the proposed project.
There are currently two regional projects that include Nebraska.
For more information visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Permits website: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/permits/hcp/index.html.
Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)
More than 15 wind energy companies, known as the Wind Energy Whooping Crane Action group or "WEWAG", are developing this regional HCP.
The HCP covers a 200-mile wide corridor across nine states (see map to left).
The HCP is looking at the potential impacts of wind energy development and operation on:
- Whooping Crane (Grus americana), endangered species;
- Interior Least Tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos), endangered species;
- Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus), endangered species;
- Lesser Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a candidate species.
"This EIS process gives us an opportunity to evaluate the impacts to dozens of imperiled species at a landscape level to ensure that wind energy development occurs in the right places in the right way," Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Great Plains Wind Energy Fact Sheet: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/Documents/R2ES/Wind/Species_FactSheet.pdf.
Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan webpage: http://www.greatplainswindhcp.org.
Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)
Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will prepare a PEIS to evaluate the impacts of wind energy development in Western's Upper Great Plains Region.
The PEIS will consider wind energy projects that would connect with Western Area Power Administration's transmission system in their Upper Great Plains Customer Service Region
Areas included are all or parts of:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Areas also include the Service's grasslands and wetland easements in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
This PEIS will identify mitigation strategies, standard construction practices, best management practices (BMPs)and establish a comprehensive environmental program for evaluating future projects.
Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic EIS webpage: http://plainswindeis.anl.gov/index.cfm