DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091
EA at Buffalo Valley Hot Springs Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Power Plant

Jersey Valley and Buffalo Valley Geothermal Development Projects EA for Geothermal/Power Plant

Proposed Action

Ormat is proposing to construct, operate and maintain the Jersey Valley Geothermal Development Project (Jersey Valley Project) and the Buffalo Valley Geothermal Development Project (Buffalo Valley Project). Each Project includes the construction and operation of a power generating facility, geothermal wellfields, geothermal production and injection pipelines, access roads and ancillary support facilities. Additionally, an approximately 27.59-mile overhead 120 kV transmission line (NVN-87409) would be constructed, originating at the proposed Jersey Valley power plant, trending north-northeast through the Buffalo Valley power plant, and terminating at the proposed Sierra Pacific Power Company (SPPCo.) Bannock substation

Conditions of Approval

See Geothermal Lease Stipulations in Appendix A - (Serial Numbers N-77483, N-74883, N-74861, N-74865, N-74868, and N-74869).

Data Completion Notes

5/21/2014: Application date added from SRP.MB

Data entry complete - 8/9/2013.

Documents

Serial Register Page:





FONSI:


 

<metadesc> : NEPA document related to geothermal resource areas </metadesc>

Resource Analysis

Resource Not
Present
Present,
Not
Affected
Present,
Potentially
Affected
Not
Indicated
Comment Applicant
Proposed
Mitigation
Agency
Imposed
Mitigation
Air Quality
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseMitigation during Construction:

Based on implementation of environmental protection measures specified by Ormat, water and gravel would be applied to the ground as necessary to control dust. Each of the well pads, access roads and the power plant site would be surfaced with aggregate to minimize dust. This would minimize fugitive dust emission during construction activities. The dust which could be generated when drilling with air would be controlled by a separator/muffler, and only the air and water vapor would be discharged to the air.

An NDEP-BAPC Surface Area Disturbance Permit, documenting the areas of proposed disturbance and the best practical dust control methods to be used, will be required for the Project(s) because the surface disturbed by either of the Projects would be greater than 5 acres. Best practical dust control methods applicable to the project activities include use of water trucks to spray water on disturbed areas on a regular basis; pre-watering of areas to be disturbed; graveling of roadways, storage areas and staging areas; posting and limiting vehicle speeds to 10 to 15 miles per hour, and use of wind fences to reduce wind impacts. Implementation of the applicable best practical dust control methods, through compliance with the Surface Area Disturbance Permit, would minimize fugitive dust emissions during construction, operation and decommissioning of the project.

Mitigation during Maintenance:

During major maintenance activities on the pentane side of the binary power plant units, the liquid pentane would first be transferred to the pentane storage tank. However, not all of the pentane can be removed in this manner, and the residual pentane would be discharged to the atmosphere when the binary power plant unit is opened. All of these releases, estimated to average about 12 tons per year, are regulated through a permit issued by BAPC to ensure that these emissions do not result in ambient concentrations of ozone (which can be created from the reaction of ambient concentrations of hydrocarbons and NOx) in excess of the applicable AAQS.
 
Cultural Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAny areas containing cultural resources of significance would be avoided, or the potential for impacts mitigated in a manner acceptable to the BLM. Ormat employees, contractors, and suppliers would be reminded that all cultural resources are protected and if uncovered shall be left in place and reported to the Ormat representative and/or their supervisor.
CloseAny unplanned discovery of cultural resources, human remains, items of cultural patrimony, sacred objects, or funerary items, requires that all activity in the vicinity of the find ceases, and notification be made to Doug Furtado, Field Manager, Mt. Lewis Field Office, 50 Bastian Way, Battle Mountain, NV, 89820 (775–635–4000), by telephone, with written confirmation to follow, immediately upon such discovery. The location of the find should not be publicly disclosed and any human remains must be secured and preserved in place until a Notice to Proceed is issued by the authorized officer.

Sacred sites such as prayer, sweat lodge, medicinal/strength gathering, and edible/medicinal plant gathering locations must remain quiet and undisturbed and a sense of reverence maintained.

If any traditional cultural properties or artifacts are identified before or during development activities, a protective “buffer zone” may be acceptable, where physical avoidance is an issue, and if doing so satisfies the needs of the BLM, the proponent, and affected Tribe. The size of any “buffer zone” would be determined through coordination and communication between all participating entities. All NRHP-eligible and unevaluated cultural sites that were identified

during the cultural resources inventory would be avoided.
Environmental Justice
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Fisheries Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Floodplains
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Range Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAll Project activities are located away from sources of water in the vicinity and will not prevent

livestock access to the available sources of water in the area.

To prevent access by cattle to areas which might be harmful to them, Ormat has committed to fence reserve pits and the power plant site in conformance with the Gold Book, and has not proposed any Project activities which would substantially limit livestock’s access to the undisturbed portions of the Jersey Valley Unit Area and Buffalo Valley Unit Area.

The transmission line is proposed to cross the Cow Creek Pipeline. Ormat has committed to

“span” this pipeline and not place transmission line poles in such a way as to damage the existing pipeline, therefore no impacts to the Cow Creek Pipeline are anticipated.
 
Migratory Birds
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseInitial ground disturbing activities would not be conducted during the migratory bird nesting season (April 1-August 15) unless necessary, and then only after inventories for migratory birds and nests were conducted by a qualified biologist acceptable to the BLM. This survey would be conducted to identify either breeding adult birds or nest sites within the specific areas to be disturbed. If active nests are present within the areas to be disturbed, Ormat would coordinate with the BLM or appropriate state officials, as applicable, to develop appropriate protection measures for the active nest sites, which may include avoidance, construction constraints, and/or the establishment of buffers.
 
Native American Concerns
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseThe cultural resources inventory of the Jersey Valley Unit Area, Buffalo Valley Unit Area and transmission line corridor identified ninety-nine archaeological sites (seven of which were previously recorded), including both historic and prehistoric resources. Of these, seven

have been recommended as eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and fourteen sites remain unevaluated due to their location in coppice dunes, with the potential to contain intact, stratified cultural deposits.

Any areas containing cultural resources of significance would be avoided, or the potential for impacts mitigated in a manner acceptable to the BLM. Ormat employees, contractors, and suppliers would be reminded that all cultural resources are protected and if uncovered shall be left in place and reported to the Ormat representative and/or their supervisor.
 
Threatened and Endangered Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

There would be no impacts to threatened and endangered species as none are known to exist within the surveyed portions of the Jersey Valley Unit Area, Buffalo Valley Unit Area and proposed transmission line corridor.

   
Wastes Hazardous or Solid
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAbsorbent pads or sheets would be placed under likely spill sources.
 
Wetlands and Riparian Zones
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseSee Mitigation under Water Quality Surface and Ground.
 
Wild and Scenic Rivers
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wilderness
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Geology and Minerals
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

Geology and Minerals would not be adversely affected by implementation of the Proposed Action. Geothermal resources are a leasable mineral and given that the resource is not consumed during plant operations, geothermal resources should not be affected.

   
Paleontological Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The s outhern portion of the Jersey Valley Unit area may host supporting geologic structures for vertebrate paleontological resources. However the Project is located north of these geological structures, and is not projected to affect vert ebrate paleontological resources.

   
Soils
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseSurface disturbance and vegetation removal during construction of proposed project facilities

within the Jersey Valley Unit Area, Buffalo Valley Unit Area and transmission line corridor would increase the potential for erosion through exposure of denuded surfaces. Based on implementation of environmental protection measures specified by Ormat, water would be applied to the ground during construction as necessary to control dust. Each of the well pads, access roads and the power plant site would be surfaced with aggregate which would minimize dust and stabilize erosive soils. Additionally, disturbed areas would be

reclaimed in accordance with applicable BLM requirements.
 
Invasive, Nonnative Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseTo prevent the spread of invasive, nonnative species, all contractors will be required to power wash their vehicles and equipment, including body and undercarriage, prior to entering public lands managed by the BLM. Following the implementation of these environmental protection measures, there would remain the potential for the spread of noxious weeds, invasive and nonnative species (seed and vegetative plant parts) within the Jersey Valley and Buffalo Unit Areas and along the transmission line corridor, which would be a residual impact. Ormat has also committed to re-vegetate disturbed areas using BLM approved weed-free seed mixes.
 
Vegetation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseSeeding of disturbed areas associated with soil association 211 would be completed using

the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Indian Ricegrass Scientific Name: Oryzopsis hymenoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 3.40

Common Name: Bottlebrush Squirreltail Scientific Name: Elymus elymoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 1.70

Common Name: Needle and Thread Scientific Name: Stipa Comata Pounds/acre (bulk): 3.78

Common Name: Scarlet Globemallow Scientific Name: Sphaeralcea coccinea Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.78

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil associations 662, 673, 2711, 2721, 2555, 251, 652 and 1340 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Basin Wildrye Scientific Name: Leymus cinereus Pounds/acre (bulk): 4.65

Common Name: Indian Ricegrass Scientific Name: Oryzopsis hymenoides Pounds/acre (bulk):1.70

Common Name: Alkali sacaton Scientific Name: Sporoblus airoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.12

Common Name: Scarlet Globemallow Scientific Name: Sphaeralcea coccinea Pounds/acre (bulk):0.52

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil association 653 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Bluebunch Wheatgrass Scientific Name: Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp. spicata Pounds/acre (bulk): 6.22

Common Name: Basin Wildrye Scientific Name: Leymus cinereus Pounds/acre (bulk): 2.61

Common Name: Thurbers Needlegrass Scientific Name: Stipa thurberiana Pounds/acre (bulk): 5.23

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil association 2066 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Indian Ricegrass Scientific Name: Oryzopsis hymenoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 3.40

Common Name: Bottlebrush Squirreltail Scientific Name: Elymus elymoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 1.58

Common Name: Needle and Thread Scientific Name: Stipa Comata Pounds/acre (bulk): 3.78

Common Name: Scarlet Globemallow Scientific Name: Sphaeralcea coccinea Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.78

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil association 1140, 740, 1169, 1570 and 1145 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Basin Wildrye Scientific Name: Leymus cinereus Pounds/acre (bulk): 4.65

Common Name: Alkali sacaton Scientific Name: Sporoblus airoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.45

Common Name: Bottlebrush Squirreltail Scientific Name: Elymus elymoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 1.70

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil association 247 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Bottlebrush Squirreltail Scientific Name: Elymus elymoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 4.16

Common Name: Basin Wildrye Scientific Name: Leymus cinereus Pounds/acre (bulk): 2.61

Common Name: Indian Ricegrass Scientific Name: Oryzopsis hymenoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 2.34

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil associations 596, 661, 670, 701, 835 and 2062 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Indian Ricegrass Scientific Name: Oryzopsis hymenoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 3.40

Common Name: Bottlebrush Squirreltail Scientific Name: Elymus elymoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 1.58

Common Name: Needle and Thread Scientific Name: Stipa Comata Pounds/acre (bulk): 3.78

Common Name: Scarlet Globemallow Scientific Name: Sphaeralcea coccinea Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.78

Common Name: Basin Big Sagebrush Scientific Name: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.31

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil association 1292 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Bottlebrush Squirreltail Scientific Name: Elymus elymoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 4.16

Common Name: Basin Wildrye Scientific Name: Leymus cinereus Pounds/acre (bulk): 2.61

Common Name: Indian Ricegrass Scientific Name: Oryzopsis hymenoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 2.34

Common Name: Basin Big Sagebrush Artemisia Scientific Name: tridentata ssp. tridentata Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.31

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with soil association 1292 would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Common Name: Basin Wildrye Scientific Name: Leymus cinereus Pounds/acre (bulk): 4.65

Common Name: Alkali sacaton Scientific Name: Sporoblus airoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.45

Common Name: Bottlebrush Squirreltail Scientific Name: Elymus elymoides Pounds/acre (bulk): 1.70

Common Name: Basin Big Sagebrush Scientific Name: Artemisia tridentata ssp.tridentata

Pounds/acre (bulk): 0.31
 
Wildlife Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseShould construction be planned within the greater sage-grouse wintering season, prior to

the commencement of construction, areas proposed for disturbance will be surveyed by a qualified biologist to determine if wintering concentrations of sage-grouse exist. Any wintering concentrations of birds will be avoided by 0.6 miles.

The proposed transmission line would also provide raptor protection in compliance with the standards described in the “Suggested Practices for Raptor Protection on Power Lines, The State of the Art in 2006.”

An anti-perching device, (a cone, Kaddas Enterprises type KE1058 or equal) would be installed on the top of each transmission line pole along the entirety of the transmission line (see Figure 15 and Figure 16).

All power poles will utilize BLM-approved raptor deterrents.

Bird flight diverters will be attached to the transmission line conductors located immediately over the open water areas of the Jersey Valley and Buffalo Valley hot springs, and out to approximately 100 feet on each side of the hot springs. The spacing of the diverters will be approximately 15 feet between each device.
 
Recreation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The Project does not propose any activity which would prevent continued access by recreational users to the public lands within the Jersey Valley Unit Area, Buffalo Valley Unit Area and proposed transmission line corridor. Project operations should also not impact the ability of hunters to access previous hunting grounds, or impact the abundance of game animals.

CloseOrmat has also stated that water would be applied to the disturbed ground during the construction activities as necessary to control dust. Construction noise would be minimized through practices which avoid or minimize actions which may typically generate greater noise levels, or generate distinctive impact noise.
 
Visual Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAll drill rig and well test facility lights would be limited to those required to safely conduct the operations, and would be shielded and/or directed in a manner which focuses direct light to the immediate work area.

Permanent project facilities within the Jersey Valley Unit Area and Buffalo Valley Unit Area would be painted a color, subject to approval by the authorized officer, which would blend with the landscape (likely covert green). Prior to painting, Ormat would contact the Mount Lewis Field Office project lead.

Permanent project facilities within the Jersey Valley Unit Area and Buffalo Valley Unit Area would be limited to those required to safely conduct the operations, and would be shielded and/or directed in a manner which focuses direct light to the immediate work area.

The substation at the north end of the transmission line corridor would be painted a color, subject to approval by the authorized officer, which would blend with the landscape. Prior to painting, Ormat would contact the Mount Lewis Field Office project lead.
 
Economic Values
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseNone; effects would be beneficial.
CloseNone; effects would be beneficial.
Social Values
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseNone; effects would be beneficial.
CloseNone; effects would be beneficial.
Special Status Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseOrmat has committed to adopt protection measures which would reduce potential impacts to sage-grouse. Should construction be planned within the greater sage-grouse wintering season, prior to the commencement of construction, areas proposed for disturbance will be surveyed by a qualified biologist to determine if wintering concentrations of sage-grouse exist. Any wintering concentrations of birds will be avoided by 0.6 miles. A mitigation measure (see Migratory Birds section) has been recommended, which should reduce potential impacts to burrowing owls.
 
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

There are no ACECs within or near the project area.

   
Prime or Unique Farmlands
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wild Horse and Burro Management
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The Jersey Valley Unit Area and the proposed transmission line are not located within a Herd Management Area (HMA). The Buffalo Valley Unit Area has a very small portion of the Augusta HMA that slightly intrudes on the geothermal lease area. The proposed Buffalo Valley plant and appurtenant facilities lay completely outside the Augusta HMA.

   
Lands and Realty
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseTransmission line poles would not be located within any existing ROWs.
 
Water Quantity
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseJersey Valley

The unit operator shall monitor and collect representative temperature; flow, stage or equivalent; and basic thermal water chemistry from each of the two springs known as the Jersey Valley Hot Springs, which are located in the SW¼, SW¼ of Section 28 and the SE¼, SE¼ of Section 29, respectively.

The unit operator shall monitor and collect representative temperature; flow, stage or equivalent; and basic thermal water chemistry from these hot springs on the following schedule, unless otherwise modified by the BLM authorized officer:

  • Once immediately prior to the commencement of drilling, and once immediately following the completion of drilling, of each new or redrilled geothermal well in the geothermal unit area;
  • Each year until one year before the commencement of geothermal fluid production and injection operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility;
  • Once each quarter from one year before the commencement of geothermal fluid production and injection operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility until the cessation of all geothermal fluid production and injection operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility; and
  • Once each year from the cessation of all geothermal fluid production and injection

operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility until all geothermal wells within the geothermal unit area have been abandoned.

Collected data shall be reported to the BLM in written form by the unit operator within 30 days of its receipt. The unit operator shall also submit an annual report to the BLM within 30 days of the end of each calendar year summarizing and interpreting the monitoring data collected during the preceding calendar year.

If the BLM authorized officer determines that the available monitoring information indicates the need for further monitoring information to determine if unit operations are creating adverse impacts to the hot springs, then the BLM authorized officer may require that the unit operator conduct additional monitoring of the hot springs, including:

  • Collection of monitoring data at increased monitoring frequencies;
  • Collection of additional monitoring parameters from current monitoring locations; and/or
  • Collection of monitoring data from additional monitoring locations.

Should this monitoring program demonstrate that adverse impacts to the hot springs may be occurring, the unit operator shall, as required by the BLM authorized officer, immediately retain a qualified third-party consultant, acceptable to the BLM authorized officer, to review the collected data and to evaluate the collected data and recommend reasonable mitigation measures. A group consisting of the applicable stakeholders, including the current holder of water rights from the hot springs, if any, would be convened to review the recommended measures. Such measures may include:

  • Providing compensation to the current water rights holder for the loss of any water rights from the hot springs;
  • Providing geothermal fluids to the affected hot springs of a quality and quantity sufficient to restore the pre-production temperature; flow, stage or equivalent; and basic thermal water chemistry of the hot springs; and/or
  • Implementing appropriate geothermal reservoir management techniques to adjust

the geothermal reservoir pressure regime and reduce and/or reverse these adverse affects to the hot springs. Such geothermal reservoir management techniques may include:

  • Modifying the volume (and/or pressure) of geothermal fluids produced from one or more production wells within the geothermal unit area field and monitor the reservoir and hot spring response;
  • Modifying the volume (and/or pressure) of geothermal fluids injected into one or more injection wells within the geothermal unit area field and monitor the reservoir and hot spring response; and/or
  • Discontinuing the use of one or more geothermal unit area production or injection well(s);
  • Changing the depth of geothermal fluid injection in one or more geothermal unit area injection wells;
  • Relocating one or more production or injection well(s) within the geothermal unit area; and/or
  • Any other measure as directed by the BLM authorized officer which, pursuant to the lease stipulations, may include shutting down the operation. Buffalo Valley

The unit operator shall monitor and collect representative temperature; flow, stage or equivalent; and basic thermal water chemistry from those springs located in the SE¼ of Section 23, T29N, R41E, collectively known as the Buffalo Valley Hot Springs. The unit operator shall monitor and collect representative temperature; flow, stage or equivalent; and basic thermal water chemistry from these hot springs on the following schedule, unless otherwise modified by the BLM authorized officer:

• Once immediately prior to the commencement of drilling, and once immediately following the completion of drilling, of each new or redrilled geothermal well in the geothermal unit area;

  • Each year until one year before the commencement of geothermal fluid production and injection operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility;
  • Once each quarter from one year before the commencement of geothermal fluid production and injection operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility until the cessation of all geothermal fluid production and injection operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility; and
  • Once each year from the cessation of all geothermal fluid production and injection operations from the geothermal unit area for the utilization facility until all geothermal wells within the geothermal unit area have been abandoned.

Collected data shall be reported to the BLM in written form by the unit operator within 30 days of its receipt. The unit operator shall also submit an annual report to the BLM within 30 days of the end of each calendar year summarizing and interpreting the monitoring data collected during the preceding calendar year.

If the BLM authorized officer determines that the available monitoring information indicates the need for further monitoring information to determine if unit operations are creating adverse impacts to the hot springs, then the BLM authorized officer may require that the unit operator conduct additional monitoring of the hot springs, including:

  • Collection of monitoring data at increased monitoring frequencies;
  • Collection of additional monitoring parameters from current monitoring locations; and/or
  • Collection of monitoring data from additional monitoring locations.

Should this monitoring program demonstrate that adverse impacts to the hot springs may be occurring, the unit operator shall, as required by the BLM authorized officer, immediately retain a qualified third-party consultant, acceptable to the BLM authorized officer, to review the collected data and to evaluate the collected data and recommend reasonable mitigation measures. A group consisting of the applicable stakeholders including the current holder of water rights from the hot springs, if any, would be convened to review the recommended measures. Such measures may include:

  • Providing compensation to the current water rights holder for the loss of any water rights from the hot springs;
  • Providing geothermal fluids to the affected hot springs of a quality and quantity sufficient to restore the pre-production temperature; flow, stage or equivalent; and basic thermal water chemistry of the hot springs.; and/or
  • Implementing appropriate geothermal reservoir management techniques to adjust the geothermal reservoir pressure regime and reduce and/or reverse these adverse affects to the hot springs. Such geothermal reservoir management techniques may include:
  • Modifying the volume (and/or pressure) of geothermal fluids produced from one or more production wells within the geothermal unit area field and monitor the reservoir and hot spring response;
  • Modifying the volume (and/or pressure) of geothermal fluids injected into one or more injection wells within the geothermal unit area field and monitor the reservoir and hot spring response; and/or
  • Discontinuing the use of one or more geothermal unit area production or injection well(s);
  • Changing the depth of geothermal fluid injection in one or more geothermal unit area injection wells;
  • Relocating one or more production or injection well(s) within the geothermal unit area; and/or
  • Any other measure as directed by the BLM authorized officer which, pursuant to the lease stipulations, may include shutting down the operation.