DOI-BLM-NV-B010-2011-0015-EA

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: DOI-BLM-NV-B010-2011-0015-EA
EA at McGuinness Hills Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Power Plant

McGinness Hills Geothermal Development Project EA for Geothermal/Power Plant

Proposed Action

ORMAT Nevada Inc. proposes the construction and operation of two binary air-cooled geothermal power plants, each approximately 33 MW (net), 45 MW (gross); geothermal production and injection wells and well pads; access roads; geothermal production and injection pipelines; an electrical transmission line, and ancillary support facilities.

Conditions of Approval

Ormat would comply with all stipulations that are applicable to the proposed Project operations on the geothermal leases and the transmission line ROWs (see Appendix E).

LEASE STIPULATIONS: ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT SECTION& CNOSULTATION STIPULASTION The lease area may now or hereafter contain plants, animals, or their habitats determined to be threatened, endangered, or other special status species. BLM may recommend modifications to exploration and development proposals to further its conservation and management objective to avoid BLM-approved activity that will contribute to a need to list such a species or their habitat. BLM may require modifications to or disapprove proposed activity that is likely to result in jeopardy to the continued existence of a proposed or listed threatened or endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modifications of a designated or proposed critical habitat. BLM will not approve any ground-disturbing activity that may affect any such species or critical habitat until it completes its obligations under applicable requirements of the Endangered Species Act, 16 USC 1531 et seq., as amended, including completion of any required procedure for conference or consultation. CULTURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION LEASE STIPULATION This lease may be found to contain historic properties or resources protected under the National Historic Preservation Act, American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, EO 13007, or other statues and executive orders. The BLM will not approve any ground-disturbing activities that may affect any such properties or resources until it completes its obligations under applicable requirements of the NHPA and other authorities. The BLM may require exploration or development proposals to be modified t protect such properties, or it may disapprove any activity that is likely to result in adverse effects that could not be successfully avoided, minimized, or mitigated. SAGE GROUSE LEKS STIPULATIONS Operations would avoid active leks (strutting grounds) by 2 miles during strutting season (see Management Guidelines for Sage Grouse and Sagebrush Ecosystems in Nevada, October 2000). Approximate dates: March 1- May 15


TRANSMISSION LINE STIPULATIONS N-88978 STIPULATIONS 1.0 General Stipulations:

1. In case of change of address, the Holder shall immediately notify the BLM Authorized Officer.

2. In the event that the public land underlying the right-of-way (N-88978) encompassed in this grant, or a portion thereof, is conveyed out of Federal ownership and administration of the ROW or the land underlying the ROW is not being reserved to the United States in the patent/deed and/or the ROW is not within a ROW corridor being reserved to the United States in the patent/deed, the United States waives any right it has to administer the right-of-way, or portion thereof, within the conveyed land under Federal laws, statutes, and regulations, including the regulations at 43 CFR Part [2800][2880], including any rights to have the Holder apply to BLM for amendments, modifications, or assignments and for BLM to approve or recognize such amendments, modifications, or assignments. At the time of conveyance, the patentee/grantee, and their successors and assigns, shall succeed to the interests of the United States in all matters relating to the right-of-way, or portion thereof, within the conveyed land and shall be subject to applicable State and local government laws, statutes, and ordinances. After conveyance, any disputes concerning compliance with the use and the terms and conditions of the ROW shall be considered a civil matter between the patentee/grantee and the ROW Holder.

3. This grant is subject to all valid rights existing on the effective date of this grant.

4. Holder shall maintain a copy of this Grant and stipulations and Plan of Development on the construction site at all times.

5. All reports, notices or advisories required under the terms, conditions and stipulations of this Rightof-Way Grant are to be made to the BLM’s Authorized Officer as follows:

Field Manager Mount Lewis Field Office, Bureau of Land Management Battle Mountain District Office 50 Bastian Rd. Battle Mountain, NV 89820 (775) 635-4000

6. All design, material, and construction, operation, maintenance, and termination practices shall be in accordance with safe and proven engineering practices.

7. The Holder shall conduct all activities associated with the construction, operation, and termination of the right-of-way within the authorized limits of the right-of-way.

8. Roads and Construction sites shall be maintained in a sanitary condition at all times; waste materials shall be disposed of promptly at an appropriate waste disposal site. "Waste" means all discarded matter including, but not limited to: human waste, trash, garbage, vegetation, refuse, oil drums, petroleum products, ashes, and equipment.

9. The Holder shall comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations, existing or hereafter enacted or promulgated, with regard to any hazardous material, as defined in this paragraph, that will be used, produced, transported or stored on or within the R/W or any of the R/W facilities, or used in the construction, operation, maintenance or termination of the R/W or any of its facilities. “Hazardous material” means any substance, pollutant, or contaminant that is listed as hazardous underthe Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, 43 U.S.C. 9601 et seq., and its regulations. The definition of hazardous substances under CERCLA includes any “hazardous waste” as defined in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq., and its regulations. The term hazardous materials also includes any nuclear or byproduct material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq. The term does not include petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof that is not otherwise specifically listed or designated as a hazardous substance under CERCLA section 101 (14), 42 U.S.C. 9601 (14), nor does the term include natural gas.

10. The Holder of Right-of-Way N-88978 agrees to indemnify the United States against any liability arising from the release of any hazardous substance or hazardous waste (as these terms are defined in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. 9601, et. seq. or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.) on the right-of-way (unless the release or threatened release is wholly unrelated to the right-of-way Holder’s activity on the right-of-way). This agreement applies without regard to whether a release is caused by the Holder, its agent, or unrelated third parties.

11. The Holder shall construct, operate, and maintain the facilities, improvements, and structures within this right-of-way in strict conformity with the Plan of Development that accompanied the Application and was approved and made part of the grant. Any relocation, additional construction, or use that is not in accord with the approved plan of development, shall not be initiated without the prior written approval of the Authorized Officer. A copy of the complete right-of-way grant, including all stipulations and approved plan of development, shall be made available on the right-of­way during construction, operation, and termination to the Authorized Officer. Noncompliance with the above will be grounds for immediate temporary suspension of activities if it constitutes a threat to public health and safety or the environment.

12. The Holder shall protect all survey monuments found within the right-of-way. Survey monuments include, but are not limited to, General Land Office and Bureau of Land Management Cadastral Survey Corners, reference corners, witness points, U.S. Coastal and Geodetic benchmarks and triangulation stations, military control monuments, and recognizable civil (both public and private) survey monuments. In the event of obliteration or disturbance of any of the above, the Holder shall immediately report the incident, in writing, to the Authorized Officer and the respective installing authority if known. Where General Land Office or Bureau of Land Management right-of-way monuments or references are obliterated during operations, the Holder shall secure the services of a registered land surveyor or a Bureau cadastral surveyor to restore the disturbed monuments and references using surveying procedures found in the Manual of Surveying Instructions for the Survey of the Public Lands in the United States, latest edition. The Holder shall record such survey in the appropriate county and send a copy to the Authorized Officer. If the Bureau cadastral surveyors or other Federal surveyors are used to restore the disturbed survey monument, the Holder shall be responsible for the survey cost.

13. Holder shall limit excavation to the areas of construction. No borrow areas for fill material will be permitted on the site. All off-site borrow areas on public lands must be approved in writing by the Authorized Officer in advance of excavation. All waste material resulting from construction or use of the site by Holder shall be removed from the site. All waste disposal sites on public land must be approved in writing by the Authorized Officer in advance of use.

14. The Holder shall mark the exterior boundaries of the right-of-way with a stake and/or lath at 50-foot intervals. The intervals may be varied at the time of staking at the discretion of the Authorized Officer. The tops of the stakes and/or laths will be painted and the laths flagged in a distinctive color as determined by the Holder. The survey station numbers will be marked on the boundary stakes and/or laths at the entrance to and the exit from public land. Holder shall maintain all boundary stakes and/or laths in place until final cleanup and restoration is completed and approved by the Authorized Officer. The stakes and/or laths will then be removed at the direction of the Authorized Officer.

15. Use of pesticides shall comply with the applicable Federal and state laws. Pesticides shall be used only in accordance with their registered uses and within limitations imposed by the Secretary of the Interior. Prior to the use of pesticides, the Holder shall obtain from the Authorized Officer written approval of a plan showing the type and quantity of material to be used, pest(s) to be controlled, method of application, location of storage and disposal of containers, and any other information deemed necessary by the Authorized Officer. Emergency use of pesticides shall be approved in writing by the Authorized Officer prior to such use.

16. During the period of May 1 through October 1 of each year, Holder should consider using spark arresters on vehicles and equipment in the project area, due to the potential for fire ignition from project related activities. This includes emission of hot carbon particles from diesel powered equipment, improperly equipped or poorly operating exhaust systems on gas powered vehicles and direct contact of wildland fuels with catalytic converters. Individuals, groups, businesses or corporations found responsible for the ignition of a wild fire may be held liable for the costs associated with the suppression of that fire.

17. The Holder shall permit free and unrestricted public access to and upon the R/W for all lawful purposes, except for those specific areas designated as restricted by the Authorized Officer to protect the public, wildlife, livestock, or facilities constructed within the R/W.

18. Within 90 days of construction completion, the Holder shall provide the Authorized Officer with data in a format compatible with the Bureau’s Arc-Info Geographic Information System to accurately locate and identify the right-of-way: Acceptable data formats are: •Corrected Global Positioning System files with sub-meter accuracy or better, in UTM NAD 83; Zone 11; •ARCGIS export files on a CD ROM, shapefile, geodatabase. Data may be submitted in any of the following formats: •ARCGIS interchange, shapefile or geodatabase format. •CD ROM in compressed or uncompressed format.

19. The Holder shall comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations existing or thereafter enacted or promulgated.

20. In accordance with Federal regulations in 43 CFR 2807.21 any proposed transfer of any right or interest in the right-of-way grant shall be filed with the BLM Authorized Officer. An application for assignment shall be accompanied by a showing of qualifications of the Assignee. The assignment shall be supported by a stipulation that the Assignee agrees to comply with and to bound by the terms and conditions of the grant to be assigned. No assignment shall be recognized unless and until it is approved in writing by the Authorized Officer.

2.0 Construction Stipulations:

21. The Authorized Officer may suspend or terminate in whole, or in part, any notice to proceed which has been issued when, in his judgment, unforeseen conditions arise which result in the approved terms and conditions being inadequate to protect the public health and safety or to protect the environment.

22. The Holder shall not initiate any construction or other surface disturbing activities on the right-of­way without the prior written authorization of the Authorized Officer. Such authorization shall be a written notice to proceed issued by the Authorized Officer. Any notice to proceed shall authorize construction or use only as therein expressly stated and only for the particular location or use therein described.

23. The Holder shall designate a representative(s) who shall have the authority to act upon and to implement instructions from the Authorized Officer. The Holder’s representative shall be available for communication with the Authorized Officer within a reasonable time when construction or other surface disturbing activities are underway.

24. Holder will hire an independent third-party Compliance Inspection Contractor, approved by the Authorized Officer, to insure compliance with the terms, conditions and stipulations of this Grant, N-88978. All questions or concerns regarding compliance with the terms, conditions, and stipulations of this Grant shall be directed to the BLM Authorized Officer or Project Manager.

25. Overnight parking and storage of equipment and materials, including staging or stockpiling of same, shall be within 1) previously disturbed areas, 2) areas cleared by biologist and 3) areas inventoried and cleared for cultural resources.

26. Holder shall remove only the minimum amount of vegetation necessary for the construction of structures and facilities. Where possible and if needed, topsoil shall be conserved during excavation and reused as cover on disturbed areas to facilitate regrowth of vegetation.

27. The Holder shall be responsible for weed control on disturbed areas within the limits of the rightof-way. The Holder is responsible for consultation with the Authorized Officer and/or local authorities for acceptable weed control methods (within limits imposed in the grant stipulations).

28. Future modifications, construction of improvements, or major maintenance operations involving disturbance of the land, shall not occur until plans for such actions have been submitted and approved in writing by the Authorized Officer. Any proposals involving new surface disturbance shall require a cultural inventory and may require completion of an environmental assessment.

29. The Holder shall prevent any activities which may cause erosion. Where erosion has resulted, the Holder shall re-vegetate and re-habilitate the location. The Holder is responsible for consultation with the Authorized Officer for an acceptable proposal.

30. Ninety days prior to termination of the right-of-way, the Holder shall contact the Authorized Officer to arrange a joint inspection of the right-of-way. This inspection will be held to agree to an acceptable termination (and rehabilitation) plan. This plan shall include, but is not limited to, removal of facilities, drainage structures, or surface material, recontouring, topsoiling, or seeding. The Authorized Officer must approve the plan in writing prior to the Holder’s commencement of any termination activities.

3.0 Wildlife Stipulations:

31. Prior to any planned disturbance in potential migratory bird nesting habitat from March 1 to July 31, (the approximate nesting season), a field survey for migratory birds, their nests, eggs, or young should be performed, in order to prevent violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). If any nests, eggs, or young are found either the project should be delayed until the birds have completed their nesting and brood rearing activities, or the project should be re-designed as to not harm the migratory birds, their nests, eggs, or young. A migratory bird is any species of bird except upland game species, feral pigeons, European starlings, and English house sparrows. Potential migratory bird nesting habitat is any habitat that may provide nesting opportunity for any species of migratory bird. Any violation of the MBTA can incur penalties up to $15,000 or 6 months imprisonment, or both per individual offense. Any questions about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act should be referred to the Reno Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (775) 861­6300, or e-mail at “asknevada@fws.gov”. Refer to Appendices A-D of the Environmental Analysis for further mitigation measures.

4.0 Cultural Stipulations:

32. Any cultural or paleontological resource (historic or prehistoric site or object) or Native American human remains, funerary item, sacred object, or objects of cultural patrimony discovered by the permit Holder, or any person working on their behalf, during the course of activities on Federal land, shall be immediately reported to the Authorized Officer by telephone, with written confirmation. The permit Holder shall suspend all operations in the immediate area of such discovery and protect it until an evaluation of the discovery will be made by the Authorized Officer. For cultural resources other than Native American human remains, funerary item, sacred object, or objects of cultural patrimony, this evaluation will determine the significance of the discovery and what mitigation measures are necessary to allow activities to proceed. The Holder is responsible for the cost of evaluation and mitigation. Any decision on treatment and/or mitigation will be made by the Authorized Officer after consulting with the permit Holder. Operations may resume only upon written authorization to proceed from the Authorized Officer.

5.0 Bonding Stipulations:

33. A Performance and Reclamation bond, in an amount determined by the Authorized Officer, shall be obtained by the holder to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of this instrument. The Authorized Officer will require that the holder submit a Reclamation Cost Estimate for review and to assist the Authorized Officer in determining the bond amount. The Holder shall provide the Authorized Officer proof that a bond in the required amount has been obtained prior to receiving a Notice to Proceed or at such earlier date as may be specified by the Authorized Officer. The amount of the bond will be limited to the anticipated liabilities associated with the activities approved by the Notice to Proceed. If the Notice to Proceed is limited to only an initial phase of development or activity, the bond amount will be limited to that phase or activity. The bond amount would increase with the issuance of a Notice to Proceed for future phases of development or additional activities. The bond must be maintained in effect until removal of improvements and restoration of the right-of-way authorization has been accepted by the Authorized Officer. Acceptable bond instruments include cash, cashier’s or certified check, certificate or book entry deposits, negotiable U.S. Treasury securities (notes, bills, or bonds) equal in value to the bond amount, or surety bonds from the approved list of sureties (U.S. Treasury Circular 570) payable to the Bureau of Land Management. The Authorized Officer will accept an irrevocable letter of credit as an acceptable form of bond. Irrevocable letters of credit must be payable to the Bureau of Land Management and issued by financial institutions that have the authority to issue letters of credit and whose operations are regulated and examined by a federal agency. The Bureau of Land Management will not accept a corporate guarantee as an acceptable form of bond. The Authorized Officer will review the bond on an annual basis to ensure adequacy of the bond amount. The bond will also be reviewed at the time of any assignment, modification, or renewal of this instrument. The Authorized Officer may increase or decrease the bond amount at any time during the term of the right-of-way authorization, consistent with the regulations.

34. The Holder agrees that any bond held as security for Holder's performance of the terms and conditions of this instrument may, upon failure on the Holder's part to fulfill any of the requirements herein set forth or made a part hereof, be retained by the United States to be applied as far as may be needed to the satisfaction of the Holder's obligations assumed hereunder, without prejudice whatsoever to any other rights and remedies of the United States.

35. Should the bond delivered under this instrument become unsatisfactory to the Authorized Officer, the Holder shall, within 30 calendar days of demand, furnish a new bond. In the event of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of this instrument, the BLM will notify the Holder that the surety or other bond instrument is subject to forfeiture and will allow the Holder 15 calendar days to respond before action is taken to forfeit the bond and suspend or terminate the authorization.

36. The Holder shall provide a bond in the amount of $145,950.00 to be maintained until restoration of disturbed areas and other requirements relative to the construction phase of the project have been accepted by the Authorized Officer. Upon completion, or partial completion of these construction related requirements, the Authorized Officer may terminate or reduce the amount of the bond.


  • As a condition of approval, Ormat would obtain and comply with provisions of a waiver

from the Nevada State Water Engineer (Nevada Department of Water Resources) for the use of the Lancaster B well to obtain a maximum of 30.6 acre-feet of water for construction and 13.6 acre-feet for decommissioning and reclamation

Data Completion Notes

Complete 8/5.

Documents

Serial Register Page:





FONSI:


 

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.

 

CloseFugitive dust would be generated from earth-moving activities and travel on unpaved roads during construction and drilling activities. Based on the implementation of environmental protection measures adopted by Ormat, water and gravel would be applied to the ground as necessary to control dust. This would minimize fugitive dust emissions during construction activities. For fugitive dust emissions resulting from drilling and/or construction activities, Ormat employees will visually monitor the project area as required by the requisite Surface Area Disturbance Permit. Further, Ormat management will monitor all company traffic to ensure compliance with applicable speed limits so as to limit generation of fugitive dust from traffic flow.
 
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.

 

CloseThe McGinness Hills Archaeological Disrict has been recommended for eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Thirty-five contributing/NRHP eligible loci/sites in the MHAD may be adversely affected by the Proposed Action.

Those historic properties determined eligible for inclusion on the NRHP, or are unevaluated, will be avoided or else will be treated with an approved Historic Properties Treatment Plan (HPTP). Contributing elements/eligible sites that are near or adjacent to project activities will be buffered by a minimum 30 (thirty) meter buffer, and project activities will be monitored by a Nevada State Office Certified archaeologist monitor. If a historic property can’t be avoided, recordation of that historic property using approved protocols is appropriate, but will ultimately result in destruction of the property.

Portions of the extreme southern end of the proposed transmission line would be visible from some locations on the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Where visible, the transmission line would be located from ½ to 1 ½ miles away from the trail. Although visible, this portion of the transmission line would be adjacent and parallel to an existing transmission line and would not create a new contrasting visual intrusion into the viewshed from the trail.
 
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 project areas is located within the traditional territory of the Western Shoshone Tribes.

During the Project activities, if any cultural properties, items, or artifacts (stone tools, projectile points, etc.) are encountered, it must be stressed to those involved in the proposed Project activities that such items are not to be collected. Cultural and archaeological resources are protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (16 U.S.C 470ii) and the Federal Land Management Policy Act (43 U.S.C. 1701). The above language is applicable to previously identified artifacts and site locations, surface artifacts possibly missed during the original survey, and any subsurface artifacts (below ground).

Ormat would be required to ensure, through both formal and “tailgate” training sessions that all employees, contractors and subcontractors are made fully aware of the cultural and Native American concerns contained in both the Cultural Resources and these sections. The importance and sensitivities of both of these types of resources and their context to the overall McGinness Hills Historic District would be conveyed to all new employees. Included in these orientations should be a discussion of the potential ramifications of failure to adhere to these strict guidelines to both individual employees, as well as to Ormat and its contractors/subcontractors.

Though the possibility of disturbing Native American gravesites within most Project Areas is extremely low, inadvertent discovery procedures must be noted. Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, section (3)(d)(1), it states that the discovering individual must notify the land manager in writing of such a discovery. If the discovery occurs in connection with an authorized use, the activity, which caused the discovery, is to cease and the materials are to be protected until the land manager can respond to the situation. NRS 383.150 through 383.190 applies to Native American burials on private lands. NRS 440.025 applies to human remains found on private lands. 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/ consultation and communication between all participating entities. Those significant cultural sites that were identified during the cultural resources inventory (prehistoric and historic) would be avoided or treated consistent with the approved Historic Properties Treatment Plan.

Native American consultation will remain ongoing throughout the life of the project.

The opportunity will be given to the interested Tribes to monitor all project construction and excavation activities. All reasonable tribal monitor logistical requests will be considered and addressed.
 
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.

 

CloseMitigation for plants:

Clearance surveys by a BLM/USFS-approved specialist/s in coordination with the BLM SSS Plant specialist and the USFS Botanist using agency-approved protocols will be conducted for special status and sensitive plant species in species-specific suitable habitat within the Project Area prior to surface-disturbing activities. Surveys must be completed before surface disturbing activities occur and results reported to the appropriate land management agency prior to implementation of surface disturbance.

Should surface disturbing construction activities carry-over into spring growing seasons, additional surveys for the remaining surface disturbances may be required based on specific SSS plant phenology.

If target species are identified in areas subject to direct and/or indirect impacts from surface-disturbing activities, the following actions will be taken:

  • If avoidance of special status and/or sensitive plants is practicable, the occurrences will be buffered by a minimum of thirty (30) meters around individual plants or colonies of plants and the buffer perimeter will be visibly marked (e.g., by staking, flagging, or fencing) in the field and identified on construction drawings. Direct impacts associated with construction will avoid identified areas;
  • If indirect impacts are expected to special status and/or sensitive plants, BLM Wildlife Biologist and, if on USFS land, the USFS Botanist will develop practicable measures to avoid or minimize such impacts. Measures will be implemented by a BLM-approved specialist. Potential minimization measures include increasing the buffer around plants to 50 meters, installing silt fencing or other erosion control devices, or slightly shifting minor project features;
  • If target species cannot be avoided, potential mitigation measures include the following: seed collection from plants to be impacted, followed by reseeding; seed collection from plants to be impacted, followed by propagation and outplanting (the planting of seedlings raised in a greenhouse or nursery planting bed into the field). Seeding methods may include: hand seeding or broadcast seeding (ATV, backpack or hand spreaders). Measures would be implemented by a BLM-approved specialist with oversight of by the BLM Wildlife Biologist and (if on USFS land) the USFS Botanist. All reseeding/outplanting/enhancement will be completed in suitable habitat identified within the Project CESA. SSS plant outplanting sites will be protected from grazing for a minimum of three growing seasons;
  • Reseeding and outplanting efforts will be carried out in ecological sites appropriate to the SSS plants;
  • Should initial attempts at mitigation re-seeding fail, Ormat will be required to implement the above mitigation measures for a maximum of three additional attempts.

Mitigation for raptors: All ground-disturbing activities will be conducted outside the raptor nesting season (March 1–July 31). If ground-disturbing activities cannot be avoided during this time, pre-construction nest surveys will be conducted by a BLM-approved specialist with the following guidelines: • Surveys will cover all potential nesting habitat, including previously documented nest sites, for northern goshawks, ferruginous hawks (known nest location: T20N R45E Section 32), and short-eared owls in and within 0.5-mile area to be disturbed.

  • If active nests are detected, a 0.5-mile no-disturbance buffer zone will be established. Nest locations will be mapped and submitted to the BLM and/or USFWS as needed.
  • If nests of other species identified in the EA as special status or sensitive are found, a 0.5-mile no-disturbance buffer will be established. Nest locations will be mapped and submitted to the BLM and/or USFWS as needed.

Mitigation for migratory birds:

All ground-disturbing activities will be conducted outside the migratory bird nesting season (15 March – 31 July). If ground-disturbing activities cannot be avoided during this time period, pre-construction nest surveys will be conducted by a BLM/USFS-approved specialist/s with the following guidelines:

  • Surveys will cover all potential nesting habitat in and within 250 feet of the area to be disturbed.
  • Surveys must be conducted between sunrise and 3 hours post-sunrise when birds are most active.
  • Surface-disturbing activity must be conducted within 10 days of surveys or additional surveys may be required to “re-clear” the area.
  • If active nests are detected, a species-specific no-disturbance buffer zone (as determined by USFWS Reno [Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 775-861-6300]) will be established. Nest locations will be mapped and submitted to the BLM as needed.
  • Surveys for simultaneous construction activities must be undertaken prior to any surface disturbance.
  • Ormat must provide direction to all employees, contractors and sub-contractors about the necessity of avoiding any man made disturbance of nesting birds, including identifying nesting sites on maps and on the ground. These identified/marked areas must be fully avoided of any human activity during the identified nesting timeframes.

Mitigation for pygmy rabbits: Complete avoidance (no surface disturbance) of occupied and suitable pygmy rabbit habitat along the Burton creek drainage at T. 20 N., R. 45 E., Section 31, SE ¼ during transmission line construction and maintenance activities.

In order to accomplish the no surface disturbance mitigation, a USFS certified specialist with a verified pygmy rabbit background must fully identify the area/areas to be avoided. The area/s must be flagged and properly mapped so construction crews are made aware of the avoidance area/s. Construction crews must be fully briefed as to how and why the area/s are to be fully avoided of any surface disturbance in this pygmy rabbit habitat.
 
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 vehicles, heavy earth-moving construction equipment, mobile trailers and RV campers brought to and used on the Project site would go through high pressure washing of the entire vehicle/unit at a commercial wash station prior to arriving, being used on, and/or departing the Project site.
 
Noise
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseNoise would be minimized through operational practices using best available control technology (BACT). Vinyl fencing slats would be used, and the plant design would be reviewed for opportunities to reduce noise.

Future mitigation measures to reach appropriate sound pressure levels include the following:

8Modifying operations to reduce the use of cooling fans, pumps, or other noise-producing Project equipment during lekking hours (one hour before sunrise–10:00 AM) during the lekking season (15 March – 15 May);

  • Employment of an acoustic engineer to identify and assess options to further reduce noise from Project components;
  • Installation of sound damping shelters, walls, enclosures, or other barriers for pumps or other noise-producing equipment to reduce noise emitting from geothermal facilities (e.g., power plant, wellheads, etc.);
  • Reducing the amount or changing the timing of project related vehicular traffic;
  • Installing poly-slats on chain link fences or other barriers around geothermal facilities to further attenuate noise emitted from those facilities.
 
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.

 

CloseDisturbed areas would be treated with a pre-emergent herbicide for the control of cheatgrass following the application of the seed mix and prior to plant emergence. Treatment would be application of PLATEAU™ or an equivalent herbicide (Imazipic is the active ingredient), following the reseeding, at an application rate of 2-12 ounces/acre.

Seeding of disturbed areas within the Unit Area (Lake Ranch Pasture/Use Area) would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Grass Indian ricegrass (Scientific Name: Achnatherum hymenoides) Pounds/acre (bulk): 5.5

Needleandthread (Scientific Name: Hesperostipa comata) Pounds/acre (bulk):6

Bottlebrush squirreltail (Scientific Name:Sitanion hystrix) Pounds/acre (bulk): 2.5

Forb Scarlet globemallow (Scientific Name:Sphaeralcea coccinea) Pounds/acre (bulk): 1

Western yarrow (Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium) Pounds/acre (bulk): 1

Total Pounds/acre 16.0 lbs

Seeding of disturbed areas associated with the transmission line (Rye Patch Pasture/Use Area and Lake Ranch Pasture/Use Area) would be completed using the following BLM-approved native seed mixture and application rate:

Grass Indian ricegrass (Scientific Name: Achnatherum hymenoides) Pounds/acre (bulk): 4

Needleandthread (Scientific Name: Hesperostipa comata) Pounds/acre (bulk):5

Bluebunch wheatgrass* (Scientific Name: Pseudoroegneria spicata) Pounds/acre (bulk): 4.5

  • The cultivar of Bluebunch Wheatgrass used to seed disturbed areas would not be the Snake River Bluebunch wheatgrass (Elymus wawawaiensis)

Forb Scarlet globemallow (Scientific Name:Sphaeralcea coccinea) Pounds/acre (bulk): 1

Sulfur flower (Scientific Name: Eriogonum umbellatum) Pounds/acre (bulk): 1

Total Pounds/acre 15.5 lbs

All seeding plans for BLM-managed lands would be reviewed and approved by the Mount Lewis Field Manager prior to implementation; to include seed mixtures, seeding rates, methods and timing. All seeding plans for USFS-managed lands will be reviewed and approved by the USFS prior to implementation; to include seed mixtures, seeding rates, methods and timing. The application of seed is prohibited from May 15 to September 15. Fall seeding is required for grass and forb species. Seeding will be conducted after September 15 and prior to ground freezing. Shrub species will be seeded separately during the winter. Interim soils stabilization (see the Reclamation Plan, Appendix B for interim soils stabilization requirements) from May 15-September 15 will be required to prevent loss of soils and preventing fugitive dust emissions. Application of seed may be accomplished using BMPs and as determined by the appropriate land management agency. Seed application may include drill seeding, broadcast seeding, and broadcast seeding followed by disking or harrowing.

To reduce the threat of fire from project operations in and along the liner transmission line and to protect project infrastructure from severe fires, an annual fuels monitoring program would be implemented. Fuel loads within the area of the transmission line corridor (including 300 feet each side of the centerline of the ROW) would be monitored using the "Stereo Photo Series for Qualifying Natural Fuels Volume IV: Pinyon-Juniper, Chaparral, and Sagebrush Types in the Southwestern United States" or other BLM-approved method. Maximum acceptable fuel loads are:

  • 10 tons per acre of total above-ground biomass or less in Pinyon-Juniper habitats
  • 2 tons per acre of total above ground biomass or less in sagebrush habitats
  • 800 pounds per acre of fine fuels in grasses
 
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.

The potential for wind erosion within the Project Area is relatively low. The water runoff potential for the soil associations is generally moderate to high.

CloseTo minimize erosion from storm water runoff, access roads would be maintained consistent with best management practices. Storm water would be intercepted and channeled to dissipate energy as necessary to minimize erosion around the power plant (USDI and USDA 2007, p. 16). Based on implementation of adopted 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. Implementation of the applicable best practical dust control methods would minimize fugitive dust emissions and soil erosion from wind and water during all phases of the proposed Project.
 
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.

 

CloseAnticipated indirect impacts to 34 acres of wetlands, springs, seeps, and riparian areas will be compensated by 136 acres (4:1 ratio) of protection, enhancement and/or restoration of habitat in targeted locations. These compensatory mitigation projects will be approved by the BLM, USFS and the NDOW on a site-by-site basis.

If water flows or chemistry within springs 2-6, 8-9 and/or Meadows 1-2 are realized, Ormat would be required to modify operations to correct the impact to ensure flows are maintained at natural occurrence. If the effects cannot be corrected through operational changes, Ormat would be required to improve other existing seeps, springs and/or meadows within the 4:1 mitigation zone. Improvements, with approval from the BLM, USFS and the NDOW could include: fencing areas for habitat improvement using pipe and rail fencing, riparian enhancement through restoration efforts, or construction of small or big game guzzlers to supplement water sources (depending on current use of the spring by wildlife).

The following descriptions apply to piping water from one source to another and construction of guzzlers:

1. Installation of a New Production Well. This mitigation measure consists of constructing a new water well to replace water from one or more springs or seeps. Installing a new well would include drilling to obtain sufficient water, installing appropriate casing, installing a pump with a power supply (windmill or solar electric), installing a tank to supply consistent flow, and installing piping to the affected spring or seep area. Water rights for this proposal would be within Ormat’s current State Engineer’s applications.

2. Piping Water from a New or Existing Source. This mitigation measure consists of piping water from a new or existing water source to a spring or seep that has experienced a reduction in flow. This mitigation would include identifying a nearby, up gradient source that discharges sufficient water, or creating a new source such as a small reservoir, and installing a piping system to convey water to the affected surface water source to maintain flow and sustain the identified use(s).

3. Installation of a Guzzler. This mitigation measure consists of installing a guzzler. Guzzlers are system used to collect precipitation and runoff and store the water in a surface or buried container. The container then feeds an open trough for use by livestock and/or wildlife. Installation of a guzzler would be completed at seeps and springs where the primary use of the water is for wildlife consumption. Guzzlers are use throughout Nevada, Utah, and other arid areas of the west to supply water for wildlife, especially during the dry summer months. The size of the system can vary depending on the species targeted for the system.

Larger guzzlers are needed for big game, while smaller systems can be used for small game and birds.

4. Enhanced Development of an Existing Seep to Promote Additional Flow. This mitigation measure consists of enhancing flow by developing the existing seep or spring. The development typically would include the installation of a spring box and piping to direct water to a specific discharge point. This mitigation likely would be used in circumstances where there has been a decrease in flow but not a complete loss of flow at the source. These types of spring and seep enhancements (or improvements) are not expected to be effective at mitigating seeps or springs that have experienced a complete loss of flow due to project-induced groundwater drawdown, should this occur.

5. Fencing Measures for an Existing Seep to Maintain Flow.

This mitigation measure consists of fencing using pipe and pole fences or other protection measures for existing seeps. Many seeps and springs are substantially impacted by livestock and wild horses. These effects can result in reduced flow because of overgrazing of vegetation, thus increasing surface evaporation and damage to the seep or spring source.
 
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.
 
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.

 

CloseSurface disturbing activities on the rock units determined to have the potential to produce “significant paleontological resources” (WO IM 2009-011) (i.e., the silica sinter deposits, the Valmy Formation or the “older” alluvium) will require pre-disturbance surveys to determine the appropriate subsequent course of action. These will include: 1) monitoring by a BLM/USFS permitted archaeological monitor during surface disturbance activities,; 2) avoidance of identified fossil localities, or 3) no further action. Maps of these rock units will be developed and provided to managers and supervisors of all surface disturbing equipment operators. Pre-disturbance surveys by one or more permitted archaeological monitors will be required in each rock type locale. During excavation in these three soil types one or more BLM/USFS permitted archaeological monitors will be present. Discovery of a “significant paleontological resource” will require immediate work stoppage in the area of the discovery. Such a discovery will require immediate notification of the proper BLM/USFS agency administrator. Depending on the significance of the discovery, Ormat may be required to hire a BLM/USFS credentialed paleontologist to recover all aspects of the discovery.
 
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 would have no foreseeable long term impacts on recreation.

CloseAir quality impacts to recreational users could include dust from vehicle traffic on unpaved roads and exhaust from construction vehicles. These would be short-term and temporary. Ormat has also stated that water would be applied to the disturbed ground during the construction activities as necessary to control dust.
 
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.

 

CloseThe following mitigation measures are recommended to reduce the visual impacts of the project within the McGinness Hills Unit Area:

All 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 mannerthat focuses direct light to the immediate work area.

To maintain dark sky conditions, and minimize visual disturbance, facility perimeter lighting, including lighting used to illuminate walkways, roadways, staging areas and parking areas, would be shielded so that the light would be cast in a downward direction. Low-pressure sodium lighting (or an improved technology, if readily available) would be used to reduce or eliminate detrimental lighting impacts and prevent unnecessary light pollution.
 
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.

No impacts are expected.

   
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.

No impacts are expected.

   
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.

No impacts are expected.

   
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.

 

CloseFences and other livestock/wildlife improvements that would be affected by any Project construction or activities would be restored to provide for their original function and capacity.
 
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.

The Proposed Action would likely have no direct impacts on the quality or quantity of either surface or groundwater.

CloseOnly small amounts of petroleum products would be stored on site with the majority of products being brought in as needed. Petroleum products stored on site would have a containment structure large enough to contain the amount of product on site. The containment structure would be lined with an approved liner to prevent surface and groundwater contamination. A spill and disposal contingency plan, which describes the methods for cleanup and abatement of any petroleum hydrocarbon or other hazardous material spill, would be completed for the Project. Erosion and sedimentation structures would be constructed to divert runoff around the constructed well pads, power plant sites and the substation into ditches and back into existing drainages. Construction of these structures will implement best management practices (Gold Book) to further minimize potential impacts to surface and groundwater contamination. Any ground disturbing construction would also implement best management practices to minimize erosion and water contamination.