NEPA Document Collection for: NV-020-07-EA-01
EA at Jersey Valley Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Exploration,
EA for Observation Wells at Jersey Valley Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Exploration
Allow Ormat Nevada, Inc. (Ormat) to proceed with the operation plan and drilling plan for the Jersey Valley Geothermal Exploration Project. This decision includes allowing Ormat to construct up to five well pads for the purpose of drilling three to five geothermal observation wells and three to five geothermal production wells. Ormat has selected five sites for exploration drilling. Observation drill pads would also be constructed at up to three of these same five sites. In addition a FLPMA Right-of-Way will be authorized through a ROW Grant.
Conditions of Approval
- This approval is contingent upon the lessee/operator being in receipt of and in compliance with all appropriate federal, state, and local permits.
- The operator must abide by the Lease Terms, Lease Stipulations, Conditions of Approval, and all environmental protection measures and mitigation measures included in the Geothermal Drilling Permits and Operations Plan.
- When cultural or paleontological resources, including but not limited to historic ruins, prehistoric artifacts and fossils, are discovered in the performance of the permit, the resources shall be left intact and immediately brought to the attention of the BLM authorized officer.
- Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.4(g) the holder of this authorization must notify the authorized officer, by telephone, with written confirmation, immediately upon discovery of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony (as defined at 43 CFR 10.20). Further, pursuant to 43 CFR 10.4 (c) and (d) the lessee/operator shall immediately stop all activities in the vicinity of the discovery and protect it for 30 days or until notified to proceed by the BLM officer.
- No hazardous materials shall be used during any phase of the operations unless prior approval has been obtained from the BLM authorized officer. All onsite drilling materials and chemicals shall be properly stored to ensure the prevention of spills. No chromate or other heavy metals or environmentally harmful additives will be used.
- No chemicals, fuels, oils, lubricants, or noxious fluids shall be disposed of at the drill sites, in the reserve or flow pits or down the wells.
- If any chemicals, fuels, oils, lubricants, and/or noxious fluids are spilled during drilling operations, they shall be cleaned up immediately. The lessee/operator shall have absorbent on site for spill containment. After clean up, the chemicals, fuels, oil, lubricants, and/or noxious fluids and any contaminated material shall be removed from the drill site and disposed of at an approved disposal facility.
- The lessee/operator shall be responsible for all cost associated with any releases of chemicals and/or subsurface fluids resulting from their operations and practices.
- Material Safety Data Sheets for all drilling mud components are to be provided to the Hazmat coordinator at the Winnemucca Field Office.
- Portable chemical toilets shall be used for human waste. The human waste shall not be buried on sire.
- All equipment and machinery shall be equipped with spark arresters and mufflers.
- The lessee/operator shall be responsible for all suppression costs for any fire resulting from their operations and practices.
- Trash and other debris shall be contained onsite and then hauled to an approved landfill. Burial and/or burning onsite shall not be permitted.
- Except where otherwise noted, all test equipment, both surface and subsurface, shall be removed at the completion of this drilling and testing, as well as all other debris associated with exploration.
- For a period of three years following the commencement of construction, project sites shall be inventoried by the lessee for the presences of invasive, nonnative species. Inventory data shall be reported to the BLM Winnemucca Field Office (WFO) project lead within one week of receipt by the lessee. The area shall be treated with BLM certified pesticide following BLM approval of a pesticide use proposal is species are present. Following the three year period, periodic inventory for the presence of invasive nonnative species would be performed at project sies, with treatment occurring as necessary. The periodic inventory and treatment would occur until the BLM determines that final reclamation of the project site is complete and acceptable.
- Roads to be constructed, improved or reclaimed as part of the Project would be reviewed by the BLM and required to conform to the requirements of BLM Manual 9113 and the “Gold Book” (“Oils and Gas Surface Operating Standards and Guidelines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development”), as applicable to the intended project use.
- The reserve pit shall maintain a minimum of two feet of freeboard at all times.
- A minimum of 12 inches of topsoil would be salvaged during construction and stockpiled for used during subsequent reclamation of the disturbed areas.
- Lessee shall monitor and collect the following hydrologic data from each of the two springs known as the Jersey Valley Hot Springs, which are located in the SW1/4 SW1/4 of Section 28 and the SE1/4SE1/4 of Section 29, respectively:
- Representative temperature, flow or stage, and basic thermal water chemistry- once immediately prior to the commencement of drilling and once immediately following the completion of drilling;
- During the drilling or flow testing of slim of full-size well 86-29 or when extracting water from the groundwater well- Representative temperature and grow or stage- once each week until drilling, flow testing or water extracting is completed;
- Each year following the drilling of the first well until all wells have been abandoned- Representative temperature, flow or stage, and basic thermal water chemistry, once per year.
- If the wells are successfully completed, all surface equipment and facilities shall be painted a color that blends with the natural surroundings. The authorized officer shall be contacted and BLM Winnemucca Office staff consulted prior to the selection of the color.
- Wellhead equipment left on the drill site following the completion of drilling would be painted a color, subject to approval by the authorized officer, which would blend with the landscape. Prior to paint selection, Ormat would contact the WFO project lead. All drill rig and will testing facility lights would be limited to those required to safely conduct operations, and would be shielded and/or directed in a manner which focuses direct light to the immediate work area.
- If any well will be sitting idle for longer than one year, the well pad shall be scarified and seeded with the recommended seed mix.
- Upon abandonment of the wells, the following shall be done:
- The wells shall be plugged to comply with all Federal and State of Nevada regulations.
- All reclamation of disturbed areas shall be completed within one year from the date of proper plugging and abandonment of the well. Any constructed roads, drill pads, and reserve pits shall be recontoured to original grade, salvaged topsoil spread on the disturbed area and the site scarified. The disturbed area shall be seeded by hand broadcasting or drilling with the BLM recommended seed mixture. The area shall be raked or dragged to cover the seed if broadcast seeding is used. The BLM Winnemucca Field Office shall be notified in writing when reclamation operations commence and are completed.
- Seeding of disturbed areas will be completed using the following native seed mixture and application rate. Any variance in the mix would be coordinated with the BLM Winnemucca Field Office. The BLM recommended seed mixture is: (see attachment for table) Sandberg bluegrass, Fourwing saltbush, Shadscale, and Indian ricegrass.
Fugitive dust would be generated from earth-moving activities and travel on unpaved roads during drill pad and road construction and drilling activities.
CloseBased on implementation of environmental protection measures specified by Ormat, water would be applied to the ground during the construction and utilization of the drill pads and access roads as necessary to control dust. The NDEP-BAPC also requires that an application for a Surface Area Disturbance Permit, documenting the areas of proposed disturbance and the best practical dust control methods to be use, be submitted if the actual amount of surface disturbed by the project would be greater than 5 acres. 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.
|Areas of Critical Environmental Concern||
The proposed project is not located in or near any ACECs
Four isolated artifacts (two prehistoric, two historic) and four historic archaeological sites were identified during the field surveys.
There are no environmental justice issues associated with the project area
There are no FEMA-designated 100-year floodplains in the project area
|Invasive, Nonnative Species||
Project activities could contribute to the spread of invasive, nonnative species within the project area through the proposed surface disturbing activities and the number of construction and drilling vehicles involved.
CloseOrmat will comply with special lease stipulations requiring that seed mixtures used to re-vegetate disturbed areas be “weed free” and that an invasive, nonnative species control program consisting of monitoring and eradication for species listed on the Nevada Designated Noxious Weed List be implemented.
For a period of three years following the commencement of construction, project sites shall be inventoried by the lessee for the presence of invasive, nonnative species. Inventory data shall be reported to the BLM WFO project Lead within one week of receipt by the lessee. The area shall be treated with BLM certified pesticides following BLM approval of a pesticide use proposal if species are present.Following the three year period, periodic inventory for the presence of invasive nonnative species would be performed at project sites, with treatment occurring as necessary. The periodic inventory and treatment would occur for as long as the lessee is present at the site
Project construction (regardless of the season constructed) could result in the direct loss of up to 9.61 acres of potential migratory bird habitat.
CloseOrmat will comply with special lease stipulations to conduct inventories for migratory bird nests
and limit ground disturbing activities if conducted during the migratory bird-nesting season (see Appendix A, Appendix B, and Appendix C). Implementation of this measure would avoid thepotential for violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
|Native American Concerns||
As all project activities are located at least 1,000 feet away from the springs; the project would not affect either the quality or quantity of the springs; and the project is short-term and temporary, it is anticipated that the project would not affect the cultural significance of the springs
|Prime or Unique Farmlands||
The proposed project is not located in or near any prime or unique farmlands
|Threatened and Endangered Species||
There will be no impacts to threatened and endangered species as none are known to exist within the project area.
|Wastes Hazardous or Solid||
Diesel fuel, lubricants, hydraulic fluids and drilling chemicals (drilling mud, caustic soda, barite, etc.), would be transported to, stored on and used by the project at the proposed drill sites
|Wetlands and Riparian Zones||
The Proposed Action is not expected to affect any riparian or wetland areas because it would not affect the quality or quantity of any ground or surface waters within the project area and because all proposed project activities are located at least 1,000 feet away from any known spring or pond which may support riparian or wetland habitat.
|Wild and Scenic Rivers||
The proposed project is not located in or near any wild and scenic rivers
The proposed project is located over one mile from the Augusta Mountain wilderness study area and is not in or adjacent to any wilderness area
|Geology and Minerals||
There is the potential for simultaneous use of the project area by both Ormat and the locatable mineral claimants. There would be no residual impacts.
The project could disturb up to 9.61 acres. The potential for water and wind erosion on the disturbed soils in the project area is slight.
CloseA minimum 12 inches of topsoil should be salvaged during construction and stockpiled for use during subsequent reclamation of the disturbed areas.
All surface-disturbing activities from the project would result in the loss of up to 9.61 acres of this common plant community.
CloseSeeding of disturbed areas would be completed using the following native seed mixture and application rate. Any variance in the mix would be coordinated first with the BLM Winnemucca Field Office.
The project would result in the loss of up to 9.61 acres of wildlife habitat
This project could disturb up to 9.61 acres, or less than one percent of the 379,172 acres within the allotment, and reduce the 16,218 AUMs within the allotment by less than 1 AUM.
Project operations should not adversely affect the ability of recreational users to either access or utilize the hot springs as there would be no affect on the quality or quantity of the surface or ground waters in the area or the surrounding environment
The total estimated area of new surface disturbance required for construction of the drilling pads and access roads would be 9.61 acres.
CloseWellhead equipment left on the drill site following the completion of drilling would be painted a color, subject to approval by the authorized officer, which would blend with the landscape. Prior to paint selection, Ormat would contact the Winnemucca Field Office project lead. 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 manner which focuses direct light to the immediate work area.
The construction/drilling workforce is expected to consist of up to 6 workers for the exploration slim well drilling and up to 18 workers for the exploration well drilling and testing.
|Lands and Realty||
The federal geothermal leases to be explored as part of the Proposed Action include a general stipulation which prohibits “drilling, including exploration or development activities, within linear rights-of-way”
|Special Status Species||
The Proposed Action is unlikely to effect the pallid bat or Townsend’s big eared bat due to the short-term, temporary nature of the project; the absence of any drilling materials or produced waters on-site which could harm the bats; and the distance from the areas of surface disturbance to the maternity colony and hibernaculum
CloseTo protect those bats which use the mine adits located in Sections 27 and 34 in T27N, R40E
(on the east side of lease NVN-77483), lease NV-77483 applies a “no surface occupancy” restriction to lands within 0.25 mile of these mine adits. No activities proposed by the projectwould occur within 0.25 mile of these adits.
The project would have little potential for adversely affecting the quality of either surface waters or ground waters in the project area.
CloseRoads to be constructed, improved or reclaimed as part of the project would be reviewed
by the BLM and required to conform to the requirements of BLM Manual 9113 and the “Gold Book” (“Oil and Gas Surface Operating Standards and Guidelines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development”), as applicable to the intended project use.
The reserve pit shall maintain a minimum to two feet of freeboard at all times.
Lessee shall monitor and collect the following hydrologic data from each of the two springs known as the Jersey Valley Hot Springs, which are located in the SW¼SW¼ of Section 28 and the SE¼SE¼ of Section 29, respectively:
Representative temperature, flow or stage, and basic thermal water chemistry – once immediately prior to the commencement of drilling and once immediately following the completion of drilling;
During the drilling or flow testing of slim or full-size well 86-29 or when extracting water from the groundwater well – Representative temperature and flow or stage – once each week until drilling, flow testing or water extracting is completed;
Each year following the drilling of the first well until all wells have been abandoned – Representative temperature, flow or stage, and basic thermal water chemistry – once per year.
Collected data shall be reported to the BLM Winnemucca Field Office project Lead and Hydrologist in written form within one week of receipt by the lessee.Lessee shall document available information regarding fresh water aquifers which may be encountered during drilling, including the number encountered, their depths and saturated thickness, their quality, and any other properties.