Geothermal/Special Status Species

From Open Energy Information

Geothermal Special Status Species

Special Status Species
Present, Potentially Affected

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C §1531 et. seq.) aims to protect and restore plant and animal species that are at risk. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Special Status Species lists species as rare, threatened, or a species of concern. These plants and animals require specialized care or protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFS) is responsible for habitat restoration and care of these species. If an area has any of these species living on or nearby it, mitigation measures can be found in a biological report sent out by the BLM. Visit the BLM’s state websites to find a list of sensitive, threatened and endangered species.

Special Status Species Impacts & Mitigation

The unique care that special status species require places provisions on geothermal development. Typical impacts and mitigation measures are:

Nesting: Prior to construction, conduct surveys to locate any birds that will be nesting between April 1st and August 31st. If any construction occurs during this time period, check with the state biologists to determine how close and how loud activities can occur near a nest. If any active nests are found, all development will be delayed until biologists have determined the young have fledged or failed.

Wildlife: If animal denning or breeding grounds occur within .25 miles of the drilling or well testing sites, all activity will stop and the site will be relocated. To discourage insect and wildlife contamination, remove geothermal fluid from the well pad sumps within 60 days of discharge. Cover sumps with netting that will prevent birds, bats, insects and wildlife from accessing the fluid.

Vegetation removal: If any tree, shrub or plant special status species is found in the pre-construction survey, surrounding habitats will be avoided. Biologists will mark off appropriate areas to develop. Use existing access roads where possible to decrease the impacted area. If new roads are necessary, build across slopes to mitigate erosion.

Topsoil: All topsoil will be stockpiled either onsite or at an adjacent site to be used during reclamation.

Reclamation: Long-term wildlife impacts will occur, especially as restoration begins. Lasting impacts are minimal, however, proper fencing discourages wildlife onsite.

Plant Species: All special status species will be marked and avoided. Root systems, crowns and flowering characteristics will be maintained during construction and energy development. Seeds will be collected after the plant matures to ensure population stability. Concentrating stockpiled soils, personnel vehicle and construction equipment decreases the impacted area.