Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues Incidental Take Permit

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that it has issued an Incidental Take Permit for the Manzana Wind Power Project in Kern County, which covers the incidental take of up to two free-flying California condors and two associated eggs or chicks over 30 years.

Manzana Wind LLC has been operating the project since 2012 while voluntarily employing measures to minimize the risk to California condors. Issuance of the permit implements a conservation plan that includes the continuation of these measures. It also requires that Manzana Wind LLC mitigate the potential incidental take of California condors and implement a monitoring program to ensure plan compliance over the life of the permit. The Service considered all public comments on the plan and an associated environmental assessment as part of the decision to issue the permit.

The plan includes a system to detect approaching condors and curtail operation of wind turbines if a condor is at risk of collision, and funding for the Oregon Zoo’s captive breeding facility to rear additional California condors for release into the wild. The release of captive-bred condors into the wild is a key component of the Service’s recovery process for this species.

There have been no documented cases of a wind turbine injuring or killing a California condor. However, as the species’ population in the wild increases, California condors are also expanding the area they use. Their increased numbers and range increase the likelihood that they will encounter wind projects. Manzana Wind’s proactive approach to operating its facility ensures that it will help protect California condors and support recovery of the species while continuing to provide renewable energy to California.