On Friday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sevice issued its first eagle take permit under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The permit was issued to the operational Shiloh IV wind power project in Northern California. Over the five-year life of the permit the project is allowed five takes, which is the number of takes that FWS modeled to occur over that period of time. The permit has a five-year duration. The project decided not to amend its application to try to obtain a longer-term permit under the recently-adopted 30-year rule (which is currently being challenged in federal district court in Northern California).
Of note is that Shiloh IV is an operational project and that the NEPA alternatives analysis conducted by FWS states that the no action alternative is to not issue the requested take permit as opposed to not operate the wind turbines. This creates different alternatives analyses for operational and proposed projects. For an operational project such as Shiloh IV, FWS appears to be acknowledging project impacts as an existing baseline and the BGEPA take permit as a mechanism to extract mitigation measures (in this case retrofitting utility poles and conducting additional mortality monitoring).