Project (FERC No. 2197)
Power Generating Inc. (APGI) is the licensee for the Yadkin Hydroelectric
Project. The Yadkin Project is
currently licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as Project
No. 2197. This license expires in
2008 and APGI must file a new license application with FERC on or before
Yadkin Project consists of four reservoirs, dams, and powerhouses (High Rock,
part of the relicensing process, APGI prepared and distributed, in September
2002, an Initial Consultation Document (ICD), which provides a general overview
of the Project. Agencies,
municipalities, non-governmental organizations and members of the public were
given an opportunity to review the ICD and identify information and studies that
are needed to address relicensing issues. To
further assist in the identification of issues and data/study needs, APGI has
formed several Issue Advisory Groups (IAGs) to advise APGI on resource issues
throughout the relicensing process. IAGs
will also have the opportunity to review and comment on the ICD and through
discussions with the Wetlands, Wildlife, and Botanical IAG to provide additional
necessary information for consideration in the relicensing process.
Yadkin Project area comprises a series of four hydroelectric reservoirs located
project reservoirs and surrounding riparian habitats likely provide significant
habitat for a variety of bird species. At
least one endangered species, the bald eagle, has been well documented and
continues to be monitored in the project area.
However, many more species are likely to inhabit the project area and may
be affected by project operations. This
study is directed at generating an annual bird profile for the Yadkin Project
bird species are now under scrutiny with the formation of the Partners in Flight
Bird Conservation Program (PIF) in 1990. This
program is now international in scope and has the support of all 50 states.
PIF has developed priority species lists for each physiographic region of
the country. These lists are based
on habitat stability, population size and trend, threats to wintering and
breeding sites, etc. As a result,
the lists have been adopted by most state and federal regulatory agencies as
legitimate “watch” lists for species of management interest.
This information, in conjunction with data on existing state and
federally listed species, will be used to prioritize efforts toward setting up
and carrying out a bird survey within the project area.
following issues were raised during initial consultation regarding birds at the
address this issue, the Center for Conservation Biology prepared a draft study
plan that was distributed for review and comment to the Wetlands, Wildlife and
Botanical IAG for review and comment on
primary objective of this study is to conduct an inventory of birds for the
Yadkin Project area. Priority will
be given to documenting species of management interest or species already listed
by state or federal authorities. Emphasis
will also be placed on documenting all species that breed in the area.
Additional efforts will be made to identify species that depend on the
area for wintering habitat, or for staging areas during spring or fall migration
Survey sites will include 4 main habitat categories:
mouths and marsh lands
Center for Conservation Biology will be responsible for conducting bird surveys
across all four Yadkin Project reservoirs including all priority habitats.
All surveys will be carried out between
habitats – There appear to be only
small areas of mainland habitats within the Yadkin Project boundary including
dams and powerhouses and two transmission line corridors:
an approximately 1 mile long transmission line from Narrows development
and an approximately 2 mile long transmission line from Falls development.
General area counts for birds will be conducted around the dams and
powerhouses given the small size and irregular shapes of habitat patches.
Line transect surveys will be used within the transmission line corridors
recording birds along both sides of a centerline.
There will be two parallel transects extending the length of the
transmission line corridor for both transmission line segments, contingent on
mouths and marsh lands – There are approximately 18 primary creeks that drain
into the Yadkin Project reservoirs. These
areas will be accessed either by boat or nearby road, and will be surveyed using
a conventional variable radius transect method, whereby all birds seen or heard
are recorded along with their distance from the transect.
The transect line in this case will be the creek or stream center.
– There are approximately 40 islands located throughout the Yadkin Project
reservoirs. Most of the islands are
undeveloped. All undeveloped islands will be initially accessed and evaluated
for habitat cover and size. Thereafter,
a subset of islands representing each habitat and size class will be visited for
surveys. Surveys will be conducted
using a standard area search methodology, where substrate permits, logging all
species encountered. An exception to
this will be
water – All open water habitats will be searched by a combination of boat,
airplane, and mainland observation sites. Aerial
surveys are the most efficient tool for waterfowl and will be used for the
winter survey period.
The Center will also compile historical data
pertinent to the Project Area as available.
This will include Breeding Bird Survey data and Christmas Bird Count data
along with any other standardized surveys that may have been conducted within
reasonable proximity to the project area.
A draft study report will be prepared and distributed to
the Wetlands, Wildlife and Botanical IAG for review and comment approximately
three months after the completion of data collection.
IAG comments will be addressed in a final study report.
Interim results, such as initial results of seasonal bird surveys may be
shared with the IAG as such information becomes available, prior to completion
of the draft study report. The final
report will present GPS locations for all survey points and transects.
Bird data will be provided for all survey points with status and
distribution information provided for species of management interest.
Historical data will be provided where available (BBS, CBC, etc) in order
to generate a more complete species profile for the area.
will be grouped into 3 main time periods:
June 1 –
Two surveys will be conducted across all terrestrial and marsh habitats
during this period to document breeding species associated with the project
Two aerial surveys will be conducted across all open water and marsh
habitats during this period to evaluate significance of the project area to
waterfowl. One ground survey will be
conducted of all terrestrial habitats.
March 15 –
Three surveys will be conducted across all
habitat types during this time. The
beginning of this period represents a transient period for waterfowl and best
opportunity to record specific species in migration.
The second half of this period encompasses the peak of shorebird and
on or about
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