UltraSystems Conducts Surveys of Sensitive Species for Wind Energy Project in Santa Barbara County
UltraSystems is providing Acciona Wind Energy USA with a range of environmental services in support of a major wind energy project in rural Santa Barbara County, California.
An application for a Major Conditional Use Permit was filed on February 21, 2006, for the wind energy project, to be located on ridges south of Lompoc, adjacent to Vandenberg AFB. This will be the first major wind energy project in the county and could provide a significant source of alternative energy. Plans call for up to 65 wind turbines, each standing 389-397 feet high. The applicant is Pacific Renewable Energy Generation LLC (“Pacific”), a subsidiary of Acciona Wind Energy USA, which develops, builds, and operates wind farms nationwide.
The project area is approximately 3,000 acres within the Santa Ynez Mountain Range. Most of the land is under private ownership and primarily used for cattle grazing. An UltraSystems biologist, permitting specialist, and environmental working scientist began assisting Acciona in the fall of 2009. They will assist throughout 2010 with sensitive-species surveys, permitting, resource agency coordination, and environmental documents.
Specific task orders include the following:
- Aquatic resources permitting (USACE, RWQCB, and CDFG);
- Develop worker education and awareness program;
- Sensitive species “take” permits ;
- Rare Plant Surveys and Restoration Plans;
- Native grassland mapping and restoration plans;
- El Segundo Blue Butterfly (pictured above) habitat assessment restoration plan;
- Pre-construction plant and wildlife surveys;
- Sensitive Species Surveys (including bats);
- Nesting bird surveys;
- Tree protection and replacement plan;
- Assessment of pavement conditions;
- Adaptive management plan;
- Fencing plan;
- Minimization and avoidance measures (mitigation); and
- Project Management