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Environmental Compliance Resource Management Southern Sierra Wind Energy Project: Kern County, California

Sapphos Environmental, Inc. conducted a Fatal Flaw Analysis, preliminary Avian Risk Assessment, and various technical studies in support of a wind energy project located in the Southern Sierra Nevada Foothills. The Fatal Flaw Analysis consisted of a preliminary analysis relative to the 16 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) issue areas. This analysis consisted of a review of databases, public records, maps, and Web sites.

This Fatal Flaw Analysis was based on a proposed project consisting of a wind energy installation of 100 to 150 wind turbines. Final turbine placement would be dependent upon the final results of the environmental report documenting the results of field investigations, including topography and any other site-specific details to be incorporated into the final design. The proposed project would utilize approximately 400 acres of the proposed project site boundary area for roads and turbine pads, and entails construction of 34.5-kilovolt (kV) underground cables for the purpose of power collection and transmission to the substation(s).

The project extensively used geographic information system (GIS) software to perform the biological and cultural resources impact analysis. It was determined that directed field surveys for biological resources, cultural resources, and a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment would be required to validate the preliminary findings. As a result of this Fatal Flaw Analysis, the proposed project was determined to have the potential to result in significant impacts in relation to seven of the CEQA environmental issues: aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hydrology and water quality, and transportation and traffic. Based on other comparable projects developed within the region, it is anticipated that significant impacts can be avoided or reduced to below the level of significance through project design and mitigation measures. In addition to the Fatal Flaw Analysis, Sapphos Environmental, Inc. completed a jurisdictional delineation and federal wetland determination.