Panoche Valley Solar Farm Project


Final Environmental Impact Report

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Notice of Availability

VOLUME 1
Cover
Title Page
Table of Contents

JUMP TO VOLUME 2
Executive Summary
ES.1. Changes to the Draft EIR
ES.2. Project and Decision Overview
ES.3. Environmental Analysis
ES.4. Areas of Controversy
ES.5. Issues to be Resolved
ES.6. Summary of Alternatives Analysis
ES.7. Summary of Impacts and Mitigation Measures
Figure ES-1. Project Vicinity
Figure ES-2. Proposed Site Plan

A. Introduction
A.1. Purpose and Intended Uses of the EIR
A.2. Overview of Proposed Project
A.3. Purpose and Need for the Proposed Project
A.4. Public Involvement
A.5. EIR Process and Agency Review
A.6. Reader's Guide to the EIR
Figure A-1. The EIR Process (figure embedded in document)

B. Project Description
B.1. Introduction
B.2. Project Objectives
B.3. Site Description
B.4. Solar Project Components
B.5. Solar Project Site Design & Engineering
B.6. Interconnection and Network Upgrades
B.7. Solar Project Construction
B.8. Solar Project Operations and Maintenance
B.9. Solar Project Decommissioning
B.10. Applicant Proposed Measures
B.11. References
Figure B-1. Proposed Project Vicinity
Figure B-2. Proposed Project Site
Figure B-3. Proposed Mitigation Lands
Figure B-4A. Phasing Plan
Figure B-4B. Phasing Plan with On-site Road Plan
Figure B-5A. Substation Layout
Figure B-5B. Substation and O&M Building Location, Evaporation Pond, and Helicopter Pad
Figure B-6. Project On-site and Access Roads
Figure B-7. Phase 1 Layout
C.1 Introduction to Environmental Analysis
C.1.1 Organization of Section C
C.1.2 Environmental Assessment Methodology
C.1.3 Applicant Proposed Measures and Mitigation Measures
C.1.4 Mitigation Monitoring
C.2 Aesthetics
C.2.1 Environmental Setting
C.2.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.2.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.2.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.2.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.2.6 References
Figure C.2-1. Project Viewshed
Figure C.2-2. Location of Key Viewpoints
Figure C.2-3A. Key Viewpoint 1: Southbound Little Panoche Road - Existing View
Figure C.2-3B. Key Viewpoint 1: Southbound Little Panoche Road - Visual Simulation
Figure C.2-4A. Key Viewpoint 2: Northbound Little Panoche Road - Existing View
Figure C.2-4B. Key Viewpoint 2: Northbound Little Panoche Road - Visual Simulation
Figure C.2-5A. Key Viewpoint 3: Eastbound Panoche Road - Existing View
Figure C.2-5B. Key Viewpoint 3: Eastbound Panoche Road - Visual Simulation
Figure C.2-6A. Key Viewpoint 4: Northbound New Idria Road - Existing View
Figure C.2-6B. Key Viewpoint 4: Northbound New Idria Road - Visual Simulation
Figure C.2-7A. Key Viewpoint 5: Panoche Wilderness Study Area - Existing View
Figure C.2-7B. Key Viewpoint 5: Panoche Wilderness Study Area - Visual Simulation
Figure C.2-8. Solar Panels
Figure C.2-9. Proposed Substation
Figure C.2-10. Proposed Substation
Figure C.2-11. Aesthetics Summary
C.3 Agriculture
C.3.1 Environmental Setting
C.3.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.3.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.3.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.3.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.3.6 References
Figure C.3-1. Williamson Act Contracts
C.4 Air Quality
C.4.1 Environmental Setting
C.4.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.4.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.4.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.4.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.4.6 References
Figure C.4-1. Mean Wind Speeds, Durations, and Directions for Hollister and Panoche Road
C.5 Climate Change/Greenhouse Gas
C.5.1 Environmental Setting
C.5.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.5.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.5.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.5.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.5.6 References
C.6 Biological Resources
C.6.1 Environmental Setting
C.6.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.6.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.6.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.6.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.6.6 References
Figure C.6-1. Project Vicinity Map
Figure C.6-2. Biotic Habitat within Project Boundary
Figure C.6-3. 100-Year Floodplain
Figure C.6-4. CNDDB Records for Special-Status Wildlife (4.3MB)
Figure C.6-5. Rare Plant Location Map
Figure C.6-6. CNDDB Records for Special-Status Wildlife
Figure C.6-7. California Tiger Salamander Map
Figure C.6-8. Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard - 2009 and 2010 Detections
Figure C.6-9. Giant Kangaroo Rat Detections and Habitat Suitability Model
Figure C.6-10. San Joaquin Kit Fox Habitat Suitability in Project Area
Figure C.6-11. San Joaquin Kit Fox Habitat Suitability, Project Area and Mitigation Land
Figure C.6-12. Potential Revised Project Fenceline (3.2MB)
C.7 Cultural and Paleontological Resources
C.7.1 Environmental Setting
C.7.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.7.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.7.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.7.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.7.6 References
C.8 Geology, Mineral Resources, and Soils
C.8.1 Environmental Setting
C.8.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.8.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.8.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.8.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.8.6 References
Figure C.8-1. Regional Active and Potentially Active Faults and Historic Earthquakes
C.9 Hazards and Hazardous Materials
C.9.1 Environmental Setting
C.9.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.9.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.9.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.9.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.9.6 References
C.10 Land Use and Recreation
C.10.1 Environmental Setting
C.10.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.10.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.10.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.10.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.10.6 References
Figure C.10-1. Project Boundary and BLM Recreational Land
C.11 Noise
C.11.1 Environmental Setting
C.11.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.11.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.11.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.11.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.11.6 References
Figure C.11-1. Outdoor Day/Night Sound Levels in Different Areas
Figure C.11-2. Existing Residences in the Project Area
C.12 Population and Housing
C.12.1 Environmental Setting
C.12.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.12.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.12.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.12.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.12.6 References
C.13 Public Services, Utilities, and Service Systems
C.13.1 Environmental Setting
C.13.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.13.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.13.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.13.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.13.6 References
C.14 Transportation and Circulation
C.14.1 Environmental Setting
C.14.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.14.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.14.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.14.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.14.6 References
Figure C.14-1. Regional Roadway System
Figure C.14-2. Mitigated Construction Haul Route and Trip Distribution
C.15 Water Resources
C.15.1 Environmental Setting
C.15.2 Applicable Regulations, Plans, and Standards
C.15.3 Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
C.15.4 Cumulative Impact Analysis
C.15.5 Level of Significance after Mitigation
C.15.6 References
Figure C.15-1. Water Resources
Figure C.15-2. Active and Inactive Groundwater Well Locations
D. Cumulative Scenario
D.1 CEQA Requirements
D.2 Cumulative Development Scenario
D.3 Cumulative Impact Analysis Methodology
D.4 References
Figure D-1. Cumulative Scenario
E. Alternatives
E.1 CEQA Requirements for Alternatives
E.2 Alternatives Evaluation Process
E.3 Alternatives Retained for Analysis
E.4 Alternatives Considered but Eliminated from Further Consideration
E.5 No Project Alternative
E.6 Comparison of Project Alternatives
E.7 Environmentally Superior Alternative
E.8 References
Figure E-1. Alternative A Revised
Figure E-2. Alternative B Revised
Figure E-3. Alternative C Revised
Figure E-4. Westlands CREZ Alternative
Figure E-5. Alternative A Key Viewpoint 1: Southbound Little Panoche Road
Figure E-6. Alternative A Key Viewpoint 2: Northbound Little Panoche Road
Figure E-7. Alternative A Key Viewpoint 3: Eastbound Panoche Road
Figure E-8. Alternative A Key Viewpoint 4: Northbound New Idria Road
Figure E-9. Giant Kangaroo Rat Occurrence and Habitat Suitability Model - Alternative A Revised
F. Other CEQA Considerations
F.1 Growth-Inducing Effects
F.2 Significant Irreversible Commitment of Resources
F.3 Significant Effects that Cannot be Avoided
F.4 Energy Conservation
F.4 References
G. Glossary, Acronyms, and Abbreviations
G.1 Terminology
G.2 Glossary, Acronyms, and Abbreviation
H. EIR Preparers and Organizations Consulted
I. Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program
Appendices
Appendix 1. Scoping Report, including Notice of Preparation (6.6MB)
Appendix 2. Agriculture Background Information (5.1MB)
Appendix 3. Air Quality Background Information
Appendix 4. Biological Resources Background Information (32.7MB)
Appendix 5. Cultural Resources Background Information (3.8MB)
Appendix 6A. Hydrologic Study (6.4MB)
Appendix 6B. Water Supply Assessment
Appendix 7. Noise Background Information
Appendix 8A. Traffic Impact Study (8.3MB)
Appendix 8B. Roadway Analysis (27.3MB)
Appendix 9. Consistency Analysis for Applicable Land Use Laws, Ordinances, Policies, and Goals
Appendix 10. Glint and Glare Study (3.6MB)
Appendix 11. Geotechnical Report (28.9MB)

VOLUME 2
Cover
Title Page
Table of Contents

BACK TO VOLUME 1
Introduction to Responses to Comments
General Responses
GR 1. Adequacy of Biological Surveys
GR 2. Piecemealing and Improper Deferral of Mitigation
GR 3. Mitigation Land, Mitigation Ratios, and Alternative C
GR 4. Recovery Plan for Upland Species of the San Joaquin Valley
GR 5. Project Objectives and Scope of Alternatives Evaluated in the EIR
GR 6. Westlands CREZ Alternative
GR 7. Alternatives Not Carried Forward for Detailed Analysis
GR 8. Giant Kangaroo Rat and San Joaquin Kit Fox
GR 9. Transmission Upgrades
GR 10. Cancellation of Williamson Act Lands and Other Agricultural Impacts
GR 11. Specificity of the Project Description
GR 12. Decommissioning Plan
GR 13. Evaluation of Impacts to Birds in the EIR
GR 14. Adequacy of Fast-Track EIR
GR 15. Status and Timing of Mitigation Monitoring Plan
GR 16. Evaporation Pond Infrastructure and Effects on Wildlife
GR 17. Blunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard
GR 18. California Tiger Salamander
GR 19. Polarized Light
Comments from Public Agencies
PART 1:

Comment Set A001 - San Benito County Integrated Waste Management
Comment Set A002 - San Benito County Environmental Health
Comment Set A003 - Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board

PART 2:
Comment Set A004 - U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
Comment Set A005 - San Benito County Local Agency Formation Commission

PART 3:
Comment Set A006 - California Department of Fish and Game

PART 4:
Comment Set A007 - California Public Utilities Commission
Comment Set A008 - California Department of Conservation
Responses to Comments from Public Agencies
Responses to Comment Set A001 - San Benito County Integrated Waste Management Board
Responses to Comment Set A002 - San Benito County Environmental Health Department
Responses to Comment Set A003 - Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
Responses to Comment Set A004 - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Responses to Comment Set A005 - Local Agency Formation Commission, San Benito County
Responses to Comment Set A006 - California Department of Fish and Game
Responses to Comment Set A007 - California Public Utilities Commission
Responses to Comment Set A008 - California Department of Conservation
Comments from Groups and Individuals
PART 1:
Comment Set B001 - John and Jae Eade
Comment Set B002 - John Eade
Comment Set B003 - Jose Gonzalez
Comment Set B004 - Nanci Adams
Comment Set B005 - Jay Merz

PART 2:
Comment Set B006 - Sierra Club

PART 3:
Comment Set B007 - John Eade
Comment Set B008 - Lleni Carr
Comment Set B009 - Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter
Comment Set B010 - Kevin Davis
Comment Set B011 - Humboldt West Inc
Comment Set B012 - The Nature Conservancy

PART 4:
Comment Set B013 - Save Panoche Valley

PART 5:
Comment Set B014 - Audubon California

PART 6:
Comment Set B015 - Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Attachment A - RETI Phase 2B Final Report
Attachment B - Solargen Energy Quarterly Report Period Ended June 20, 2010
Attachment C - Projected Flow on California Transmission Lines
Attachment D - County of El Dorado/Voices for Rural Living v. Department of Transportation
Attachment E - The Orinda Association v. County of Contra Costa
Attachment F - CAISO Generation Queue June 30, 2010
Attachment G - Gray v. County of Madera
Attachment H - Communities for a Better Environment v. City of Richmond
Attachment I - Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino
Attachment J - Solargen Energy, Inc. Consolidated Financial Statements
Attachment K - Solargen Energy, 2009 Annual Report FY Ended Dec. 21, 2009
Attachment L - ATSDR Public Health Statement for Boron
Attachment M - Howe, 1998: A review of boron effects in the environment
Attachment N - Evaporation Ponds Technical Committee, 1999: Evaporation Ponds
Attachment O - OIR R.08-11-005 on Electric Safety, CPUC 2008
Attachment P - Cmmr. Simon Proposed Decision R.08-11-005, 2008
Attachment Q - EPRI, 1999: Mitigation of Animal-Caused Outages
Attachment R - Hollister Freelance, 2010: Eagle Recycling fire is 90 percent contained
Attachment S - Hollister Freelance, 2010: County looks to solve jurisdiction dispute


PART 7:
Comment Set B016 - Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Comment Set B017 - Kathryn Spence
Comment Set B018 - Martha Schauss
Comment Set B019 - Jeanette Langstaff

PART 8:
Comment Set B020 - CURE
Attachment A - Campbell Comments, Campbell Resume
Attachment B - Berryman Comments, Berryman Resume
Attachment C - Hagemann Comments, Hagemann Resume
Attachment D - Seely Observation on Cell Panels
Attachment E - CDFG Letter
Attachment F - Table 5 from Recovery Plan
Attachment G - Pesticide Tables
Attachment H - DDT History


PART 9:
Comment Set B021 - Christie Kissinger
Comment Set B022 - Defenders of Wildlife

PART 10:
Comment Set B023 - Kim Williams
Comment Set B024 - Brooke McDonald
Comment Set B025 - Jeanne Larson

PART 11:
Comment Set B026 - Center for Biological Diversity
References:
California Burrowing Owl Survey Spring 2008 Newsletter
Camp et al. 1997 - Viewsheds: a complementary management approach to buffer zones
Dunn 2005 - Modern Insect Extinctions, the Neglected Majority
Erickson et al. 2005 - A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality
Goodrich Buskirk 1998 - Spacing and Ecology of North American Badgers
Hawbecker 1944 - The Giant Kangaroo Rat and Sheep Forage
Klem 1990 - Collisions Between Birds and Windows
Loew et al. 2005 - Population structure and genetic variation GKR
Long 1973 - Taxidea taxus
McCrary et al. 1986 - Avian Mortality at a Solar Energy Power Plant
McDonald-Madden et al. 2008 - Subpopulation Triage
Richardson and Miller 1997 - Recommendations for protecting raptors
Walker et al. 2005 - Resident Golden Eagle ranging behaviour


PART 12:
Comment Set B027 - Rani Douglas
Responses to Comments from Groups and Individuals
Responses to Comment Set B001 - John and Jae Eade
Responses to Comment Set B002 - John Eade
Responses to Comment Set B003 - Jose Gonzalez
Responses to Comment Set B004 - Nanci Adams
Responses to Comment Set B005 - Jay Merz
Responses to Comment Set B006 - Sierra Club - National Chapter
Responses to Comment Set B007 - John Eade
Responses to Comment Set B008 - Lleni Carr
Responses to Comment Set B009 - Sierra Club - Loma Prieta Chapter
Responses to Comment Set B010 - Kevin Davis
Responses to Comment Set B011 - John Eade
Responses to Comment Set B012 - The Nature Conservancy
Responses to Comment Set B013 - Save Panoche Valley
Responses to Comment Set B014 - Audubon California
Responses to Comment Set B015 - Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Responses to Comment Set B016 - Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Responses to Comment Set B017 - Kathryn Spence
Responses to Comment Set B018 - Martha Schauss
Responses to Comment Set B019 - Jeannette Langstaff
Responses to Comment Set B020 - CURE
Responses to Comment Set B021 - Christie Kissinger
Responses to Comment Set B022 - Defenders of Wildlife
Responses to Comment Set B023 - Kim Williams
Responses to Comment Set B024 - Brooke McDonald
Responses to Comment Set B025 - Jeanne Larson
Responses to Comment Set B026 - Center for Biological Diversity
Responses to Comment Set B027 - Rani Douglas
Comments from Tribal Governments
Comment Set C001 - Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
Responses to Comments from Tribal Governments
Responses to Comment Set C001 - Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
Comments from Public Hearing
Comment Set D001 - San Benito County Planning Commission Meeting 7/21/10
Responses to Comments from Public Hearing
Jeanette Langstaff, Bob Power (Audubon Society, Santa Clara Valley), David Cook, John Trochet, Robyn Purchia (CURE), Jean Myers, Martha Schauss, Deborah Jamison, Clay Kempf, Henry Coletto, Rose Zoia (Save Panoche Valley), Rani Douglas, Cynthia Denny, Nenette Corotto, Ken King, Robert Brians, Roy Lompa, Mike Ferreira, Danielle Kissinger, Charles McCullough, Joshua Basofin (Defenders of Wildlife), Linda Ruthruff, Jordan Wellwood (Audubon Society, California), Debra Shearwater, Brandon Hill (Audubon Society, Fresno County), Al DeMartini, Shani Kleinhaus (Audubon Society, Santa Clara County), Pati Rouzer, Stewart Wadsworth, Kim Williams, Collette Cassidy, Grant Brians
     
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