Notice of Availability for Public Comment

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY: A draft Compatibility Determination, Realignment of a utility right-of-way (ITC Midwest LLC and Dairyland Power Cooperative, Cardinal to Hickory Creek transmission line, Clayton County, Iowa) is available for public comment from October 25 through November 26, 2019.

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is proposing to allow existing transmission line rights-of-way to be realigned. ITC Midwest LLC and Dairyland Power Cooperative are jointly proposing to realign, abandon and restore existing 161 kilovolt and 69 kilovolt transmission line rights-of-way which currently cross the Refuge on the Turkey River bottoms. The existing rights-of-way cross the Mississippi River and enter a substation, known as the Stoneman substation in the town of Cassville, Wisconsin. The Applicants propose to realign the existing transmission line rights-of-way to a location north of the existing rights-of-way and cross the Mississippi River north of the town of Cassville. The proposed realigned right-of-way is called the Nelson Dewey crossing in reference to an abandoned power generation facility which previously existed, but has been demolished, north of Cassville. The realigned 345 kilovolt/161 kilovolt transmission line would join an existing substation near the footprint of the demolished Nelson Dewey power generating plant. The Nelson Dewey crossing would parallel railroad tracks and an existing gravel road (Oak Road) before crossing the Mississippi River.

We are seeking public comment on allowing this use on the refuge. You are invited to review the draft compatibility determination document that includes our justification and analysis. This use is considered a minor realignment of an existing right-of-way to meet safety standards and is consistent with 50 Code of Federal Regulations §26.21 (c) which permits the use of replacement habitat to ensure no net loss of habitat quantity or quality. ITC Midwest LLC and Dairyland Power Cooperative agree to replace with like habitat and afford permanent protection by the Refuge a parcel which matches the acres and/or value impacted as part of the right-of-way realignment to the satisfaction of the refuge manager. Additionally, ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative agree to restore the abandoned Stoneman right-of-way to a condition acceptable to the refuge manager. Realigning the right-of-way from the Stoneman crossing to the proposed Nelson Dewey crossing will significantly reduce safety concerns in the town of Cassville. The realigned Mississippi River crossing would avoid transmission line infrastructure running into and through Cassville.

The draft compatibility determination is available in print at the McGregor District, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, 470 Cliffhaven Road, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and at the Refuge Headquarters Office, 51 E. 4th Street, Winona, Minnesota. The draft compatibility determination is also available electronically on the refuge website: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Upper_Mississippi_River/. The draft compatibility determination is also included as an appendix to the Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared by cooperating federal agencies on the project. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is available at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/environmental-studies/impact-statements/cardinal-%E2%80%93-hickory-creek-transmission-line. You can contact the refuge at (507) 494-6219 or timothy_yager@fws.gov to request either printed or electronic copies of the draft compatibility determination. Please let us know if you need the document in an alternative format.

Comments on the draft compatibility determination will be accepted until November 26, 2019. Comments may be e-mailed or sent via regular mail to the following addresses.

E-mail comments to: comments@CardinalHickoryCreekEIS.us.

Mail comments to:    
  SWCA Environmental Consultants
  Attn: Cardinal-Hickory Creek EIS
  80 Emerson Lane, Suite 1306
  Bridgeville, PA 15017

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and moving to the next stage of review.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws/gov.

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