Black Nubble Wind Farm Redington Township, T1 R2 WBKP .

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Black Nubble Wind FarmRedington Township, T1 R2 WBKP, MaineSection 7: Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, andFragmentation1Prepared byWoodlot Alternatives, Inc.Topsham, Maine1The title of this section was changed to make it more clear where wetland information could be found andreflect the inclusion of a fragmentation discussion taken from previous pre-filed testimony.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage iSection 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationTable of Contents1.0Introduction. 12.0Ecological Setting of Project area. 32.1 Methods. 52.2 Natural Community Descriptions . 72.2.1 Terrestrial Communities . 82.2.2 Beech-Birch-Maple Forest. 92.2.3 Spruce-Northern Hardwood Forest. 102.2.4 Spruce-Fir-Mountain Sorrel-Feathermoss Forest . 112.2.5 Fir-Heartleaved Birch Subalpine Forest . 112.2.6 Regenerating Forest Stands. 142.2.7 Wetlands and Streams. 163.0Fish and Fisheries . 203.1 Methods. 203.1.1 Habitat Assessment and Agency Consultation . 203.1.2 Field Surveys . 203.2 Fish Community Characterization . 203.3 Summary and Conclusions . 224.0Reptiles and Amphibians . 234.1 General Community Description . 234.2 Methods. 244.2.1 Species-Habitat Association . 244.2.2 Incidental Observations . 254.3 Results. 254.4 Summary and Conclusions . 265.0Birds. 275.1 General Community Description . 275.1.1 Game Birds and Waterfowl . 285.1.2 Raptors and Owls. 285.1.3 Forest Birds and Songbirds. 285.1.4 Migratory Birds. 295.2 Methods. 305.2.1 Species – Habitat Matrix. 305.2.2 Incidental Observations . 305.2.3 Breeding Bird Surveys. 315.2.4 Golden Eagle Surveys. 325.2.5 Hawk Migration Surveys . 335.2.6 Nocturnal Songbird Migration Surveys . 33

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage iiSection 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Fragmentation5.2.6.1 1994 Ceilometer and Moonwatching Surveys. 345.2.6.2 2002 Radar Surveys . 355.2.6.3 Acoustical Monitoring . 395.3 Results. 415.3.1 Species – Habitat Matrix. 415.3.2 Breeding Bird Survey Results. 415.3.3 Hawk Migration Survey Results. 435.3.4 Songbird Migration Survey Results. 465.3.4.1 Ceilometer and Moonwatching Surveys. 465.3.4.2 Radar Surveys . 475.3.4.3 Acoustic Surveys . 595.4 Summary and Conclusions . 636.0Mammals. 656.1 General Community Description . 656.2 Methods. 686.2.1 Species-Habitat Matrix . 686.2.2 Incidental Observations . 686.2.3 Small Mammal Trapping . 686.2.4 Deer and Moose Wintering Habitat Surveys . 696.2.5 Canada Lynx Snow Tracking Surveys. 706.3 Results. 716.3.1 Species-Habitat Matrix . 716.3.2 Deer and Moose Wintering Habitat . 726.3.3 Canada Lynx Snow Tracking Surveys. 736.4 Summary and Conclusions . 737.0Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species. 757.1 Reptiles and Amphibians . 757.1.1 Spring Salamander – Special Concern Species . 757.1.2 Northern Leopard Frog – Special Concern Species. 767.2 Birds. 767.2.1 Golden Eagle – Maine Endangered Species . 767.2.2 Cooper’s Hawk – Special Concern Species. 777.2.3 Three-toed Woodpecker – Special Concern Species . 787.2.4 Olive-sided Flycatcher – Special Concern Species . 787.2.5 Bicknell’s Thrush – Special Concern Species . 787.3 Mammals. 817.3.1 Long-tailed Shrew – Special Concern Species . 817.3.2 Yellow-nosed Vole – Special Concern Species. 817.3.3 Northern Bog Lemming – Maine Threatened Species . 827.3.4 Bats – Special Concern Species. 827.3.5 Canada Lynx – Federal Threatened Species, Maine Special ConcernSpecies . 947.4 Summary and Conclusions . 95

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage iiiSection 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Fragmentation8.0Impact Assessment. 968.1 Roads. 978.2 Turbines . 998.3 Transmission Lines . 1008.4 Wetland Impacts . 1028.5 Habitat Fragmentation . 1058.6 Potential Wildlife Collision Impacts. 1078.7 Other Potential Impacts. 1128.7.1 Turbine Sound Emission. 1129.09.19.2Impact Mitigation and Monitoring Plan . 113Avian Habituation Study. 113Pre- and Post-Construction Radar and Visual Study . 11410.0Conclusions. 11511.0Literature Cited . 117

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage ivSection 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationList of AppendicesAppendix AScientific Names to All Plants Mentioned in the TextAppendix BSpecies-Habitat Matrix and Table of Potential Migrant Bird SpeciesAppendix CMaine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife LetterAppendix DFall 2002 NEXRAD Radar SummaryList of TablesTable 7-1 (revised).Breeding Bird Survey ResultsTable 7-2.1993-1994 Hawk Migration Survey Results from the Project Area andSurrounding VicinityTable 7-3.Fall 1994 Raptor Count Data from Northeastern Sites, as Recorded by theHMANA, and the Redington Wind Farm Project AreaTable 7-4 (deleted).1994 Nocturnal Migration Survey Effort SummaryTable 7-5 (deleted).Ceilometer and Moonwatching Survey ResultsTable 7-6 (deleted).Comparison of Ceilometer and Moonwatching ResultsTable 7-7.Summary of Fall 2002 Radar SurveysTable 7-8.Summary of Spring 2004 Radar SurveysTable 7-9.Summary of Spring and Fall Radar SurveysTable 7-10.NEXRAD Summary DataTable 7-11.Summary of Acoustical Monitoring SurveysTable 7-12 (revised). Small Mammal Trapping ResultsTable 7-13.Summary Table for the Results of Fall Bat Surveys at Black NubbleTable 7-14 (revised). Anticipated Acreage Impacts for New Roads, Turbine Clearings,and Transmission Line CorridorsTable 7-15 (revised). Summary of Wetland Impacts (acres)Table 7-16 (new).Revegetated Areas and Permanent Impact above 2,700 Feet –Black Nubble Wind FarmTable 7-17 (new).Summary Nationwide Bird Mortality Estimates

Black Nubble Wind FarmSection 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationList of FiguresFigure 7-1 (revised). Project Area MapFigure 7-2 (revised). Regional Landscape MapFigure 7-3 (deleted). Redington Mountain Natural Community MapFigure 7-4 (revised). Black Nubble Natural Community MapFigure 7-5.115 kV Transmission Corridor Natural Community MapFigure 7-6 (revised). Fisheries Resources MapFigure 7-7 (deleted). Redington – Breeding Bird Survey Location MapFigure 7-8.Black Nubble – Breeding Bird Survey Location MapFigure 7-9 (revised). Songbird Migration Radar and Microphone SitesFigure 7-10.Fall 2002 Mean Flight DirectionFigure 7-11.Fall 2002 Nightly Mean Flight DirectionFigure 7-12.Spring 2004 Entire SeasonFigure 7-13.Spring 2004 Nightly Mean Flight DirectionFigure 7-14 (revised). Regional Map with Seasonal Songbird Migration ResultsFigure 7-15.Spectrograms of Recorded Bird CallsFigure 7-16 (deleted). Redington Mountain Small Mammal Trap LocationsFigure 7-17.Black Nubble Small Mammal Trap LocationsFigure 7-18 (deleted). Northern Bog Lemming Habitat and 250’ BufferFigure 7-19.Representative Calls of Each Species Identified during Acoustic BatMonitoring at Black Nubble during fall 2005Figure 7-20.Nightly Passage Rates at Black Nubble during Fall 2005 SurveysFigure 7-21 (revised). Wetland Impact Location MapFigure 7-22 (new).Maine Mountain Power Study AreaPage v

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 1Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Fragmentation1.0IntroductionThe purpose of this section is to describe and characterize the existing landscape andecological setting of the project area, assess the potential effects of the proposed project,describe impact avoidance and minimization strategies, and propose potential mitigationand monitoring options for the project. This section has been prepared using a variety ofdata sources that include a series of comprehensive field surveys conducted over a 10year period, published literature, and State records.Ecological investigations of the proposed Black Nubble Wind Farm began in 1993 withpreliminary investigations of the dominant land uses and habitats in the areas aroundBlack Nubble. A fall raptor migration survey was also conducted. Additional, moredetailed field investigations ensued in 2000 and 2003 along the proposed transmissionline system, and from 2001 to 2002 on Black Nubble. Additionally, some site-specificfield investigations occurred in 2004 and 2005 along proposed road and transmission linealignments and a bat detector survey was conducted in late summer and fall of 2005.The affected project area is fairly limited and includes only those areas with BlackNubble Wind Farm project elements. This includes a narrow ridgetop band across thesummit of Black Nubble, transmission line corridors, and road alignments (Figure 7-1).Most of these project components are very finite features on the landscape, occurring asvery narrow, linear features. As such, a relatively small acreage of land is ultimatelyaffected. Additionally, a variety of sensitive natural features, such as streams andpermanent water bodies (e.g., beaver flowages), have been avoided to the extentpracticable during the project design. The result is a fairly limited number of regulatedecological resources that occur immediately within the project area. However, whereappropriate, diverse wildlife species that could pass through the project area at varioustimes have been identified and their affected habitats described.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 2Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationThis permit application section has been formatted to describe each of the majorecological resources in the vicinity of the project area. It begins with a brief descriptionof the ecological setting of the project area, including important regional landscapecharacteristics that dictate the composition of plant and animal communities in the area.Natural plant communities occurring within the project area are then described, followedby descriptions of each of the major vertebrate wildlife groups, including fish, reptilesand amphibians, birds, and mammals. Following that is a description of potential impactsof the project on the protected natural resources. Finally, a section detailing potentialimpact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation strategies is included. Discussion of howthe project fulfills the requirements set forth by the Maine Land Use RegulatoryCommittee (LURC, Chapter 10.25, E.2.a) is included within each major section and atthe conclusion of the document.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 3Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Fragmentation2.0Ecological Setting of Project areaThe project area is situated largely within Redington Township and Carrabassett Valleyin Franklin County, Maine. The entire region is generally undeveloped and dominated bya working industrial forest and mountainous landscape (Figure 7-2). Elevations in thegeneral vicinity of the project area range from approximately 2,200 feet at Nash Streamto 3,677 feet at the Black Nubble summit. Other, larger peaks in the region includeSugarloaf (4,250 ft), Crocker Mountain (4,228 ft), Bigelow Mountain (4,145 ft),Spaulding Mountain (4,010 ft) and Redington Mountain (4010 ft). The project area iswithin the Western Mountain Biophysical Region of Maine, which is characterized bycool summers, low annual precipitation, and high snowfall. Average maximum Julytemperature is the lowest in Maine (75º F) except for the Eastern Coastal region.Average minimum winter temperature (-1º F) is comparable to that of northern Maine.Typical lower and middle elevation soils are somewhat deep and poorly drained coarseloamy soils. Upper elevation ( 2,500 ft) soils are generally well drained, cold, andacidic. Shallow saddleback soils occur on ridgetops (McMahon 1990).A combination of forest communitiesoccur in the area. Stands of balsam fir2dominate elevations above 2,500 feet,while stands of birch, maple, andAmerican beech are more dominantalong lower elevation slopes andvalleys. Two events in recentdecades—the outbreak of sprucebudworm in the 1970s and subsequentPhoto 1. Hillside clearcuts in Carrabassett ValleyTownshipindustrial timber harvesting activities—have greatly influenced regional forestcharacteristics. All but the upper mountain regions have been influenced by past and2Scientific names to all plants mentioned in the text are provided in Appendix A and scientific names to allanimals mentioned are provided in the species-habitat matrix in Appendix B.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 4Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Fragmentationcurrent timber harvesting activities (Photo 1), while even higher elevations were affectedby the spruce budworm. Both measures have ultimately affected the composition of theforest, particularly by reducing theamount of spruce in lower elevationstands and converting large areas ofmixed forest to younger and moreuniform fir stands (Photo 2).The principal waterways draining thevicinity of the project area are NashStream, and Stony Brook (Figure 7-2).Nash Stream flows from the project area,Photo 2. Areas of mixed forest converted toyoung softwood forest east of RedingtonMountain (note remnant dead hardwoods abovedense softwood regeneration).northward, to the South Branch of the Dead River, approximately eight miles north of theBlack Nubble summit. Branches of Nash Stream reach elevations of about 2,635 feetfrom east of the Black Nubble summit and about 2,800 feet west of it, where severalsmall ponds outlet to the West Branch of Nash Stream. Stony Brook reaches elevationsof approximately 2,900 feet on the north slope of Crocker Mountain and flows northwardto Stratton Brook, which, in turn, flows into Flagstaff Lake. The proposed 115 kVtransmission line corridor crosses Stony Brook and its tributaries.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 5Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationNatural Communities and WetlandsNatural community surveys were conducted within the project area in 1994, 2000, and2003. Surveys included investigations of terrestrial and wetland habitats and wereconducted on Black Nubble (2001), and the proposed 115 kV transmission line corridor(2000). Other field surveys conducted in 1993, 1995, and 2003 included the collection ofadditional information on the natural communities in the project area.2.1MethodsA natural community is an assemblage of interacting plants and animals and theircommon environment, recurring across the landscape, in which the effects of recenthuman intervention are minimal (Gawler 2001). Natural communities, therefore, serve asconvenient categories to characterize site ecosystems and to identify predictable wildlifeassemblages. Natural communities are most easily and commonly identified by theirunique combination of dominant plants.Natural communities were classified according to Maine Natural Areas Program’s(MNAP) most recent classification system (Gawler and Cutko 2004). Some parts of theproject area clearly did not meet the above definition of a natural community due torecent timber harvesting activities. These areas were subsequently classified asregenerating forest stands. Furthermore, areas that were originally classified using anolder MNAP classification system were re-classified, as needed, according to anychanges in community classification criteria.Additionally, natural community classifications tend to be very broad compared to otherhabitat classification conventions. For example, several different types of wetlands, asclassified using the United States Fish and Wildlife Service classification (Cowardin etal. 1979), may be included within one MNAP natural community. Consequently,wetlands in the project area, while technically being variations within other types ofnatural communities, are specifically addressed in subsection 2.2.7 of this report.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 6Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationInitial desktop surveys for natural communities at Black Nubble were conducted in 1993.Natural community surveys were originally conducted on Black Nubble in Septemberand October 2001 and totaled 20 person-days. Field surveys conducted in 2002accounted for nearly 30 additional person-days spent in the project area.Aerial photographs were used to locate the ridgeline and preliminarily identify the naturalcommunities. Subsequent field surveys included traveling along the ridgeline to identify,map, and characterize naturalcommunities and other natural resourceson a qualitative basis, including wetlands.Notes on the dominant plants, treeheights, hydrology, signs of wildlife use,and physical characteristics wererecorded (Photo 3). Photos were alsotaken to document typical habitatPhoto 3. Natural community surveys wereconducted along the ridgeline.characteristics and to illustrate importantnatural community features. Somehabitat boundaries and other more notable features were surveyed using a globalpositioning system (GPS) receiver. Wetlands were identified, characterized, and locatedusing GPS.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 7Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationAs with the ridgetop work, naturalcommunities and protected natural resourcesalong the proposed 115 kV transmission linealignment, including freshwater wetlands,streams, and brooks, were identified,photographed, and qualitatively assessed(Photo 4). Dominant plant species andhydrologic conditions were recorded for eachPhoto 4. Natural community surveys alongthe proposed 115 kV transmission linecorridor were conducted largely in clearcutsand areas of heavy selection harvest, as theseplant communities dominated the lowerelevations.2.2wetland and for each major upland naturalcommunity type encountered along theproposed right-of-way. Wildlife observationswere also recorded.Natural Community DescriptionsThe occurrence and composition of natural communities in the project area are largelydriven by topography, and are very typical of the western Maine mountain region.Wetland habitats are essentially limited to valley bottoms and occasional isolated basins.Perennial streams are limited to the lowestslopes and valley bottoms, while intermittentstreams occur on side slopes throughout midelevation areas. Side slopes of valleys andlower slopes of mountains are dominated bynorthern hardwood species, includingAmerican beech, yellow birch, and sugarmaple. As elevation increases, the incidenceof red spruce, and then balsam fir, increases.Most higher elevations are vegetated with apredominantly coniferous forest dominatedby balsam fir and scattered red spruce, withPhoto 5. The distribution of naturalcommunities is largely driven by elevation andexposure, as seen here on the northeast slopeof Black Nubble. Note predominance ofhardwood and mixed forests at low and midelevations and softwood forests at the highestelevations.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 8Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Fragmentationthe hardwood canopy component being largely limited to heartleaved paper birch andmountain ash (Photo 5).The plant communities are also highlyaltered in some areas, largely in the form ofactive and past timber harvesting activities.Old and recent clearcuts and shelterwoodcuts are common throughout the project area,leaving large open areas with relativelysparse canopies. Clearcuts and selection cutsPhoto 6. Clearcut above 3,000 ft on thenortheast slope of Black Nubble.are generally common below 2,700 feet.However, numerous cuts do occur as far up as 3,200 feet in elevation along some of theslopes of Black Nubble (Photo 6).Following is a description of the natural communities observed in the project area. It isdivided into two categories: Terrestrial Communities and Wetlands and Streams.2.2.1Terrestrial CommunitiesFour natural community types typical of western Maine occurred in the vicinity of theridgetop project area of Black Nubble: Beech-Birch-Maple Forest, Spruce-NorthernHardwood Forest, Spruce-Fir-Wood Sorrel-Feathermoss Forest, and Fir-HeartleavedBirch Subalpine Forest (Figures 7-3 and 7-4). All four of these communities occurwithin the Spruce-Fir-Northern Hardwoods Forest Ecosystem of Maine (Gawler andCutko 2004).Regenerating conifer and mixed forest stands, resulting from past and ongoing clearcutactivities, are very common along the sideslopes of the mountains, between lowerelevation beech-birch-maple forest and higher elevation fir-heartleaved birch subalpineforest.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 9Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationBeech-birch-maple forests were dominant at lower elevations and, as elevation increased,the percentage of softwood occurrence increased due to physical conditions of theenvironment and forest harvest practices. Spruce-northern hardwood forests served astransitional forests between beech-birch-maple forests and the higher subalpinecommunities.2.2.2Beech-Birch-Maple ForestThis forest type was originally included under a broader classification called NorthernHardwood Forest (MNAP 1991). Beech-birch-maple forests are most common atelevations below 2,300 feet around the base of the mountain, on the lower valley sideslopes, and on higher, protected slopes. This hardwood forest type also occurs as strips insmaller depressions and stream valleys between 2,300 feet to 2,700 feet, but was not verycommon at higher elevations (Figure 7-4). It is one of the more common forested naturalcommunities associated with the proposed transmission line corridor, though harvestingactivities have significantly altered the plant species composition in most areas.Dominant canopy trees in this community include sugar maple, red maple, Americanbeech, and yellow birch. Striped maple is adominant sub-canopy and shrub species.Hobblebush, mountain maple, and redberried elder are also common shrubs. Theherb layer is typically dominated bypartridgeberry, evergreen wood fern, brackenfern, bluebead lily, common wood-sorrel,and whorled aster (Photo 7). As elevationincreases, balsam fir becomes a morecommon component of this community type.Photo 7. Beech-birch-maple forests typicallyhave an open understory with a uniform, lowherbaceous layer. Shrub development variesfrom sparse to dense stands of hobblebush.

Black Nubble Wind FarmPage 10Section 7 – Wetlands, Wildlife, Fisheries, and FragmentationMany of the beech-birch-maple foreststands of the project area have beenaffected by harvesting activities. Whereharvesting has occurred, these usuallyshaded forests contain relatively opencanopies that in turn tend to supportspecies not commonly associated withmature hardwood forests, including wildred raspberry and a wide array ofherbaceous species (Photo 8).2.2.3Photo 8. Heavy selection cut in a beech-birchmaple forest. Note dense raspberry thickets (lightgreen and tan patches) throughout the understory.Spruce-Northern Hardwood ForestSpruce-northern hardwood forest is the transitional natural community between the lowerelevation beech-birch-maple forests and higher elevation softwood-dominatedcommunities. It is assumed that many of the regenerating conifer areas at elevationsmainly below 2,700 feet were oncespruce-northern hardwood forests. It iscommon surrounding Black Nubble dueto lower elevations and slightly lessdisturbance. Where this community typeis still intact, the canopy is a mixturebetween hardwood (birch, beech, andmaple) and softwood (mainly spru

Table 7-7. Summary of Fall 2002 Radar Surveys Table 7-8. Summary of Spring 2004 Radar Surveys Table 7-9. Summary of Spring and Fall Radar Surveys Table 7-10. NEXRAD Summary Data Table 7-11. Summary of Acoustical Monitoring Surveys Tabl

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