Tehachapi Transmission Line Project Proponents Biological Resource Survey
UltraSystems, under contract to AMEC conducted a biological resource survey of various properties and linear features (e.g., proposed telecommunication line sites and material yards) associated with a 20-mile segment of Southern California Edison’s (SCEs) Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) located in Kern County, California, west and north of the City of Rosamond, west of Highway 14, and north of Highway 138.
The site was evaluated for the presence, absence, or likelihood of occurrence of special status species and sensitive habitats, including jurisdictional wetlands, within the project footprint and a 125-foot buffer zone, referred to as the Biological Study Area (BSA). Vegetation communities were identified and classified based on the dominant plant species and their associates. Detailed field notes and photos were compiled, including: current site conditions, visible disturbance factors, observed plant and wildlife species, and descriptions of vegetation communities. No sensitive plant species were observed during the reconnaissance survey. However, habitat for five sensitive plant species was identified, requiring focused surveys for these species to comply with the Federal and State Endangered Species Acts. Four sensitive wildlife species were observed, including Le Conte’s Thrasher (Toxostoma leconteri), California Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) (California Species of Special Concern-year round), the Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus), and the Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) (California Species of Special Concern-Breeding). Suitable habitat for an additional thirteen wildlife species was identified, requiring focused surveys for these species. Thirty-five aquatic features were observed within the Biological Study Area (BSA) during the general biological survey, requiring a formal jurisdictional to determine the status of each drainage feature.