The Project approved by CDFW consists of the ITP, Major Amendments Nos. 1, 2, and 3, Minor Amendment No. 4, Major Amendments Nos. 5-22 and this Major Amendment No. 23, as referenced above and as issued by CDFW, which addresses construction and operation of the Fresno to Bakersfield segment of the HST, as approved by the lead agency, affecting or generally related to fish and wildlife resources subject to the regulatory authority of CDFW, including natural resources subject to the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The ITP authorizes incidental take of the threatened California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), San Joaquin antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus nelsoni), Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), and San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) and the endangered Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides), (collectively, the Covered Species), species designated as threatened and endangered under CESA.
Major Amendment No. 23 makes five changes to the ITP, as previously amended. This Amendment increases the size of the Project Construction Footprint by 26.40 acres to a total of 6,658.53 acres of cumulative disturbance to accommodate access and egress, design improvements for McCombs Avenue, SR 46 and the Merced Overpass, utility relocations, and other Covered Activities; updates Table 8 to include work on utilities as well as road modification and adds 3 new locations; updates Table 9 and the text regarding increases in the Covered Species habitat impacts; updates Table 11 and increases the required compensatory HM lands and the Performance Security amount required to mitigate for Covered Species impacts resulting from the increased Project Construction Footprint in Covered Species habitat; and modifies Exhibit 6, the Baseline Map Book.