Biological Resources

The documents listed below are Baseline Reports categorized topically as biological resources.

The East Clear Creek parcel (“the Property”) is a private inholding within the Coconino National Forest, located along East Clear Creek about 38 miles (61 kilometers [km]) southwest of the town of Winslow. The Property encompasses uplands of the Colorado Plateau as well as an approximately 2.3-mile (3.7-km) reach of East Clear Creek in a narrow canyon.

The Apache Leap South End parcels (“the Property”) are three non-contiguous private inholdings within the Tonto National Forest (TNF). The Property is situated along the southern end of the Apache Leap, a prominent geologic feature that visually dominates the skyline east of the town of Superior, Arizona.

Data summarized in this report include digital photographs taken between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 (the Survey Period). During the Survey Period, motion-sensitive cameras were deployed at twelve total locations in the vicinity of the Project. Areas in which the cameras were deployed include the Oak Flat/East Plant Site, Devils Canyon, and the proposed Tailings Area; collectively, the Study Area.

This biological evaluation (BE) supports an evaluation of an alternative tailings storage facility (TSF; the Project) located southeast of Superior and north of Kearny, Pinal County, Arizona. The purpose of this BE is to perform a screening analysis to determine the occurrence or potential to occur of special-status species and/or designated or proposed critical habitat in the proposed Project Area or its vicinity.

This screening analysis was prepared to determine the potential for occurrence of special-status species and/or the presence of designated or proposed critical habitat within the footprint of these federal actions in support of USFS and Cooperative Agency review of these activities under NEPA.

Passive survey for raptors in 2016 were conducted at four sites in the vicinity of the Resolution Copper Project (the Project), a proposed underground mine and ore processing operation with associated facilities and infrastructure near Superior, Arizona. Survey was conducted at the Whitlow Ranch Dam, two portions of Devils Canyon, and one segment of Mineral Creek, all in Pinal County, Arizona (Survey Transects; Figure 1). The raptor survey coincided with the 2016 Yellow-billed cuckoo (YBCU) survey, which was also conducted in these areas (WestLand 2016a).

This Ecological Overview was prepared for approximately 160 acres (65 hectares) in Gila and Pinal counties, Arizona. The Dripping Springs parcel (“the Property”) is a private inholding within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands (and adjacent to Arizona State Trust Lands), located along the Dripping Spring Mountains about 8 miles (13 kilometers [km]) north of the town of Hayden.

WestLand has conducted surveys for Arizona Hedgehog Cactus in support of Resolution Copper Mining pre-feasibility and feasibility studies to develop an underground copper mine east of Superior, Arizona. WestLand compiled an Access database of all known AHC observed in surveys from 2010 through 2012.

WestLand conducted survey in 2015 for the yellow-billed cuckoo at four sites in the vicinity of the Resolution Copper Project, a proposed underground mine and ore processing operation with associated facilities and infrastructure near Superior, Arizona. Survey was conducted at the Whitlow Ranch Dam, two portions of Devils Canyon, and one segment of Mineral Creek, all in Pinal County, Arizona. The objective was to determine the presence and abundance of YBCU, based on habitat conditions considered most likely to support YBCU, in the vicinity of the Resolution project.

In 2015 Audubon Arizona organized and conducted standardized surveys on three reaches of Queen and Arnett Creeks near Superior, Arizona, in order to document yellow-billed cuckoo occurrence and abundance and to provide a basis for management recommendations. No cuckoos were detected on any of the three Arnett or Queen Creek transects during the 2015 survey season. Forty-four other species were encountered during the 2015 survey season, including Abert's towhee which is listed as "Sensitive" by the USFS and as a "Species of Greatest Conservation Concern" by AGFD.

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EIS Status Update - March 2019

Screenshot of EIS Status Update document cover

Information on the forthcoming Draft EIS is now available under the ‘EIS Info’ tab. To view the update, click here.

EIS Timeline - Feb 2019

  1. Proponent submits revised Plan of Operations [Sep 2014]
  2. Federal Register Notice of Intent to prepare EIS [Mar 2016]
  3. Public scoping period and scoping meetings
    [5 meetings between Mar-Jun 2016; comment period extended from 60 days to 120 days, closed Jul 18, 2016 ]
  4. Compile and review existing data
  5. Prepare project description and identify project alternatives
  6. Publish Alternatives Evaluation Report [Sep 2017]
  7. We Are Here
    Validate Baseline Information; analyze environmental effects
  8. Prepare Draft EIS
  9. Federal Register Notice of Availability of Draft EIS
  10. 90-day public review and comment period, with public meetings
  11. Respond to public comments and prepare Final EIS
  12. Federal Register Notice of Availability of Final EIS and Draft ROD
  13. 45-day Public Objection Period
  14. Resolve objections to Final EIS and draft ROD
  15. Issue Final Record of Decision

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Forest Points of Contact

Media & General Info
John Scaggs
jscaggs@fs.fed.us

Project Manager
Resolution Copper
Mary Rasmussen
mcrasmussen@fs.fed.us

Apache Leap Special Management Area
Apache Leap SMA website