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Transmission Lands and Realty

Lands and Realty
Present, Potentially Affected

State and federal regulations ensure the longstanding ecological health and resource sustainability where transmission line corridors are located. Road maintenance, ancillary facility, substation, and line construction; land reclamation, and rights-of-way (ROW) permits are examples of government provisions to accomplish these goals.

Lands and Realty Impacts & Mitigation

Transmission lines depend on ROW permit approvals to advance to the construction phase. The ROW is purchased through negotiations with each landowner affected by the proposed project. Payment includes full value for crop damages or other property damage during construction or maintenance. Widespread construction activities can increase impact areas, which may include agricultural resources, vegetation, livestock, and private property.

Use the following mitigation measures to mitigate these impacts:

Construction

  • Design transmission structures to match the terrain and geography to mitigate visual impacts. Use leveling and benching techniques sparingly during tower assembly and erection.
  • Use existing access roads. If new access roads must be constructed, use the minimum width and avoid development on sensitive lands to mitigate erosion and irreversible ecological damage.
  • Concentrate construction movement and development to mitigate widespread grazing land, crops, or property damage.
  • Plan construction to avoid peak agricultural seasons to mitigate crop damage. Compensate landowners in the event that construction will impact crop yields.
  • To mitigate biodiversity loss, avoid clearing trees, native shrubs, and other vegetation during construction activities, except where safety clearances are required for structures and equipment, approved construction and permanent roads, construction yards and staging areas, and excavation operations.
  • Avoid using stream channels, steep slopes, or sensitive environmental areas for equipment, materials storage, or stockpiling, construction staging or maintenance, field offices, hazardous material or fuel storage, solid waste, handling, or temporary access roads.
  • Submit tower heights and power line corridor pathways to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to comply with regulations. Equip power lines with aerial markers or a balisor system to mitigate aircraft operation conflicts and to follow safety provisions.
  • Use helicopter patrol and tower placement in areas where towers are located on steep terrain or in environmentally sensitive areas to mitigate ecological damage and employee injury.
  • During road closures and maintenance, install locking gates, berms or boulders to obstruct unauthorized vehicles and personnel from entering the site.
  • Install cattle guards or access gates on new permanent access roads.

Landowners

  • Limit construction to daylight hours to minimize disturbances to residents at night.
  • Work with landowners to install gates, barriers, and postings to minimize or eliminate public access to project facilities. Post signs indicating the restricted access and penalties awarded for trespassing.
  • Compensate landowners at market value for any new land rights required for the ROW or access road easements, any property damage during construction, including livestock, and for irrigation system reconfiguration to accommodate towers and substations.
  • Publicize a toll-free general phone number, and the name and contact information for a local public liaison(s) to all affected property owners near the construction site. The liaison’s role includes availability at least two weeks prior to construction commencement and six-months following construction termination to respond to project and service questions.
  • Report any livestock and livestock facility damage to the landowner and corresponding agency. If the incident is construction, operation, or maintenance related, the transmission line company is financially responsible.
  • Coordinate with landowners to avoid farm operations such as plowing, crop dusting, and harvesting.


ROW

  • Restrict cattle from grazing within the ROW after construction is completed until grass is re-established within the ROW.
  • Restrict all construction vehicle movement outside the ROW to pre-designated access, contractor-acquired access, or public roads.


Reclamation

  • Use tillage methods to restore compacted cropland soils.
  • Keep cropland and onsite excavated material and topsoil separate to reduce soil and invasive species contamination.
  • Level, fill, or grade any ruts. Loosen compacted soils and land scars found in productive hay or croplands by harrowing or disking methods. Fix any ditch, tile drain, terrace, road, and other land features to decrease runoff impacts.
  • Backfill and recontour areas around transmission line corridors to their original grade and condition including fences, gates, and walls. Brace fences before cutting.

Trash

  • Remove excess trash or debris from the transmission line site and dispose at an authorized site to mitigate contamination to employees and equipment.