Transmission Visual Resources
Present, Potentially Affected
- Antelope Valley Neset (AVS - Neset 345 kV Transmission Line Project)
- BLM-NV-WN-ES-08-01-1310, NV-020-08-01 (Blue Mountain Geothermal Well Field and Power Plant EA)
- Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission (Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project Environmental Impact Statement)
- Big Eddy-Knight (Big Eddy-Knight Transmission Project Environmental Impact Statement)
- Boardman to Hemingway (Environmental Impact Statement and Land Use Plan Amendments for the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project)
- CA-96062042 (Fourmile Hill Geothermal Development Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) / Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Transmission)
- Cameron to Milford-138kV Transmission Line (Cameron to Milford - 138kV Transmission Line Project)
- Central Ferry Lower Monumental (Central Ferry-Lower Monumental 500-kilovolt Transmission Line Project)
- DOE-EA-1621 (Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) Deep Geothermal Well and Power Plant Project EA at Klamath Falls Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOE-EA-1733 (Calpine Enhanced Geothermal Systems Project EA at Geysers Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOE-EA-1849 (EA for Northern Nevada Geothermal Power Plant Project at McGuinness Hills Geothermal Area)
- DOI-BLM-CA-017-05-051 (Basalt Canyon Geothermal Pipeline Project Environmental Assessment and Draft Environmental Impact Report for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-CA-EA-2002-??? (Glass Mountain Exploration Environmental Assessment/Initial Study for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-CA-ES-2007-017-3200 (Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area)
- DOI-BLM-CA-ES-2013-002+1793-EIS (Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development Project EIS at Long Valley Caldera Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-ID-220-2009-EA-3709 (Raft River Geothermal Drilling Project EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091 (Jersey Valley and Buffalo Valley Geothermal Development Projects EA for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2011-0026-EA (Clayton Valley Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2012-0214-EA (Silver Peak Area Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0006-EA (Gabbs Valley and Dead Horse Wells Geothermal Exploration Projects EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0010-EA (EA at Coyote Canyon and Dixie Meadows for Geothermal/Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0001-EA (Coyote Canyon Utilization Project EA for TGP for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0516-EA (EA for Thermal Gradient Holes at Dixie Meadows Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2012-0029-EA (Tungsten Mountain Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Geothermal/Well Field Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2012-0051-EA (Coyote Canyon South Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-NV-CC-ES-11-10-1793 (Salt Wells Geothermal Energy Projects EIS for Geothermal/Power Plant Development Drilling)
- DOI-BLM-NV-CO10-2011-0501-EA (EA for Phase II Production Wells and Thermal Gradient Holes at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2010-0004-EA (New York Canyon Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2011-0001-EA (EA of the Leach Hot Springs Geothermal Exploration Project at Grass Valley Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-W010–2012–0005–EA (EA for Development Drilling at New York Canyon Geothermal Utilization and Interconnect Project for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Transmission, Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-OR-P000-2011-0003-EA (EA for Newberry Volcano Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) Demonstration Project for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-OR-P040-0021-EA (EA for Exploratory Wells at Midnight Point and Mahogany Geothermal Exploration Projects, Glass Buttes, Oregon for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-OR-V040-2009-0059-EA (Department of Energy Loan Guarantee for U.S. Geothermal's Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Facility in Vale, Oregon for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-UT-W020-2010-0042-EA (EA for Thermal Gradient Holes at Drum Mountains and Whirlwind Valley Geothermal Exploration Projects for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field)
- Devers Palo Verde No 2 (EIS/EIR Devers-Palo Verde No. 2 500kV Transmission Line Project)
- EA for Well Field Development at Patua Geothermal Area - DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-00016-EA (EA for Phase II of Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field)
- Eldorado Ivanpah Transmission Project (EIS/EIR for the Eldorado-Ivanapah Transmission Project)
- Energy Gateway South (Environmental Impact Statement and Land Use Plan Amendments for the Energy Gateway South Transmission Project)
- Gateway West Transmission Line (Environmental Impact Statement for the Gateway West Transmission Line Project)
- Grand Coulee Transmission Line (Grand Coulee's Third Powerplant 500-kilovolt Transmission Line Replacement Project, Preliminary Environmental Assessment)
- McNary-John Day (McNary-John Day Transmission Line Project Environmental Impact Statement)
- Mona to Oquirrh Transmission (Mona to Oquirrh Transmission Corridor Project and Proposed Pony Express Resource Management Plan Amendment)
- NV-020-03-26 (Desert Peak 2 Geothermal Project Environmental Assessment for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- NV-020-07-EA-01 (EA for Observation Wells at Jersey Valley Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Exploration)
- NV-063-EA06-098 (Reese River Valley Geothermal Exploration Project Environmental Assessment)
- NV-EA-030-07-05 (EA for Thermal Gradient Holes at Salt Wells for Geothermal/Exploration)
- North Steens 230kV Transmission (North Steens 230-kV Transmission Project EIS)
- One Nevada (Final Environmental Impact Statement for the One Nevada Transmission Line Project (ON Line Project))
- San Juan Basin EC (San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project Environmental Impact Statement)
- Sigurd Red Butte No2 (Sigurd to Red Butte No. 2 345kV Transmission Project)
- ... further results
When developing transmission line projects on federally managed lands, specific acts are triggered to comply with federal environmental standards.
The following sections from the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) (43 U.S.C. 1701 et. seq.) address visual resource requirements on federal lands where : • “...The public lands be managed in a manner that will protect the quality of the...scenic...values....” Section 102 (a)(8). • “Identifies “scenic values” as one of the resources for which public land should be managed.” Section 103 (c). • “The Secretary shall prepare and maintain on a continuing basis an inventory of all public lands and their resources and other values (including...scenic values)....” Section 201 (a). • “Each right-of-way shall contain terms and conditions which will... minimize damage to the scenic and esthetic values...” Section 505 (a). The National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) (43 U.S.C. 4321 et. seq.) Section 101 (b.) and 102, respectively, requires: • Measures be taken to, “ ...assure for all American...esthetically pleasing surroundings....” and, • Agencies to, “Utilize a systematic, interdisciplinary approach which will ensure the integrated use of...Environmental Design Arts in the planning and decision-making....” A landscape architect, in conjunction with the land’s managing agency, conducts visual impact assessments to evaluate the land’s visual resources. Typical evaluation criterion includes, surface disturbance, scenic quality, sensitivity levels, and distant zones. The results determine the transmission line’s corridor and what major land or infrastructure features to avoid. This assessment also lays the groundwork for anticipated project impacts and mitigation measures. http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/wo/Information_Resources_Management/policy/blm_manual.Par.34032.File.dat/8400.pdf
Visual Resources Impacts & Mitigation
Transmission line projects causes major long-term visual impacts if the corridor crosses highways, historic trails, and rivers; exists in canyons, residential areas, agricultural lands, recreation areas, and campgrounds. Visual impacts increase when the corridor passes through flat, barren land. Assessing the corridor’s path will identify optimal lattice, monopole, and H-frame placements and paint color selection.
Construction sites impact the immediate areas nearby with debris build-up, light fixtures and post-construction activities. The right-of-way (ROW), or transmission corridor, may also require vegetation clearing or trimming. Reclamation, erosion control, and proper lighting techniques provide mitigation strategies.
Decrease these impacts with the following mitigation measures:
- Design lattice, monopoles, H-frames, and substations placement away from roadways, trail and stream crossings, and natural landscape features to mitigate visual impacts, while still enabling over-road clearances.
- If river crossings are unavoidable, pass at a right angle.
- Assess if self-weathering steel or galvanized steel fits the landscape best. Weathering steel does not require paint to minimize reflectivity. A dull galvanized steel finish blends with natural surroundings, can have a lighter or darker hue, and is less susceptible to corrosion.
- Use non-reflective conductors and insulators (i.e., non-ceramic or porcelain).
- Glass insulators are not permitted in scenic areas on federally managed lands.
- Maintain clean workspaces (construction yards, pull sites, helicopter landing zones, and laydown areas) by storing building materials and equipment out of public viewing areas.
- Remove construction debris (excess vegetation, building materials, chemicals, wood scraps, etc.) and inactive temporary fencing.
- Use non-reflective chain-link fencing and cover with screening fabric or slats. Choose a material color that blends in with surroundings.
Roads and Erosion
- Refrain from widening roads and blading in areas with highly erodible soils.
- When the construction period is over, construction sites shall be cleaned up and their surfaces shall be restored as closely as possible to pre-construction conditions.
- Re-vegetate cut- and-fill slopes. Recontour where necessary.
- Reconstruct rock rims to original state.
- Equip light fixtures with hoods to eliminate glare effects and to prevent light from spilling off the site or up into the sky.
- Add sensors or switches to minimize disturbances.
Vegetation and rocks
- If the over and under story requires clearing for tower pads or conductor clearance, taper and feather the remaining vegetation to reflect a natural appearance.
- Avoid paint or permanent discoloring agents on rocks, vegetation, structures, and fences that indicate survey or construction activity limits to mitigate long-lasting impacts.
- Minimize vegetation clearing, by using drive and crush methods. This allows for re-sprouting and avoids excess root damage.
- Maintain vegetation clearance along the ROW to not only minimize visual impacts, but also maintain safe work areas.