Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line
EIS

Environmental Impact Statement for the Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line Project

Proposed Action

Arizona Public Service Company (APS or Applicant) is proposing the development of approximately 38 miles of transmission line to increase the reliability of the high-voltage transmission system in the northwestern Phoenix metropolitan area. The proposed APS Sun Valley to Morgan 500/230kV Transmission Line Project (Proposed Action or Project) would establish a 500 Kilovolt (kV) and 230kV connection, constructed mainly on single-pole structures between two substations (the Sun Valley Substation [formerly called TS-5] and the existing Morgan Substation [formerly called TS-9]). The approved Sun Valley Substation will be located in the northwest portion of the Town of Buckeye and the existing Morgan Substation is located in the City of Peoria. Generally the transmission line would head north-northeast out of the Sun Valley Substation to north of State Route (SR) 74 and then east to the Morgan Substation.

The Project would require a new right-of-way (ROW) or easement on federal, state, and private lands. The construction ROW would be approximately 200 feet wide, but could be somewhat wider where terrain poses engineering or construction constraints. The permanent and operational ROW width is proposed to be 200 feet wide and would cross approximately seven miles of public lands, north and south of SR 74 in the northeastern part of the Project Area and approximately two miles of public lands in the southwestern portion of the Project Area near the Sun Valley Substation location.

Conditions of Approval

Applicant-committed environmental protection measures are actions, practices, or design features that are part of the Selected Alternative and will be implemented by APS. Under the Selected Alternative, APS will implement the applicant-committed environmental protection measures and BMPs (outlined in detail in Section 2.9, of the final EIS) to minimize adverse impacts of the Project to sensitive environmental resources. These measures include actions and design features related to air quality, cultural resources, geology and minerals, hazardous materials and hazardous and solid waste; public health and safety; paleontology; recreation and special designations; socioeconomics and environmental justice; soils; transportation and traffic; vegetation resources, including saguaro cactus, noxious and invasive weeds, and special status plants; visual resources; and wildlife resources including special status wildlife and migratory birds. These are conditions of approval for the ROW authorization by the BLM, and they are binding in the event that the facility should be transferred or operated by another entity.

There are a number of management prescriptions and other considerations for the Selected Alternative. They are included for one or more of the following reasons: 1) they are already required by law or regulation, 2) they are BMPs or management techniques that could be readily applied to reduce impacts regardless of alternative, 3) they were developed to address issues specific to the Project Area and could be readily applied to reduce impacts, 4) they pertain to actions and/or plans already occurring and/or over which the BLM has no jurisdiction, and 5) they pertain to BLM decisions related to the Project Area that are independent of decisions with respect to the Selected Alternative (i.e., BLM decisions regarding the Selected Alternative would not necessitate changes to decisions related to these items and vice versa).

A Plan of Development (POD) is required before the BLM decides to issue a ROW grant pursuant to BLM Instruction Manual (IM) No. 2011-060 (Feb. 7, 2011) and 43 CFR § 2804.25(b). The BLM ROW policy requires that the installation of the transmission line be consistent with the approved POD. If there were to be any unanticipated changes to the POD, the BLM would assess the potential effects of the post-final EIS alterations to the POD by preparing a determination of NEPA adequacy. APS has prepared and submitted a sufficient POD to the BLM that addresses pertinent aspects of Project development, including but not limited to transmission line and access road construction and maintenance; vegetation removal; natural, cultural, and biological resources mitigation and monitoring; and site reclamation. The final POD will incorporate, as applicable, a variety of site-specific plans. A final POD is required, and will be attached to any Notices to Proceed (NTPs) to construct.

Under the Selected Alternative, APS must comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards (LORS), and must obtain and meet the requirements of all needed permits.

The Selected Alternative establishes a 200-foot-wide single-use utility corridor on BLM-managed public land north of SR 74 that directly corresponds to the 200-foot-wide ROW for the Project. The nature of this corridor designation limits development on BLM-managed public lands north of SR 74 to the Project; any future requested ROWs for additional development would require consideration of amending the RMP, as the corridor designated by the Selected Alternative is exclusive only to the Project.

The Selected Alternative also establishes a multiuse utility corridor on BLM-managed public land south of SR 74. As described in Section 4.1.3 of the final EIS, future development of linear utilities within the multiuse utility corridor would require site-specific analyses of the impacts to resources within the corridor prior to authorization of such utilities.

Data Completion Notes

A complete record of Project files can be found on the BLM website at: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/energy/aps-sunvalley.html

Documents

EA/EIS Report:



 

Resource Analysis

Resource Not
Present
Present,
Not
Affected
Present,
Potentially
Affected
Not
Indicated
Comment Applicant
Proposed
Mitigation
Agency
Imposed
Mitigation
Air Quality
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseA variety of fugitive dust control measures are available to minimize fugitive dust emissions which include:
  • Frequent watering to maintain visible moisture and/or form soil crust (stabilization)
  • Treatment of actively disturbed areas with dust palliatives
  • Trackout control devices such as grizzly bars, wheel washers, gravel pads located at all entrances and exits
  • Utilize street sweepers to remove any visible soil/mud/dirt carried onto paved access roads
  • Limiting vehicle speeds on access roads to less than 15 mph
  • Covering haul truck cargo beds with tarps and maintain 3 inches of freeboard
  • Cessation of construction on high-wind event days, and/or during periods of adverse meteorological conditions which could cause or contribute to NAAQS violations
  • Revegetation to stabilize soil
  • Minimization of disturbed land areas to the extent practicable with project design considerations
  • Maintain a visible crust and sufficient moisture on any storage piles
  • During the post-construction operational phase apply dust suppression measures such as watering (to form crust), application of dust palliatives, or gravel on vacant lots and disturbed areas in accordance with Maricopa County Rule 310.01

Mitigation measures for mobile sources and construction equipment include the following:

  • Construction related trips of workers and equipment would be minimized
  • Idling of heavy equipment would be minimized
  • Manufacturer recommendations for engine maintenance and operation would be followed to optimize emission performance
  • Newer equipment meeting the most stringent of applicable federal or state standards would be utilized as much as practicable
  • Diesel engines, motors and equipment would be located as far as practicable from residential areas and other sensitive areas (i.e., schools, daycare centers, and hospitals).
CloseProject activities would be in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations concerning prevention and control of air pollution during construction and operation. The POD and ROW Grant would include these BMPs.

APS and/or the construction contractor would obtain necessary air quality (i.e., fugitive dust control) permits before starting construction or operating equipment that would result in regulated atmospheric or fugitive dust emissions. 3. Project personnel would be required to implement measures to minimize fugitive dust emissions from construction activities. To accomplish this, the following measures would be implemented:

  • For the duration of construction activities, actively disturbed areas would be stabilized through the use of water or BLM-approved chemical dust suppressants as required to meet dust control plans and permits issued by state and local regulators. Disturbed areas, including soil storage piles, would be maintained and stabilized as appropriate to minimize fugitive dust emissions. Active stabilization may not be required if local conditions (i.e., soil moisture, natural crusting, low winds) are adequately maintaining ambient air impacts within requirements of the dust control permit and plan.
  • Bulk soil material stored onsite that is a possible fugitive dust source would be actively wetted, compacted, contoured, protected by wind breaks, controlled with BLM-approved chemical suppressants or a combination of these practices as needed, to minimize air quality impacts.
  • Fugitive dust emissions would be minimized by enforcing construction vehicle speed limits on dirt/gravel roads and a combination of active and passive dust suppression measures, including:
  • Unpaved roads and yards onsite and within the authorized ROWs would be watered as necessary when being used. If dust suppressants other than water were to be proposed by the construction contractor, it would require prior approval by the BLM and possible NEPA analysis.
  • Combustion emissions from mobile sources would be minimized by proper maintenance and tune-up of equipment.
Cultural Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAvoidance/protection:

APS will implement actions to ensure that historic properties that are avoided by Project design or redesign are not impacted during construction, operation, or maintenance activities. Such actions are subject to agency approval and may include, as appropriate, temporarily placing barriers or marking areas to be avoided during construction; monitoring by a professional archaeologist during construction; and/or placing locked gates to restrict public access to transmission line access roads that may increase the potential for indirect impacts. BLM and/or ASLD staff, possibly assisted by Arizona Site Steward Program volunteers, would monitor and document the condition of National Register-eligible properties within the ROW as warranted.

Under the Proposed Action, Alternative 1, or Alternative 2, spanning the historic properties near the Agua Fria River may not be possible; therefore a supplemental Class III cultural resource survey (Rogge and Kirvan 2013), located within the ACC corridor, was conducted so that options for avoiding impacts by shifting the alignment to the east could be considered. The recently inventoried potential alignment shift (Rogge and Kirvan 2013) would avoid disturbance of all the National Register eligible sites between the river and the Morgan Substation. Four sites are present along the potential alignment shift (Table 4.3-2), all eligible for the National Register. The alignment shift could easily span the one newly recorded small site (AZ T:3:358(ASM)), the Beardsley Canal (AZ T:3:55(ASM)), as well as the edges of two larger sites (AZ T:3:350(ASM) and AZ T:3:351(ASM)).

Mitigation through a data recovery program: Scientific data recovery may be implemented to mitigate impacts to historic properties that cannot be avoided. Procedures for scientific investigations, reporting, and long-term preservation of data and collections would be specified in a Historic Properties Treatment Plan implemented in accordance with the terms of the MOA.

Mitigation of visual impacts: The impact analysis indicates negligible to minor impacts to the setting of historic properties within five miles of the Action Alternatives. Impacts could be reduced by selecting transmission line structures or facility designs and shades that would lessen visual contrast.

Following the implementation of the mitigation measures, potential residual effects to cultural resources should be greatly reduced, although the potential for residual effects could still occur through providing additional access routes into previously undisturbed areas.
CloseSpecific cultural resource inventory and protection measures to be employed for the Project would be outlined in the Project-specific Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement, if needed. If needed, the Programmatic Agreement would be on file at the BLM’s Phoenix District Office, and the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office. The POD would contain the Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement, which would contain the following provisions:

• Development of a Historic Properties Treatment Plan defining the treatment to be implemented at specific historic properties to avoid and mitigate adverse effects in compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA. • Completion of additional Class III field inventories if the approved alternative contains previously unsurveyed areas, including portions of the area of potential effect on private land. • Development and implementation of a Monitoring Plan that would specify procedures for monitoring of avoided historic properties during construction and through the life of the Project. • Development and implementation of a Discovery Plan with procedures and timeframes for ceasing work, notifying the BLM and ASLD, protecting and evaluating the discovery, and conducting consultations to determine appropriate treatment and resumption of construction. • The Discovery Plan would include procedures for addressing discoveries of human remains and other items protected under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act on Federal land and applicable State laws on State, County, municipal, and private lands. • Cultural resource sensitivity training for Project workers to avoid damage to cultural resources and ensure that Project personnel understand procedures in the Monitoring and Discovery Plan.

(If needed, the general guidance for Treatment of Historic Properties from a Programmatic Agreement would be added as appropriate.)
Geology and Minerals
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wastes Hazardous or Solid
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
ClosePersonnel, contractors, and transporters involved with hazardous materials management would be required to comply with federal and state regulations established for the transportation, storage, handling and disposal of hazardous substances, materials and wastes. “Hazardous material” means any substance, pollutant, or contaminant that is listed as hazardous under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, 42 USC 9601 et seq., and its regulations (CERCLA). The definition of hazardous substances under CERCLA includes any “hazardous waste” as defined in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), as amended 42 USC 6901 et seq., and its regulations.

The potential for adverse impacts from oil and fuel spills would be reduced through careful handling and designation of specific equipment repair and fuel storage areas. In the event that hazardous or regulated materials such as diesel fuel or gasoline are spilled, measures would be taken to control the spill and the National Response Center and/or Arizona Department of Environmental Quality would be notified immediately.

The permittee is responsible for clean-up and assumes liability for any and all releases of hazardous substances disposed on public land in accordance with state, federal and local laws and regulations. The permittee would immediately notify the BLM Authorized Officer of any and all releases of hazardous substances on public land.

Outdoor oil storage and use areas would be bermed with a capacity sufficient to contain the oil inventory contained in the single largest tank or equipment unit plus sufficient freeboard to prevent overflow. Outlets from these containment areas would be equipped with a normally closed valve. Regular inspections would determine if there had been a leak requiring special attention.

Waste materials known or found to be hazardous would be disposed of in approved off-site, permitted treatment or disposal facilities in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations, standards, codes, and laws.

Generation of wastes during construction would be minimized through detailed estimating of materials needed and through efficient construction practices. Wastes generated during construction would be recycled to the extent feasible. Concrete waste would be removed to a local licensed landfill. Non-recyclable wastes would be collected and transported to a local licensed landfill.

Fuels, lubricant chemicals, and welding gases used during construction would be in controlled storage until used. Any empty containers or waste material would be segregated in storage and properly recycled or disposed of by licensed handlers.

Wastewater from concrete truck washdown and cleaning of construction equipment would be managed such that there would be no discharge offsite or discharge to surface waters.

Portable toilets or a packaged treatment system would be provided at construction locations along the ROW. Sewage from the portable toilets would be removed regularly and disposed of off-site in accordance with applicable federal and state pollution control regulations. There shall be no dumping of black water, sewage or litter.

Water needs for soil stabilization during facility construction would be transported by truck or other methods from local water sources.

All federal and state laws related to control and abatement of water pollution would be complied with. All waste material and sewage from construction activities or project-related features would be disposed of off-site according to federal and state pollution control regulations.

All disturbed drainage channels would be reclaimed as soon as practical, to a standard for aesthetic value comparable to what existed prior to disturbance. Where appropriate, native species capable of bank stabilization would be used to revegetate all disturbed stream banks.

Diversion structures would be used to re-direct flows from any drainages potentially impacted by facility features and would be designed to minimize potential destabilization and erosion of adjacent and downgradient drainages.

Stormwater management plans would be implemented for Project construction and facility operation to minimize and control erosion from stormwater runoff, and would be contained in the POD. During project construction, stormwater would be managed in compliance with applicable state and federal regulations, including compliance with requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater general permits, which would be obtained for the project. Stormwater management elements would include: • Application of BMPs for erosion, sedimentation, and stabilization control during construction activities, and management of oils and other substances during operation to minimize contact with stormwater; • Structural controls during operation that could include stabilized stormwater conveyance systems (swales); and • Monitoring and maintenance to ensure long-term effectiveness of the management system.

Construction specifications would require construction methods that prevent pollutants from accidentally entering or spilling into flowing or dry watercourses, and ground water sources. Potential pollutants and wastes include refuse, garbage, cement, concrete, sewage effluent, industrial waste, oil and other petroleum products, aggregate processing tailings, mineral salts, drilling mud, and thermal pollution.

Any construction wastewater from construction operations would be directed to on-site temporary retention basins designed for zero discharge. The water may be reclaimed for construction purposes or evaporated. The residual as a result of evaporation would be removed.
Lands and Realty
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
CloseAll construction vehicle movement outside the ROW would be restricted to predesignated access, contractor-acquired access, or public roads. To the extent practicable, construction vehicle movement within the ROW would be limited to predesignated disturbance areas and access routes.

To the maximum extent practical, all trees, native shrubs, and other vegetation would be avoided or protected 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.

All areas around transmission line structures would be backfilled, recontoured, and returned as close as possible to the original condition and grade.

Wherever possible stream channels, steep slopes, or sensitive environmental areas would not be used for equipment or materials storage or stockpiling; construction staging or maintenance, field offices, hazardous material or fuel storage, solid waste, handling, or temporary access roads.

Excavated or graded materials would not be stockpiled or deposited on or within 100 feet of any steep slopes, where defined, or seasonally active ephemeral drainages.

The width of construction and new temporary access roads would be kept to the absolute minimum needed, avoiding sensitive areas where possible, and limiting disturbance to vegetation.

When and where applicable, landscaping standards, including clearing of native vegetation, would be followed as prescribed by local land use and management agencies when work is within their jurisdictions. The BLM Authorized Officer would specify required special handling and recovery techniques to comply with the Arizona Native Plant Law.

Project facilities within the authorized rights-of-way would be managed for safe and reliable operation while maintaining vegetation and wildlife habitat to the maximum extent feasible.
Public Health and Safety
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseGeneral:

Following construction and after the transmission line were to be placed into service, APS would respond to complaints of line-generated radio interference (RI) or television interference (TI) by investigating the complaints and implementing appropriate mitigation measures. The transmission line would be patrolled on a regular basis so that damaged insulators or other line materials that could cause interference are repaired or replaced.

As required by the ACC, through the conditions of a CEC, APS shall make every reasonable effort to identify and correct, on a case-specific basis, all complaints of interference with radio or television signals from operation of the transmission line and related facilities addressed in the CEC. APS shall maintain written records for a period of five years of all complaints of radio or television interference attributable to operation, together with the corrective action taken in response to each complaint. All complaints shall be recorded to include notations on the corrective action taken. Complaints not leading to a specific action or for which there was no resolution shall be noted and explained.

The transmission line configuration, hardware and conductor would limit the audible noise, RI, and TI due to corona. Tension would be maintained on all insulator assemblies to assure positive contact between insulators, thereby avoiding sparking. Caution would be exercised during construction to avoid scratching or nicking the conductor surface, which may provide points for corona to occur.

Fire: Fire prevention requirements would be included in the Project H&S plan and included in the POD; during construction, and construction contractors would need to comply with those requirements as a minimum. Additionally, APS would prepare an ERP for the Project which would include requirements for all onsite employees (both construction and operation) to receive annual fire prevention and response training, and would include requests to appropriate fire departments to participate in the training. Employees would be prohibited from smoking outside of company vehicles during dry summer months. Fiber optic/static neutral cables would be installed at the top of the structures supporting the transmission lines, to serve as static wires. These static wires (sometimes referred to as shield wires) are grounded and installed at the very top of the structures to protect lower conductors from lightning.

Vegetation management would be undertaken by APS in accordance with their TVMP (Appendix 2B), as well as their IVM, which would include removal of all tall–growing vegetation within the wire zone, and preservation of low-growing herbaceous and woody plant communities that do not interfere with overhead transmission lines, or pose a fire hazard or hamper access.

APS would comply with industry standard codes governing the design and operation of high-voltage electric utility systems. Equipment would be designed such that if, for some reason, an energized phase conductor were to fall to the ground and create a line-ground fault, high-speed relay equipment would sense that condition and activate circuit breakers to quickly deenergize the line. This would reduce the risk of fire from the high voltage transmission lines to a low level.

Implementation of mitigation measures would eliminate most of the potential residual effects, although at times, noise from the routine operations and future maintenance and eventual decommissioning activities would occur. Residual effects to fire may include the fact that disturbed areas may be subject to an increase in Fire Condition Class 1 to Fire Condition Class 2 if sufficient disturbance remains after any of those activities.
 
Noise
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseDuring construction, traditional large construction and ground moving equipment would be utilized, as outlined in Table 2.4-3, which would create noise during use. Noise-generating construction activities, such as the use of heavy equipment or helicopters, within 0.5-mile of residential areas, would be restricted to the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, thus avoiding generation of noise during the periods (7:00 pm to 7:00 am) when the CNEL measurements include a sound penalty for time periods when a quiet environment is expected. During operation and maintenance of the Project, similar equipment to that described for construction may be used, which would generate noise. Generally, maintenance activities would be confined to typical workday hours, thus avoiding generation of noise during the periods (7:00 pm to 7:00 am) when the CNEL measurements include a sound penalty for time periods when a quiet environment is expected. Occasionally there may be emergency maintenance required, which may occur in the evening or nighttime hours, but that would take place very infrequently.
ClosePersonnel would be required to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations concerning prevention and control of noise during project construction and operation.
Paleontological Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAwareness during subsurface excavations in the Project Area is recommended, but monitoring should not be required. Any fossils so discovered should be professionally recovered without impeding development. Any fossils recovered during mitigation should be deposited in a permanent scientific institution (e.g., AZMNH) for the benefit of current and future generations.
CloseIf paleontological resources are discovered during construction, the BLM would be notified immediately and measures would be taken to protect the resource. An appropriately sized buffer zone would be demarcated around any discovery and construction would not resume within this buffer zone until authorization is given by the BLM Authorized Officer. The significance of the resource would be evaluated and whether or not avoidance was possible. Stabilization and measures to mitigate construction damage might also be required even if avoidance was possible. Should avoidance prove infeasible, further procedures to protect the resource would be determined by the BLM.
Recreation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
CloseThe following mitigation measures would apply to BLM-managed public lands only:

• The BLM would not approve the use of any single-track routes for construction access. The BLM would work with APS to develop a Construction Access Plan that would strictly limit construction access and operation of construction equipment to specific routes. • The BLM would designate the centerline access route as an Administrative Access Route under the authority of 43 CFR 8342, limiting use to BLM authorized use only. Prohibition of recreational use of the centerline access route (except for single-track trail crossing of the centerline access) and speed limits would be enforced by BLM. Appropriate signs would be installed. • The BLM would require that all four-wheel OHV roads/trails accessed from SR 74, intersecting the ROW (for example, at Christian Church Camp (Church) Road), be gated along the ROW with associated fencing to a natural barrier, to prevent unauthorized four-wheel OHV use along the centerline access. • APS’ ROW authorization would require monitoring the centerline access route for unauthorized recreational use. APS would monitor the condition of the centerline access route and all gated ROW access points in conjunction with other Project monitoring, and provide reports of the conditions to BLM. During the course of routine field work in this area, BLM resource and law enforcement staff would monitor conditions within the ROW for unauthorized access and use. Should gates/fencing be breached or determined to be ineffective, APS would work with the BLM to undertake additional reasonable and practicable steps to prohibit access and mitigate for adverse impacts resulting from unauthorized access. • APS would fund additional long-term monitoring of the ROW (three to five years) by the BLM or other cooperating entities for unauthorized recreation and associated impacts. • APS would work with the BLM to collect necessary data (such as cultural surveys) to facilitate transportation planning, including future OHV recreation planning and management, on specific trails in the area north of SR 74.

• As a result, after mitigation there would be no residual effects to single-track OHV users.
Social Values
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Economic Values
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Environmental Justice
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseSeveral mitigations are proposed to address EJ concerns and eliminate potential residual effects. They include:

At least one public meeting on the Draft EIS was held at a time and location easily accessible to the identified EJ community, and this meeting was well publicized using media that are prominent in the EJ community.

The transmission line route through the EJ community would use public (state or federal) land to the extent possible to minimize direct impacts to the community.
 
Soils
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseSoil Stabilization:

In order to minimize the potential for erosion, temporarily disturbed surfaces would be restored at or as near to the original contour of the land surface as possible. Water diversions would be constructed along the ROW, as needed, to control surface water and minimize soil erosion. Temporary construction access roads, not required for future maintenance access, would be restored after construction of the Project is complete. Areas of soil compaction, including temporary access roads, would be scarified as needed. Seeding would be used where appropriate to reestablish soil stability.

Revegetation: Appropriate site-specific seed mixes for revegetation would be used where conditions vary. Salvaged native plants would be used for revegetation, if appropriate, along with seeding using BLM-recommended and approved seed mixes. Preferably, seed would be planted during months identified as most preferable for revegetation success following construction. Seed would be planted as directed by appropriate land managing agency.

Mitigation Practices: Mitigation practices that would be employed as a part of this Project to ensure that the soil resources are protected and/or impacts minimized include the following:

• Vegetation would be cleared and the construction ROW would be graded only to the extent necessary. Vegetation within the ROW would be trampled or cut at or near the ground level. Except for the area to be excavated, the vegetative root system and subsurface soils would be left intact to the greatest extent practicable. This would help stabilize the soils within the ROW during construction. ROW boundaries would be clearly staked or flagged and no disturbance would be allowed beyond the limits. • Design access roads to fit the terrain by avoiding unstable slopes and highly erodible conditions, to the extent practicable, to protect soils and prevent excessive erosion and sedimentation. These protective measures include, but are not limited to, mulch, tracking, matting, or slope length shortening. When soils are wet, construction, operation, and maintenance activities would be restricted so as to properly support construction or maintenance equipment (i.e., when heavy equipment creates ruts in excess of 4 inches deep over a distance of 100 feet or more in wet or saturated soils). Where the soil is deemed too wet, one or more of the following measures would apply: • Re-route all construction or maintenance activities around the wet areas so long as the route does not cross into sensitive resource areas.

• If wet areas cannot be avoided, implement BMPs for use in these areas during construction and improvement of access roads, and their subsequent reclamation. This includes use of wide-track or balloon-tire vehicles and equipment, or other weight dispersing systems approved by the appropriate resource agencies. It also may include use of geotextile cushions, pre-fabricated equipment pads, and other materials to minimize damage to the substrate where determined necessary by resource specialists.
CloseErosion and Sediment Control:

Planting of native grasses, forbs, trees, or shrubs beneficial to wildlife, or placing of riprap and other materials as appropriate, would be used to prevent and minimize the potential for erosion during construction of project facilities and during the period needed to reestablish permanent vegetative cover on disturbed sites. Sediment fences would be used where appropriate to limit wind and water erosion. Application of water or chemical suppressants, as approved by BLM, would be used in disturbed areas during construction to limit wind erosion.

Final erosion control and site restoration measures would be initiated as soon as practical after a particular area is no longer needed for construction, stockpiling, or access. Clearing schedules would be arranged to minimize exposure of soils.

Cuts and fills for access roads and work areas would be sloped to prevent erosion and to facilitate revegetation.

Where appropriate (i.e., adjacent to sensitive areas or resources), signs would be placed along access roads to discourage off-road vehicle use and Project personnel from driving into unauthorized adjacent areas.

Soil or rock stockpiles, excavated materials, or excess soil materials would not be placed near sensitive habitats, including perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral drainage channels, where they may erode into these habitats or be washed away by high water or storm runoff. Long-term soil stockpiles would be revegetated to prevent wind and water erosion.

Treading on areas not immediately involved in Project construction activities would be avoided to reduce potential wind erosion and fugitive dust generated during construction.

When excessive soil moisture conditions are present in a construction area, construction activities would be relocated or diverted to drier areas to avoid excessive surface rutting in those areas. If wet areas cannot be avoided, weight dispersing systems (i.e., wide-track or balloon tires) or materials to minimize damage to the substrate (i.e., geotextile cushions, pre-fabricated pads, etc.) would be utilized.

Transmission Line ROW: Where existing soil and terrain conditions allow, the upper 12 to 18 inches of soil would be removed from structure foundation excavation areas and stockpiled for later use in site restoration.

Surface elevations would be returned to approximate pre-Project conditions as practicable.

Where roads that service transmission facilities cross fences, a wire gate would be installed to standard BLM specifications. The gates would be built prior to the construction activities and would be kept closed except during active construction at the fence site.

If construction activities cause damage to existing range improvements (such as pipelines, fences, troughs, etc.), they would be fixed using material that meets or exceeds the quality of the existing improvement. If damage occurs, the BLM and livestock operator would be notified immediately. If damage occurs during active livestock grazing, repairs would be made within 24 hours.

To promote public safety in proximity to transmission line facilities within areas of frequent visitation by the public, fence panels would be installed at the base of guy wires on transmission line structures, and the first 10 feet of guy wires would be marked with safety reflectors, high-visibility tape or plastic, or a similar material to make them highly visible to the public.
Access and Transportation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseTo mitigate the effect of the proximity of the transmission line to the Thunder Ridge Airpark, the transmission lines and structures adjacent to the single airstrip would be marked on a strictly voluntary basis, as the FAA does not have jurisdiction or regulatory authority over this facility.
 
Invasive, Nonnative Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseBLM policy is to prevent the spread of invasive and noxious plants. Mitigation measures would be used at specific locations where resource sensitivity is high, such as where invasive and noxious weed infestations are existing within or near work areas. Several levels of prevention would be implemented such as minimizing disturbance to existing vegetation (leaving plants in place when possible) and reseeding disturbed areas with native plants and weed-free seed as certified by the ADA. All personnel working on site would complete a mandatory Environmental Awareness Program, which includes pertinent information on the identification of invasive and noxious plant species. APS would treat any invasive species encountered during the course of herbicide vegetation maintenance projects within the ROW where it is reasonable, prudent, and effective. All appropriate regulations required by the landowner or land-management agency would be implemented and adhered to for any herbicide treatment activities.
CloseA noxious and invasive weed survey would be completed prior to any earth disturbing activity including cross-country travel. Noxious or invasive weeds that may be located on the site would be managed according to methods tiered to the BLM’s Phoenix District Offices’ Weed Management Plans. Should chemical methods be approved, the lessee must submit a Pesticide Use Proposal to the Authorized Officer 60 days prior to the planned application date. A Pesticide Application Report must be submitted to the Authorized Officer by the end of each fiscal year following chemical application.

To eliminate the introduction of noxious and invasive weed seeds, roots, or rhizomes; all straw, hay, straw/hay, or other organic products used for reclamation or stabilization activities would be certified free of plant species listed on the Arizona noxious weed list or specifically identified by the BLM Phoenix District Office.

To eliminate the introduction of noxious and invasive weed seeds, roots, or rhizomes; all source sites such as borrow pits, fill sources, or gravel pits used to supply inorganic materials used for construction, maintenance, or reclamation would be inspected and found to be free of plant species listed on the Arizona noxious weed list or specifically identified by the BLM Phoenix District Office. Inspections would be conducted by a BLM-approved weed scientist or qualified biologist.

To eliminate the transport of vehicle-borne noxious and invasive weed seeds, roots, or rhizomes, all vehicles and heavy equipment used for the completion, maintenance, inspection, or monitoring of ground disturbing activities would be cleaned of soil and debris capable of transporting weed propagules prior to entering or leaving the work site or project area in a manner acceptable to the BLM Phoenix District Office Weed Coordinator or designated contact person.

Prior to entry of vehicles and equipment to a Project area, areas of concern would be identified, flagged, and recorded in the field by a weed scientist or qualified biologist in a manner acceptable to the BLM Phoenix District Office Weed Coordinator or designated contact person.

Prior to construction commencement, APS would ensure that all contractors, operators, or permit holders would receive information and training regarding noxious and invasive weed management and identification to all personnel who would be affiliated with the implementation and maintenance phases of the project. The importance of preventing the spread of weeds to uninfested areas and the importance of controlling existing populations of weeds would be explained.

To eliminate the transport of soil-borne noxious and invasive weed seeds, roots, or rhizomes, infested soils or materials would not be moved and redistributed on weed-free or relatively weed-free areas. In areas where infestations are identified or noted and infested soils, rock, or overburden must be moved, these materials would be salvaged and stockpiled adjacent to the area from which they were stripped. Appropriate measures would be taken to minimize wind and water erosion of these stockpiles. During reclamation, the materials would be returned to the area from which they were stripped.

Prior to Project approval, a site-specific noxious and invasive weed survey would occur and a weed risk assessment would be completed and provided to the BLM. Monitoring would be conducted for a period no shorter than the life of the permit or until bond release and monitoring reports would be provided to the BLM. If the spread of noxious and invasive weeds is noted on Project areas, appropriated weed control procedures would be determined in consultation with BLM personnel and would be in compliance with the appropriate BLM Handbook sections and applicable laws and regulations. All weed control efforts on BLM-managed public lands would be in compliance with BLM Handbook H-9011, H-9011-1 Chemical Pest Control, H-9014 Use of Biological Control Agents of Pests on Public Lands, and H-9015 Integrated Pest Management. A pesticide Application Report must be submitted to the Authorized Officer by the end of the fiscal year following any chemical application.

Removal and disturbance of vegetation would be kept to a minimum through construction site management (e.g. using previously disturbed areas and existing easements, limiting equipment/materials storage and staging area sites, etc.).

Mixing of herbicides and rinsing of herbicide containers and spray equipment would be conducted only in areas that are a safe distance from environmentally sensitive areas and points of entry to bodies of water (storm drains, irrigation ditches, streams, lakes, or wells).

When managing weeds in areas of special status species, impacts of the treatment on such species would be carefully considered. Wherever possible, hand spraying of herbicides would be the preferred method in compliance with an approved Integrated Weed Management Plan and associated environmental impact analyses.
Vegetation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAreas of temporary disturbance, identified in Table 2.4-4, would be reclaimed according to BLM stipulations in the ROW grant and the final reclamation plan to meet the RMP reclamation goal to, “Maintain, restore or enhance the diversity, distribution, and viability of populations of native plants, and maintain, restore, or enhance overall ecosystem health.” (BLM 2010a).

The following additional measures provide general guidelines as to what measures may be used to decrease vegetation resource impacts: • In construction areas where recontouring is not required, vegetation would be left in place wherever possible, to avoid excessive root damage and allow for resprouting. • In construction areas (e.g., structure sites, spur roads from existing access roads) where recontouring is required, surface restoration would occur in accordance with the land management agency permitting requirements. The method of restoration would typically consist of returning disturbed areas to their natural contour (to the extent practical), reseeding or revegetating with native plants (if required), installing cross drains for erosion control, placing water bars in the road, and filling ditches. Seed must be tested and certified to contain no noxious weeds in the mix by the State of Arizona Agricultural Department. Seed viability also must be tested at a certified laboratory approved by the authorized officer. • All construction and maintenance activities would be conducted in a manner that would minimize disturbance to vegetation. In addition, all existing roads would be left in a condition equal to or better than their condition prior to the construction of the transmission line, as defined by the land management agency. • Species protected by the Arizona Native Plant Law would be relocated and transplanted in accordance with the law. A Vegetation Management Plan, approved by the BLM, would be included in the final POD. As dictated by the Arizona Native Plant Law, actions would include: 1) removal and stockpiling for replanting on site or 2) removal and transplanting out of surface disturbance areas. All personnel working on site would complete a mandatory Environmental Awareness Program, which includes pertinent information on the identification of Arizona Native Plant Law-protected plants.

• In designated areas, structures would be placed or rerouted so as to avoid sensitive features such as, but not limited to, riparian areas, or to allow conductors to clearly span the features, within limits of standard tower design.
CloseReclamation:

Reclamation would normally be accomplished with native species, if available. These Reclamation would be representative of the indigenous species present in the adjacent habitat. Rationale for potential planting with selected non-natives would be documented. Possible exceptions could include use of non-natives for a temporary cover crop to out-compete weeds.

Seeding would occur during November through March to ensure a greater chance of success.

Reclamation release criteria are as follows: • Achieve an agreed upon percentage of the baseline perennial plant cover of selected comparison areas, normally like adjacent habitat. If the adjacent habitat is severely disturbed, a range site description may be used as a cover standard. Cover is normally crown cover as estimated by the point intercept method. Selected cover can be determined using a method as described in Sampling Vegetation Attributes, Interagency Technical Reference (BLM 1996). The reclamation plan for the project area would identify the site-specific release criteria and associated statistical methods in the reclamation plan or permit. • No noxious and invasive weeds would be allowed on the sites for reclamation release. Control of noxious and invasive weeds would follow an integrated pest management plan approved by the authorizing officer. A list of Arizona noxious weeds would be provided by the Authorized Officer. Where local conditions allow, up to the first 12 to 18 inches of growth medium would be salvaged, were soil and terrain conditions allow, and stockpiled prior to disturbance for all areas to be reclaimed after construction. All disturbance areas to be reclaimed would be recontoured to blend as nearly as possible with the natural topography prior to revegetation. All compacted portions of the disturbance would be ripped to a depth of 12 inches unless solid rock is encountered. Adequate, fine-grain seedbed would be established to provide good seed to soil contact. Large blocks and clumps of soil with deep pockets would be avoided. This normally requires some type of tillage procedure after ripping.

All portions of access roads not needed for other uses as determined by the Authorized Officer would be reclaimed as soon as possible.

Mulching of the seedbed following seeding may be required under certain conditions, such as severe erosion.

Respread weed-free vegetation removed from the right-of-way to provide protection, nutrient recycling, and seed source.

The success of the vegetative growth on a reclaimed site may be evaluated for release no sooner than during the third growing season after earthwork and planting have been completed. Where it has been determined that revegetation success criteria have not been met, the agencies and the operator would meet to decide on the best course of actions necessary to meet the reclamation goal.

Where applicable, the following agencies would be consulted to determine the recommended plant species composition, seeding rates, and planting dates: • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service • U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service • U.S. Bureau of Land Management • Arizona Game and Fish Department

Grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees appropriate for site conditions and surrounding vegetation would be included on the BLM-approved plant and seed mix list. Species chosen for a site would be matched for site drainage, climate, shading, resistance to erosion, soil type, slope, aspect, and vegetation management goals. Upland revegetation shall match the plant list to the site’s soil type, topographic position, elevation, and surrounding natural communities.

Construction areas, including storage yards, would be free of waste material and trash accumulations, unless stored in appropriate containers.

All unused materials and solid waste would be removed from construction and storage sites during the final phase of work. Unused material may be sold or relocated to other work sites other than the Project. Solid waste would be placed in existing permitted solid waste management facilities.

Upon completion of construction, any land disturbed would be graded to provide proper drainage and blend with the natural contour of the land. Following grading and where appropriate, it would be revegetated using plants native to the area, suitable for the site conditions, and beneficial to wildlife.

Following completion of construction, all temporary staging areas and construction yards, would be removed from the site.

All construction roads not needed for ongoing operations and maintenance activities would be restored to the original contour, and made to discourage vehicular traffic when no longer needed for construction. Culverts would be removed as appropriate, road escarpments would be contoured and vegetated, and all road surfaces would be scarified to establish conditions appropriate for reseeding, drainage, and erosion prevention.
Special Status Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

ClosePlants:

Pre-construction surveys would be performed in the ROW corridor and within all areas of potential new surface disturbance (i.e. access roads, laydown areas, etc.). Special status plants would be identified and marked. Designated surveys for Hohokam agave (Agave murpheyi) would be conducted in the layout/project planning phase and then again immediately prior (within a few days) to construction.

Special status plants would be protected to the extent that APS would conduct all activities in compliance with the Arizona Native Plant Law, which would include minimizing the destruction of native plants and in some cases relocating/transplanting individuals on or off-site. A Vegetation Management Plan would be prepared, included in the final POD, and approved by the BLM prior to initiating construction. APS would also work within the Arizona Native Plant Law in restoration and reseeding of construction-disturbed areas.

Wildlife: All ground-clearing/disturbance activities that could affect special status species or habitat would be monitored. A qualified biologist would be retained to conduct pre-construction activities to minimize or prevent impacts to Sonoran desert tortoises and active migratory bird nests. Monitors would be present where active migratory bird nests were located during pre-construction surveys to assure buffer distances are maintained. All personnel working on site would complete a mandatory Environmental Awareness Program, which includes pertinent information on biological resource identification of special status species or species of concern. APS’s environmental contractor, approved by the BLM, would provide this training. All training would be conducted by experienced and qualified biologists approved by the BLM. The training, at a minimum, would cover identification of tortoises, how to move them according to AGFD guidelines, the protocols for waiting for clearances prior to construction, and when a monitor needs to be present. Migratory birds and active nests would be covered with a briefing on the criminal penalties of take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as well as the protocols for waiting for clearances prior to construction and the need to comply with timing stipulations and/or buffers around active migratory bird nests.

Holes or pits created by construction would be covered when not in use and would be checked for animals prior to use, in order to minimize trapping or burying of wildlife. Raptor electrocutions would be minimized by constructing the transmission line according to raptor-safe design standards, which meet or exceed recommendations from the APLIC (2006). Avian collisions with the power line would be minimized by following recommendations for bird diverters in APLIC (2012) in areas specifically identified as having high use.

Gates would be installed on permanent ROW access roads, as required by the land owner or land managing agency, or if APS finds it to be warranted, to restrict unauthorized vehicular access to the ROW. This would prevent unnecessary traffic along access roads that would disrupt wildlife behavior or cause direct impacts (collisions) to wildlife.

Sonoran Desert Tortoise: BLM objectives regarding mitigation for desert tortoises on construction projects are to 1) avoid, minimize, or eliminate loss or degradation of habitat and 2) avoid or minimize take of tortoises. On BLM-administered land, the following mitigation measures would be implemented along with compensation, following the Final Report on Compensation for the Desert Tortoise (DTCT 1991), for any desert tortoises or desert tortoise habitat that is disturbed on BLM lands, as clarified in BLM Instructional Memorandum No. AZ-2012-031.

The first focus of the desert tortoise mitigation policy is on avoiding and minimizing impacts to tortoises and their habitat. If an action with on-site mitigation measures would result in residual impacts, then compensation would be required. Category II habitats would be compensated for at a rate ranging from 2:1 to 5:1. Category III habitats would be compensated for at a rate of 1:1. Acquiring habitat is the primary means of compensation for impacts to tortoise habitat; however, compensation funds can also be used for other tortoise conservation efforts. Purchasing private lands with tortoise habitat would bring these lands into federal protection, making the habitat more secure. Further, reclamation of temporarily disturbed areas would also be conducted and would assist with restoring impacted habitat.

Compensation for habitat loss or take on BLM-administered land would involve either the direct purchase of privately-owned desert tortoise habitat for transfer to conservation management, or the direct payment of funds to an appropriate land management agency/entity for purchase of tortoise habitat or other tortoise management actions (DTCT 1991). However, acquiring tortoise habitat is the primary means of compensating for residual impacts (BLM IM AZ-2012-031).

To minimize the potential for desert tortoise mortality, prior to and during ground-clearing construction activities in desert tortoise habitat on BLM land, a desert tortoise monitor would survey the ROW. The monitor would meet qualifications for GS-0486 series Wildlife Biologist according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (opm.gov) and have the necessary experience and expertise required by the BLM. The survey area would include the ROW plus at least a 50-foot buffer either side of the ROW. Construction monitors would be present in areas where tortoises or fresh tortoise sign was observed during the pre-construction surveys. Any potential tortoise shelter sites in harm’s way would be cleared for tortoises and then rendered unusable (i.e., filled in or blocked with rocks or other native materials). If tortoises are encountered during the pre-construction phase or during construction, APS would follow BLM’s Strategy for Desert Tortoise Habitat Management on Public Lands in Arizona and any appropriate guidance issued by AGFD and USFWS. Preconstruction and construction crews would look out for and avoid tortoises. If tortoises must be moved to avoid harming them, they would be moved according to AGFD, “Guidelines for Handling Sonoran Desert Tortoises” (2007). As part of the Environmental Awareness Program, desert tortoise training would be provided to all construction personnel who would be present before and during the ground-clearing activities and any fencing of work areas within desert tortoise habitat. Training would cover identification of tortoises, how to move them according to AGFD guidelines, the protocols for waiting for clearances prior to construction, and when/if a monitor needs to be present. Desert tortoise training would also include general procedures on how to reduce tortoise mortality, such as checking stationary vehicles for tortoises, and recommendations on how to avoid disturbing tortoises that are detected. BLM would have in place any applicable and relevant enforcement procedures for these guidelines, similar to other construction projects on BLM land.

To minimize the potential for vehicle collisions with desert tortoises, vehicle speeds would not exceed 15 mph on all dirt access roads in desert tortoise habitat. Speed limit signs would be installed on all centerline access roads in desert tortoise habitat, and caution signs indicating the potential presence of Sonoran desert tortoises would be posted at the beginning of any such access road in desert tortoise habitat.
 
Visual Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseMicrositing:

Within the linear KOP, the transmission line would be designed to minimize visual impacts from SR 74. Monopole structures would be used as they are less visually disturbing in foreground/middle ground situations. APS worked with the BLM to microsite a sampling of individual structures to understand how visual impacts from the portion of the Project located on BLM-managed public lands would be minimized. Structures were first proposed to be located within the ACC-certificated route as far north as possible from SR 74. Individual structures would be microsited, reducing visual contrast by taking greater advantage of the terrain – to provide either screening or backdropping of the transmission line structures. Minor shifts would be made in the route alignment and potential structure locations within the proposed ROW. Along the approximately 6-mile segment north of SR 74 and within the proposed ROW, the alignment would be shifted from 2 to 195 feet (when comparing centerline to centerline). The structures would be shifted away from ridgelines and points of higher elevation to minimize the amount of the structures that would be visible from SR 74. In certain locations, the lower elevation would reduce sky-lining and provide additional back-dropping or screening opportunities depending on the angle of view. At locations where the transmission line would cross SR 74, individual structures on either side of the highway would be shifted to maximize the distance between the structures and the highway. Simulations comparing previous structure locations with microsited locations would be used to determine effectiveness of micrositing efforts and make adjustments where possible. As a result, micrositing would reduce impacts to views of travelers on SR 74 and may reduce major impacts to some specific viewpoints within the linear KOP to less than major levels; however, it would not change the overall impact analysis or reduce the estimated area of visual dominance on BLM-managed public lands.

Structure Type: Simulations of the proposed transmission line were prepared replacing monopoles with lattice structures as viewed from selected KOPs from SR 74 within the linear KOP where the transmission line would be located on BLM-managed public lands north of SR 74. Because of the relative proximity of the transmission line to SR 74, particularly where the transmission line would cross SR 74, it was determined that the lattice structures were more visually disruptive than the monopole structures. Therefore, to minimize visual impacts along the linear KOP, the BLM would require the use of monopoles on BLM-managed public lands.

The southern portion of the SRMA and RMZ are most greatly impacted by the number of structures visible to the west of the linear KOP, where the landscape flattens out, distant views are common; and the landscape becomes less scenic and complex, and therefore has less capacity to absorb the transmission line (Figures 4.14-6, 4.14-21, and 4.14-25). In general, the remainder of the route beginning where the route diverges from SR 74 could be constructed using lattice structures south of the highway on private and State Trust lands. Because the viewers in the southern portion of the SRMA and RMZ would be superior to the transmission line, the transmission line would be against a backdrop of lands rather than skylined, and the views would be distant, the use of lattice structures would minimize visual impacts within the SRMA and RMZ, as well as any other distant views from the south, because the viewer would be looking through the lattice structure. However, monopoles would be used when the transmission line would be in the foreground/middle ground of sensitive viewers, such as existing residences and communities. Where the transmission line would be in proximity to another existing line, the same type of support structure (monopole, lattice, or H-frame) would be used as is used in the existing transmission line, to the extent possible, in order to maintain architectural consistency.

Where the transmission line would cross lands other than BLM-managed public lands, the above are recommendations to minimize visual impacts from the transmission line; the final decision regarding design and infrastructure type would be between the appropriate land-managing agency and APS.

Color:

The color of the structures or lattice towers affects how well the structure blends in the environment. Photographs of boards treated with the BLM’s standard environmental colors were taken from KOPs representing typical topography and vegetation within the Project Area. The photographs were then analyzed to identify which standard environmental color would minimize visual impacts. While no one color works best in all situations and lighting conditions, the shadow gray and shale green colors blended best under front lit conditions and had low levels of contrast in back lit situations. A complete analysis of the color selection process is available in the Project Record. Surface treatment options for monopole structures are very limited and do not achieve much color variation. The colors available would be shades of gray ranging to almost black; no surface treatments available would resemble shale green. Among the surface treatments available for the monopole structures, the BLM would require a treatment that would be non-reflective and most closely resemble shadow gray.
CloseThe transmission structures would be finished with flat, Shadow Gray from the BLM color chart.

Non-specular conductors and non-reflective and non-refractive insulators would be used to reduce conductor and insulator visibility.

In areas of frequent visitation by the public, the base of guy-wires on transmission structures would have fence panels, and the first 10 feet of guy wires would be marked with safety reflectors, high-visibility tape or plastic, or a similar material to make them highly visible to the public.

During the implementation of vegetation treatments, irregular margins would be created around treatment areas to better maintain the existing scenic character of the landscape.
Wildlife Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
CloseThe Project would adhere to an integrated pest management plan prepared for the Project (see POD).
Migratory Birds
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

ClosePre-construction surveys would be implemented during the migratory bird nesting season to locate raptor and other migratory bird nests. Surveys would be conducted in the layout/project planning phase so that sensitive areas (such areas with a high density of tortoises) can be identified and avoided if possible; and then again immediately prior (within a few days) to construction. The survey area would be determined by the timing of the survey (inside or outside the migratory season) and the buffer requirements. Survey areas for raptors would be determined by buffer requirements in Guidelines for Raptor Conservation in the Western United States (USFWS 2008a). If an active nest is found, a timing or spatial buffer would be implemented following BLM and USFWS guidelines. Each buffer would be implemented on a case-by-case basis, considering, for example, the duration of construction activities in the area and topographical barriers (if any) between the active nest and construction activities. The decision maker regarding buffers would be the Field Manager, with advice from the BLM Wildlife Biologist.
CloseCurrent guidelines and methodologies (APLIC 2012, 2006) would be used in the design of the proposed transmission facilities to minimize raptor and other bird electrocution and collision potential.