Sunzia Southwest

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: Sunzia Southwest
EIS

SunZia Southwest Transmission Project

Proposed Action

The Applicant’s objectives are to increase transfer capability, thereby relieving existing transmission congestion and allowing additional electricity to be generated and transported to western power markets and load centers in the Desert Southwest. The Project would be colocated with areas of undeveloped renewable resource potential to provide a path for energy delivery, and would provide power to help meet growing demand in the western United States and enhance domestic energy security. The Applicant group comprises load-serving utilities and independent developers. The Project would assist load-serving utilities in meeting the requirements to address energy delivery obligations to meet state renewable portfolio standards; while the independent developers’ purpose for the Project is to create a market opportunity to satisfy transmission needs that have been identified at local, regional, and national levels.

The proposed Project would include two new, single-circuit 500 kV transmission lines located within a right-of-way up to 1,000 feet wide. At least one of the two 500 kV transmission lines would be constructed and operated as an alternating current (AC) facility; the other transmission line could be either an AC or direct current (DC) facility. Depending on the configuration, the Project could provide up to 4,500 megawatts (MW) of additional transfer capability on the regional electrical grid. Based on a typical span of 1,400 feet, three to four transmission line structures per mile would be required for each of the two lines, with typical structure heights of 135 feet that range between 100 and 175 feet.

The transmission line route would originate at a new substation (SunZia East) in Lincoln County, New Mexico, and terminate at the Pinal Central Substation in Pinal County, Arizona. The Project would be located within Lincoln, Socorro, Sierra, Luna, Grant, Hidalgo, and/or Torrance counties in New Mexico; and Graham, Greenlee, Cochise, Pinal, and/or Pima counties in Arizona. The BLM preferred alternative is approximately 515 miles long, and alternative routes range between 460 and 542 miles in length.

The proposed Project would include the construction of the SunZia East 500 kV Substation at the Project’s eastern terminus in Lincoln County, and up to three ntermediate substations on private or state lands: -Midpoint Substation, located in Luna County, New Mexico -Lordsburg Substation, located in Hidalgo County, New Mexico -Willow-500 kV Substation, located in Graham County, Arizona  The Pinal Central Substation, at the Project’s western terminus, has already received its regulatory permits and approvals and will be constructed by Salt River Project and other entities.


Data Completion Notes

A complete record of all documents completed for Project is located at: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/more/lands_realty/sunzia_southwest_transmission.html

Documents

EA/EIS Report:



 

<metadesc> : NEPA document related to geothermal resource areas </metadesc>

Resource Analysis

Resource Not
Present
Present,
Not
Affected
Present,
Potentially
Affected
Not
Indicated
Comment Applicant
Proposed
Mitigation
Agency
Imposed
Mitigation
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Access/Transportation Resources:
  • All vehicle movement outside the right-of-way would typically be restricted to designated access, contractor acquired access, or public roads.
  • The boundary of construction activities would typically be predetermined, with activity restricted to and confined within those limits. No paint or permanent discoloring agents would be applied to rocks or vegetation to indicate survey or construction activity limits.
  • The alignment of any new access roads or overland route would follow the designated area’s landform contours where possible, provided that such alignment does not additionally impact resource values. This would minimize ground disturbance and/or reduce scarring (visual contrast).
  • In construction areas where grading is not required, vegetation would be left in place wherever possible, and original contour would be maintained to avoid excessive root damage and allow for regrowth. All existing roads would be left in a condition equal to or better than their condition prior to the construction of the transmission lines, as determined by the appropriate land-managing agency.
  • To limit new disturbance, existing access roads in the Project area would be used to the extent practicable, provided that doing so does not additionally impact resource values.
  • In construction areas (e.g., marshalling yards, structure sites, spur roads from existing access roads) where grading is required, surface restoration would be implemented as required by the landowner or BLM Authorized Officer. The method of restoration would normally consist of returning disturbed areas back to their natural contour, reseeding (where required), cross drains installed for erosion control, placing water bars in the road, and filling ditches.
  • Fences and gates would be repaired or replaced to their original, predisturbed condition, as required by the landowner or the BLM Authorized Officer if they are damaged or destroyed by construction activities. New temporary and/or permanent gates would be installed only with the permission of the landowner or the BLM. Temporary gates not required for post-construction access control (see SE 6) would be removed following construction completion, and the area restored in accordance with the POD (see ST 1).
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Access/Transportation Resources:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Air Quality:
  • All requirements of those entities having jurisdiction over air quality matters would be adhered to, any necessary dust control plans would be developed, and permits for construction activities would be obtained. Open burning of construction trash would not be allowed unless permitted by appropriate authorities.
 
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Cultural Resources:
  • Prior to construction, a detailed POD will be developed to further describe Project features, selective mitigation, and procedures. At a minimum, the POD will address Project design, construction and operation considerations, biological considerations (including noxious weed management), cultural resources, paleontological considerations, hazardous materials management, and reclamation considerations.
  • Prior to construction, all supervisory construction personnel would be instructed on the protection of cultural and ecological resources. The training program outlined in the HPTP would be implemented. To assist in this effort, the construction CIC or a resource specialist would address: (a) federal and state laws regarding antiquities and plants and wildlife, including collection and removal; (b) the importance of these resources and the purpose and necessity of protecting them.
  • Cultural resources would continue to be considered during post-EIS phases of Project implementation, in accordance with a PA executed for the Project. This would involve efforts such as intensive surveys, documentary and archival research, and/or visual modeling to inventory and evaluate potential impacts to historic properties within the areas of potential effect, as identified in the PA (direct and indirect). This would also require preparation and approval of a cultural resource inventory report, and the preparation and implementation of an approved HPTP to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects, as appropriate to each historic property.
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Cultural Resources:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • To minimize disturbance to sensitive habitats or resources, access roads required for operations purposes would be gated or otherwise blocked from public access. Fences would meet BLM or other applicable agency/owner specifications.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
  • Standard tower design would be modified to correspond with spacing of existing transmission line structures where feasible, and within limits of standard tower design. The typical span would be modified to correspond with existing structures, but not necessarily at every location. This would reduce visual contrast and/or potential operational conflicts.
  • At highway, canyon, and trail crossings, structures are to be placed at the maximum distance practicable from the crossing to reduce visual impacts.
  • To reduce visual contrast, mineral or asphalt emulsions (e.g., PermeonTM or approved equivalent) would be applied in rocky areas where newly exposed rock color would create strong landscape contrasts.
  • Helicopter placement of structures may be used to reduce ground disturbance (e.g., to minimize soil erosion, vegetation loss, and visual impacts) caused by permanent access road construction.
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.

 

 
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Geological and Mineral:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • In addition to standard reseeding and re-contouring practices (see ST 8), a detailed Project reclamation plan would be developed to mitigate site-specific resource impacts.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
  • Helicopter placement of structures may be used to reduce ground disturbance (e.g., to minimize soil erosion, vegetation loss, and visual impacts) caused by permanent access road construction.
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Invasive, Nonnative Species:
  • Prior to construction, a detailed POD will be developed to further describe Project features, selective mitigation, and procedures. At a minimum, the POD will address Project design, construction and operation considerations, biological considerations (including noxious weed management), cultural resources, paleontological considerations, hazardous materials management, and reclamation considerations.
  • Preconstruction native plant inventories and surveys for noxious weed species as stipulated by the appropriate land administering agency would also be conducted once transmission line centerline, access roads, and tower sites have been located.
 
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.

 

 
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Land Use:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • In addition to standard reseeding and re-contouring practices (see ST 8), a detailed Project reclamation plan would be developed to mitigate site-specific resource impacts.
  • To minimize disturbance to sensitive habitats or resources, access roads required for operations purposes would be gated or otherwise blocked from public access. Fences would meet BLM or other applicable agency/owner specifications.
  • Modified tower design or alternate tower type would be used to minimize ground disturbance, operational conflicts, visual contrast, and/or avian conflicts.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
  • Standard tower design would be modified to correspond with spacing of existing transmission line structures where feasible, and within limits of standard tower design. The typical span would be modified to correspond with existing structures, but not necessarily at every location. This would reduce visual contrast and/or potential operational conflicts.
  • At highway, canyon, and trail crossings, structures are to be placed at the maximum distance practicable from the crossing to reduce visual impacts.
  • Helicopter placement of structures may be used to reduce ground disturbance (e.g., to minimize soil erosion, vegetation loss, and visual impacts) caused by permanent access road construction.
  • To minimize disturbance to riparian vegetation and woodlands, and to reduce visual contrast, clearing of trees in and adjacent to the right-of-way would be minimized to the extent practicable to satisfy conductor-clearance requirements (NESC and up to 10 years of timber growth). Trees and other vegetation would be removed selectively (e.g., edge feathering) to blend the edge of the right-of-way into adjacent vegetation patterns, as practicable and appropriate.
  • To reduce ground disturbance and visual contrast, the separation between the transmission lines and existing utilities, roads, or railroads would be minimized to the extent practicable.
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Migratory Birds:
  • Preconstruction surveys for species listed under the ESA or specified by the appropriate land management agency as sensitive or of concern would be conducted in areas of known occurrence or suitable habitat. Timing of the surveys would be determined by species, coordinated with agency wildlife biologists, and completed prior to construction. Monitoring of construction activities would be required in some areas to ensure that effects to these species are avoided during construction. If Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle nests are identified during preconstruction surveys, seasonal restrictions on construction within a specified buffer would be implemented in coordination with the USFWS and/or species survey protocols, as appropriate, and comply with the BGEPA. Preconstruction nesting-season surveys for migratory birds, and surveys for Burrowing Owls in suitable habitat, would be conducted as needed to comply with the MBTA.
 
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Paleontological Resources:
  • Prior to construction, a detailed POD will be developed to further describe Project features, selective mitigation, and procedures. At a minimum, the POD will address Project design, construction and operation considerations, biological considerations (including noxious weed management), cultural resources, paleontological considerations, hazardous materials management, and reclamation considerations.
  • In consultation with appropriate land-management agencies, specific mitigation measures for paleontological resources would be developed and implemented to mitigate any identified adverse impacts. These measures would include: preparation of a PRMP; paleontological surveys; personnel education; monitoring ground disturbance for fossils; curation of fossils; and deposition of fossils in a paleontological repository.
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Paleontological Resources:
  • Helicopter placement of structures may be used to reduce ground disturbance (e.g., to minimize soil erosion, vegetation loss, and visual impacts) caused by permanent access road construction.
Prime or Unique Farmlands
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Prime or Unique Farmlands:
  • On agricultural land, right-of-way would be aligned, in so far as practicable, to reduce the impact to farm operations and agricultural production.
 
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Public Health and Safety:
  • Construction holes left open overnight would be appropriately fenced or covered to prevent damage to wildlife or livestock.
  • Structures and/or groundwire would be marked with high-visibility devices where required by government agencies (e.g.,FAA).
  • Project Owners would respond to complaints of line-generated radio or television interference by investigating the complaints and implementing appropriate mitigation measures. The transmission line would be evaluated on a regular basis so that damaged insulators or other line materials that could cause interference are repaired or replaced.
  • Project Owners would apply necessary mitigation to eliminate problems of induced currents and voltages onto conductive objects sharing right-of-way, to the mutual satisfaction of the parties involved.
  • Transmission line materials would be designed and tested to minimize corona. Bundle configuration and larger diameter conductors would be used to limit the audible noise, radio interference, and television interference due to corona. Tension would be maintained on all insulator assemblies to ensure positive contact between insulators, avoiding sparking. Caution would be exercised during construction and operations to avoid scratching or nicking the conductor surface, which may provide points for corona to occur.
 
Range 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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Range Resources:
  • Watering facilities (e.g., tanks, developed springs, water lines, wells, etc.) would be repaired or replaced if they are damaged or destroyed by construction activities to their predisturbed condition, as required by the landowner or land management agency. Temporary watering facilities would be provided for wildlife and livestock until permanent repair or replacement is complete.
 
Threatened and Endangered 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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Threatened and Endangered Species:
  • Preconstruction surveys for species listed under the ESA or specified by the appropriate land management agency as sensitive or of concern would be conducted in areas of known occurrence or suitable habitat. Timing of the surveys would be determined by species, coordinated with agency wildlife biologists, and completed prior to construction. Monitoring of construction activities would be required in some areas to ensure that effects to these species are avoided during construction. If Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle nests are identified during preconstruction surveys, seasonal restrictions on construction within a specified buffer would be implemented in coordination with the USFWS and/or species survey protocols, as appropriate, and comply with the BGEPA. Preconstruction nesting-season surveys for migratory birds, and surveys for Burrowing Owls in suitable habitat, would be conducted as
needed to comply with the MBTA.
 
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Vegetation:
  • Prior to construction, a detailed POD will be developed to further describe Project features, selective mitigation, and procedures. At a minimum, the POD will address Project design, construction and operation considerations, biological considerations (including noxious weed management), cultural resources, paleontological considerations, hazardous materials management, and reclamation considerations.
  • In construction areas where grading is not required, vegetation would be left in place wherever possible, and original contour would be maintained to avoid excessive root damage and allow for regrowth. All existing roads would be left in a condition equal to or better than their condition prior to the construction of the transmission lines, as determined by the appropriate land-managing agency.
  • Prior to construction, all supervisory construction personnel would be instructed on the protection of cultural and ecological resources. The training program outlined in the HPTP would be implemented. To assist in this effort, the construction CIC or a resource specialist would address: (a) federal and state laws regarding antiquities and plants and wildlife, including collection and removal; (b) the importance of these resources and the purpose and necessity of protecting them.
  • During operation of the transmission lines, the right-of-way would be maintained free of non-biodegradable debris. Slash would be left in place or disposed of in accordance with requirements of the land owner or management agency.
  • Preconstruction native plant inventories and surveys for noxious weed species as stipulated by the appropriate land administering agency would also be conducted once transmission line centerline, access roads, and tower sites have been located.
  • Paniculate agave plants (Agave palmeri, A. parryi, and A. chrysantha) and saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea) within the known range of the Lesser Long-nosed Bat or Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-owl would be avoided or salvaged for replanting within the right-of-way or suitable adjacent habitat. Only agaves not possessing flower stalks would be salvaged, and only saguaros of transplantable size (15 feet or less in height) would be salvaged.
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Vegetation:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • To minimize disturbance to sensitive habitats or resources, access roads required for operations purposes would be gated or otherwise blocked from public access. Fences would meet BLM or other applicable agency/owner specifications.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
  • Helicopter placement of structures may be used to reduce ground disturbance (e.g., to minimize soil erosion, vegetation loss, and visual impacts) caused by permanent access road construction.
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Visual Resources:
  • The alignment of any new access roads or overland route would follow the designated area’s landform contours where possible, provided that such alignment does not additionally impact resource values. This would minimize ground disturbance and/or reduce scarring (visual contrast).
  • Nonspecular conductors would be used, where specified by the BLM Authorized Officer, to reduce visual impacts.
  • “Dulled” metal or self-weathering finish structures would be used to reduce visual impacts, if specified by the BLM Authorized Officer.
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Visual Resources:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • In addition to standard reseeding and re-contouring practices (see ST 8), a detailed Project reclamation plan would be developed to mitigate site-specific resource impacts.
  • Modified tower design or alternate tower type would be used to minimize ground disturbance, operational conflicts, visual contrast, and/or avian conflicts.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
  • Standard tower design would be modified to correspond with spacing of existing transmission line structures where feasible, and within limits of standard tower design. The typical span would be modified to correspond with existing structures, but not necessarily at every location. This would reduce visual contrast and/or potential operational conflicts.
  • At highway, canyon, and trail crossings, structures are to be placed at the maximum distance practicable from the crossing to reduce visual impacts.
  • To reduce visual contrast, mineral or asphalt emulsions (e.g., PermeonTM or approved equivalent) would be applied in rocky areas where newly exposed rock color would create strong landscape contrasts.
  • Helicopter placement of structures may be used to reduce ground disturbance (e.g., to minimize soil erosion, vegetation loss, and visual impacts) caused by permanent access road construction.
  • To minimize disturbance to riparian vegetation and woodlands, and to reduce visual contrast, clearing of trees in and adjacent to the right-of-way would be minimized to the extent practicable to satisfy conductor-clearance requirements (NESC and up to 10 years of timber growth). Trees and other vegetation would be removed selectively (e.g., edge feathering) to blend the edge of the right-of-way into adjacent vegetation patterns, as practicable and appropriate.
  • To reduce ground disturbance and visual contrast, the separation between the transmission lines and existing utilities, roads, or railroads would be minimized to the extent practicable.
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Waste Hazardous or Solid:
  • Prior to construction, a detailed POD will be developed to further describe Project features, selective mitigation, and procedures. At a minimum, the POD will address Project design, construction and operation considerations, biological considerations (including noxious weed management), cultural resources, paleontological considerations, hazardous materials management, and reclamation considerations.
 
Water 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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Water Quality Surface and Ground:
  • Roads would be built as near as possible at right angles to the streams and washes. Culverts or temporary bridges would be installed where necessary. All construction and operations activities shall be conducted in a manner that would minimize disturbance to vegetation, drainage channels, and intermittent or perennial stream banks.
  • To the extent practicable, structures would be sited with a minimum distance of 200 feet from stream banks.
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Water Quality Surface and Ground:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • In addition to standard reseeding and re-contouring practices (see ST 8), a detailed Project reclamation plan would be developed to mitigate site-specific resource impacts.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
Wetlands and Riparian Zones
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Wetlands and Riparian Zones:
  • No widening or upgrading of existing access roads would be undertaken in the area of construction and operations, except for repairs necessary to make roads passable, where soils and vegetation are very sensitive to disturbance, or where existing archaeological sites are present.
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • In addition to standard reseeding and re-contouring practices (see ST 8), a detailed Project reclamation plan would be developed to mitigate site-specific resource impacts.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
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.

 

CloseStandard Mitigation Measures for Wildlife Resources:
  • Prior to construction, a detailed POD will be developed to further describe Project features, selective mitigation, and procedures. At a minimum, the POD will address Project design, construction and operation considerations, biological considerations (including noxious weed management), cultural resources, paleontological considerations, hazardous materials management, and reclamation considerations.
  • Prior to construction, all supervisory construction personnel would be instructed on the protection of cultural and ecological resources. The training program outlined in the HPTP would be implemented. To assist in this effort, the construction CIC or a resource specialist would address: (a) federal and state laws regarding antiquities and plants and wildlife, including collection and removal; (b) the importance of these resources and the purpose and necessity of protecting them.
  • Surveys for bat roosts would be conducted within ¼ mile of the Project right-of-way in areas that potentially contain caves, karst features, or mines. Occupied bat roosts would be avoided.
  • Electrical facility design would be in accordance with “Suggested Practices for Raptor Protection on Power Lines” (Avian Power Line Interaction Committee 2012).
CloseSelective Mitigation Measures for Wildlife Resources:
  • There would be no blading of new access roads in select areas of construction and operations. Existing crossings would be utilized at perennial streams, designated recreational trails, and irrigation channels. Off-road or cross-country access routes would be used for construction and maintenance in select areas. This would minimize ground disturbance impacts. These access routes must be flagged with an easily seen marker, and the route must be approved in advance of use by the BLM Authorized Officer or landowner.
  • Overland access (i.e., drive-and-crush or cut-and-clear) would be used to the greatest extent possible in areas where no grading would be needed to access work areas. Drive-and-crush is vehicular travel to access a site without significantly modifying the landscape. Vegetation is crushed, but not cropped. Soil is compacted, but no surface soil is removed. Cut-and clear is considered as brushing off (removal) of all vegetation to improve or provide suitable access for equipment. All vegetation is removed using aboveground cutting methods that leave the root crown intact.
  • All new access roads not required for maintenance would be permanently closed using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods appropriate to that area (e.g., stock piling and replacing topsoil, or rock replacement), with concurrence of the landowner or appropriate land management agency. This would limit new or improved accessibility into the area.
  • In addition to standard reseeding and re-contouring practices (see ST 8), a detailed Project reclamation plan would be developed to mitigate site-specific resource impacts.
  • To minimize disturbance to sensitive habitats or resources, access roads required for operations purposes would be gated or otherwise blocked from public access. Fences would meet BLM or other applicable agency/owner specifications.
  • Modified tower design or alternate tower type would be used to minimize ground disturbance, operational conflicts, visual contrast, and/or avian conflicts.
  • In designated areas, structures would be placed so as to avoid, and/or to allow conductors to span sensitive features such as riparian areas, water courses, roads, trails, bat roosts, and cultural sites within limits of standard tower design. This would minimize the amount of sensitive features disturbed and/or reduce visual contrast.
  • Standard tower design would be modified to correspond with spacing of existing transmission line structures where feasible, and within limits of standard tower design. The typical span would be modified to correspond with existing structures, but not necessarily at every location. This would reduce visual contrast and/or potential operational conflicts.
  • With the exception of emergency repair situations, right-of-way construction, restoration, maintenance, and termination activities in designated areas would be modified or discontinued during sensitive periods (e.g., nesting and breeding periods) for candidate, proposed threatened and endangered, or other sensitive animal

species. Sensitive periods, species affected, and areas of concern would be approved in advance of construction or operations by the BLM Authorized Officer.

  • Helicopter placement of structures may be used to reduce ground disturbance (e.g., to minimize soil erosion, vegetation loss, and visual impacts) caused by permanent access road construction.
  • To minimize disturbance to riparian vegetation and woodlands, and to reduce visual contrast, clearing of trees in and adjacent to the right-of-way would be minimized to the extent practicable to satisfy conductor-clearance requirements (NESC and up to 10 years of timber growth). Trees and other vegetation would be removed selectively (e.g., edge feathering) to blend the edge of the right-of-way into adjacent vegetation patterns, as practicable and appropriate.
  • To minimize bird collisions, bird diverters would be installed and maintained on groundwires, transmission lines, and/or guywires in areas of heavy bird use (i.e., Rio Grande and other riparian corridors). Groundwires would be replaced with one-inch diameter OPGWs to increase visibility where practicable and appropriate.
  • To reduce ground disturbance and visual contrast, the separation between the transmission lines and existing utilities, roads, or railroads would be minimized to the extent practicable.