West-wide Energy Corridors
NEPA Document Collection for: West-wide Energy Corridors
West-wide Energy Corridor Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
|General NEPA Document Info|
|BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Energy, Department of Defense|
|Consultant||Argonne National Laboratory|
|Time Frame (days)|
|NEPA Process Time||1204|
|BLM, Department of Energy|
Managing District Office
Managing Field Office
|EID Federal Register Date||2005/09/28|
|Scoping Initiated Date||2005/09/28|
|Preliminary EA-EIS Date||2007/11/16|
| Final EA-EIS Date
/Public Comment Period
|Decision Document Date||2009/01/14|
| Lead Agency
Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (the Act), Public Law 109-58 (H.R. 6), enacted August 8, 2005, directs the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the Interior (the Agencies) to designate under their respective authorities corridors on federal land in 11 Western States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution facilities (energy corridors).
Section 368 requires the Agencies to conduct any "environmental reviews" necessary to complete the designation of Section 368 energy corridors. The proposed designation of Section 368 energy corridors would not result in any direct impacts on the ground that may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
Nevertheless, the Agencies prepared a PEIS to conduct a detailed environmental analysis at the programmatic level and to integrate NEPA at the earliest possible time. The proposed designation of more than 6,000 miles of Section 368 energy corridors among the various Agency land use plans is a forward-looking response, mandated by statute, to address a national concern.
The evaluation of future project-related environmental impacts must await site-specific proposals and the required site-specific environmental review. A quantifiable and accurate evaluation of impacts at the local project level can be made only in response to an actual proposed energy project, when a proposal for an action with specific environmental consequences exists.
Conditions of Approval
Memorandum of Understanding: In fulfillment of the Settlement Agreement, BLM, USFS, and DOE executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on July 8, 2013. The MOU includes a Work Plan for the Regional Periodic Reviews as Attachment A. The Agencies also approved a Work Plan for the Corridor Study with the execution of the MOU.
The Memorandum of Understanding and Work Plan can be downloaded at: http://corridoreis.anl.gov/documents/docs/S368_Settlement_MOU_Signed_07-08-2013.pdf and http://corridoreis.anl.gov/documents/docs/S368_Settlement_Corridor_Study_Work_Plan_Approved_07-08-2013.pdf
West-wide Energy Corridor Litigation and Approved Settlement Agreement: The four principal components of the July 3, 2012 Settlement Agreement require the Agencies to: 1.Complete an interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) addressing periodic corridor reviews; 2.Update agency guidance; 3.Update agency training; and 4.Complete a corridor study. The complete settlement agreement can be viewed at: http://corridoreis.anl.gov/documents/docs/Settlement_Agreement_Package.pdf
BLM Record of Decision: The PEIS includes a programmatic evaluation of the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects that could occur if development takes place in the future within the corridors. For each category of project construction and operation impacts, the PEIS lists the types of environmental impacts that are likely to occur during project development. This ROD identifies and adopts Interagency Operating Procedures (IOPs) to ensure that future effects from project development are appropriately addressed. The IOPs identify practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm and include provisions for monitoring during future development within the corridors.
In addition to these mandatory IOPs, the PEIS identifies specific mitigation measures that could be used to minimize, avoid, or compensate for the specific effects of a proposed project. Federal land managers may require use of these measures (as well as others not identified in the PEIS) as appropriate and applicable depending on project design and corridor conditions. Additional measures to mitigate environmental effects may also be developed during subsequent NEPA analyses at the planning and project development stages.
The complete BLM ROD can be viewed at: http://corridoreis.anl.gov/documents/docs/Energy_Corridors_final_signed_ROD_1_14_2009.pdf
USFS Record of Decision: The PEIS includes a programmatic evaluation of the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects that are expected to occur if development takes place within the corridors. For each category of project construction and operation impacts, the PEIS lists measures that could be used to minimize, avoid, or compensate for potential effects of a proposed project. Federal land managers may require use of these measures (as well as others not identified in the PEIS) as appropriate and applicable for specific project designs and corridor conditions. Avoidance of environmental impact is recommended wherever practicable, with an emphasis on designing and siting projects appropriately. These mitigation measures are available to FS managers to use when appropriate, based on project-specific evaluation of environmental effects. Additional measures to mitigate environmental effects may also be developed during subsequent NEPA analyses at the planning and project development stages.
The complete USFS ROD can be viewed at: http://corridoreis.anl.gov/documents/docs/WWEC_FS_ROD.pdf
Data Completion Notes
A complete record of project related files can be found on the Project website at: http://corridoreis.anl.gov/index.cfm
- WWEC FPEIS Front Matter.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS ExecSum.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 1.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 2.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 3 Part1.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 3 Part2.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 3 Part3.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 3 Part4.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 5.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 4.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 6.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 7.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 8.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 9.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS Ch 10.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS FrontII.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App A.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App B.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App C.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App D.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App E.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App F.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App G.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App H.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App I.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App J.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App K.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App L.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App M.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App N.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App O.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App P.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App Q.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App R.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App S.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App T.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App U.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App V.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS App W.pdf
- WWEC FPEIS FrontIII.pdf
- Maps Part 1 WWEC Final PEIS LargeScale BMS.pdf
- Maps Part 2 WWEC Final PEIS State BMS.pdf
- Maps Part 3 WWEC Final PEIS LargeScale Visual.pdf
- Maps Part 4 WWEC Final PEIS State ROW.pdf
- Maps Part 5 WWEC Final PEIS State Plans.pdf
- Maps Part 6 WWEC Final PEIS Corridor Revisions.pdf
- WWEC Comments and Responses.pdf
- WWEC ROD BLM.pdf
- WWEC ROD USFS.pdf
- WWEC Settlement Agreement.pdf
- WWEC Settlement MOU.pdf
- WWEC Settlement Work Plan.pdf
|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.
• The applicant shall prepare an access road siting and management plan that incorporates relevant agency standards regarding road design, construction, maintenance, and decommissioning. Corridors will be closed to public vehicular access unless determined by the appropriate Federal land manager to be managed as part of an existing travel and transportation network in a land use plan or subsequent travel management plan(s).
• The applicant shall prepare a comprehensive transportation plan for the transport of transmission tower or pipeline components, main assembly cranes, and other large equipment. The plan should address specific sizes, weights, origin, destination, and unique equipment handling requirements. The plan should evaluate alternative transportation routes and should comply with state regulations and all necessary permitting requirements. The plan should address site access roads and eliminate hazards from truck traffic or adverse impacts to normal traffic flow. The plan should include measures such as informational signage and traffic controls that may be necessary during construction or maintenance of facilities.
• Applicants shall consult with local planning authorities regarding increased traffic during the construction phase, including an assessment of the number of vehicles per day, their size, and type. Specific issues of concern (e.g., location of school bus routes and stops) should be identified and addressed in the traffic management plan.• Additional access roads needed for decommissioning shall follow the paths of access roads established during construction to the greatest extent possible; all access roads not required for the continued operation and maintenance of other energy systems present in the corridor shall be removed and their footprints reclaimed and restored.
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.
Applicant-proposed mitigation measures listed are identified in the PFEIS as potential mitigation measures that could be adopted by project developers should a project be proposed within the West-wide Energy Corridors.
• Silt fences could be used along edges of streams and wetlands to prevent erosion and transport of disturbed soil, including spoil piles (TVA 2002). Silt fences are made of a filter fabric that has been entrenched and attached to supporting poles (and sometimes is backed by a plastic or wire mesh for support). Silt fences detain sediment-laden water and promote sedimentation behind the fence (CASQA 2003).
• Synthetic membranes or other material could be placed at the bottom of spoil piles to prevent or minimize infiltration of possibly contaminated water to underlying aquifers (PHMSA 2006).
• Removal of desirable vegetation should be minimized near residential and domestic water sources.
• Equipment or vehicles should not be washed in streams and wetlands, as doing so increases their sediment loads.
• When an herbicide/pesticide is used to control vegetation, the climate, soil type, slope, and vegetation type should be considered in determining the risk of herbicide/pesticide contamination (BLM 2006a).
• Herbicide/pesticide spray tanks should not be rinsed in or near water bodies, as doing so would contaminate the water (BLM 2006a).
• Herbicide/pesticide pellets should not be broadcast/distributed where there is danger of contaminating water supplies (BLM 2006a).
• Herbicide/pesticide treatment of areas with a high risk for groundwater contamination should be minimized (BLM 2006a).
• Appropriate herbicide-free/pesticide-free buffer zones should be used for herbicides not labeled for aquatic use, based on BLM/FS risk assessment guidance, which has minimum widths of 100 feet for aerial applications, 25 feet for applications dispersed by vehicle, and 10 feet for hand-spray applications (BLM 2006a).
• Federal regulations require that hazardous liquid pipelines be buried at least 30 inches below the surface in rural areas and deeper in more populated areas. In addition, pipelines must be buried deeper in some locations, such as at road crossings and crossings of bodies of water, and may be buried less deeply in other locations, such as when being installed in consolidated rock. The depth of burial of the line must be in accordance with federal pipeline safety regulations (PHMSA 2006).
• Cathodic protection systems should be installed along the pipeline to mitigate pipeline corrosion that could produce future environmental spills contaminating surface and/or ground water. Corrosion can be a major source of pipeline failure. The cathodic protection system imparts a current to the pipeline to offset natural soil and moisture corrosion potential. Cathodic protection systems should be inspected to ensure proper operating conditions for corrosion mitigation (TVA 2002).
• Entry and exit pits should be constructed to trap sediments from entering into streams at stream crossings. Prerequisites to excavating the entry and exit pits should include: – Locating the entry and exit pits far enough from stream banks and at a sufficient elevation to avoid inundation by storm flow stream levels and to minimize excessive migration of groundwater into the entry or exit pits.
– Isolating the excavation for the entry and exit pits from the surface water by using silt fencing to avoid sediment transport by stormwater.
– Isolating the spoils storage resulting from excavation of the entry and exit pits by using silt fencing to avoid sediment transport by stormwater.
• Sandbag trench plugs should be constructed uphill of each stream bank in the pipeline trench to prevent stormwater sediment transport from the upland trenches to the stream.
• Pipeline crossings of perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral stream channels should be constructed to withstand floods of extreme magnitude to prevent breakage and accidental contamination of runoff during highflow events. Surface crossings must be constructed high enough to remain above the highest possible stream flows at each crossing. At a minimum, pipelines must be located above the 100-year flood elevation, and preferably above the 500-year flood elevation. Subsurface crossings must be buried deep enough to remain undisturbed by scour throughout passage of peak flows (BLM 2005b).
• Vegetated buffers on slopes could be used to trap sediment and promote groundwater recharge. The buffer width that is needed to maintain water quality ranges from 15 to 100 feet. On gradual slopes, most of the filtering occurs within the first 30 feet. Steeper slopes require a greater width of vegetative buffer to provide water quality benefits (CASQA 2003).
• Riparian vegetation could be planted and used to stabilize stream banks by increasing the tensile strength in the soil.
• The presence of vegetation modifies the moisture condition of slopes (i.e., infiltration, evapotranspiration, interception) and increases bank stability. Similarly, hydroseeding of banks could be used to stabilize stream banks (CASQA 2003).
• Geotextiles and mats could be used to stabilize disturbed channels and stream banks (CASQA 2003).
• Earth dikes, swales, and lined ditches could be used to divert work-site runoff that would otherwise enter a disturbed stream (CASQA 2003).
• Fiber rolls could be installed along slopes above the high-water level to intercept runoff, reduce flow velocity, release the runoff as sheet flow, and remove sediment from the runoff (CASQA 2003).
• Certified weed-free straw bale barriers could be installed to control sediment in runoff water. Straw bale barriers should only be installed where sediment-laden water can pond, thus allowing the sediment to settle out (CASQA 2003).
• Check dams (i.e., small barriers constructed of rock, gravel bags, sandbags, fiber rolls, or reusable products) could be placed across a constructed swale or drainage ditch to reduce the velocity of flowing water, allowing sediment to settle and reducing erosion (CASQA 2003).
• Padding could be placed in a stream below the work site to trap some solids that are deposited in the stream during construction. After work is done, the padding is removed from the stream and placed on the bank to assist in revegetation (CASQA 2003).
• Clean, washed gravel could be used in construction activities to reduce solid suspension in adjacent surface waters (CASQA 2003).
• Non-stormwater management IOPs should be adopted, which are source control actions that prevent pollution by limiting or reducing potential pollutants at their source before they come in contact with stormwater. These practices involve day-to-day operations of the construction site and are usually under the control of the contractor. These IOPs are also referred to as “good housekeeping practices,” which involve keeping a clean, orderly construction site (NDOT 2004).
• Waste management should be adopted for handling, storing, and disposing of wastes generated by a construction project to prevent the release of waste materials into stormwater discharges. Waste management includes the following IOPs: spill prevention and control, construction debris and litter management, concrete waste management, sanitary/septic waste management, and liquid waste management (NDOT 2004).• Successful reclamation could ensure that construction and dismantling impacts are not permanent. During the life of the development, all disturbed areas not needed for active support of production operations should undergo “interim” reclamation in order to minimize the environmental impacts of development on other resources and uses. At final abandonment, pipelines, compressors, powerlines, and access roads must undergo “final” reclamation so that the character and productivity of the land and water are restored (DOI and USDA 2006).
• Applicants must identify and delineate all sole source aquifers in the vicinity of a proposed project and design the project to avoid disturbing these aquifers or to minimize potential risks that the aquifers could be contaminated by spills or leaks of chemicals used in the projects.
• In instances where a project within an energy corridor crosses sole source aquifers, the applicant must notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the agencies that administer the land as early as practicable in the planning process. Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 USC Chapter 6A) and other relevant laws and policies pertinent to the corridors that cross sole source aquifers shall apply.
• Applicants must identify all wild and scenic rivers (designated by act of Congress or by the Secretary of the Interior under Section 3(a) or 2(a)(ii) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 USC 1271-1287), respectively), congressionally authorized wild and scenic study rivers, and agency identified (eligible or suitable) wild and scenic study rivers in the vicinity of a proposed project and design the project to avoid the rivers or mitigate the disturbance to the rivers and their vicinity.
• In instances where a project within an energy corridor crosses a wild and scenic river or a wild and scenic study river, the appropriate Federal permitting agency, assisted by the project applicant, must coordinate and consult with the river-administrating agency regarding the protection and enhancement of the river’s free-flowing condition, water quality, and outstandingly remarkable natural, cultural, and recreational values.
• Applicants shall identify all streams in the vicinity of proposed project sites that are listed as impaired under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (33 USC Chapter 26) and provide a management plan to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts on those streams.
• The applicant shall safeguard against the possibility of dewatering shallow groundwater and/or wetlands in the vicinity of project sites during foundation excavations or excavations for buried pipelines.
• The applicant shall implement erosion controls complying with county, state, and Federal standards, such as jute netting, silt fences, and check dams, and secure all necessary storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) permits.
• The applicant shall minimize stream crossings by access roads to the extent practicable. All structures crossing intermittent and perennial streams shall be located and constructed so that the structures do not decrease channel stability, increase water velocity, or impede fish passage.
• Applicants shall not alter existing drainage systems and shall give particular care to sensitive areas such as erodible soils or steep slopes. Soil erosion shall be reduced at culvert outlets by appropriate structures. Catch basins, roadway ditches, and culverts shall be cleaned and maintained.• Applicants must not create hydrologic conduits between aquifers.
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.
Applicant-proposed mitigation measures listed are identified in the PFEIS as potential mitigation measures that could be adopted by project developers should a project be proposed within the West-wide Energy Corridors.
• An initial scoping assessment conducted in coordination with the appropriate agency’s paleontology specialist. The assessment would determine whether the construction activities associated with the proposed project would disturb sedimentary bedrock or fossil-yielding alluvium that may contain significant paleontological resources. If the scoping assessment finds that the proposed project would not disturb sedimentary bedrock or potentially fossil-yielding alluvium, there would be no need for further analysis.
• If the scoping assessment were to find that construction activities may disturb sedimentary bedrock or potentially fossil-yielding alluvium, an analysis would be conducted of existing data, such as geologic maps, classifications of geologic units (formations), and other data (including aerial photos, GIS-based locality data, soils maps, and scientific literature). At this stage, the PFYC system or an equivalent system in use by other agencies would be used to categorize the potential for geologic units to contain important fossils within the area of the proposed project. The PFYC system categories could assist in determining the appropriate level of mitigation that may be necessary for approval of a project.
• If the analysis of existing data determines that a proposed project would disturb only geologic units (formations) with a PFYC Class 1 or 2 and no significant fossil localities are known to occur in the area, the project file would be documented and no additional characterization work would be necessary.
• An analysis of existing data that determines that a proposed project has the potential to disturb geologic units (formations) with a PFYC Class 3, 4, or 5, or potentially fossil-bearing alluvium, or other known significant fossil localities would warrant additional field surveys and/or mitigation measures. Mitigation measures could include altering the location or scope of the proposed project, conducting a field survey prior to authorizing activities, and conducting on-site monitoring to properly document and recover any fossil material and data found. The preferred course of action should be to avoid the potential impact by moving or rerouting the site of construction or removing or reducing the need for surface disturbance. When avoidance is not possible, excavation or collection (data recovery) and stabilization measures should be implemented, such as erecting protective barriers and signs or taking other physical and administrative protection measures.
• A paleontologist within the appropriate federal agency or a project paleontologist holding a valid permit granted from the appropriate federal agency should conduct all field surveys. Small projects (generally less than 10 acres or 5 miles, if linear) should be surveyed at a very intense level, focusing on the areas likely to produce fossils (PFYC Class 4 and 5) within 200 feet of the proposed construction project location. Large projects (generally greater than 10 acres or 5 miles, if linear) should be surveyed at a lower intensity level and should include a 5 to 15% sampling of lower probability exposures (PFYC Class 3 and 4) within 200 feet of the proposed construction project.
• After completion of the field survey, the project paleontologist should file a written report with the appropriate agency for approval. The report should summarize the results of the survey with supporting geological and paleontological information. The report should also make recommendations for on-site monitoring or other mitigation (e.g., rerouting). If on-site monitoring is recommended, the project paleontologist should identify the specific locations to be monitored and the level of monitoring or sampling to be conducted.
• If fossil materials are discovered during project construction, all surface disturbing activities in the vicinity of the find must cease until notification to proceed by the authorized officer. The site must be protected to reduce the risk of damage to fossils and context. Appropriate measures to mitigate adverse effects to significant paleontological resources would be determined by the authorized officer after consulting with the operator.• All paleontological specimens found on federal lands remain the property of the U.S. government. Specimens, therefore, may only be collected by a qualified paleontologist under a permit issued by the appropriate federal agency and curated in an approved repository.
• The applicant shall conduct an initial scoping assessment to determine whether construction activities would disturb formations that may contain important paleontological resources. Potential impacts to significant paleontological resources should be avoided by moving or rerouting the site of construction or removing or reducing the need for surface disturbance. When avoidance is not possible, a mitigation plan should be prepared to identify physical and administrative protective measures and protocols such as halting work, to be implemented in the event of fossil discoveries. The scoping assessment and mitigation plan should be conducted in accordance with the managing agency’s fossil management practices and policies.
• If significant paleontological resources are known to be present in the project area, or if areas with a high potential to contain paleontological material have been identified, the applicant shall prepare a paleontological resources management and mitigation plan. If adverse impacts to paleontological resources cannot be avoided or mitigated within the designated corridors, the agency may consider alternative development routes to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects.
• A protocol for unexpected discoveries of significant paleontological resources should be developed. Unexpected discovery during construction should be brought to the immediate attention of the responsible Federal agency’s authorized officer. Work should be halted in the vicinity of the discovery to avoid further disturbance of the resource while the resource is being evaluated and appropriate mitigation measures are being developed.
• Project construction activities will follow the protective measures and protocols identified in the paleontological resources mitigation plan.• All paleontological specimens found on Federal lands remain the property of the U.S. government. Specimens, therefore, shall only be collected by a qualified paleontologist under a permit issued by the managing agency and must be curated in an approved repository.
|Wetlands and Riparian Zones
• In consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the appropriate agency, assisted by the project applicant, will identify wetlands (including ephemeral, intermittent, and isolated wetlands), riparian habitats, streams, and other aquatic habitats in the project area and design the project to avoid or mitigate impacts to these habitats. • All construction activities that could affect wetlands or waters of the United States shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements identified in permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
|Special Status Species
• Applicants shall identify important, sensitive, or unique habitats and BLM-special status species (BLM 2008), FS-sensitive, and state-listed species in the vicinity of proposed projects and design the project to avoid or mitigate impacts to these habitats and species.
• To restore disturbed habitats, the applicant will prepare a habitat restoration plan that identifies the approach and methods to be used to restore habitats disturbed during project construction activities. The plan will be designed to expedite the recovery to natural habitats supporting native vegetation, and require restoration to be completed as soon as practicable after completion of construction, minimizing the habitat converted at any one time. To ensure rapid and successful restoration efforts, the plan will include restoration success criteria, including time frames, which will be developed in coordination with the appropriate agency and which must be met by the applicant. Bonding to cover the full cost of restoration will be required.
• Applicants shall develop an integrated vegetation management plan consistent with applicable regulations and agency policies for the control of unwanted vegetation, noxious weeds, and invasive species (E.O. 13112). The plan should address monitoring; ROW vegetation management; the use of certified weed-seed-free hay, straw, and/or mulch; the cleaning of vehicles to avoid the introduction of invasive weeds; education of personnel on weed identification, the manner in which weeds spread, and the methods for treating infestations (BLM 2006, 2007a,b, 2008).
• If pesticides are used, the applicant shall ensure that pesticide applications as specified in the integrated vegetation management plan are conducted within the framework of agency policies and entail only the use of EPA-registered pesticides that are applied in a manner consistent with label directions and state pesticide regulations. Pesticide use shall be limited to non persistent immobile pesticides and shall be applied only in accordance with label and application permit directions and stipulations for terrestrial and aquatic applications (BLM 2007a).
• Pesticide and herbicide uses shall be avoided in the vicinity of sole source aquifer areas (BLM 2007a).
• Topsoil removed during decommissioning activities shall be salvaged and reapplied during final reclamation; all areas of disturbed soil shall be reclaimed using weed-free native shrubs, grasses, and forbs or other plant species approved by the land management agency; grades shall be returned to pre-development contours to the greatest extent feasible.• The vegetation cover, composition, and diversity shall be restored to values commensurate with the ecological setting, as approved by the authorizing officer.
Applicant-proposed mitigation measures listed are identified in the PFEIS as potential mitigation measures that could be adopted by project developers should a project be proposed within the West-wide Energy Corridors.
• Mitigating potential visual impacts from development on or near national historic trails that are eligible for listing on the NRHP may include avoiding linear projects parallel to a trail, restricting the width of a working ROW within a visual buffer on either side of a trail, and minimizing impacts by crossing at 90°to the trail. When possible, the proposed disturbance should be relocated to where it would be less visible from the trail (i.e., behind a rise). Special rehabilitation measures such as revegetation may help reduce the visual impacts on the trail. Also, special interpretive measures (such as signage) may be appropriate.
• Avoidance of impacts to historic properties is the preferred mitigation option.
• When looting, vandalism, erosion, or other indirect effects might occur as the result of project development, the mitigation plan should establish a monitoring program and identify other measures, as appropriate.
• Where looting and vandalism are issues, mitigation measures involving educating workers and the public regarding the consequences of unauthorized collection of artifacts and destruction of property on public land may be appropriate. Periodic surveillance of significant cultural resources in the vicinity of development projects may also help curtail potential looting/vandalism and erosion impacts. If impacts are recognized early, additional actions should be taken before the resource is destroyed.
• Where development places historic properties at risk from vandalism and looting, as determined by the authorizing officers during the NEPA analysis, project proponents may contribute to a mitigation fund to be used to mitigate these activities, including, but not limited to, support for a local site steward or other monitoring programs; signage, fencing, vegetation screens, or other protective measures; and interpretation of project findings to encourage local awareness and protection of historic properties. Measures taken should be established during the Section 106 process, subject to approval of the POC, and they should be appropriate to the resources to be protected and local circumstances.
• When cumulative and indirect effects are identified as issues in the CRMP, project proponents may contribute to a cumulative and indirect effects fund to mitigate these effects. These measures should be established during the Section 106 process and should be subject to the approval of the POC. Such funds may be used to monitor and identify long-term and cumulative effects of development on certain types of resources (e.g., the effects of vibrations from traffic on historic properties such as rock art panels) and for other actions or studies that improve understanding of indirect and cumulative effects and/or provide relief from them. When appropriate, such funds may be expended to develop historic context statements as a basis for identifying significant indirect and cumulative effects and appropriate mitigation and management efforts for them. Contributions should be proportionate to the expected effects and possible mitigation measures, and may be collected from successive project proponents as the corridors are developed.
• When a pipeline project crosses high priority segments of national historic trails and national scenic trails, subsurface directional drilling should be used.
• When a corridor crosses or comes within 5 miles of a high-potential segment or a high-potential site of a national historic trail, the authorizing agency must consult with the appropriate SHPO, the land managing agency (if other than the authorizing agency), and the federal administrator of the trail to determine if the historic property would be impacted.• Off-site mitigation should be an option when it benefits historic properties and is approved by the agency POC in consultation with SHPOs and other appropriate parties. A further discussion of offsite mitigation and other mitigation strategies can be found in ACHP 2007.
• Cultural resources management services and individuals providing those services shall meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation, 48 FR 44716 (Sept. 29, 1983).
• The project applicant may, with the approval of the agency POC, assign a Cultural Resource Coordinator to ensure an integrated compliance process across administrative and jurisdictional boundaries. The Cultural Resource Coordinator will facilitate and coordinate compliance with multiple laws, policies, regulations, and existing pertinent agreements (PAs, MOAs, or MOUs) among multiple agencies and other entities, jurisdictions, and federally recognized Tribes. The coordinator may assist with development of pertinent agreements among concerned parties during the course of the project. The coordinator shall be a qualified professional with experience in cultural resource compliance. Where appropriate, the Cultural Resource Coordinator may also serve as the Tribal Coordinator. Alternatively, the agency POC may assign such coordinators, to be paid for through project cost-recovery funds. The agencies, through the POC, remain responsible for consultation.
• The project applicant may, with the approval of the agency POC, assign a Tribal Coordinator to facilitate and coordinate consultation and compliance with multiple laws, agencies, and Tribes in order to ensure effective government-to-government consultation throughout the life of the project. Alternatively, the agency POC may assign such coordinators, to be paid for through project cost-recovery funds. The agencies, through the POC, remain responsible for consultation.
• All historic properties in the Area of Potential Effect (APE) will be identified and evaluated. The APE shall include that area within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause alterations in the character or use of historic properties and shall include a reasonable construction buffer zone and laydown areas, access roads, and borrow areas, as well as a reasonable assessment of areas subject to effects from visual, auditory, or atmospheric impacts, or impacts from increased access.
• Project proponents must develop a cultural resources management plan (CRMP) to outline the process for compliance with applicable cultural resource laws during pre-project planning, management of resources during operation, and consideration of the effect of decommissioning. The CRMPs should meet the specifications of the appropriate agency and address compliance with all appropriate laws. The CRMPs should include the following, as appropriate: identification of the federally recognized Tribes, State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), and consulting parties for the project; identification of long- and short-term management goals for cultural resources within the APE of the project; the definition of the APE; appropriate procedures for inventory, evaluation, and identification of effects to historic properties; evaluation of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) for all resources in the APE; description of the measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to historic properties; procedures for inadvertent discovery; procedures for considering Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) issues, monitoring needs, and plans to be employed during construction; curation procedures; anticipated personnel requirements and qualifications; public outreach and interpretation plans; and discussion of other concerns. The draft CRMP should be reviewed and approved by the agency POC in consultation with historic preservation partners, including appropriate SHPOs, Tribes, and consulting parties. The CRMPs must specify procedures that would be followed for compliance with cultural resource laws should the project change during the course of implementation.
• Project applicants will provide cultural resources training for project personnel regarding the laws protecting cultural resources, appropriate conduct in the field (such as procedures for the inadvertent discovery of human remains), and other project-specific issues identified in the CRMP. Training plans should be part of the CRMP and should be subject to the approval of the POC. When government-to-government consultation identifies the need and the possibility, Tribes may be invited to participate in or contribute to relevant sessions.
• If adverse effects to historic properties will result from a project, a Historic Property Treatment Plan will be developed in consultation with the SHPO, the appropriate federally recognized Tribes, and any consulting parties. The plan will outline how the impacts to the historic properties would be mitigated, minimized, or avoided. Agency officials will give full consideration to the applicable mitigation measures found in Section 188.8.131.52 of the Final PEIS when consulting during the project pre-planning stages to resolve adverse effects on historic properties.
• As directed by the agency POC, project proponents will prepare a public education and outreach component regarding project-related cultural resource issues (e.g., discoveries, impacts) such as a public presentation, a news article, a publication, or a display. Public education and outreach components will be subject to Agency approval and Tribal review and consultation when the content or format is of interest to affected Tribes.
• Cultural resources inventory, evaluation, and mitigation practices should incorporate modeling and sampling strategies to the extent practicable, in concurrence with SHPOs and other relevant parties, and as approved by the agency POC.
• Project applicants shall provide all cultural resources reports and data in an approved electronic format that is integrated across jurisdictional boundaries, that meets current standards, and that is compatible with SHPO systems. Project proponents shall submit cultural resources data on a regular basis to ensure that SHPO systems are kept up-to-date for reference as the different phases of the project proceed.
• When an area is identified as having a high potential for cultural resources but none are found during a pre-construction field survey, a professionally qualified cultural resources specialist will be required to monitor ground-disturbing activities during project construction, and to complete a report when the activities are finished. The protocol for monitoring should be identified in the CRMP.• When human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony are inadvertently discovered, the provisions of NAGPRA shall apply and the process identified in the CRMP must be followed.
|Native American Concerns
• The lead agency will consult with Native American governments early in the planning process to identify issues and areas of concern regarding any proposed energy transport project. Such consultation is required by the NHPA and other authorities and is necessary to determine whether construction and operation of the project are likely to disturb Tribally sensitive resources, impede access to culturally important practices, impede the movements of animals important to Tribes, or visually impact culturally important landscapes. It may be possible to negotiate a mutually acceptable means of minimizing adverse effects to resources important to Tribes.
• Archaeological surveys and record searches required by Section 106 of the NHPA (see Section 3.10.1) may identify Native American archaeological or other culturally important sites (Parker and King 1998). Consultation with appropriate Native American governments and cultural authorities is required by federal law to validate and determine the importance of identified resources. Appropriate mitigation steps such as avoidance, removal, repatriation, or curation should be determined through this consultation.
• It may not be possible to fully mitigate impacts to sacred areas. Impacts may involve visual impacts to important viewsheds and landscapes. Avoidance is the best policy in these cases. If avoidance is not possible, timely and meaningful consultation with the affected Tribe(s) may result in a mutually acceptable plan to maximize mitigation. Such a plan can include monitoring of construction or operation activities by Native American authorities.
• Springs are commonly sacred and culturally important places, particularly in arid regions. They should be avoided whenever possible. If it is necessary for construction, maintenance, or operation activities to take place in proximity to springs, appropriate measures, such as the use of geotextiles or silt fencing, should be taken to prevent the silt from degrading of water sources (see Section 184.108.40.206). The effectiveness of these mitigating barriers should be monitored. Particulars should be determined in consultation with the appropriate Native American Tribe(s).
• When it is impossible to avoid culturally important plant resources, it may be acceptable to compensate by protecting an equally large tract of the resource elsewhere, or to transplant and establish an equal amount of the resource that will be destroyed to a new appropriate location (Stoffle et al. 1990). Consultations should be undertaken with the affected Tribe(s) to determine whether this is acceptable. Most commonly, monitoring of a transplanted population would be required.
• Avoidance is the preferred mitigation of impacts on Tribal burial sites, but this is not always possible. Consultation with the lineal descendants or Tribal affiliates of the deceased should be undertaken before removing a known burial. Remains and objects should be protected and repatriated according to NAGPRA statutory procedures and regulations. Unanticipated burials are always possible. A contingency plan for dealing with unanticipated burials and funerary goods encountered during construction, maintenance, or operation of an energy transport facility should be developed as part of the CRMP for that project in consultation with the appropriate Tribal governments and cultural authorities well in advance of construction.
• It may not be possible to completely avoid the habitat of culturally important animals. However, energy transport facilities should be designed to minimize impacts to game trails, migration routes, and nesting and breeding areas of Tribally important species. Mitigation and monitoring procedures should be developed in consultation with the affected Tribe(s).
• Traditional Tribal fishing locations should be avoided. When projects cross waters traditionally used for Tribal fishing or waters tributary to those waters, care should be taken to preserve the quality of the waters. Riprap, geotextiles, silt fencing, or other suitable means should be employed to prevent silting and erosion at stream crossings (see Section 220.127.116.11). Mitigating procedures and monitoring should be determined in consultation with the affected Native American Tribe(s).
• Archaeological sites created by ancestral Native American populations should be avoided whenever possible. Mitigation by scientific excavation may not always be acceptable to the affected descendant Native American population. Consultation with the affiliated Tribe(s) should be undertaken when planning excavation. Monitoring or participation by Tribal representatives may be acceptable, as may repatriation or approved curation of artifacts considered to be cultural patrimony.
• Panels of petroglyphs and/or pictographs tend to be relatively immobile. Avoidance is the best mitigation. Such panels may be just one component of a larger sacred landscape, and simple avoidance may not be sufficient. Mitigation plans for rock art should be formulated in consultation with the appropriate Tribal cultural authorities.• Prior to construction, training should be provided to contractor personnel whose activities or responsibilities could impact Tribal resources during construction. Monitoring or participation by Tribal representatives in coordination with the project’s environmental compliance officer and other inspectors, the contractor’s construction field supervisor(s), and all construction personnel would be expected to play an important role in keeping impacts to Tribal resources as minor as possible.
• The appropriate agency, assisted by the applicant, must comply with all laws, policies, and regulations pertaining to government-to-government consultation with federally recognized Tribes. Agencies shall initiate consultation with affected Tribes at the outset of project planning and shall continue consultation throughout project planning, construction, operation, and decommissioning. Consultation shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (a) identification of potentially affected Tribes; (b) identification of appropriate Tribal contacts and the preferred means of communication with these Tribes; (c) provision to the Tribes of project-specific information (e.g., project proponents, maps, design features, proposed ROW routes, construction methods, etc.) at the outset of project planning and throughout the life of the project; (d) identification of issues of concern specific to affected Tribes (e.g., potential impacts to culturally sensitive areas or resources, hazard and safety management plans, treaty reserved rights and trust responsibilities); (e) identification of areas and resources of concern to Tribes; and (f) resolution of concerns (e.g., actions to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to important resources; Memoranda of Agreement stating what actions would be taken to mitigate project effects; or agreements for Tribal participation in monitoring efforts or operator training programs).
• The appropriate agency, assisted by the applicant, must comply with all pertinent laws, policies, and regulations addressing cultural and other resources important to Tribes, including the NHPA, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), the Native American Graves Protection Act (NAGPRA), and other laws and regulations as listed in Table 3.11-2 in Volume I of the PEIS.
• The agencies shall recognize the significance to many Tribes of traditional cultural places, such as sacred sites, sacred landscapes, gathering grounds, and burial areas, and shall seek to identify such areas through consultation with affected Tribes early in the project planning process. Agencies shall seek to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to such places in consultation with the Tribes, project proponents, and other relevant parties. Where confidentiality concerning these areas is important to an affected Tribe, agencies shall honor such confidentiality unless the Tribe agrees to release the information.• A protocol must be developed for inadvertent discovery of Native American human remains and funerary items to comply with the NAGPRA in consultation with appropriate federally recognized Tribes. Unexpected discovery of such items during construction must be brought to the immediate attention of the responsible Federal agency’s authorized officer. Work must be halted in the vicinity of the find of Native American graves and funerary items to avoid further disturbance to the resources while they are being evaluated and appropriate mitigation measures are being developed. The procedures for reporting items covered under NAGPRA must be identified in the CRMP.
• Applicants shall identify and consider visual resource management (VRM) and scenery management (SMS) issues early in the design process to facilitate integration of VRM and scenery treatments into the overall site development program and construction documents. Visual/scenery management considerations, environmental analyses, mitigation planning, and design shall reference and be in accordance with the land management agency visual/scenery management policies and procedures applicable to the jurisdiction the project lies within. Applicants shall coordinate between multiple agencies on visual/scenery sensitive issues when projects transition from one jurisdiction to another, especially when transitions occur within a shared viewshed.
• Applicants shall prepare a VRM or scenery management plan. The applicant’s planning team shall include an appropriately trained specialist, such as a landscape architect with demonstrated VRM and/or scenery management system (SMS) experience. The VRM/SMS specialist shall coordinate with the BLM/FS on the availability of the appropriate visual or scenic inventory data, VRM management class delineations, Scenic Integrity Objectives (SIOs), and Federal agency expectations for preparing project plans and mitigation strategies to comply with RMP or LRMP direction related to scenery and/or visual resources. Applicants shall confirm that a current Visual Resource Inventory and/or Scenic Class inventory is available and that the resource management plan (RMP) or land resource and management plan (LRMP) VRM classifications or SIOs have been designated in the current land management plan. Project plans shall abide by the VRM class designations and SIOs and consider sensitivities defined within the visual or scenic resource inventory. If visual or scenic management objectives are absent, then the proper inventory and classification process shall be followed to develop them in accordance with the BLM VRM manual and handbooks or FS SMS process, depending on the agency. When the VRM management classes or SIOs are absent, then the project alternatives must reflect a range of management options related to scenery and visual resources that reflect the values identified in the visual/scenic inventory. Responsibility for developing an inventory or VRM management classes (or in the case of the FS, Scenic Classes and SIOs) will remain with the respective agency, but how to accomplish these tasks will be determined by the field office manager or forest supervisor, who will consider the applicant’s role and financial participation in completing the work.
• Visual and scenic mitigation planning/design and analysis shall be performed through integrated field assessment, applied global positioning system (GPS) technology, field photo documentation, use of computer-aided design and development software, 3-D modeling GIS software, and visual simulation software, as appropriate. Proposed activities, projects, and site development plans shall be analyzed and further developed using these technologies to meet visual and scenic objectives for the project area and surrounding areas sufficient to provide the full context of the viewshed. Visual simulations shall be prepared according to BLM Handbook H-8432-1, or other agency requirements, to create spatially accurate depictions of the appearance of proposed facilities, as reflected in the 3-D design models. Simulations shall depict proposed project appearance from sensitive/scenic locations as well as more typical viewing locations. Transmission towers, roads, compressor stations, valves, and other aboveground infrastructure should be integrated aesthetically with the surrounding landscape in order to minimize contrast with the natural environment.
• Applicants shall develop adequate terrain mapping on a landscape/viewshed scale for site planning/design, visual impact analysis, visual impact mitigation planning/design, and for full assessment and mitigation of cumulative visual impacts through applied, state-of-the-art design practices using the cited software systems. The landscape/viewshed scale mapping shall be geo-referenced and at the same Digital Elevation Model (DEM) resolution and contour interval within the margin of error suitable for engineered site design. This level of mapping shall enable proper placement of proposed developments into the digital viewshed context. Final plans shall be field verified for compliance.
• The full range of visual and scenic best management practices shall be considered, and plans shall incorporate all pertinent best management practices (BMPs). Visual and scenic resource monitoring and compliance strategies shall be included as a part of the project mitigation plans.
• Compliance with VRM/SMS objectives shall be determined through the use of the BLM Contrast Rating procedures defined in BLM Handbook H-8431-1 Visual Contrast Rating, or the FS SMS Handbook 701. Mitigation of visual impacts shall abide by the requirements of these handbooks.
• A pre-construction meeting with BLM/FS landscape architects or other designated visual/scenic resource specialist shall be held before construction begins to coordinate on the VRM/SMS mitigation strategy and confirm the compliance-checking schedule and procedures. Applicants shall integrate interim/final reclamation VRM/SMS mitigation elements early in the construction, which may include treatments such as thinning and feathering vegetation along project edges, enhanced contour grading, salvaging landscape materials from within construction areas, special revegetation requirements, etc. Applicants shall coordinate with BLM/FS in advance to have BLM/FS landscape architects or other designated visual/scenic resource specialists onsite during construction to work with implementing BMPs.• Terms and conditions for VRM/SMS mitigation compliance shall be maintained and monitored for compliance with visual objectives, adaptive management adjustments, and modifications as necessary and approved by the BLM/FS landscape architect or other designated visual/scenic resource specialist.
|Public Health and Safety
• Applicants for petroleum pipelines and projects involving oil-filled electrical devices shall develop a spill prevention and response plan identifying spill prevention measures to be implemented, training requirements, appropriate spill response actions, and procedures for making timely notifications to authorities. The spill prevention and response plan should include identification of any sensitive biotic resources and locations (such as habitats) that require special measures to provide protection, as well as the measures needed to provide that protection.
• Applicants shall develop a fire management strategy to implement measures to minimize the potential for a human-caused fire during project construction, operation, and decommissioning. The strategy should consider the need to reduce hazardous fuels (e.g., native and non-native annual grasses and shrubs) and to prevent the spread of fires started outside or inside a corridor, and clarify who has responsibility for fire suppression and hazardous fuels reduction for the corridor.
• Applicants must work with the local land management agency to identify project areas that may incur heavy fuel buildups, and develop a long-term strategy on vegetation management of these areas. The strategy may include land treatment during project construction, which may extend outside the planned ROW clearing limits.
• Temporary, portable sanitary facilities provided for construction crews should be adequate to support expected onsite personnel and should be removed at completion of construction activities.
• All hazardous materials (including vehicle and equipment fuels) brought to the project site will be in appropriate containers and will be stored in designated and properly designed storage areas with appropriate secondary containment features. Excess hazardous materials will be removed from the project site after completion of the activities in which they are used.
• The applicant must ensure that all construction equipment used is adequately muffled and maintained and that spark arrestors are used with construction equipment in areas with, and during periods of, high fire danger.
• Flammable materials (including fuels) will be stored in appropriate containers.
• The applicant shall provide secondary containment for all onsite hazardous materials and waste storage areas.
• The applicant shall ensure that wastes are properly containerized and removed periodically for disposal at appropriate offsite permitted disposal facilities.
• In the event of an accidental release to the environment, the applicant shall initiate spill cleanup procedures and document the event, including a cause analysis, appropriate corrective actions taken, and a characterization of the resulting environmental or health and safety impacts. Documentation of the event shall be provided to the land management agency’s authorized officer and other Federal and state agencies, as required.
• All fuels, hazardous materials, and other chemicals shall be removed from the site and properly disposed of or reused.
• Incidental spills of petroleum products and other chemicals shall be removed and the affected area cleaned to meet applicable standards.
• Solid wastes generated during decommissioning shall be accumulated, transported, and disposed in permitted offsite facilities in accordance with state and local requirements; no solid wastes shall be disposed of within the footprint of the ROW or the corridor.• Hazardous wastes generated as a result of component cleaning shall be containerized and disposed of in permitted facilities.
• Soil experts should identify soils with high potential of erosion and/or soluble salt content such that precautionary measures can be planned and implemented.
• Do not excavate earthen material from, or store excavated earthen material in, any stream, swale, lake, or wetland.
• Maintain long-term ground cover and soil structure: – Topsoil removed during construction should be salvaged and reapplied during reclamation, and plant debris should be left on-site to serve as mulch. Disturbed soils should be reclaimed as quickly as possible, or protective covers should be applied.
– When feasible, keep roads and trails out of wetlands. If roads or trails must enter wetlands, use bridges or raised prisms with diffuse drainage to sustain flow patterns. Set crossing bottoms at natural levels of channel beds and wet meadow surfaces. Avoid actions that may dewater or reduce water budgets in wetlands.
– Design all ditches, canals, and pipes with at least an 80% chance of passing high flows and remaining stable during their life.
– Foundations and trenches should be backfilled with originally excavated materials as much as possible, and excavation material should be disposed of only in approved areas, to control soil erosion and to minimize leaching of hazardous constituents. If suitable, excess excavation materials may be stockpiled for use in reclamation activities.
• Limit roads and other disturbed sites to the minimum feasible number, width, and total length consistent with the purpose of specific operations, local topography, and climate: – Use existing roads and borrow pits as much as possible. Borrow material should be obtained only from authorized and permitted sites.
– Construct roads on ridge tops, stable upper slopes, or wide valley terraces, if feasible. Stabilize soils on-site. End-haul soil if full-bench construction is used. Avoid slopes steeper than 70%.
– Avoid soil-disturbing actions during periods of heavy rain or wet soils. Apply travel restrictions to protect soil and water.
– Install cross drains to disperse runoff into filter strips and minimize connected disturbed areas. Make cuts, fills, and road surfaces strongly resistant to erosion between each stream crossing and at least the nearest cross drain. Revegetate using certified local native plants, as feasible; avoid persistent or invasive exotic plants.
– Where feasible, construct roads with rolling grades instead of ditches and culverts.
– Retain stabilizing vegetation on unstable soils. Avoid new roads or heavy equipment use on unstable or highly erodible soils.
– Use existing roads unless other options will produce less long-term sediment. Reconstruct for long-term soil and drainage stability.
– Avoid ground skidding with blades lowered or on highly erodible slopes steeper than 40%. Conduct logging to disperse runoff, as feasible.
– Special construction techniques should be used, where applicable, in areas of steep slopes, erodible soil, and stream channel/wash crossings.
• Construct roads and other disturbed sites to minimize sediment discharge into streams, lakes, and wetlands:
– Design all roads, trails, and other soil disturbances to the minimum standard for their use and to “roll” with the terrain, as feasible. Slope hill cuts should be minimized.
– Erosion controls should be applied that comply with county, state, and federal standards, and practices should be implemented such as erecting jute netting, silt fences, and check dams near disturbed areas.
– Use filter strips and sediment traps, if needed, to keep all sand-sized sediment on the land and disconnect disturbed soil from streams, lakes, and wetlands. Disperse runoff into filter strips.
– Key sediment traps into the ground. Clean them out when 80% full. Remove sediment to a stable gentle upland site and revegetate.
– Keep heavy equipment out of filter strips except to do restoration work or build hardened stream or lake approaches. Yard logs out of each filter strip with minimum disturbance of ground cover.
– Design road ditches and cross drains to limit flow to ditch capacity and prevent ditch erosion and failure.
• Stabilize and maintain roads and other disturbed sites during and after construction to control erosion: – Do not encroach fills or introduce soil into streams, swales, lakes, or wetlands.
– Properly compact fills and keep woody debris out of them. Revegetate cuts and fills upon final shaping to restore ground cover using certified local native plants, as feasible; avoid persistent or invasive exotic plants. Provide sediment control until erosion control is permanent.
– Do not disturb ditches during maintenance unless needed to restore drainage capacity or repair damage. Do not undercut the cut slope.
– Space cross drains from no more than 120 feet in highly erodible soils on steep grades to no more than 1,000 feet in resistant soils on flat grades. Do not divert water from one stream to another.
– Empty cross drains onto stable slopes that disperse runoff into filter strips. On soils that may gully, armor outlets to disperse runoff. Tighten cross-drain spacing so gullies are not created. – Harden rolling dips as needed to prevent rutting damage. Ensure that road maintenance provides stable surfaces and drainage. – Where berms must be used, construct and maintain them to protect the road surface, drainage features, and slope integrity while also providing user safety. • Reclaim roads and other disturbed sites when use ends, as needed to prevent resource damage: – Site-prepare, drain, revegetate, and close temporary and intermittent use roads and other disturbed sites within one year after use ends. Provide natural drainage that disperses runoff into filter strips and maintains stable fills. Do this work concurrently. Use native vegetation as feasible. – Remove all temporary stream crossings (including all fill material in the active channel), restore the channel geometry, and revegetate the channel banks using native revegetation, as feasible.
• Maintain or improve long-term levels of organic matter and nutrients on all lands: – On soils with topsoil thinner than 1 inch, topsoil organic matter less than 2%, or effective rooting depth less than 15 inches, retain 90% or more of the fine (less than 3 inches in diameter) logging slash in the stand after each clearcut and seedtree harvest, and retain 50% or more of such slash in the stand after each shelterwood and group-selection harvest, considering existing and projected levels of fine slash.
– If machine piling of slash is done, conduct piling to leave topsoil in place to avoid displacing soil into piles or windrows.
• Place new sources of chemical and pathogenic pollutants where such pollutants will not reach surface or ground water: – Put pack and riding stock sites, sanitary sites, and well drill pads outside the water influence zone (WIZ).
– Put vehicle service and fuel areas, chemical storage and use areas, and waste dumps on gentle upland sites.
• Do mixing, loading, and cleaning on gentle upland sites. Dispose of chemicals and containers in state certified disposal areas.
• Apply runoff controls to disconnect new pollutant sources from surface and ground water. Install contour berms and trenches around vehicle service and refueling areas, chemical storage and use areas, and waste dumps to fully contain spills. Use liners as needed to prevent seepage into ground water.
• Apply chemicals using methods that minimize risk of entry to surface and ground water: – The BLM’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) (BLM 2005a) should be followed when using pesticides and herbicides to minimize unintended impacts to soil. Common practices include, but are not limited to: (1) minimizing the use of pesticides and herbicides in areas with sandy soils near sensitive areas, (2) minimizing the use of pesticides and herbicides in areas with high soil mobility, and (3) evaluating soil characteristics prior to application, to assess the likelihood for pesticide and herbicide transport in soil.
– Favor pesticides with half-lives of 3 months or less. Apply at lowest effective rates as large droplets or pellets. Follow label directions. Favor selective treatment. Use only aquatic-labeled chemicals in the WIZ.– Use nontoxic, nonhazardous drilling fluids, when feasible.
• Applicants shall salvage, safeguard, and reapply topsoil from all excavations and construction activities during restoration.
• All areas of disturbed soil shall be restored by the applicant using weed-free native grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees as directed by the agency. Restoration should not be unnecessarily delayed. If native species are not available, noninvasive vegetation recommended by agency specialists may be used.
• The applicant must not create excessive slopes during excavation. Areas of steep slopes, biological soil crusts, erodible soil, and stream channel crossings will often require site-specific and specialized construction techniques by the applicant. These specialized construction techniques should be implemented by adequately trained and experienced employees.
• Blasting activities will be avoided or minimized in the vicinity of sole source aquifer areas to reduce the risk of releasing sediments or particles into the groundwater and inadvertently plugging water supply wells.
• The applicant must backfill foundations and trenches with originally excavated material as much as possible. Excess excavation materials should be disposed of by the applicant only in approved areas.
• The applicant shall obtain borrow (fill) material only from authorized sites. Existing sites should be used in preference to new sites.
• The applicant shall prepare an explosives use plan that specifies the times and meteorological conditions when explosives will be used and specifies minimum distances from sensitive vegetation and wildlife or streams and lakes.• If blasting or other noisy activities are required during the construction period, the applicant must notify nearby residents in advance.
|Threatened and Endangered Species
• The mitigation measures described earlier in this section would serve to reduce or avoid impacts to threatened, endangered, and other special status species from development of energy transport projects within the proposed energy corridors or No Action ROWs by generally reducing impacts to the ecological systems on which they depend. In addition to these measures, there are a number of mitigation measures that are specifically related to avoiding impacts to threatened, endangered, and other special status species. These species, by virtue of their small population sizes and over-dispersed populations, are generally far more vulnerable to impacts than other species. Thus, mitigation measures recommended for threatened, endangered, and other special status species focus on avoidance of impacts and habitat areas
that support these species.
General Measures. • A number of general measures can be incorporated into all phases of activities to reduce impacts to threatened, endangered, and other special status species. These include:
• Surveys for plant and animal species that are listed or proposed for listing as threatened or endangered and their habitats should be conducted in areas proposed for development where these species could potentially occur, following accepted protocols and in consultation with the USFWS or NMFS, as appropriate. Particular care should be taken to avoid disturbing listed species during surveys in any designated critical habitat. If any threatened or endangered species are found, the USFWS should be consulted as required by Section 7 of the ESA, and an appropriate course of action should be determined to avoid or minimize impacts.
• Activities and their effects on ESA-listed species should be monitored throughout the duration of the project. To ensure desired results are achieved, minimization measures should be evaluated and, if necessary, Section 7 consultation reinitiated.
• Surveys for special status species (e.g., BLM sensitive, FS sensitive, and state-listed species) and their habitats should be conducted in areas proposed for development and in which these species could potentially occur, following accepted protocols developed in consultation with the appropriate state or federal agencies. If such species are found, an appropriate course of action should be taken to avoid or minimize impacts.
• Disturbances to and within suitable habitat of threatened, endangered, and other special status species should be limited by staying on designated routes.
• New access routes created by the project should be limited.
• Non-permitted access should be prohibited, and gating should be employed, if necessary.
• Dust abatement practices should be implemented near occupied plant habitat.
• All disturbed areas should be revegetated with native species, especially species indigenous to the area.
• Post-construction and post-decommissioning monitoring for invasive plant species should be required.
• On-site practices should include implementation of a garbage management plan to reduce scavenger predation on ground-nesting birds and reptiles.
• All areas of surface disturbance within riparian areas and/or adjacent uplands should be revegetated with native species.
Recommendations to Protect Threatened, Endangered, and Other Special Status Plant Species. • To avoid or minimize impacts to threatened, endangered, and other special status plant species, the following recommendations can be applied: • Construction and related activities should avoid direct disturbance to populations and to individual plants.
• Construction plans and project design should avoid concentrating water flows or sediments into plant-occupied habitat.
• Construction should occur downslope of plants, where feasible. If construction must be sited upslope, buffers of a minimum of 200 feet between surface disturbances and plants should be established. Stabilizing construction techniques should be used on slopes to ensure downslope plants are not affected.
• Where plant populations occur within 200 feet of construction areas, a buffer or fence should be established around individuals or groups during and after construction.
• Areas to avoid should be visually identifiable in the field, for example, by flagging, using temporary fencing or rebar, etc.
• Recommendations to Protect Threatened, Endangered, and Other Special Status Animal Species.
• The following recommendations can be applied to avoid or minimize impacts to special status animal species: • Activities should be managed to ensure maintenance or enhancement of riparian and wetland habitat.
• Loss or disturbance of riparian and wetland habitats should be avoided.
• For crossings of rivers and major streams, directional drilling should be used to reduce surface disturbance and eliminate activities in riparian habitat. Such directional drilling must not intercept or degrade alluvial aquifers.
• Guidance provided in BLM (2004g) should be followed when pipelines are constructed across streams or rivers that could contain or support threatened, endangered, or other special status fish species. • Water depletions from any portion of the Upper Colorado River drainage basin upstream of Lake Powell are considered to jeopardize the four resident endangered fish species (bonytail, humpback chub, Colorado pike minnow, and razorback sucker), and must be evaluated with regard to the criteria described in the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program (USFWS 2006c). Because portions of the corridors and potential Colorado River drainage basin, and because construction and hydrostatic testing of pipelines may require water, consultation regarding depletions should be required.
• To avoid impacts to the four endangered Colorado River fish mentioned above, no in-stream work should occur between July 1 and September 30.
• Construction activities should avoid modification of critical habitat for any species.• Any pipelines crossing rivers with listed aquatic species should have remotely actuated block or check valves on both sides of the river; pipelines should be double-walled pipe at river crossings; and pipelines should have a spill/leak contingency plan, which includes timely notification of the local USFWS ecological service office.
• Areas that are known to support ESA-listed species, BLM-special-status species, FS-sensitive, and state-listed species or their habitats shall be identified and marked with flagging or other appropriate means to avoid direct impacts during construction activities. Construction activities upslope of these areas should be avoided to prevent indirect impacts of surface water and sediment runoff.
General mitigation measures for fugitive dust:
• Install wind fences.
• Cease operations when winds make control of fugitive dust difficult. Mitigation measures for areas subject to vehicle travel;
• Limit access to the construction site and staging areas to authorized vehicles; • Establish antitracking stations of 2- to 4-inch rock base at egress points to control dirt carryout by trucks;
• Access roads and on-site roads should be surfaced with aggregate, wherever appropriate. • Dust abatement techniques such a watering should be used on unpaved, unvegetated surfaces to minimize airborne dust.
• Speed limits (a maximum of 25 mph; 15 mph is preferred) should be posted and enforced to reduce airborne fugitive dust.
Mitigation measures for filling, compacting, and grading: • A dedicated water truck should be available to moisten material before loading, unloading, compacting, filling, or grading.
• Operators at these operations should: − Lower bucket height before releasing loads,
− Release loads slowly,
− Keep vehicle speed under 15 mph, and
− Minimize disturbed areas.
Mitigation measures for soil and material storage and handling: • Prohibit outside mixing of construction materials such as sand and cement powder on days when the wind speed exceeds 15 mph.
• Train workers to handle unconsolidated construction materials so as to reduce fugitive emissions.
• Cover stockpiled materials with a tarpaulin or geotextiles, if they are sources of fugitive dust.
• Periodically spray storage piles of fill materials from other sites and stored material from the construction site to form a crust on the outside of the piles.
• Cover storage piles at concrete batch plants, if they are sources of fugitive dust.
Mitigation measures for clearing and disturbing the land: • When practical, construction should be staged, to limit the area of land exposed at any time.
• Minimize disturbed area.
• Apply dust abatement techniques such as watering prior to clearing.
Mitigation measures for earthmoving: • Use dust abatement techniques such as watering before earthmoving activities such as excavating, backfilling, compacting, and grading.
• Use dust abatement techniques such as watering as earthmoving activities proceed.
• Revegetate disturbed areas as soon as possible after disturbance.
Mitigation measures for material loading and transport: • Soil should be moist while being loaded into dump trucks.
• Loads should be kept below the freeboard of the truck.
• Drop heights should be minimized when loaders dump materials into trucks.
• Gate seals should be tight on dump trucks.
• Dump trucks should be covered while traveling on public roads.
Mitigation measures for vehicles: • Require routine maintenance of automobiles, trucks, construction equipment, on-site generators, and portable power units that are routinely on-site to ensure efficient combustion and minimum emissions.
• Limit idling of diesel equipment to no more than 15 minutes unless idle must be maintained for proper operation; for example, drilling, hoisting, and trenching.
Mitigation measure for blasting: • Use dust abatement techniques such as coverage with blasting mats during blasting.
• Require that emissions from all compressors be properly quantified using procedures approved by the EPA or the state/local agency.
• Require that all appropriate permits for operation have been applied for and obtained prior to final lease approval. If federal approval is involved, require proof that approval has been obtained.
• If the source is locating near a Class I area, discuss relocation with the proponent to reduce impacts in that area.• If compressor stations are located in close proximity, discuss relocation with the proponent to reduce air impacts.
• The applicant shall cover construction materials and stockpiled soils if these are sources of fugitive dust.
• To minimize fugitive dust generation, the applicant shall water land before and during surface clearing or excavation activities. Areas where blasting would occur should be covered with mats.• Dust abatement techniques (e.g., water spraying) shall be used by the applicant on unpaved, unvegetated surfaces to minimize airborne dust. Water for dust abatement shall be obtained and used by the applicant under the appropriate state water use permitting system. Used oil will not be used for dust abatement.
For construction-related noise impacts:
• Schedule construction activities and route construction traffic to minimize disruption to nearby residents and existing operations surrounding the project areas.
• Noisy construction activities (including blasting) should be limited to the least noise-sensitive times of day (daytime only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.) and to weekdays. In sensitive wildlife areas, they should be limited to between 1.5 hours after sunrise and 1.5 hours before sunset.
• Erect temporary wooden noise barriers around areas where construction equipment would disturb sensitive receptors.
• To the extent possible, locate noisy equipment away from sensitive receptors.
• Whenever feasible, schedule noisy activities to occur at the same time, since additional sources of noise generally do not add noise. That is, less frequent noisy activities would be less annoying than frequent less-noisy activities.
• If blasting or other noisy activities are required during the construction period, notify nearby residents in advance.
For operations-related noise impacts: • If possible, minimize trips for surveillance and monitoring of pipelines and/or transmission lines by the energy transport system operating companies.
• Design compressor equipment (including the air intake and exhaust stack) and the enclosing building to incorporate noise attenuation measures or features, such as being lined with sound-absorptive material.
• Require compressor stations, pump stations, and electric substations to demonstrate compliance with applicable state and local noise regulations and ordinances (including EPA’s 55-dBA guideline) at the nearest human sensitive receptors. Sensitive wildlife receptors should also be considered. In special areas where quiet or solitude has been identified as a value of concern, require a demonstration that a lower noise level would be met.
For both construction- and operations-related impacts: • Install suitable mufflers on all internal combustion engines and certain compressor components (DOI and USDA 2006).
• Site compressors/pump stations and/or electric substations as far as practically possible from sensitive human receptors and/or wildlife areas.• Noise-reduction measures to consider include siting compressors/pump stations and roads to take advantage of topography and distance and constructing engineered sound barriers and/or berms or sound-insulated buildings, if needed, to reduce potential noise impacts at nearby sensitive receptors (DOI and USDA 2006).
• The applicant shall limit noisy construction activities (including blasting) to the least noise-sensitive times of day (i.e., daytime only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.) and weekdays. • The applicant shall ensure that all equipment has sound-control devices no less effective than those provided on the original equipment.
• Applicants shall review existing information regarding plant and animal species and their habitats in the vicinity of the project area and identify potential impacts to the applicable agencies.
• Project developer staff shall avoid harassment or disturbance of wildlife, especially during reproductive courtship, migratory, and nesting seasons.• Observations by project staff of potential wildlife problems, including wildlife mortality, will be immediately reported to the applicable agency authorized officer.
|Lands and Realty
• Planning projects to mitigate or minimize impacts to other land uses;
• Contacting federal and state agencies, property owners, and other stakeholders as early as possible in the planning process to identify potentially sensitive land uses and issues, rules that govern energy development locally, and land use concepts specific to the region;
• Consulting with the DOD to evaluate the potential impact of a proposed project on military operations in order to identify and address any DOD concerns;
• Limiting the height of corridor towers and other utility infrastructure to no higher than existing infrastructure or below the floor of military low-level airspace;
• Preparing the FAA-required notice of proposed construction as early in the process as possible to identify any air safety issues and required mitigation measures;
• Siting projects on already altered landscapes, when feasible;
• Consolidating infrastructure, taking into account current transport and market access, to optimize the efficiency of land use; and• Developing restoration plans to ensure that all temporary use areas are restored.
• Mitigation measures may be considered during project design to ensure that the development of energy transport projects within the proposed corridors or No Action ROWs do not result in unacceptable impacts on ecological resources. This section provides a number of potential mitigation measures that should be employed to limit or avoid potential impacts to aquatic resources.
• Discussions should be held with the field office staff of the appropriate state and federal land management agencies regarding the occurrence of sensitive aquatic species or other valued aquatic resources in the proposed project area. If resources within the project area are not well known, conduct evaluations or surveys to identify important, sensitive, or unique aquatic habitats and biota in the project vicinity. Such evaluations may be especially important for spring habitats, since they are more likely to contain unique or endemic flora and fauna.
• If survey results indicate the presence of important, sensitive, or unique habitats (such as streams supporting native fish assemblages, trout streams, or anadromous salmon streams) in the project vicinity, facility design should attempt to locate stream crossings, roads, and support facilities in areas least likely to impact those habitats.
• Habitat disturbance should be minimized by locating facilities in previously disturbed areas, whenever possible. Existing roads, stream crossings, and utility corridors should be utilized to the maximum extent feasible.
• New access roads and utility corridors should be configured to avoid high quality aquatic habitats and minimize the number of stream crossings within a particular stream or watershed. • Stream crossings should be designed to provide in-stream conditions that allow for and maintain uninterrupted movement and safe passage of fish during all periods, including under typical low-flow conditions.
• Explosives should be used only at specified safe distances from surface waters to avoid concussive effects on aquatic organisms.
• Erosion controls that comply with county, state, and federal standards should be applied. Practices such as using jute netting, silt fences, and check dams should be applied near disturbed areas. All areas of disturbed soil should be reclaimed using weed-free native grasses, forbs, and shrubs; such reclamation activities should be undertaken as early as possible on disturbed areas.
• Dust abatement techniques should be used on unpaved, unvegetated surfaces to minimize airborne dust that enters aquatic habitats.
• Spill management plans should be developed to address potential fuel spills, and any spills should be immediately addressed by following the appropriate spill management plan. • Refueling areas should be located away from surface water locations and drainages and should include a temporary berm to limit the spread of any spill. Drip pans should be used during refueling to contain accidental releases and under the fuel pump and valve mechanisms of any bulk fueling vehicles parked at the construction site.
• Pesticide use should be limited to nonpersistent, immobile pesticides and should only be applied in accordance with label and application permit directions and stipulations for terrestrial and aquatic applications. Use of pesticides should be avoided within aquatic habitats and riparian areas to avoid introduction of contaminants into surface waters.
• Loss or disturbance of riparian habitats should be minimized.
• When considered feasible, use directional drilling to place pipelines at major river crossings to reduce surface disturbance and to reduce the need for activities in riparian habitat. Ensure that directional drilling does not intercept or degrade alluvial aquifers.
• Any pipelines transporting liquids that cross rivers or streams containing sensitive aquatic species should have block or check valves on both sides of the river to minimize the amount of product that could be released into waterways due to leaks. Such pipelines should be constructed of double-walled pipe at river crossings.• Low-water fords should be used only as a last resort, and then during the driest time of the year. Rocked approaches to fords should be used whenever possible. The preexisting stream channel, including bed and banks, should be restored after the need for a low-water ford has passed.
• Mitigation measures to address any environmental justice impacts of specific corridor developments will be included as part of site-specific NEPA analyses of individual energy transmission projects.
|Geology and Minerals
• Identifying areas with potential geologic hazards is critical in a project. Experienced engineering geologists can achieve the objective by conducting appropriate site-specific geologic studies. Projects being planned in areas with geologic hazards would need special engineering consideration and designs. Depending on the type of potential geologic hazards (e.g., ground shaking, liquefaction, landslides, etc.), the designs may vary and should address specific needs for structural supports. In addition, unstable slopes and local factors that could induce slope instability (such as groundwater conditions, precipitation, earthquake activities, slope angles, and dip angles of geologic strata) should be identified during the planning phase of individual projects. Creating excessive slopes during excavation and blasting operations should be avoided. In cases where geologic hazard areas are unavoidable, contingency plans should be prepared for each area where potential pipeline spills might occur because of geologic hazards. Such plans, for example, might include the addition of extra mainline valves positioned to isolate susceptible pipeline segments, thus limiting the amount of commodity in jeopardy of release, should system integrity be compromised.