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Transmission Infrastructure Program

Reauthorization of Transmission Line Permits, Maintenance and Vegetation Management
on Forest Service Lands in Colorado, Nebraska and Utah

Draft Environmental Impact Statement, DOE/EIS-0442

Project Description

Western Area Power Administration proposes to improve the way it manages vegetation along its rights of way on National Forest System lands in the states of Colorado, Utah and Nebraska.  Implementing the proposal would include modifying existing Forest Service authorizations or issuing new authorizations to accommodate Western’s proposal and other routine maintenance.

In response to North American Electric Reliability Corporation requirements and changing industry practices, Western proposes to modify its overall approach to vegetation management. The new approach involves evaluating existing vegetation conditions on the ROW, defining actions needed to manage vegetation and then implementing the actions and monitoring the ROW.

The proposed action would include a variety of vegetation management activities designed to reduce or eliminate threats to facilities, mitigate ROW fuel load conditions, and meet other objectives described in the Draft EIS.  In general, trees that grow to heights that may present a safety hazard are considered incompatible.  These species would be targeted for management.  About 273 total miles of transmission line ROW on 8 forests in 3 states are addressed in the Draft EIS.

Western and the Forest Service are Joint Lead Agencies on the Environmental Impact Statement.

Recent Activities
  • Notice of Availability issued: The Environmental Protection Agency issued the Notice of Availability for the draft EIS on Sept. 27, 2013. The Notice started the 45-day public comment period. The public comment period ends Nov. 12, 2013. Over 1,000 notices were sent to federal, state, and local agencies, the public, special ineterest groups, and elected officials. Notices were published in newspapers by the Forest Service.

          A public meeting and hearing were held on October 23, 2013 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Lakewood, Colorado.

You may provide comments to Mr. Jim Hartman. His contact information is below under Western's Contact (Submit your comments). If you would like to be added to the mailing list or removed from the mailing list, please submut your request using the same contact information.

Comments on the draft EIS are due by Nov. 12, 2013

 

Draft Environmental Impact Statement Western's contact (submit your comments) 

 Comments on the draft EIS should be sent to Western's contact:
 Jim Hartman
 Natural Resources Office
 Western Area Power Administration
 Corporate Services Office
 12155 West Alameda Parkway
 Lakewood, CO 80228
 (720) 962-7255
 Western-FS-EIS@wapa.gov

Forest Service contact

 Chris Wehrli
 U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region
 Regional Environmental Coordatinator
 (303) 275-5108

Resources

Right-of-way Management Guidance for vegetation, encroachments, and access routes order (WAPA O 430.1A), (67 kb pdf)
Transmission Vegetation Management Program order (WAPA O 450.3A), (52 kb pdf)
Transmission Vegetation Management Program facility standards:
- FAC-003-1 (25 kb pdf)
- FAC-003-2 (295 kb pdf)

Biological Evaluations and Biological Assessments

Western and the Forest Service prepared Biological Evaluations (BE) and draft Biological Assessments (BA) for sensitive plant and animal species in the study area. Information in these documents was used to prepare sections on sensitive species for the Draft EIS. BE’s contain information and analysis on sensitive species on Forest Service lands. There are 2 BE’s for each of the forests; one each for plants and animals.  There are 2 draft BA’s, one each for plants and animals, on forests that may have listed, proposed, or candidate species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The draft BA’s are under review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will be finalized at the end of the consultation process under Section 7 of the ESA. Depending on the results of the consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the analysis and conclusions may change for the Final EIS.  For additional information on these reports, please use the contact information on this Web site.

Scoping report available

This scoping report explains the scoping process and describes the tools Western and the Forest Service used to provide information to the public about the project and solicit comments on the scope and content of the EIS. The report also summarizes the comments Western and the Forest Service received during the scoping period. The public scoping period closed May 26, 2010.