REAUTHORIZATION OF PERMITS, MAINTENANCE, AND VEGETATION MANAGEMENT ON WESTERN AREA POWER ADMINISTRATION TRANSMISSION LINES ON FOREST SERVICE LANDS, COLORADO, NEBRASKA, AND UTAH, DOE/EIS-0442

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and the US Forest Service (USFS) have completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) entitled “Reauthorization of transmission line permits, maintenance and vegetation management on Forest Service lands in Colorado, Nebraska and Utah.”

​Both WAPA and the USFS have issued separate Records of Decision which can be found below in the DOCUMENTS section.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

WAPA 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 USFS authorizations or issuing new authorizations to accommodate WAPA’s proposal and other routine maintenance.

In response to North American Electric Reliability Corporation requirements and changing industry practices, WAPA 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 Final 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 Final EIS.

WAPA and the USFS are Joint Lead Agencies on the Environmental Impact Statement.

DOCUMENTS

WAPA CONTACT INFORMATION

Regional Environmental Manager, J0400
Rocky Mountain Region
Western Area Power Administration
5555 East Crossroads Avenue
Loveland, CO 80538​
JWood@wapa.gov​

FOREST SERVICE CONTACT INFORMATION

Matt Custer
U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region
Lands Special Uses Program Lead
Email: matthew.custer@usda.gov​
Phone: 303-​​275-5383

RESOURCES

Right-of-way Management Guidance for Vegetation, Encroachments, and Access Routes (WAPA Order 430.1C), (Feb. 2017, ​76 kb pdf)
Transmission Vegetation Management​ (WAPA Order 450.3C), (Feb. 2017, 92 kb pdf)
Transmission Vegetation Management Program facility standards:

CULTURAL RESOURCES

​WAPA manages its rights-of-way in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act, other regulations that protect historic resources, and Forest Service authorizations and agreements. Specifically, WAPA’s Section 106 compliance for routine maintenance of its facilities in Colorado, Nebraska and Utah are governed by a Programmatic Agreement, executed in 2015, and referred to as the Routine Maintenance Programmatic Agreement​. This Programmatic Agreement identifies the procedures WAPA uses to avoid or treat cultural resources in the project area.

BIOLOGICAL EVALUATIONS AND BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS

WAPA and the Forest Service prepared a Biological Assessment for sensitive plant and animal species in the study area to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and inform sections regarding possible effects to sensitive species in the Draft EIS. Section 7 ESA consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service was initially completed in November 2014. ESA consultation for a subsequently listed species and its designated critical habitat was concluded in February 2017.​

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.

Last modified on June 28th, 2023