AECOM provided an array of environmental services for Sierra Pacific Power Company’s Falcon to Gonder 345 kV Transmission Line project in Nevada, including baseline field surveys; utility corridor siting; environmental impact statement / resource management plan amendments; construction, operation and maintenance planning; permitting assistance; and compliance monitoring.
In 1999, AECOM began by conducting baseline field surveys of wildlife, vegetation, and cultural resources along five potential transmission line routes in northern Nevada. Field survey data were combined with information gathered from agency resource materials to create a tailored GIS database. This database provided the key tool in conducting a utility corridor siting study to determine the environmentally preferred route and produce the EIS. The EIS was required as portions of the transmission line cross public lands managed by the BLM. Amendments to BLM Resource Management Plans were also required to designate a new utility corridor along the Falcon to Gonder route.
A total of 19 resource topics are analyzed in the EIS. Priority issues include sage grouse, ferruginous hawks, noxious weeds, cultural resources, and visual resources. The document also featured computer-generated visual simulations of the future transmission line in various landscapes. In addition to the EIS, AECOM produced a project website, coordinated public meetings, and publicized the project to obtain input from community members and agencies.
Coordination and outreach to Native American Tribes, Nevada Division of Wildlife, State Historic Preservation Office, and USFWS also were provided by the AECOM team. AECOM also produced the Construction, Operation and Maintenance Plan (COM Plan) for the Falcon to Gonder project. The COM Plan served as a guide for the construction contractors, as well as for BLM field monitors, to properly implement the EIS environmental mitigation measures and permit requirements. The project has been constructed and is fully operational.