DesertLink, LLC, in compliance with an April Public Utilities Commission of Nevada order, on Sept. 6 submitted to the commission certain documents concerning its 500-kV Harry Allen to Eldorado Project.
Specifically, DesertLink submitted documentation related to the “Nevada Division of Forestry [(NDF)] – conditional permit.” The “Nevada Department of Transportation – encroachment permits for highway crossings” remain outstanding and will be provided to the commission at the earliest available date, DesertLink said.
In its Aug. 28 “conditional permit for disturbance or destruction of critically endangered species,” NDF said that it has reviewed and evaluated the application from DesertLink, including the plan of development, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) environmental assessment (EA), and finding of no significant impact (FONSI), as well as reclamation activities for building and operating the approximately 60-mile, single-circuit, alternative current (AC) transmission line connecting NV Energy’s Harry Allen substation in northeastern Clark County, Nev., to the California ISO grid at the Eldorado substation south of Boulder City.
The proposed vegetation management activities are limited to the approved alignment, NDF said, noting that the project is located along a 60-mile corridor in Clark County, ranging from the Harry Allen substation to the Dry Lake Valley area south, through the Rainbow Gardens area of critical environmental concern (ACEC), west of the River Mountains ACEC, east of the Sloan Canyon NCA on the eastern side of the McCullough Range, and terminating at the Eldorado substation.
The project will consist of 42 miles that will require new transmission towers and is anticipated to impact 48.3 acres of occupied Las Vegas bearpoppy habitat in the BLM-owned and managed Rainbow Gardens ACEC, and 6.6 acres of modeled habitat for threecorner milkvetch on the north end of the project near the Harry Allen substation, NDF said, adding that no threecorner milkvetch observations have been recorded in the project area.
“NDF hereby grants DesertLink permission under NRS 527 to construct the transmission line along the energy corridor in Clark County, NV as defined in the final plan of development (POD), limited to” certain boundaries, with some conditions, NDF said.
The conditional permit is based upon information provided to date and completion of certain permit conditions, NDF said, adding that failure to satisfactorily complete the permit conditions will render the permit null and void.
Discussing general permit terms and authorization/acceptance, NDF said, for instance, that:
- DesertLink is not to proceed with any right of way (ROW) surface disturbances until receiving a fully executed permit signed by both NDF and DesertLink designees
- DesertLink is to provide any changes in the project scope, location, alignment, plans, construction schedule, construction methodology, etc., to NDF for review prior to initiating changes. Exceptions to that include deviations approved by the compliance inspection contractor
Of pre-construction marking terms, NDF said, among other things, that before construction work begins in endangered species habitat, all sites at risk of any surface disturbance will be surveyed by NDF-approved botanists qualified to identify Las Vegas bearpoppy and threecorner milkvetch plants and their habitat requirements. All individuals of state-listed plant species should be surrounded by temporary fencing and direct impacts to individuals should be avoided where at all reasonably possible, NDF said, adding that fencing should surround plants with a buffer of at least 2’. Plants should be marked within all ROW sites where construction activities will take place and within a buffer of 20’ from the edge of each project work area in rare plant habitat, NDF said.
NDF also discussed construction site habitat/plant protection terms, noting, for instance, that DesertLink is to provide a biologist on site daily during all construction activities within modelled state-listed endangered plant habitat. The biological monitor will ensure compliance with restrictions and requirements, NDF said, adding that the biologist will accompany work crews during construction activities in all state-listed endangered plant habitat and document any state-listed plant disturbance or take.
Among other things, NDF addressed post-construction review and inspection terms, noting that DesertLink is to notify NDF within 30 days of project completion and is to perform a site inspection within 30 days of receiving the construction completion notice from DesertLink to ensure that all permit obligations have been met.