Bonneville Transmission Line
Specialists from Winterbrook Planning assessed the potential effects of the Bonneville-Hood River project on land uses. The assessment was based on existing sources of data, accepted land use impact assessment techniques, and prior experience. The project was within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Management Area (CGNSA).
Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) response to questions indicated that the United States Forest Service (USFS) was expected to determine consistency with the CGNSA Management Plan. Routine operations, maintenance, and modification of BPA transmission facilities were exempt from the Management Plan; however, it was probable that aspects of the rebuild work would require land use approval from both Multnomah and Hood River Counties.
Winterbrook interviewed appropriate planning staff (including Gorge Commission, USFS, county and city planners) to clarify the necessary compliance documentation. Regardless of the status in relation to the Management Plan, because the project was a rebuild of an existing transmission line with the same or similar materials and within the existing ROW, the land use and recreation resource component of the EA placed particular emphasis on identifying potential future project-related effects in light of land use regulations in the project vicinity and developed potential mitigating measures. County and city land use plans were also reviewed to determine where conflicts and review processes might have occured. Potential impacts were compared to established evaluation thresholds to determine if significant adverse effects would result from implementation of the project. Because the transmission line already existed, we expected areas of potential conflict with designated land use or recreational areas to be limited to locations where new roads must be constructed, major modifications made to existing roads, or where substantial tree removal must occur to facilitate planned improvements.