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«1990 Line Structure Replacement Project Development and Management Plan 115-kV Overhead Transmission Line Watertown, Waterbury, Middlebury, Oxford & ...»

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Appendix G – Vegetation Clearing Plan

Appendix G

Vegetation Clearing Plan

1990 Line Structure Replacement Project

Development and Management Plan

115-kV Overhead Transmission Line

Watertown, Waterbury, Middlebury, Oxford &

Monroe, Connecticut

June 2013

Submitted to:

Connecticut Siting Council

Ten Franklin Square

New Britain, CT 06051

Submitted by:

The Connecticut Light and Power Company

107 Selden Street

Berlin, CT 06037 Vegetation Clearing Plan 1990 Transmission Line Structure Replacement Project

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0  INTRODUCTION

2.0  LIMITS OF CLEARING

2.1  115-kV Overhead Transmission Line – Main Section:

2.2  115-kV Overhead Transmission Line – Baldwin Section:

3.0  VEGETATION CLEARING METHODS

3.1  General Approach

3.2  Access for Vegetation Clearing

3.3  Vegetation Removal: Low-Impact Tree Clearing

3.4  Vegetation Removal: Environmentally Sensitive and Other Special Areas

3.4.1  Wetlands and Waterbodies

3.4.2  Vernal Pools

3.4.3  Other

3.5  Timber and Brush Disposition

3.6  Danger and Hazard Trees

4.0  VEGETATION MANAGEMENT AND PRESERVATION GOALS AND METHODS........ 10 

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1a: 1990 Line Structure Replacement Project ROW Cross-Sections

Figure 1b: 1990 Line Structure Replacement Project ROW Cross-Sections

Figure 1c: 1990 Line Structure Replacement Project ROW Cross-Sections

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Attachment 1 Northeast Utilities’ Right-of-way Vegetation Initial Clearing for 115- and 345-kV Transmission Lines (OTRM 030.001)

–  –  –

1.0 INTRODUCTION CL&P plans to replace aging transmission structures along approximately 21 miles of a 115-kV transmission line, known as the 1990 Line, located in western Connecticut. The purpose of the Project is to enhance and/or maintain the reliability of electric supply in the area. The Project facilities will be sited within existing transmission ROWs. Beneath and in the vicinity of the existing transmission lines that occupy these ROWs, CL&P routinely manages vegetation pursuant to requirements for the reliable operation of the overhead transmission lines.

Since April 7, 2006, CL&P’s ROW vegetation management practices have been required to comply with mandatory standards adopted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) following the August 14, 2003 Northeast blackout.1 These vegetation management practices are designed to allow the reliable operation of the transmission facilities by preventing the growth of trees or invasive vegetation that will otherwise interfere with the transmission facilities or hinder access along the ROWs.

As a result, the vegetation within the managed portions of the ROWs typically consists of shrubs and small trees (typically maturing at a height less than 20 feet in height) and herbaceous species. The vegetation outside the currently managed portions of the ROWs consists predominantly of mixed deciduous forest of various ages and sizes, but also includes areas of farmlands, open fields, and similar low-growing vegetative communities.

Low growing, herbaceous, scrub/shrub and forest vegetation along the ROWs will be removed where necessary to allow for construction of the new 115-kV lines, to provide and maintain access to transmission line structures, and to provide safe distances between the conductors and woody vegetation at all times. However, the amount of and type of vegetation clearing required will vary, depending on factors such as the existing width of the managed ROW, vegetation communities present (e.g., forested, herbaceous, scrub-shrub, open field), the type of the new 115-kV transmission line structures, configuration of the transmission line conductors, transmission line span lengths, and terrain.

This Vegetation Clearing Plan (Plan) describes the vegetation clearing that will be performed as part of Project construction, including the limits of vegetation disturbance (primarily removal of tall-growing tree species) along each ROW segment, as required to meet the established minimum vegetation clearances when operating the new transmission lines. It is likely that as part of vegetation removal during construction or after the conductors have been installed, additional trees, located outside of the initially cleared area, may need to be selectively removed or pruned to maintain the required clearances. Vegetation (trees and herbaceous or

–  –  –

low growing scrub/shrub) removal outside these limits will also be required, particularly along inROW and off-ROW access roads and at transmission structure sites.

The typical methods to be used for forested and low growing herbaceous and scrub/shrub vegetation removal are also included in the Plan, as are measures for salvaging merchantable timber.

Vegetation clearing methods will be in accordance with the conditions of regulatory approvals received from the USACE, CT DEEP, and the Council. In addition, Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be implemented, as appropriate to the clearing activities (refer to D&M Plan Appendix I).





2.0 LIMITS OF CLEARING

Along the ROWs within which the new 115-kV lines will be located, the width of the vegetation that CL&P currently manages differs, depending on the number and configuration of the existing transmission lines that occupy the ROWs (refer to cross-sections Figure 1a-c, below). As a result, the amount of new vegetation clearing for the Project, particularly additional forest removal, will vary.

2.1 115-kV Overhead Transmission Line – Main Section:

The overhead 115-kV line begins at the Frost Bridge Substation in Watertown and proceeds south-southwest for approximately 18 miles to the Stevenson Substation in Monroe. The Main Section of the Project crosses the municipalities of Watertown, Waterbury, Middlebury, Oxford, and Monroe. The Main Section is primarily situated within existing and managed utility ROW that typically varies from 100 to 150 feet in width. In general, the full width of this portion of the ROW is actively maintained and is characterized by low-growth vegetation. For a 0.4 mile segment of the Main Section, in the vicinity of the Waterbury-Oxford Airport, CL&P has widened its existing ROW by acquiring an additional 30-foot easement along the east side of the ROW extending from Structure #11152 to Structure #11159. Within this 0.4 mile segment, new vegetation clearing will be required to facilitate construction and operation of the Project.

2.2 115-kV Overhead Transmission Line – Baldwin Section:

–  –  –

60 feet wide, of new tree clearing will be required along approximately 50 percent of the 3-mile Baldwin Section of the Project. Clearing will be required within the currently unmanaged portion of the CL&P easement to accommodate the installation of new single steel monopole structures that will replace the currently existing steel lattice structures. All clearing activities will take place within CL&P’s existing 165-foot easement and no additional easement acquisition is required.

Outside of the limits of vegetation removal shown on this D&M Plan Appendix C maps, most of the vegetation within the remaining width of the ROWs will not be affected by construction activities. However, some additional vegetation removal will be required to establish on- or offROW access roads and certain work pads that must be located beyond the standard vegetation removal limits.

Also, as part of vegetation removal during construction or after the conductors have been installed, additional trees, located outside of the initially cleared areas, may need to be selectively removed or pruned to maintain the required clearances.

Figure 1a-c illustrates the typical Project ROW and identifies the vegetation removal that will be required to construct and operate the new 115-kV single steel monopole structures.

–  –  –

3.0 VEGETATION CLEARING METHODS

3.1 General Approach Vegetation clearing for the new 115-kV transmission lines will be performed in accordance with Northeast Utilities’ Right-of-way Vegetation Initial Clearing for 115- and 345-kV Transmission Lines (OTRM 030.001) and Vegetation Clearing Procedures and Practices for Transmission Line Sections (OTRM 230). (Refer to Attachments 1 and 2, respectively, to this Appendix).

Vegetation will be removed along those portions of the ROWs to be used for the construction of the new transmission lines, as well as in areas that contain undesirable, tall-growing, woody species that could grow to interfere with the operation of the transmission lines should they not be removed.

Vegetation (all types) also will be cleared, as required, at work pads, as well as along existing or new access roads. In addition, vegetation will be removed, as necessary, along existing or new access roads that may be on the ROW (but outside the designated vegetation removal limits) or off the ROW (but required to reach the ROW). In addition, danger or hazard trees outside the limits of clearing (on or off the ROW) will be removed as necessary to protect the integrity of the new transmission lines.

Clearing will be accomplished using mechanical methods. Vegetation removal activities typically require flatbed trucks, brush hogs or other types of mowing equipment, skidders, forwarders, bucket trucks for canopy trimming, feller bunchers for mechanical tree cutting, wood chippers, log trucks, and chip vans.

3.2 Access for Vegetation Clearing

Clearing crews must be able to access areas where vegetation removal is required for construction and within the clearance zones of the new 115-kV conductors, as well as to reach on-ROW or off-ROW danger and hazard trees (refer to Section 3.4). Thus, vegetation clearing crews will use both on- and off-ROW access roads, which also will be used for general Project construction, as well as on-ROW “access routes” that will be required only to reach areas where vegetation must be removed.

–  –  –

specific conditions. Such “access routes” will be removed, with restoration performed as necessary, as clearing activities proceed along the ROW 2 During vegetation removal, construction mats, timber corduroy road, or equivalent may be used to provide a stable base for clearing equipment across watercourses or within wetlands. Such temporary support will minimize rutting in wetlands and will be removed after the clearing activities are completed. Within wetlands and across streams, vegetation clearing crew “access routes” will be in accordance with all Project regulatory requirements, including permits from the CT DEEP and the USACE.

3.3 Vegetation Removal: Low-Impact Tree Clearing CL&P will implement various measures to minimize the environmental effects of vegetation

removal. For example, CL&P will:

 Incorporate into the vegetation clearing contract relevant specifications for access, wetland/stream crossings, vegetation removal methods, vernal pool protection, listed species protection, cultural resources protection, and maintenance of site quality.

In addition, CL&P will require the vegetation clearing contractor to use low-impact tree clearing means and methods to remove forested vegetation. Low-impact tree clearing incorporates a variety of approaches, techniques, and equipment to minimize site disturbance and to protect wetlands, watercourses, soils, threatened and endangered species and their habitats, and cultural resources. CL&P will require the clearing contractor to use some or all of the following

low-impact tree clearing methods, depending on site-specific considerations:

 Take into consideration soil and weather conditions when scheduling vegetation removal activities.

 Maximize the use of uplands for clearing access routes.

 Fell trees directionally (parallel to and within the ROW) to minimize impacts to residual vegetation, where practical.

 Adhere to BMPs, as described in the Best Management Practices for Water Quality while Harvesting Forest Products, 2007 Connecticut Field Guide.

 (http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2697&q=379248&deepNav_GID=1631)  Use a variety of tree clearing equipment, as appropriate to minimize impacts to the extent practicable.

–  –  –

 Cut trees close to the ground, leaving root systems and stumps, where practical, to provide additional soil stability  Stockpile cut timber and brush only in uplands.

For the construction of the new transmission lines, undesirable, tall-growing trees3 within the ROW areas proximate to the new lines will be removed. Where removal of woody vegetation is required, vegetation will be cut so that stumps are generally 6 inches or less above the ground surface.

Desirable species will be preserved to the extent practical. For example, certain desirable, lowgrowing trees may be kept on the ROW in specific locations, pursuant to CL&P’s Right-of-Way Vegetation Initial Clearance Standard for 115-kV and 345-kV Transmission Lines (refer to Attachment1 of this Appendix). Generally, all tall-growing tree species will be removed from the managed portion of the ROWs and low-growing tree species and taller shrub species will be retained in the areas outside of the conductor zones. The conductor zone is the area directly beneath the conductors extending outward a distance of 25 feet from the outermost conductors.

3.4 Vegetation Removal: Environmentally Sensitive and Other Special Areas

In environmentally sensitive and other special use areas, CL&P will conduct vegetation removal activities in accordance with applicable federal and state permit requirements, and site-specific conditions that may apply to special land uses (e.g., public recreational areas, active farmland).

3.4.1 Wetlands and Waterbodies



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