Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce visual impacts from an energy transmission project.
The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce visual impacts of a project depending on site- and project-specific conditions. Impacts to visual resources are related to the project footprint (e.g., land disturbance; habitat destruction, modification, and fragmentation; and topographical alterations), project emissions (e.g., fugitive), the physical presence of the project facilities (e.g., landscape compatibility, scale contrast, and spatial dominance), and existing viewer expectation. Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when considered during the siting and design of a project during the site evaluation phase.
Develop a final set of mitigation measures for any project in consultation with the appropriate federal resource management agencies and stakeholders. Conduct these consultations in the project development process and preferably prior to final project siting and design.
Siting and Design Mitigation Measures
Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:
Involve the public in decision making regarding visual site design elements for proposed energy transmission projects. Possible approaches include conducting public forums; offering tours; using computer simulation and visualization techniques in public presentations; and conducting surveys regarding public perceptions and attitudes about energy transmission projects.
If a scenic river or other similar water bodies are to be crossed by a transmission line, locate support structures as far back as possible to minimize visual impacts.
Integrate support towers and other aboveground facilities with the surrounding landscape.
To the extent practicable, avoid the placement of support towers, substations, aboveground pipeline segments, and compressor stations or pump stations on high land features and along "skylines" that are visible from nearby sensitive view points. The presence of these structures should be concealed or made less conspicuous.
Design and construct conspicuous structures to harmonize with desirable or acceptable characteristics of the surrounding environment.
Consider aesthetic offsets (e.g., visual screens) as a mitigative option in situations where visual impacts are unavoidable, or where alternative mitigation options are only partially effective or uneconomical.
General Mitigation Measures
General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of an energy transmission project include:
Consider site-specific landscaping in selected areas to provide screening for year-round residents whose property abuts the project.
Maintain the right-of-way with low-growing natural vegetation that requires minimal maintenance and is consistent with local vegetation.
Keep areas around support towers, aboveground portions of pipelines, and other facilities clean and free of debris.
Do not apply paint or permanent discoloring agents to rocks or vegetation to indicate survey or construction activity limits. Use survey markers, flagging, or other suitable materials to delineate limits.