Horseshoe Bend to Garden Valley 34.5kV Distribution Line Project

USDA Forest Service 12/22/2017

The Forest Service in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Horseshoe Bend to Garden Valley 34.5kV Distribution Line Project and is seeking public comment on this EA during the 30-day notice and comment period. The Project extends from the Porter Creek area north of Horseshoe Bend to Placerville and from Placerville along Alder Creek Road to Garden Valley, in Boise County, Idaho. The Project Area covers approximately 284 acres within the Porter Creek, West Fork Clear Creek-Clear Creek, Granite Creek, and Alder Creek subwatersheds. The complete EA can be downloaded from the project website located at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48879. If you would prefer a hard copy of the EA, please contact Terre Pearson-Ramirez, Team Leader, at tramirez@fs.fed.us@fs.fed.us or by phone at 208-382-7400.

Project Description

The purpose of the Federal action is to respond to the ROW application submitted by Idaho Power Company.

Idaho Power Company (IPC) presented a need to increase electrical reliability and resiliency, and to accommodate growth in electrical demand in the Garden Valley and Idaho City areas. IPC proposes to construct approximately 23.6 miles of 34.5-kilovolt (kV) distribution line. One segment (14 miles) would extend from the Porter Creek area north of Horseshoe Bend to Placerville, Idaho. A previous 25 kV powerline existed in this location but the line was removed at some point in the past; the line corridor is still visible on the landscape. The second segment (9.6 miles) would extend from Placerville along Alder Creek Road to Garden Valley, Idaho.

Vegetation and trees within the ROW would be cleared where necessary to facilitate construction. Hazard trees that would interfere with the safe operation of the line would be cleared. Timber removal would require the construction of temporary landing locations where timber could be processed and loaded onto trucks. Residual slash on these landings would be piled and burned by Federal Agency personnel. The single-circuit powerline line would be built overhead on supporting wood structures.

Select locations for authorized service roads to the facilities would be required for continued maintenance and upkeep of the facilities. IPC proposes to utilize existing public roadways for the majority of access, primarily using Porter Creek Road, Alder Creek Road, Hawley Mountain Road, and Granite Creek Road. However, because IPC would need to access each structure location by vehicle during construction and operating and maintenance activities, existing service roads would need to be repaired and maintained. In addition, the construction of short lateral spur roads off the existing access roads would also occur.

How to Comment

The Forest Service is contacting interested persons, groups, and agencies to make them aware of the project and to gather pertinent feedback. To be most useful, please make your comments as specific as possible. Your comments will help us identify and address issues.

Electronic, written, hand-delivered, and facsimile comments concerning this project will be accepted. Comments may be submitted through the Horseshoe Bend to Garden Valley Project webpage. To submit comments using the web form select “Comment on Project” under “Get Connected” on the right panel of the project’s webpage.

Email comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), Adobe (.pdf) and Word (.doc) to: comments-intermtn-boise-emmett@fs.fed.us. Please put “Horseshoe Bend to Garden Valley Project” in the subject line of e-mail comments. Comments must have an identifiable name attached or verification of identity will be required. A scanned signature may serve as verification on electronic comments.

Written comments must be submitted to: Boise National Forest, Emmett Ranger District, Attention: Terre Pearson-Ramirez, 1805 Highway 16, Room 5, Emmett, ID 83617 or by fax at 208-365- 7037. The office hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Comments received in response to this request will be available for public inspection in the “Public Comment Reading Room” on the project webpage and will be released in their entirety, if requested, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act..

When to Comment

This project is subject to requirements at 36 CFR 218.7 parts (a) and (b). Instead of a post-decision appeal period, there will be an objection process before the final decision is made (36 CFR 218). In order to be eligible to file an objection, specific written comments related to the project must be submitted during the designated period identified above or other designated public comment period specifically requested per requirements at 36 CFR 218.5 during the environmental analysis process. Individual members of organizations must have submitted their own comments to meet the requirements of eligibility as an individual.

Comments must be received or posted within 30 days of publication of this legal notice in the Idaho Statesman. The Idaho Statesman is the newspaper of record for the legal notices for this project. As identified above, this EA 30 day notice and comment period is considered a designated comment period as defined under 36 CFR 218.

For more information on how the objection process works for projects and activities implementing land and resource management plans, please read the regulations under 36 CFR 218 Subparts A and B on the National Forest Service web site at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2013-title36-vol2/pdf/CFR-2013-title36-vol2-part218.pdf

For further information on the project, please contact Terre Pearson-Ramirez, Team Leader, at tramirez@fs.fed.us or by phone at 208-382-7400.
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