Yadkin Project (FERC No. 2197)
Transmission Line and Project Facility
Final Study Plan
Alcoa Power Generating Inc.
(APGI) is the licensee for the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project.
The Yadkin Project is currently licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) as Project No. 2197. This
license expires in 2008 and APGI must file a new license application with FERC
on or before
The Yadkin Project consists
of four reservoirs, dams, and powerhouses (High Rock, Tuckertown,
part of the relicensing process, APGI prepared and distributed, in September
2002, an Initial Consultation Document (ICD), which provides a general overview
of the Project. Agencies,
municipalities, non-governmental organizations and members of the public were
given an opportunity to review the ICD and identify information and studies that
are needed to address relicensing issues. To
further assist in the identification of issues and data/study needs, APGI has
formed several Issue Advisory Groups (IAGs) to advise APGI on resource issues
throughout the relicensing process. IAGs
will also have the opportunity to review and comment on Draft Study Plans.
This Draft Study Plan has been developed in response to comments on the
ICD and through discussions with the Wetlands, Wildlife and Botanical IAG, to
provide additional necessary information for consideration in the relicensing
Project lands (lands within the FERC Project boundary) at the Yadkin Project are
generally limited to small areas of land around the development dams and
powerhouses, and several transmission corridors.
Yadkin anticipates that two sets of transmission lines (combined length
about three miles) will remain within the Yadkin Project boundary, after FERC
acts on a request by Yadkin to remove other transmission lines from within the
existing FERC boundary. The two
transmission lines that will remain part of the hydroelectric project include an
approximately two mile long transmission line from Falls Reservoir and an
approximately one mile long transmission line from Narrows Reservoir.
The objective of this study will be to evaluate wildlife habitat
conditions on Yadkin Project lands, including the areas around the dams and
powerhouses and along these two transmission line corridors, and to assess
potential impacts to habitat from the maintenance and operation of these
The following issues were
raised during initial consultation regarding terrestrial wildlife habitat at the
Effects of transmission
lines and dam related facilities on vegetation cover and wildlife habitat
On March 13, and
Identify vegetation cover
types and wildlife habitat types in the vicinity of transmission lines, dams and
Evaluate effects of
transmission line and facility operation and maintenance on vegetation cover and
Identify opportunities for
wildlife habitat enhancements on Yadkin Project lands.
corridors from Falls Reservoir and from Narrows Reservoir; total length
approximately three miles, including the cleared transmission line corridor and
within a band 50 feet to either side of the cleared corridor.
Project lands within the
vicinity of the four dams and powerhouses.
Review and evaluate
existing inventory information for the transmission lines.
Delineate vegetation cover
types, under the transmission lines, within a band 50 feet wide along each side
of the lines and in the vicinity of dams and powerhouses on stereo-aerial
photos. Prepare a cover type map for
each of the two lines and the dams and powerhouses.
Ground truth questionable
areas and inventory the vegetation in representative areas of each cover type;
characterize vegetation structure and composition of each cover type.
Evaluate wildlife habitat
quality (i.e., soil type, litter quality, micro relief, moisture regime etc.)
and wildlife use at each of the representative areas including guilds of birds,
mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Review Yadkin management
practices for these facilities, including vegetation control by means of mowing
and herbicide treatment, and stormwater management.
Qualitatively evaluate the
impacts of the transmission lines and Yadkin operations on vegetation cover,
wildlife habitat (i.e. habitat fragmentation, invasive species, RTE species) and
Qualitatively evaluate the
effects of herbicides on water quality; determine whether the herbicides used
are prequalified for use in aquatic systems, and whether the application of best
management practices will ensure that water quality is not degraded; identify
surface water flow patterns and make recommendations regarding location of
herbicide applications to avoid impacts.
Identify opportunities to
improve wildlife habitat
Changes in management and
A draft study report will be
prepared that will include the following information:
Review of existing studies
and information on the two transmission lines.
Description of approach
vegetation cover types associated with the transmission lines, dams and
powerhouses including structure and composition, wildlife habitat quality and
wildlife use of each type and maps showing vegetation cover types.
Assessment of the effects
of the transmission lines and their maintenance and Project operations on
vegetation cover, wildlife habitat, wildlife use and water quality.
Review of management
practices for transmission lines, dams and powerhouses, identification of
management problems and possible corrective measures.
opportunities to improve wildlife habitat.
The draft report will be distributed to the IAG for review
and comment, the comments addressed and a final report prepared.
Review existing studies and information.
§ Delineate vegetation cover types on stereo pairs, transfer boundaries to orthophoto base map, digitize boundaries and prepare a vegetation cover type map.
§ Ground truth cover types, characterize vegetation types and wildlife habitat quality and use, correct photos and maps.
§ Review Project management practices for these facilities.
§ Assess impacts of transmission lines and operations on vegetation, wildlife habitat, wildlife use and water quality.
§ Draft report
§ Final report