Utility Planning

Utility projects can have impacts upon the terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine, and offshore marine environments. Utility projects include but are not limited to: nuclear, coal, and solar power plants, transmission lines and associated stations, pipelines, wind turbines and dams. Often, as in the case of new power plants, the planning, permitting and construction phases may extend 5-10 years from the first initial discussions. Some projects may have impacts to terrestrial and all aquatic habitats. Most utility projects are permanent and long-term and so are the effects. Pipelines and transmission lines and other linear projects typically are placed within a limited right-of-way. Once in place, a maintenance program is usually developed which includes periodic clearing of the right-of-way.

Alternatives to the standard chemical and scheduled mowing programs can be employed that minimize impacts to wildlife species on or adjacent to the right-of-way. Most large scale utility projects must be coordinated through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (if nuclear is involved), and the Florida Siting Office. Most new projects will have either an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement as part of the Federal and State applications. In addition there are USFWS guidance documents for communication towers, bird transmission-line protection, and wildlife and wind energy development. Coordination at the earliest planning stage is recommended to provide the utility company information regarding fish and wildlife issues and possible avoidance and mitigation measures to be considered.

Conservation Guidelines: