The existing 60-mile-long, 115-kilovolt (kV) transmission line will be rebuilt after 70 years of use as BPA has reported performance issues related to its age and overall condition. In addition, the project will also include the replacement and upgrade of the 107-mile Olympia to Port Angeles Fiber Optic Communication System.

Why does this project matter?

The project includes rebuilding nearly all the existing wood pole structures along the line and replacing the transmission wires and all associated hardware, as well as the replacement of the fiber optic cable. Additional project elements include new and upgraded access roads, culverts, and bridges, setting up material yards, temporary staging areas, and helicopter landing zones, installing temporary guard structures adjacent to roads, railroads, and over other utility lines, and removing vegetation posing a safety hazard to the line.

What is ESA doing to help?

As a subconsultant to Burns & McDonnell, ESA completed survey of the 107-mile-long corridor in 2021 and 2022.  Survey included identifying wetlands, streams, wildlife, rare plants, and nuisance plants within the corridor. ESA is also managing the field evaluation of suitable habitat for Northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, as well as the deployment of autonomous recording units (ARUs) for determination of owl presence.

ESA staff conducting a wetland and stream survey in the transmission line right of way.

This large field effort required electronic data collection with high resolution GPS and use of electronic field data forms. Project impacts will be assessed and quantified to aid with local, state, and federal environmental permitting efforts, also led by ESA. Mitigation needs will be determined, and appropriate mitigation actions developed as needed. All biological information was used in the NEPA Environmental Assessment. ESA is responsible for preparing the fish, wetland, plant, and wildlife sections of the EA, as well as mitigation strategy development and implementation.

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Client Bonneville Power Administration

Location Olympia, WA to Port Angeles, WA

Project map showing the locations of the Shelton-Fairmount No. 1 transmission line and fiber optic lines. ESA staff conducted wetland, stream, wildlife, nuisance plant, and rare plant surveys from the Olympia substation to the Port Angeles substation.

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