3. Alternative 2: Antelope-Pardee East Mid-Slope
This alternative would follow the same route (and use similar proposed improvements and remove the existing 66 kV line) as the proposed project, except the proposed line would relocate most of the towers off the top of Del Sur Ridge in the ANF, roughly from proposed Project Mile 5.7 to Mile 17.5 (Alternative 2, Mile 18.6). (See, Figure B.4-9 in the Final EIR/EIS.) To reduce the visibility of the towers to distant viewers, as well as to reduce conflicts with forest management activities (e.g., wildland fire suppression), and the potential for avian collision and electrocution, the new alignment would place the towers on the eastern face of Del Sur Ridge, facing Bouquet Canyon, mid-slope between the ridge top and the canyon bottom. As such, the new towers would fall outside of the boundaries of the existing 1,000-foot-wide Saugus-Del Sur utility corridor (approximately 12.4 miles would be re-routed outside of the existing 1,000-foot utility corridor through a Forest Plan amendment).
The total length of Alternative 2 would be approximately 26.7 miles. This alternative would traverse ANF lands for 13.2 miles (14.0 miles through the ANF, where approximately 0.8 miles cross private land near Bouquet Reservoir), which is an additional 0.6 miles in comparison with the proposed project. On ANF lands, 12.2 miles of this alternative route would deviate from the existing 66 kV line (considered new ROW).
As with the proposed project, for Alternative 2, the USFS would issue a 50-year-term Special Use Easement authorizing the construction, use, and maintenance of the long-term transmission line and infrastructure, 13.2 miles long, within a 160-foot-wide ROW, on ANF lands. Any ground disturbing activities during construction on ANF lands and outside the proposed 160-foot-wide ROW easement would be authorized by one or more temporary Special Use Permits. Additional resource studies would be necessary to authorize the temporary Special Use Permit for work outside the proposed 160-foot-wide ROW (e.g., secondary marshalling yards, pulling and splicing set up sites, helicopter staging areas). In addition, this alternative would require several amendments to the ANF Land Management Plan, including changing the Scenic Integrity Objectives along the proposed utility corridor (see, Table A.5-3 in the Final EIR/EIS); relocating approximately 12.4 miles of the 1,000-foot-wide Saugus-Del Sur utility corridor to follow the Alternative 2 route on ANF lands (the towers would be placed at the upslope boundary of the relocated utility corridor); and modifying the Forest Standard relating to the Pacific Crest Trail (S1) as regards this Project.
A detailed discussion of the facilities needed to construct the project under Alternative 2 is set forth at pages B-86 to B-92 of the Final EIR/EIS.