RAPID/BulkTransmission/Montana/Aesthetic & Recreational

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Montana Bulk Transmission Aesthetic & Recreational Resource Assessment(17-MT)

Developers should be aware that the potential effects of transmission projects on visual resources has been a challenge in siting transmission facilities. Transmission line projects may cause visual contrast within the landscapes they cross due to their length, size and the regular geometric forms of the transmission towers. These projects may affect sensitive viewers (i.e., residents, recreationist, etc.) located along the right-of-way.

The Certificate of Compliance (CC) application is made up of three sections, the Alternative Siting Study, Baseline Study, and Impact Assessment of the transmission line. The MDEQ provides detailed requirements for these sections in their circular Application Requirements for Linear Facilities. As part of the Alternative Siting Study and Baseline Study, impacts to visual resources must be considered and must identify areas where the presence of the facility would be incompatible with published visual management plans or regulations designated to protect viewsheds adopted by federal, state or local governments. In addition, visual resource and viewer information for any recreation areas, national register or national register eligible site, residential area, and highway or county roads that occurs with the projects impact zone must be included as part of the Baseline Data Study; specific information required is outlined in Section 3.7 (10) of the circular. The application must also contain an assessment of the potential types and levels of visual resource impacts for each alternative facility location. The assessment must include a description of the potential alteration, visual quality and compatibility of lands affected by the facility, and documentation that agencies with management responsibility for visual resources have been consulted concerning impacts and mitigation, and a description and evaluation of the mitigation measures suggested by those agencies.

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