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Willow Creek Summit and Windy Devil Annex Communication Stations (DOE/EA - 2092)
Custer County, Idaho
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Bonneville Power Administration proposes to develop two communication stations in Custer County, Idaho to strengthen and modernize its essential field two-way radio system.  At Willow Creek Summit in the BLM’s Challis Field Office unit, BPA would partner with Custer Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (CTCI) to build a 0.5-acre communication station consisting of an equipment building, a 100-foot tall steel-lattice tower, a propane fuel storage pad, and about 3-miles of fiber optic cable buried along the existing access road.  The station would be located adjacent to existing similar communication facilities.

At the USFS Windy Devil site in the Salmon-Challis National Forest’s Lost River Ranger District, BPA would build a communication station similar to the one at Willow Creek that would be a 0.5-acre facility with an equipment building, an 80-foot tall steel-lattice tower, a propane fuel storage pad, and about 1-mile of existing access road to be improved. The station would be located about 1,600 feet from existing communication facilities at Windy Devil.

Line-of-sight microwave data transmission paths would be maintained (trees would be removed where needed) between the new stations and between other communication stations and electric substations in the area (Grouse Peak Communication Station and Lost River Substation). 

USFS and BLM offices are reviewing the permit applications for the project from BPA and CTCI.  The communication stations would help transmit BPA’s VHF radio communications for two-way hand-held radios operated by field personnel in the area, as well as provide for electrical transmission system communications. The project would decrease the chance for radio communication loss in emergencies and during regular electrical transmission system operation and maintenance.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW:
To understand the potential environmental impacts of the proposal, BPA, in coordination with the BLM, is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA).  The analysis will be used by the agencies to help make decisions regarding the proposal.  The EA will describe anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and include mitigation measures that would help avoid or minimize impacts.  We are asking for your comments to help determine the issues that should be addressed in the EA.  Potential issues identified to date include Priority sage grouse habitat, wintering elk habitat, vegetation including trees, and viewsheds.

The proposed schedule for the environmental review is as follows:
​Scoping comment period
Draft EA comment period
Final EA
Finding of No Significant Impact (If warranted)
If decision to build, construction start
​February 8, 2019 - March 8, 2019
Late summer 2019
Spring 2020
Spring 2020
Summer 2020
 
CURRENT STATUS:
BPA is considering comments received during the public scoping period while preparing the draft EA.  In Spring 2019, BPA staff or contractors will start conducting engineering and environmental surveys in the project area. 
 
CONTACT:
​For environmental information, contact:
Mike O'Connell
Environmental Protection Specialist
Bonneville Power Administration - ECT-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621

Toll-free:  800-622-4519
Direct line:  503-230-7692
Email: ​mjoconnell@bpa.gov
 
For project information, contact:
Charley Majors
Project Manager
Aerotek
Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-CSB-2
​ P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver, WA 98666-1409

​Toll-free:  800-622-4519
Direct line:  360-619-6683
Email:  vcmajors@bpa.gov


DOCUMENTS:

SCOPING
Scoping comments received 
Public Letter                             (02/08/2019)
Project Map                              (02/08/2019)
Comment Form                        (02/08/2019)