GIS & Environmental Services

Specific environmental screening services that we provide include:

Desktop Review – Using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools, USE offers the ability to compile environmental resource data and combine it with map overlays of the electrical transmission grid. Such maps are among the key documents used to identifying opportunities and environmental constraints for establishing feasible transmission line routes for the interconnection of new generation. This analysis aids clients and reduces project costs by identifying environmentally-sensitive areas that should be considered for avoidance or mitigation, and by focusing field surveys on only the most likely project areas.

GIS technology provides USE with the capabilities to perform transmission routing studies which allows USE to review the following publicly available information to assess the existing conditions within the area(s) of interest:

The most recent National Aerial Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial photography,

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographic maps,

Soils data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) (to identify soils sensitive to erosion and compaction),

NRCS farmlands data (to identify farmlands that are prime, unique, or of statewide importance),

Land use data from NRCS,

National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) (to assess waters of the United States),

National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) maps, NRCS hydric soils data, and NHD data (to assess wetland locations),

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain maps,Federal and state plant and wildlife agencies’ lists, descriptions, and occurrences of rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals and their habitats,

Conservation areas and special management areas,

Optional: Cultural resources Class I file search (to identify previous surveys in the area of interest and any cultural resources identified), and

Optional: Overlay of other currently-known/anticipated generation projects identified in the local electric utilities’ Large Generator Interconnection Process (LGIP) queue of projects.

Mapping and GIS Data Management – USE’s Environmental Screening Services also offers unique GIS datasets/mapping techniques such as:

Existing transmission network,
Proposed major projects,
WECC Transfer Paths,
Generation interconnection queues, and
Electrical system information such as voltages and transmission line loadings.

USE will summarize the results and findings of our screening work with:

A series of opportunities and constraints figures illustrating the project region as well as the most environmental and electrically feasible interconnection routes, and

Datasets and a letter report describing the data used, potential constraints to project development within the area(s) of interest, and consequences of project development in any identified sensitive areas.

GIS Services Downloads

GIS Services Brochure