X. Power Line Right of
Way (ROWs): Duke Electric Transmission
DET has retained ownership of lands needed to support
transmission lines through the Jocassee Gorges area. The primary goals of
these lands and their management are to ensure safe, effective, and
reliable delivery of power, and to ensure the continuation of an effective
vegetative cover to control erosion and protect aesthetic values.
In conjunction with these primary goals, DET and SCDNR
will form a team to plan and
work cooperatively toward 1) ensuring that any allowed
public access to these ROWs is compatible with the primary goals, 2)
continuing to assure that DET's land and vegetative cover management are
compatible with the protection of important natural resources within the
ROW (i.e. gamebirds, rare species, trout streams, others), and 3)
examining opportunities for SCDNR to implement resource enhancement
Transmission ROWs are attractive for many types of
public usage. While some of these are compatible with DET's primary goals,
many are not. Many uses can be destructive and costly from the standpoint
of repair of facilities or replacement of effective erosion control
structures and vegetation. DET/SCDNR will work together to plan and
provide for appropriate and compatible public access to and uses of the
Jocassee Gorges area ROWs.
Prior to preparation of specific plans, the following
will be general guidelines for resource management and public use of these
ROW areas. The ROW lands within the boundaries or directly adjacent to
Jocassee Gorges property will be included in the SCDNR WMA Program.
A. Public Access
Access By Motorized Vehicles, Mountain Bikes, and
Horses will not be allowed except on designated trails crossing the ROW's.
Access roads and trails to the ROWs will be gated or otherwise signed, and
public vehicle travel and horse riding will not be permitted behind the
gates or in the ROWs. Exceptions to this general item (regarding motorized
vehicles, mountain bikes, horses) may occur following development and
implementation of appropriate plans and actions by DET and SCDNR to insure
that these public users stay on specified roadways, trails, etc. within
the ROW. Foot travel will be allowed.
Hunting will be allowed consistent with hunting season
regulations and annually established and publicized plans and regulations
determined by the DETand SCDNR. Deer stands and other structures may not
be attached to power poles or towers.
B. Wildlife Management
The open, non-forested nature of ROWs in the Jocassee
Gorges area provides for some unique opportunities for wildlife protection
and management. The DET and SCDNR will examine such opportunities to
enhance wildlife habitat, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities
associated with these ROWs.
The DET will plan its mowing schedule for ROW
vegetation management so as to reduce or eliminate impacts to ground-and
shrub-nesting birds such as wild turkeys, quail, and certain songbirds
(field sparrows, chats, meadow larks, etc.). The mowing work (which will
generally be scheduled for late summer, fall, or winter months) will be
reviewed with SCDNR biologists.
Wildlife Habitat Enhancements
DET and SCDNR will continue to work cooperatively to
plan and provide for appropriate wildlife habitat enhancements. Activities
may include planting and maintaining wildlife food plots; encouraging
"thickets" of low-growing, fruit-producing shrubs; and placing
bird boxes or other animal houses.
C. Protection of Unique Natural Resources
Unique natural resources such as rare species, and
trout streams and their tributaries are protected in ROWs:
Prior to the construction of the existing ROWs in the
Jocassee Gorges area, DET and SCDNR cooperated to complete surveys of rare
species that would be within the ROW areas. Plans were put into place at
that time to prevent detrimental impacts to these identified species and
their surrounding habitats. These species include Oconee bells, various
species of native orchids, and shrubs ranging from azaleas to witch alder,
among others. These species, and their identified populations within the
ROWs, are shown on work maps and will continue to receive protection in
conjunction with DET's ROW management plan and any public access that is
allowed under the DET/SCDNR plans for the ROWs.
Prior to the construction of the existing ROWs, DET and
SCDNR cooperated to identify all trout streams and important tributaries
that potentially could be impacted by the ROWs and to develop plans to
avoid impacts to these important resources. This was accomplished through
unique siting and construction techniques developed by DET, in cooperation
with SCDNR and other resource agencies, for the mountainous Jocassee
landscape. As a result, significant protective woodland buffers have
remained established around trout streams along the ROW routes. These
continue to provide a canopy to shade the streams and help protect the
streams from any sedimentation caused by ROW construction or other
activities. These streams, and their protection, will continue to be a
focal point as DET and SCDNR develop additional plans regarding the
management of these ROWs.
D. Management Planning Process and Schedule for the ROWs
Staff from SCDNR and DET will be appointed, and they
will serve as contacts to 1) establish a core DET/SCDNR team, and 2)
schedule meetings of this team to initiate further development of a DET/SCDNR
plan for ROW management in the Jocassee Gorges area that addresses