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Soils and Geological Resources Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce impacts to soils and geological resources from hydrokinetic energy development.

The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce impacts of a project on soils and geological resources depending upon site- and project-specific conditions. Impacts to soils and geological resources are related to the project activities (e.g., seabed disturbance, riverbed disturbance land disturbance, erosion). Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when considered during the siting and design phase.

Develop a final set of mitigation measures for any project in consultation with the appropriate federal and state resource management agencies and with stakeholders. Conduct these consultations as part of the project development process and preferably prior to final project siting and design.

Siting and Design Mitigation Measures

Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:

  • Locate a wave or tidal farm with an understanding of the impact on alongshore sediment transport.
  • Locate the turbines in areas with bedrock or boulders to reduce scour of the seabed or riverbed and/or provide erosion protection.
  • Identify and avoid areas with unstable slopes and local factors that can cause slope instability.
  • Identify soil properties, engineering constraints, and facility design criteria.
  • Develop a site grading and management plan to identify areas of disturbance, areas of cut and fill, slope during and after grading, existing vegetation, and measures to protect slope, drainages, and existing vegetation in the project area.
  • Develop an erosion control and revegetation plan to delineate measures to minimize soil loss and reduce sedimentation to protect water quality.
  • Minimize the amount of land disturbed by using existing roads and disturbed areas when possible. Minimize vegetation removal.
  • Place access roads to follow natural topography and avoid or minimize side hill cuts. New roads should avoid going straight up grades steeper than 10%. Design roads with eventual reclamation in mind.
  • Use paved roads for construction traffic, if feasible.
  • Locate facility structures to comply with the setback requirements of the site grading and drainage plan to avoid disturbing natural watercourses.
  • Design runoff control features to minimize soil erosion.
  • Construct drainage ditches only where necessary, using appropriate structures at culvert outlets to prevent erosion.

General Mitigation Measures

General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of a hydrokinetic energy project include:

  • Install scour protection devices around mooring structures to reduce scouring action of ocean and river currents.
  • Use fugitive dust abatement techniques on unpaved, unvegetated surfaces to minimize windblown erosion.
  • Provide temporary stabilization of disturbed areas that are not actively under construction.
  • Apply erosion controls to prevent/minimize soil to prevent/minimize soil erosion from vehicular traffic and construction activities (e.g., jute netting, silt fences, and check dams).
  • Maintain vegetative cover within road rights-of-way (ROWs) to prevent erosion and periodically monitor ROWs to assess erosion.
  • Clean and maintain catch basins, drainage ditches, and culverts regularly.
  • Conduct routine site inspections to assess the effectiveness of and the maintenance requirements for erosion and sediment control systems.

Project Phase-Specific Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures specific to a particular phase of a hydrokinetic energy project include:


  • Avoid creation of excessive slopes during excavation and blasting operations.
  • Obtain borrow material from authorized and permitted sites.
  • Dispose of excess excavation materials in approved areas to control erosion and minimize leaching of hazardous materials.
  • Save topsoil removed during construction to use in reclaiming disturbed areas.
  • Stabilize soils during final landscaping of the project site.

Decommissioning/Site Reclamation

  • Backfill any foundations and trenches, preferably with excess excavation material generated during the construction phase.
  • Use topsoil removed during the beginning of the project or during decommissioning activities to reclaim disturbed areas.
  • Reestablish the original grade and drainage pattern to the extent practicable.
  • Stabilize all areas of disturbed soil using weed-free native shrubs, grasses, and forbs.