Across the United States and all of North America, hundreds of thousands of miles of interstate natural gas transmission pipelines operate safely and compatibly alongside farmland. This vast network of safe, environmentally responsible underground pipelines demonstrates that economic progress and agricultural preservation can not only co-exist, but can actually thrive together.
Portions of the NEXUS project are located in rural communities, and we are committed to preserving the agricultural heritage of these communities. We appreciate the need for our facilities to co-exist compatibly with agricultural uses like pastures and cultivated crops, and we restore transmission rights of way as quickly and thoroughly as possible so that normal agricultural use can resume with minimal interruption.
Preserving Agricultural Use
Topsoil is segregated from the construction work areas in cultivated or rotated croplands and managed pastures, hayfields and other areas at the landowner’s request. Where the topsoil layer is less than 12 inches, every effort is made to segregate the entire topsoil layer; and where the topsoil layer is more than 12 inches deep, at least 12 inches of topsoil is segregated. Special precautions are taken to minimize erosion and the loss of topsoil due to wind or water erosion.
Excess rock and stones are removed from at least the top 12 inches of soil to the extent practical in all cultivated or rotated cropland, hayfields, managed pastures and other areas. Topsoil and subsoil are regularly tested for compaction, and severely compacted areas are plowed with a deep tillage implement. Segregated topsoil is then spread back over the construction work area and restored to its original profile, and disturbed areas are limed, fertilized, seeded and mulched.
Restoring Drainage Tiles
NEXUS works with landowners early in the process to identify drain tile systems and understand the drainage needs of each property in order to minimize impacts and fully restore tile systems following construction. To minimize impacts, the pipeline is buried below drainage tiles, except at certain above ground facilities. Once construction is complete, experienced engineers and inspectors ensure that drain tile systems are fully restored, and tile systems will be monitored for two years to remediate any drainage problems that may occur as a result of construction.
Monitoring after Construction
As necessary, follow-up inspections of all disturbed areas are conducted, at a minimum, after the first and second growing seasons to determine the success of re-vegetation, and address landowner concerns. Erosion and subsidence will be continually monitored throughout the operational life of the pipeline, and any problems with drainage or irrigation systems resulting from pipeline construction are monitored and corrected.
If livestock crossing of the open trench is required, fencing is provided over portions of the trench line that are not excavated. The livestock crossings are located as negotiated with the landowner.
Permitted Land Use Things you can do on the Right of Way
Once construction and restoration are complete, landowners generally will be able to resume using the right of way on their property for a wide range of purposes such as growing crops, raising livestock and gardening, as well as using access roads for transporting vehicles, crops, timber, livestock and farm equipment. Additionally, utilities, driveways, fences and approved parking lots generally may be placed across the right of way provided they meet certain criteria required to protect the pipeline. To ensure the safety and integrity of the pipeline, landowners are encouraged to contact the Right of Way Agent early in the planning process for any work or improvements they plan to conduct near or across the right of way.
Access Roads & Driveways
Restricted Land Use Things you cannot do on the Right of Way
Typically, the primary restrictions on the landowner’s use of their property are the construction of buildings and the planting of trees and large shrubs within the right of way easement. These activities are only prohibited because NEXUS must maintain a clear right of way to ensure that its operations remain as safe as possible to protect landowners, the public and pipeline facilities. NEXUS must have unrestricted entry and access to all of its facilities at all times to perform regular maintenance or respond during emergency situations. A clear right of way also provides easy identification and monitoring of pipeline facilities, which is imperative in preventing third-party damage. Physical structures, trees and large shrubs obstruct the view for foot patrols and aerial inspections, and tree roots also create a danger to the coating that protects the pipeline from corrosion.