Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Program Western Solar Plan
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Monitoring and Adaptive Management for the Riverside East SEZ

In the Solar PEIS, the BLM committed to establishing a long term monitoring and adaptive management strategy for each solar energy zone (SEZ). Through these strategies, the BLM will take an active role in the collection of baseline data for the SEZs.

The BLM, with input from stakeholders, conducted a pilot monitoring and adaptive management strategy project for the Riverside East SEZ. In May 2016, the BLM released the Riverside East Solar Energy Zone Long Term Monitoring Strategy Final Report. The monitoring strategy document (PDF, 16.6 MB) is now available.

Background

The Riverside East SEZ was chosen for the monitoring pilot study because utility-scale solar development is already occurring in the SEZ. Four projects within or partially within the SEZ have already been authorized, and there are several additional pending applications within the SEZ. The purpose of the monitoring pilot at the Riverside East SEZ is twofold:

  1. To develop a plan for collecting the information needed to better understand the long-term impacts of solar energy development in the Riverside East SEZ and evaluating the effectiveness of mitigation measures designed to reduce those impacts, and thus enable BLM managers to make more informed decisions; and
  2. To serve as a model for the development of long-term monitoring and adaptive management plans in other SEZs.

Process

In order to produce the monitoring strategy, the BLM conducted the following activities:

  1. Constructed an interdisciplinary team which includes technical experts and managers at all levels of the BLM.
  2. Created a conceptual model representing the human and natural systems in the SEZ that could be affected by solar development.
  3. Identified management questions and monitoring objectives related to potential landscape scale impacts from solar energy development as well as monitoring indicators for measuring progress toward those objectives.
  4. Identified existing data relevant to management questions as well as key data gaps.
  5. Identified a sampling strategy and potential methods for data collection.

Public outreach and stakeholder involvement was also a priority. The BLM held a public kick off meeting in December 2013 where a draft list of monitoring objectives for the SEZ was presented, and input on the draft monitoring objectives was obtained from stakeholders. The initial set of monitoring objectives was revised to accommodate stakeholder input. A webinar was held in May 2014, in which a prioritized list of monitoring objectives, indicators for achieving monitoring objectives, and a monitoring strategy outline were presented to stakeholders, at which time webinar participants were asked to provide input on the initial prioritization of monitoring objectives. The BLM hosted a public webinar on October 2015 to present the draft long term monitoring strategy and provide a forum for discussions, questions, comments, and clarifications. Comments on the draft monitoring strategy were reviewed and incorporated into the Final Report as applicable.

Current Status

Current activities focus on the implementation of the long term monitoring strategy at the Riverside East SEZ. These activities include developing a detailed sampling plan describing current monitoring data collected at the SEZ and additional sampling that would be needed to achieve the higher priority monitoring objectives identified in the long-term monitoring plan. Monitoring data will be made publicly available through periodic reports describing sampling sites, methods, and the status and trend of resources as suggested by the data analysis.

For additional information, contact Jeremiah Kraruzas (jkaruzas@blm.gov) or Mark Massar (mmassar@blm.gov).

Updated: 1/30/2017