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New Mexico Solar News and Announcements


June 29, 2017

Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Afton SEZ in New Mexico: Candidate Site Locations and Actions for Compensatory Mitigation Requested by July 21

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy (SRMS) for the Afton Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) in New Mexico. Previous stakeholder input and comments have been considered in the process of identifying residual impacts from solar development, and those residual impacts that may warrant regional compensatory mitigation. Now BLM is requesting recommendations for mitigation sites and actions from interested stakeholders.

As a guide for stakeholders, BLM suggests that recommended mitigation sites and actions:

  • address the resources that warrant regional mitigation due to SEZ development (these were identified as vegetation, visual resources, and special designations through previous SRMS work);
  • be consistent with Regional Goals and Objectives (PDF, 172 KB) for the identified resources;
  • consider the affected ecosystem, landscape condition and trends, and external actions that may affect regional conditions;
  • enhance the ability to invest in larger-scale restoration and mitigation efforts; and
  • use SMART principles (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely).

The BLM is concurrently working to identify and evaluate several potential mitigation sites and actions to mitigate impacts to vegetation, visual resources, and special designations, through the use of mitigation criteria for importance, feasibility, effectiveness, timeliness, risk, durability, additionality, and other considerations. Details on these criteria are provided in three candidate site screening tables available on the Afton SRMS Project Website – separate mitigation evaluation tables are provided based on the primary resource addressed by the mitigation site/action (either vegetation, special designations, or visual resources). Detailed instructions for filling in the evaluation tables are also on the project website.

The BLM requests that stakeholders provide the information requested in these candidate site screening tables for each recommended mitigation site, as an effective way of providing the BLM with information on the suitability of the recommended mitigation sites and actions. The screening table information should be submitted for each mitigation site/action recommended.

The BLM requests submission of candidate mitigation site location and action recommendations by July 21, 2017.

When submitting recommended mitigation sites and actions, please indicate if you are willing to present your recommendation(s) at a stakeholder workshop, which is tentatively planned for mid-to late August. During the workshop, all nominated candidate mitigation sites and actions will be presented and discussed. More details and a specific date for the stakeholder workshop will be provided in July.

Please email your mitigation recommendations and any questions or comments to Treaver Ashby, BLM Las Cruces District Office at tashby@blm.gov or (575) 525-4304.


October 10, 2016

Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Afton SEZ in New Mexico: Documents Posted – Comments Requested

Our thanks to all who participated in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) webinar on Wednesday, September 28th. The webinar presentation is posted on the Afton SRMS Project Website.

Please consider using the “Questions to Consider When Commenting” form available on the project website for the most effective way of providing comments. However, BLM will accept any format for comments (written letter, PDF comment tags, scanned markups, etc.).

BLM requests comments on draft impacts that may warrant regional mitigation, goals and objectives, and additional workshop materials available on the website by October 26, 2016.

Please email your comments to lfox@anl.gov.

Questions about the webinar can be directed to Treaver Ashby, Las Cruces District Office, at tashby@blm.gov.


September 22, 2016

Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Afton SEZ in New Mexico: Webinar September 28th; Documents Posted

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host a webinar to discuss the Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy (SRMS) for the Afton SEZ in New Mexico on Wednesday, September 28th from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time. The webinar will focus on an updated assessment of residual impacts based on stakeholder input, a preliminary assessment of impacts warranting compensatory mitigation, and a preview of regional goals and objectives and draft mitigation desired outcomes.

Documents for stakeholder review have now been posted to the Afton SRMS Project Website. Three documents are included: 1. Impacts Summary (Revision), 2. Draft - Impacts that May Warrant Mitigation, and 3. Draft - Goals and Objectives Crosswalk.

The webinar dial-in number is: 1-888-240-2560; passcode 963-774-5036. If you are planning to attend the webinar please register at: http://anl.adobeconnect.com/aftonsrms09282016/event/registration.html. If you experience any difficulty in registering or logging in to the webinar, please call 773-575-8388.

The Las Cruces District Office will host any interested local stakeholders in a conference room to view the webinar, located at: 1800 Marquess Street, Las Cruces, NM 88005-3370. If you are interested in attending the webinar viewing at the Las Cruces District Office, please email your RSVP to lfox@anl.gov.

Questions about the webinar can be directed to Treaver Ashby, Las Cruces District Office, at tashby@blm.gov or (575) 525-4304.


March 31, 2016

Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for Afton SEZ in New Mexico: Public Workshop in Las Cruces, NM, May 3

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy (SRMS) for the Afton Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) in New Mexico. The BLM will host an all-day public workshop on May 3, 2016, at:

Doña Ana County Government Center
Commission Chambers
845 N. Motel Blvd.
Las Cruces, NM 88007

The BLM is developing this strategy to identify potential impacts of solar development in the SEZ and appropriate mitigation measures to address these impacts, in particular through regional compensatory mitigation. Compensatory mitigation is defined in 40 CFR 1508.20 as compensating for the (residual) impacts of a project by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments, where mitigation actions are typically implemented at locations outside the area of impact. SRMS development will be a public, stakeholder-informed process. This workshop represents the beginning of that public process. A detailed agenda will be forthcoming. There will be additional opportunities to attend meetings and otherwise provide input as the SRMS is developed.

A project website has been created that will serve as a source of information regarding the status of the project and opportunities for public participation. As materials become available, including detailed agendas, presentations, and handouts, they will be posted on this website, available at http://blmsolar.anl.gov/sez/nm/regional-mitigation/.

If you are planning to attend the public workshop, please e-mail your RSVP to: lfox@anl.gov.

Questions about the workshop can be directed to Treaver Ashby, Las Cruces District Office, at tashby@blm.gov or Bill Werner, BLM Arizona State Office, at wwerner@blm.gov.


November 11, 2014

Afton SEZ Groundwater Model Available

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a groundwater model and report for the Afton Solar Energy Zone in New Mexico. The purpose of the Afton SEZ Model is to assess potential impacts associated with groundwater withdrawals to support solar energy development in the vicinity of the Afton SEZ. This is an analytical model developed using established hydrogeological principles that relies on publicly available geologic and hydrologic data.

The Afton SEZ Model report contains further information regarding the development of the model and the results.

To view the Afton SEZ report and model, visit the Groundwater Modeling for the Afton SEZ page.

Updated: 6/29/2017