Applicants for ROW grants or leases must identify potential resource conflicts as well as mitigation measures to address these conflicts.
Under the ROW regulations at 43 CFR 2804.12, applicants for ROW grants or leases must “address all known potential resource conflicts with sensitive resources and values, including special designations or protections, and include applicant-proposed measures to avoid, minimize, and compensate for such resource conflicts, if any.” The BLM has developed mitigation requirements (often called design features) specific to utility-scale solar energy development applications through various planning efforts. Details on the mitigation requirements under these various programs and plans are available at:
The Solar PEIS ROD also established a policy that Solar Regional Mitigation Strategies (SRMSs) would be developed for Solar Energy Zones (SEZs; now Designated Leasing Areas). The BLM finalized SRMSs for SEZs in Arizona, Colorado, and the Dry Lake and Dry Lake Valley North SEZs in Nevada. Additionally, development of SRMSs was begun for the Utah SEZs and the Afton SEZ in New Mexico. In 2019, work on SRMS development stopped when IM-2019-018 established policy that compensatory mitigation could not be required as a condition for project approvals. However, with the issuance of IM 2021-038 on July 14, 2021, the BLM rescinded the previous IM-2019-018. The BLM expects to establish policies which are aligned with EO 13990, SO 3398, and the priorities of the Department. During this interim period offices should consider and implement compensatory mitigation on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with state office and national office program specialists and the Office of the Solicitor as needed.