In the Solar PEIS, the BLM committed to preparing solar regional mitigation strategies (SRMSs) for the solar energy zones (SEZs). These regional mitigation strategies were intended to simplify and improve the mitigation process for future solar projects in SEZs.
On March 2, 2016, the BLM released the Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Arizona SEZs – Final Report (PDF, 5.5 MB). The Agua Caliente SEZ is included in the strategy. The strategy identifies mitigation priorities and options in advance of development, and takes into account the resource conditions of the land and regional trends informed by BLM's recent Rapid Ecoregional Assessments. The strategy was developed in collaboration with stakeholders to address key issues such as where and how mitigation may be achieved and the costs associated with doing so.
Based on IM-2019-018, the BLM no longer may require compensatory mitigation as a condition for project approvals. However, the SEZ characterization data and discussion of potential impacts of development in the SRMS documents may still prove useful for consideration during project permitting activities. Additionally, the BLM conducted outreach to support the SRMS projects with a broad representation of stakeholders, including industry, state and local governments, tribes, and local communities, and this stakeholder input to the SRMS documents also remains valuable.
For further information, please contact Lane Cowger, BLM Arizona, at [email protected].