Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Program Western Solar Plan
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Monitoring and Adaptive Management Strategies

The BLM will develop monitoring and adaptive management strategies for solar energy zones (SEZs).

As an incentive to develop projects in SEZs, the BLM will establish monitoring and adaptive management strategies for all SEZs. The BLM will take an active role in the collection of priority baseline data for SEZs (especially at broader scales and via remote sensing) and the development of a consistent monitoring schema that will likely reduce the administrative and financial costs to developers in SEZs (note, however, that collection of project-level baseline data will largely be the responsibility of developers). Costs are also expected to be reduced in SEZs because of the ability to pool investments for monitoring and coordinate with other Federal, State, and local agencies to maximize partnerships and data sharing.

Monitoring of Design Features and Mitigation Measures

Required design features and any additional mitigation measures that are identified in right-of-way (ROW) authorizations for individual projects will be monitored to ensure their continued effectiveness through all phases of development. In cases where monitoring indicates that mitigation measures are ineffective at meeting the desired resource conditions, the BLM would take steps to determine the cause and take corrective action using adaptive management strategies. This information would also be used to inform the authorization of future solar energy development activities on BLM-administered lands.

Framework for Developing a Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan

The BLM presented a framework for developing a monitoring and adaptive management plan for the Solar Energy Program in the Final Solar PEIS (Section A.2.4 of Appendix A). This framework is based on the BLM’s Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) Strategy for condition and trend monitoring of BLM-managed resources and lands. It also takes advantage of and augments other AIM efforts, including Rapid Ecoregional Assessments, the national landscape monitoring framework, greater sage-grouse habitat analysis, and an array of local, management-driven monitoring efforts.

The BLM expects that monitoring and adaptive management strategies will consist of the following elements (based on the AIM Strategy):

  1. Framing the Issue,
  2. Understanding the System,
  3. Developing Objectives,
  4. Assembling Background and Existing Information,
  5. Developing Monitoring and Sampling Schema,
  6. Creating and Finalizing a Monitoring Plan,
  7. Implementing Data Collection and Management,
  8. Analyzing and Reporting, and
  9. Adaptive Management.
Updated: 6/24/2013