Tempe, Arizona (PRWEB) June 22, 2012
Changes to landscape scenery can be one of the most evident—and often controversial—effects of projects developed on federal lands. Failure to understand or properly assess a project’s potential impact on the visual environment can result in costly, time-consuming delays.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently awarded a five-year blanket purchase agreement (BPA) to Logan Simpson Design Inc. (LSD) to provide visual resource management services, including the inventory, analysis, and assessment of visual resources required under the BLM’s Visual Resource Management (VRM) System. By conducting visual resource inventories that comply with VRM requirements, LSD will also help the BLM establish a thorough and consistent national geodatabase that will help the agency manage visual resources more effectively. The contract also allows LSD to provide visual resource management training, provide technical advice and guidance to federal land managers, and perform research on visual resource-related topics.
LSD is a nationally recognized expert in the field of visual resource analysis
LSD recently completed inventory and analysis of more than 65 million acres in five states for the BLM, helping establish the baseline data needed to make land management decisions and assess potential changes to visual resources resulting from projects proposed for development on BLM lands. LSD has also worked extensively on visual resources issues with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Federal Highway Administration.
LSD helps project developers understand the visual effects of their projects
LSD provides the information project developers need to help minimize or mitigate potential effects to the visual landscape during the a project’s planning stage. Having a strong understanding of the potential visual effects of a project can also help project developers avoid unnecessary delays associated with meeting the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and/or federal agency’s visual management objectives.
The BPA (contract number L12PA0097) was issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) and is available to all Department of the Interior agencies, saving the time and effort required to establish individual contracts for visual resources services. LSD can also provide visual resources services to federal agencies through its GSA Schedule 899 environmental services contract (GS-10F-0063P).
Notes to Editors
LSD is one of the largest environmental planning and landscape architecture firms in the West, with nearly 100 employees and offices in Tempe and Tucson Arizona; Salt Lake City; and Las Vegas. In addition to planning services, we offer a staff of archaeologists, biologists, and other environmental professionals able to conduct the technical environmental studies required for compliance with environmental regulations like NEPA. LSD’s award-winning landscape architecture group includes LEED-accredited professionals who plan and design a wide variety of infrastructure, building, and recreation projects. Our landscape architects and environmental planners collaborate closely to pool their expertise on visual resource-related projects.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 encourages approval of at least 10,000 megawatts of non-hydropower renewable energy projects on public lands by 2015. DOI Secretarial Order #3285 reaffirmed this commitment in 2009 by requiring development of renewable energy on DOI lands. The BLM manages more than 40 million acres of public lands with solar and wind potential, in addition to having delegated authority for leasing 149 million acres of public lands with geothermal potential. As a result, the number of permit applications made to the BLM for large-scale renewable energy development have significantly increased in recent years. The agency is required to assess impacts to the visual resources on public lands in accordance with NEPA. Services from this contract will support the BLM’s responsibility to protect the quality of scenic values; assure that the scenic values are inventoried and the inventory is maintained on a continuing basis; and minimize damage to scenic values. The agency anticipates that the majority of work will occur primarily in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
In April 2012, the BLM announced its initiative for managing public lands based on an overall landscape approach. Developed in response to an increasing demand for the use of public lands for recreation and energy development, this initiative recognizes that landscapes are affected by factors that often fall outside traditional management boundaries. By evaluating broad landscapes, BLM employees can understand how local decisions fit into a larger geographic area. This approach is particularly critical to the assessment of visual resources, which often extend beyond the management area in which a project is located.