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Bureau of Land Management
Visual Resources

Visual Resources Glossary

Select a letter from the list below to view glossary terms and acronyms/abbreviations. The agency abbreviation following the definition indicates the definition source.

National Conservation Lands
See National Landscape Conservation System. (BLM)
National Elevation Dataset (NED)
A seamless dataset with the best available raster elevation data of the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and territorial islands. The NED serves as the elevation layer of The National Map, and provides basic elevation information for earth science studies and mapping applications in the United States. (NPS)
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. NEPA establishes legal requirements for management of aesthetic resources. (USFS)
National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA)
The National Forest Management Act of 1976. NFMA establishes legal requirements for scenery management (called "visual resource management" in the Act). (USFS)
National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
A federal law providing that property resources with significant national historic value be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It does not require permits; rather, it mandates consultation with the proper agencies whenever it is determined that a proposed action might impact a historic property. (NPS)
National Landscape Conservation System
A system of nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values and that are designated by Congress or the President for the benefit of current and future generations. The collection of significant landscapes includes national monuments, national conservation areas, national scenic and historic trails, wild and scenic rivers, wilderness areas and wilderness study areas, outstanding natural areas, cooperative management and protection areas, and forest reserves. The system was established by Executive Order in 2000 and subsequently established in law in 2009. (BLM)
National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
A comprehensive list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. The NRHP is administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. (NPS)
Natural landscape character
Landscape character that originated from natural disturbances, such as wildfires, glaciation, succession of plants from pioneer to climax species, or indirect activities of humans, such as inadvertent plant succession through fire prevention. (USFS)
Natural/Natural Appearing (landscape character type)
Landscapes that are dominated by natural features and appear largely untouched by humans. There may be evidence of human changes to the landscape but they are minimal and do not detract from the natural landscape character. (NPS, USFS)
Night Sky impact
An interference with enjoyment of dark night skies, or an effect on nocturnal wildlife resulting from artificial light pollution, such as may be caused by facility or other lighting. (NPS)
Non-designated components
Important scenic, cultural, or visual areas, features, or landmarks that have not been formally designated, but nonetheless are nationally or regionally significant. (NPS)
NPS Unit Name
The name of the National Park Service Unit at which the Visual Resource Inventory is being conducted. Each NPS unit has a four-letter abbreviation. (NPS)