Federal Agency Visual Impact Mitigation Guidance
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published several visual impact mitigation guides:
Visual Resource Management for Fluid Minerals Best Management Practices: Better Methods for Achieving Better Results (Participant Notebook Field Reference Guide) (2007, 63 pp)
Intended for application in the western United States, this best management practices (BMP) guide provides BLM staff and other stakeholders with a comprehensive source of detailed and vetted BMPs for reducing visual impacts of wind, solar, and geothermal facilities, including mitigation for ancillary facilities and project components, such as roads, buildings, lighting, and electric transmission. The guide includes practical advice for implementing BMPs, and also discusses the visual characteristics and impacts associated with the construction, operation, and decommissioning of renewable energy and electric transmission facilities.
This participant notebook was originally created for a BLM training course. It discusses BMPs to reduce the visual and related resource impacts on public lands during the exploration, development and production of fluid minerals resources. Topics include proper site selection, reducing unnecessary disturbance, good color selection, and effective final reclamation.
This technical note provides guidance on the manipulation of color and camouflage application strategies for the effective visual concealment of built facilities. The technical note is based on numerous field studies on the use of camouflage conducted over an 11-year period. See the Visual Impact Mitigation Research and Technical Reports page for more information about these studies.
U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
In the 1970's the USFS issued a series of Agriculture Handbooks collectively entitled "National Forest Landscape Management." The 8-volume set addressed a wide range of visual impact mitigation practices, and included two volumes relevant to utility-scale energy projects.
National Forest Landscape Management, Volume 2, Chapter 2: Utilities (Agriculture Handbook 478) (1975, 152 pp)
National Forest Landscape Management, Volume 2, Chapter 4: Roads (Agriculture Handbook 483) (1977, 67 pp)
This volume describes the analyses and decisions that determine the need for a utility and its systemwide planning and presents ideas and techniques for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining needed utility services while minimizing visual impacts.
This volume provides direction on integrating roads into the forest landscape with minimum adverse visual impact and maximum enhancement of scenic qualities.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
The FHWA does not have a standalone publication devoted to visual impact mitigation; however Chapter 7 of the publication "Guidelines for the Visual Impact Assessment of Highway Projects" provides detailed guidance on visual impact mitigation for roads.
In addition, the FHWA publication Roadside Revegetation: An Integrated Approach to Establishing Native Plants, FHWA-WFL/TD-07-005, contains some useful information about vegetation-related visual impact mitigation.