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Bureau of Land Management
Visual Resources

Federal Agency Visual Impact Mitigation Research and Technical Reports

BLM Camouflage Studies

In 2003, BLM-Wyoming received grant funds from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the BLM's Washington Office Fluid Minerals Program to fund research and prepare written guidance for the use of camouflage on leased oil and gas facilities that encroach upon historic and sensitive cultural landscapes administered by the BLM. Recognizing the applicability to renewable energy development, the BLM's Washington Renewable Energy Policy augmented the project funding in 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in order to afford additional field testing. During the past 12 years, a literature review and multiple rounds of field testing were completed in order to better understand the practical use of camouflage technologies for BLM applications. When the first written draft of this document was completed in 2007, a strategic decision was made to withhold its release until the methods outlined were tested and verified in the field. The results from the field tests are summarized in the following reports, which may be found on the BLM Technical Notes website

  • "The Use of Color to Mitigate Visual Impacts," 2007
  • "Environmental Color and Camouflage Mitigation Field Test," April 2011
  • "Camouflage Demonstration and Evaluation," November 2011

DOE Solar Visual Impact Mitigation Study

This report summarizes the results of a field observation study conducted by Argonne National Laboratory's Environmental Science Division in support of DOE's SunShot Initiative, and funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The study, entitled Utility-Scale Solar Energy Facility Visual Impact Characterization and Mitigation Study (2013, 67 pp), documented the visual characteristics of various utility-scale solar energy facilities, and developed and described visual impact mitigation strategies for these types of facilities. Results of the field observations included assessments and photographic documentation of the effects of distance, viewpoint elevation, and lighting on the visual contrasts of various types of solar facilities, and the interaction of these variables with specific visual impact mitigation measures. Photo documentation of the cumulative visual impacts of multiple solar facilities within a single viewshed was developed. A systematic assessment of the effects of distance on the visibility and visual contrasts of a utility-scale power tower (not operating) was conducted, and sources of visual contrast from the facility were documented. A baseline contrast assessment was conducted for a utility-scale concentrating PV facility.