U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
In order to meet its responsibility to maintain the scenic values of the public lands, BLM has developed a VRM system that addresses the following:
BLM’s VRM system provides a way to identify and evaluate scenic values to determine the appropriate levels of management. It also provides a way to analyze potential visual impacts and apply visual design techniques to ensure that surface-disturbing activities are in harmony with their surroundings. BLM’s VRM system consists of two stages:
The inventory stage involves identifying the visual resources of an area and assigning them to inventory classes using BLM’s visual resource inventory process. The process involves rating the visual appeal of a tract of land, measuring public concern for scenic quality, and determining whether the tract of land is visible from travel routes or observation points. The process is described in detail in BLM Handbook H-8410-1, Visual Resource Inventory. The results of the visual resource inventory become an important component of BLM’s Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the area. The RMP establishes how the public lands will be used and allocated for different purposes, and it is developed through public participation and collaboration. Visual values are considered throughout the RMP process, and the area’s visual resources are then assigned to management classes with established objectives:
The analysis stage involves determining whether the potential visual impacts from proposed surface-disturbing activities or developments will meet the management objectives established for the area, or whether design adjustments will be required. A visual contrast rating process is used for this analysis, which involves comparing the project features with the major features in the existing landscape using the basic design elements of form, line, color, and texture. This process is described in BLM Handbook H-8431-1, Visual Resource Contrast Rating. The analysis can then be used as a guide for resolving visual impacts. Once every attempt is made to reduce visual impacts, BLM managers can decide whether to accept or deny project proposals. Managers also have the option of attaching additional mitigation stipulations to bring the proposal into compliance. VRM Forms.