When Impact On the Land Is Unavoidable: As expressed in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976, the BLM has a responsibility to provide for reasonable mitigation for impacts to public lands that are caused by development.
The BLM’s goal to implement mitigation policies and practices that advance landscape-scale, science-based management of America's public lands and wildlife. The policy is to first seek to avoid impacts, then minimize them, and finally, as appropriate, compensate for residual impacts. For example, measures may be prescribed to bolster in some way similar resources nearby, such as improving a habitat area if similar habitat is lost during development.
The BLM has for decades applied the principles of mitigation to its review and authorization of land-use activities under its multiple use and sustained yield mission, as required by FLPMA. In recent years, these efforts have expanded as the BLM has faced new development pressures. These pressures include utility-scale solar development and high-voltage multi-state transmission lines, as well as new resource priorities such as the conservation of the Greater Sage-grouse. These new dynamics in public land management have pushed the BLM and its partners to innovate new ways to avoid, minimize, and compensate for resource impacts from development.
The BLM has worked to establish policy to improve the consistency and predictability of mitigation across the bureau for many years. The BLM first developed an interim compensatory mitigation policy in 2005.
The BLM issued a new interim mitigation policy in 2013. This interim policy has procedures and instructions for taking a landscape approach to mitigation, which means considering broad trends when analyzing project impacts, determining mitigation standards, and targeting mitigation investments. The policy also has guidance for developing regional mitigation strategies to solve resource challenges, in particular geographic areas and for applying consideration of the full mitigation hierarchy to land-use authorizations.