RECON is proud to have been a part of the recent 5-year planning effort that helped advance the U.S. Department of the Interior's strategy for landscape-scale mitigation policies and practices and science-based management.
In November 2015, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird announced the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). This innovative plan will conserve species and ecosystems while allowing renewable energy to be developed in the most appropriate places on 10 million acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the California desert.
Phase I of the DRECP designates 388,000 acres of Development Focus Areas (DFAs) that have high potential for solar, wind and geothermal energy, and access to transmission. Rules for these areas establish a framework for facility siting and development that will ensure impacts are managed and appropriately mitigated. Phase I also identifies 5.3 million acres of BLM lands for conservation. Management Actions and development restrictions will serve to protect the biological, cultural, scenic, recreational and other values of these lands.
RECON team members assisted in the development of the DRECP Draft and Final EIS documents. We participated in numerous public meetings and provided detailed descriptions and analysis of various resources, including BLM land designations, mineral resources, visual resources, grazing, Department of Defense lands, and we assisted with the biological and cultural resources sections. Our GIS experts compiled and processed extensive data from 28 different resources for the impact analysis of 6 plan alternatives. Datasets with over 300,000 records and 90 attributes were created, and maps for resource sections were prepared.
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