Preserving Scenic Beauty: 5 Transformative Visual Impact Mitigation Strategies

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Visual impact mitigation strategies

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Imagine you live in an area with breathtaking mountain views as far as your eyes can see. But one day, an electric company comes in and starts placing transmission lines in your sightlines. While necessary for transmitting electricity across long distances, their presence can impact the joy you get while sipping your morning coffee and enjoying the views.

Luckily, there are alternative methods of visual mitigation solutions that can help in situations like this. To mitigate the visual impact or to reduce the visual presence, various strategies are used. Below, we cover the what, the why, the who and the how of visual impact mitigation, so keep reading for all the details.

What is visual impact mitigation?

At its core, visual impact mitigation is all about five proactive steps taken during a project to make sure the visual impacts are as positive as possible on the surrounding environment.1

    This strategy entails carefully selecting project types, locations and sizes that cause minimal impact to an environment’s visual aesthetics.
    By employing practical design techniques and risk avoidance measures, this strategy focuses on managing and reducing the severity of visual impacts at the chosen project site.
    This strategy involves implementing corrective actions to address and improve any visual impacts that have already occurred due to the project.
    Adjusting designs, materials, colors or layouts, this strategy actively works toward reducing visual impacts on the surroundings.
    When complete avoidance or minimization isn’t possible, this strategy involves replacing or providing substitute visual resources to offset any remaining impacts.2
Visual impact mitigation strategies

Photo by Natina

Why do we need visual impact mitigation?

The visual impact of transmission lines serves as a compelling real-life example of the importance of visual impact mitigation.

Back in the 1960s, the visual impact of transmission lines was a hot topic, when research on the aesthetic design of transmission structures emerged as a response to public concern about the visual impact of these structures on the landscape.3

In large part due to nationwide beautification efforts, the public no longer equated transmission lines solely with the benefits derived but began to view them as detrimental to the aesthetics of the landscape.3

Who uses visual impact mitigation?

Several key players involved in mitigating negative visual impacts are The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).4 They’re responsible for ensuring that large-scale projects, such as pipelines and electricity transmission lines, are developed responsibly and sustainably.

The BLM, which administers millions of acres of America’s public lands, is particularly focused on maintaining the health, diversity and productivity of these lands for present and future generations. FUN FACT: These public lands make up about 13 percent of the total land surface of the U.S. and more than 40 percent of all land managed by the Federal government!5

These organizations, among others, collaborate with engineers, designers, architects, environmental consultants and local communities to effectively apply visual impact mitigation strategies.

This is nothing new though! For example, in 1996, Walt Disney World installed a Mickey Mouse-shaped power line pylon near the entrance of the Florida theme park.6 It might be the only pylon in the world that makes people happy when they drive by!

How is visual impact mitigation used?

Everyone’s using mitigation strategies from coast to coast, so let’s talk about how.

During the impact analysis process, it’s crucial to establish a direct link between visual impacts and the landscape and project features. To reduce the initial impacts, mitigation measures are applied. The effectiveness of these measures is carefully tracked and organized, providing valuable insights for later stages of design and reclamation planning.7

Additionally, a well-defined monitoring plan ensures that the project adheres to initial expectations during the reclamation phase, with prioritization strategies focusing efforts on critical areas that require enhanced reclamation. By addressing these areas first, the effectiveness of the reclamation efforts is maximized.7

Ultimately, understanding how a project will impact the environment is crucial in assessing visual footprint. Responsible and sustainable development requires careful consideration of visual impact as well as effective mitigation and reclamation planning. By considering the aesthetic aspects of construction projects, progress won’t come at the expense of nature’s beauty.

Visual impact mitigation strategies

Photo by Olga Lioncat via Pexels

Changing The Way You See Construction® with Natina 

Natina’s innovative solutions offer an environmentally-safe and effective way to reduce visual appearances, contributing to the preservation of landscapes and the promotion of sustainable construction practices. By embracing visual impact mitigation efforts, we can create a balance between development and environmental preservation.

Here at Natina, we are Changing The Way You See Construction by:

  • Coloring existing rock instead of adding new rock, which helps keep it out of landfills.
  • Applying a non-toxic and natural concrete solution as opposed to noxious acid stains.
  • Providing a weathering steel alternative with our steel solution.
  • Reducing maintenance and the need for crews to visit the site again or close roadways to access hard-to-reach areas.
Visual Impact Mitigation by Natina | Before and After

Photo by Natina | Before and After

When we treat and process materials with our steel, concrete or rock solution, we’re helping to facilitate a color reaction in the surface materials. With our natural solutions, your project transforms into a rich, brown patina that blends your project into its surroundings.

If you’re interested in reducing the visual impact of your next construction projectcontact us to start planning today!










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