EDM International, Inc. (EDM) is an employee-owned corporation with a three-decade reputation for excellence. EDM’s Environmental Services Group is a team of wildlife biologists, avian specialists, soil scientists, hydrologists, regulatory specialists and GIS experts. EDM works collaboratively across disciplines to develop practical, science-based solutions to high-profile environmental challenges on behalf of electric utilities, extractive industries, government agencies and non-governmental organizations. EDM is internationally known for research and consultation on avian electrocution, avian collision and animal-caused outages. EDM’s key to success is its team members, who are chosen for their unique and complementary skills and who conduct their work with passion, creativity and integrity.
EDM developed an APP and ARA for a large investor-owned utility with over 20,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines across a major metropolitan region with globally important bird habitat. A GIS-based analysis of bird use, habitat and infrastructure data identified target survey areas. Field biologists assessed dozens of avian and power line variables to determine avian electrocution and collision risk; for each hazardous structure or line span, EDM assigned a retrofit priority and developed a retrofitting approach. The deliverables provided short- and long-term planning tools for reducing avian risk and improving system reliability. Updated construction standards and training modules were developed to ensure the plans were fully implemented and reliability and conservation goals were achieved. Tailored communications materials were developed to facilitate company outreach among customers, regulators and employees.
The Avian Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) offers a new approach to reducing avian collision mortality with suspended obstacles (power lines, towers, turbines).
ACAS uses ultraviolet (UV) light visible to birds but not to people to “light up” collision hotspots at night when most bird collisions occur. Birds see and avoid otherwise invisible wires. It can be used on spans with or without existing line markers to illuminate all the wires across entire spans. Internal sensors and remote operation allow ACAS to be activated only when needed, like during bird migration nights, and to be shut down the rest of the year.
The ACAS is part of the SafeLines4Birds (SL4B) projected funded by the European Union. ACAS units are being deployed at locations in France and Belgium where high numbers of avian collisions with power lines have been recorded.
For more information, see the SL4B project pages at:
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The ACAS is a novel solution. So far it is working well across a variety of species, habitats, and line configurations, but we want to know more.What species does the ACAS work best with?
ACAS studies are ongoing, but EDM is always interested in learning more. If you are working to manage collisions, and you are considering the ACAS, we are here for you. We invite you to partner with us on study design, data collection, analyses, and publication of results.
SafeLines4Birds is a 6-year project co-financed by European Union’s LIFE Programme which aims to reduce non-natural mortality of 13 birds species along power lines in France, Belgium and Portugal.
Major threats to some bird species include collisions with power lines, electrocution, and disturbances during their breeding season. These threats cause the deaths of millions of individuals in Europe yearly and in some cases seriously threaten the viability of species populations.
Some European species are more vulnerable given their size, morphology, behaviour, and distribution. Thus, the project targets 13 species most impacted by power lines in France, Belgium and Portugal: Little Bustard, Bearded Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Lesser Kestrel, Common Crane, Osprey, White Stork, Black Stork, Eurasian Woodcock, Eurasian Curlew, Northern Lapwing.
SafeLines4Birds project relies on four main goals:
To tackle collision, the project aims to install 3,880 anti-collision diverters on the most dangerous sites. However, those devices are not suitable in all situations and their success rate varies according to species or geographical factors. Therefore, new anti-collision devices will be tested, such as the American ultra-violet Avian Collision System Avoidance system (ACAS), which uses shining UV light on power lines to make them more visible to birds at night. Moreover, innovative installation methods of collision avoidance devices will be tested within the project, such as the use of drones. In some cases, lines will be placed underground to completely eliminate the risk of collision and electrocution in particularly high-risk areas.
There is a strong scientific consensus that the risk of bird electrocution depends on the technical construction and detailed design of electric facilities. In order to reduce this risk, dangerous power poles will be retrofitted and insulated, and deterrence devices installed at the higher risk sites. Platforms and perches will also be set up to protect birds that roost or nest.
Finally, to avoid disturbance, grid maintenance and surveillance methodologies will be adapted – where possible in line with the breeding periods of the target species – to improve their breeding success. As much as possible, flying over breeding sites will be avoided and use of helicopters will be limited.
All results collected will be shared in an open and standardised way, benefiting the understanding about bird-grid interactions and the effectiveness of the tested mitigation measures. A SafeLines4Birds open digital platform will be created to centralise all technical information gathered during the project. This will facilitate the dissemination of knowledge regarding technical innovations and equipment across Europe and, through this, support the replication of actions in other countries.
The success of these actions relies on the collaboration of 15 consortium partners, which include Transmission System Operators (TSO), Distribution System Operators (DSO), NGOs and scientific experts from France, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United States.
Relying on existing partnerships in France, Belgium and Portugal, the project is coordinated by the Ligue Pour La Protection des Oiseaux (LPO France), the French branch of BirdLife. The other French partners are Enedis (French DSO), Réseau De Transport D'électricité – RTE (French TSO), LPO Pays De La Loire, LPO Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, LPO Occitanie and LPO Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (local NGOs). Those partners created in 2004 the Avifauna National Committee that aims to reduce the impacts of energy infrastructure on biodiversity and initiated the project SafeLines4Birds. In Portugal the project partners are the Sociedade Portuguesa Para O Estudo das Aves - SPEA (NGO) and E-Redes (Portuguese DSO), and in Belgium Natuurpunt, Natagora (NGOs) and Elia (Belgian TSO).
Joining those partners, EDM International, a US-based corporation, brings a team of wildlife biologists and avian specialists to the consortium. BIOPOLIS-CIBIO is a Portuguese research centre associated to the University of Porto contributing to the project with their expertise on the biodiversity impacts of energy infrastructure through collaborations with TSOs and DSOs in Portugal and across Europe. Finally, RGI brings its expertise in facilitating multi-stakeholder exchanges between diverse partners and its extensive experience coordinating and implementing activities related to the communication and dissemination of projects.
EDM staff is experienced with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and complex third-party, multi-agency permitting and compliance projects. EDM specializes in the practical implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). EDM offers environmental clearances prior to construction, environmental compliance monitoring services and turnkey stormwater solutions for projects resulting in substantial surface disturbance. EDM excels at proactive communication and facilitates collaborative solutions addressing the needs of permit applicants, land managers and regulatory agencies. EDM conducts regulatory trainings to help clients understand and comply with the regulatory framework, while maximizing their own professional effectiveness.
On behalf of a small electric cooperative, EDM developed a 5-year Construction Work Plan (CWP) for existing and proposed power line rights-of-way (ROWs) on federal and private lands to prevent costly and disruptive permitting delays. EDM developed an interactive mapping tool incorporating utility infrastructure/ROWs and sensitive species/habitat data from multiple sources. The tool was used to: a) identify areas where sensitive species could interfere with planned construction and maintenance; b) identify opportunities to schedule work for seasons that would avoid or minimize potential impacts; and c) develop a realistic work schedule that allowed adequate time, where needed, for federal and state permitting. The CWP and associated report allowed the cooperative to optimize their schedule and planning, facilitated permitting by providing appropriate Best Management Practices to minimize or mitigate potential impacts, ensured regulatory compliance and clear agency communications and prevented project delays associated with environmental “surprises.”
EDM has a talented and experienced GIS team that supports both internal projects and consults directly to clients. The GIS team provides state-of-the-art mapping and spatial analysis support with the latest ArcGIS, AutoCAD and CartoPac software and Trimble hardware featuring sub-foot GPS accuracy. The team focuses on database design, geospatial app development/configuration, project operations tracking, and predictive modeling. GIS serves as the “hub” for all inspection projects including virtual inspections as data and deliverables flow through GIS. Where needed, spatial data is collected in the field using custom, project-specific forms based on CartoPac’s GPS/GIS-enabled mobile data collection platform. Mobile data collection integrated with cloud-based mapping streamlines workflow, improves accuracy, and maximizes worker efficiency.
The GIS team also works heavily with project and asset managers to model risk to assets, select scope for future mitigation work, and track and geospatially visualize progress throughout any given phase of a project. Web-based apps are used to raise visibility and share data across a wide array of stakeholders.
EDM’s team of industry experts combines decades of experience and state-of-the-art technology know-how with a client-centered, collaborative approach to developing and implementing safe, reliable, compliant, cost-effective, cross-functional, programmatic solutions for utility vegetation management (UVM), including:
The increased frequency of apex fire weather conditions, combined with aging infrastructure, declining forest health and increased human development in wildland areas, have created significant challenges for utilities operating in wildfire-prone areas.
EDM’s team of experts collaborates with utilities, independent operators and government agencies/regulators to develop and implement cross-functional, programmatic solutions for wildfire prevention and protection, including:
Findings are disseminated through peer-reviewed papers, conference presentations, reports, monograph contributions and DVDs, as permissible under the terms of our partner and licensing agreements. EDM provides consulting on study design, data collection protocols and statistical analysis and has developed a number of commercially successful products, both independently and with industry partners.
The Bird Strike Indicator (BSI), developed by EDM, is an automated monitoring tool that detects and records bird strikes on overhead wires or guy wires, and transmits real time data to remote desktops. BSIs have been deployed throughout the U.S. (including Alaska) and in Europe, Africa and the Pacific Islands. Utility companies, permitting agencies, and industry researchers have used the BSI to identify high risk power line segments, evaluate collision risks to sensitive bird species, and determine the effectiveness of line marking devices. BSIs have been used to determine the need — or lack thereof — for both proactive and reactive line marking. The BSI recently was specified as NEPA-required mitigation for a new, high-profile transmission line bisecting a critical migration corridor.
In order to address avian fatalities, many utilities now check equipment for potential areas that may pose hazards for birds. A common method is to look under power lines for dead birds. Identifying species for these fatalities is important for a number of reasons. When decomposed carcasses, bone pieces, feathers or pellets are found under electrical structures, it can be difficult to identify the species. This guide provides a resource for identifying partial remains of selected avian species.
In partnership with PIER, EDM has developed and made available a photographic guide to identifying the remains of selected species of raptors.
Video: Raptors at Risk EDM’s role is often that of educator through serving as host or participant in workshops on animal interactions with electric utility infrastructure. Educational projects include the development of an interactive web site on raptor electrocutions for the California Energy Commission, http://bems.edmlink.com, and a product encyclopedia of mitigating products for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). EDM co-produced the award winning video/DVD “Raptors at Risk,” as well as a photographic field guide for identifying raptor remains. To purchase these publications and view a list of the Environmental Services Group publications, please contact us at the number below or via email.
Click here to order a copy of the "Raptors at Risk" video.
BSI is an automated, cost-effective tool for continuous detection and recording of bird collisions on power and communication lines.
The Bird Strike Indicator (BSI) is an automated vibration-sensing and recording tool designed to detect bird strikes on aerial cables such as power lines and guy wires. It affordably provides utilities the ability to identify the most dangerous line segments and determine the effectiveness of line marking devices. The BSI uses accelerometers to record stress waves and vibrations caused by a bird strike. The BSI sensors are installed on the monitored wires and transmit strike activity wirelessly to a nearby base station where the data is recorded.