• Environmental Services

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Environmental Services

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.

Services

Avian Protection, Assessment & Mitigation

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    EDM has developed over 110 Avian Protection Plans (APPs) for small and large electric utilities, mining companies, oil and gas operators and federal agencies, throughout the U.S. and abroad. APPs and Avian Risk Assessments (ARAs) provide a roadmap for managing avian and wildlife interactions with power lines, substations and other aboveground structures such as mining/oil and gas infrastructure, communication towers and wind facilities. Clients report that EDM APPs improve system reliability, public relations and regulatory compliance; agencies reviewing the APPs describe them as exemplary. EDM’s ARAs and mitigation recommendations are the industry gold standard.

    Avian Protection/Reliability Services:
    • Electrocution & Collision Risk Assessments
    • New Construction Standards
    • Avian-Friendly Retrofits & Mitigation
    • Bird Streamer & Pollution Review
    • Animal-caused Outage Studies
    • Substation Design
    • Perch & Nest Management
    • Avian Reporting
    • Training & Workshops
    • Litigation Support

    FEATURED PROJECT

    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.

    Environmental Permitting & Compliance

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      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. 

      Related Technical Specialties Include:
      • NEPA Analysis
      • ESA Section 7MBTA & BGEPA
      • Permitting & Reporting
      • Wildlife & Nesting Clearances
      • Stormwater Permitting & Mitigation
      • Environmental Compliance Monitoring
      • Regulatory Affairs Analysis & Training

      FEATURED PROJECT

      As a third-party designee under both NEPA and ESA, EDM analyzed potential impacts from a 115kV transmission line rebuild across multiple land jurisdictions with three federal oversight agencies. EDM navigated and facilitated complex interagency communications; assessed multi-disciplinary impacts across federal, state and private lands in a high-profile and biologically sensitive area; conducted an avian collision risk assessment across miles of a National Wildlife Refuge; implemented detailed wetlands analyses and mitigation planning; conducted pre-construction biological surveys; and managed construction and post-construction environmental monitoring. EDM’s specialized knowledge of avian risks and mitigation allayed agency concerns, substantially accelerating the permitting process and ultimately, project completion.
      Natural Resource Assessment and Planning
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        EDM’s technical specialists in wildlife, plants, wetlands, soils and surface waters conduct baseline studies to scope environmental issues, provide the framework for impact assessments and identify opportunities for avoidance or mitigation. EDM proactively identifies project-specific environmental issues early in the planning process and incorporates protection measures into the project description to streamline assessments, optimize timelines and minimize costs. Scaled to meet client goals, studies range from desktop GIS analyses to field-based habitat assessments, nest searches, or presence/absence surveys.
        Related Technical Specialties Include:
        • Special Status Species
        • Seasonal Bird Use & Presence
        • Trapping, Tagging, & Tracking
        • Habitat Assessment
        • Surface Water & Soils Assessment
        • Runoff & Erosion Modeling
        • Post-fire Risk Analysis & Mitigation
        • Integrated Resource Assessment
        • Linear Routing
        • Infrastructure Siting
        • Construction Work Plan Development

        FEATURED PROJECT

        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.”
        Wind Energy & Communication Tower Review
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          EDM’s expertise in environmental permitting and compliance, avian overhead line studies and communication tower studies has facilitated the company’s expansion into wind facility review and assessment. The wind industry and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are encouraging wind developers to apply approaches and measures similar to those used in avian protection plans for electric utilities to prepare applicable protection plans for wind energy facilities to minimize potential effects to birds and bats and aid in complying with key federal legislation, including the MBTA, ESA, BGEPA and NEPA. EDM’s team has experience with the applicable federal, state, county and/or local permitting and compliance requirements that are becoming more integral to wind facility planning. Most importantly, EDM can provide insight for both short- and long-term project planning, encompassing regulatory knowledge, established and proven practices, standardized methods and metrics and proactive communications. EDM co-authored a detailed review of avian collision studies with communication towers for the FCC in 2004. EDM also has conducted post-construction bird collision studies to determine the potential long-term collision risk to birds from tower operation.
          Applicable Experience Includes:
          • Pre-Construction Screening
          • Preliminary & Detailed Wildlife & Plant Baseline Studies
          • Federal, State, & Local Permitting & Compliance
          • Section 7 review under the ESA
          • Post-Construction Surveys

          FEATURED PROJECT

          Tasked with delineating priority structures for eagle-friendly electrical retrofits in a 12,000‑square-mile service territory, EDM modeled the region in GIS, using habitat, nesting and observational data to calculate the relative priority of each 30-meter grid cell. In an iterative process, features in each data layer were assigned positive or negative weights based on the scientific literature and EDM’s deep expertise in avian protection planning. Priority areas were smoothed and aggregated using nearest-neighbor techniques, generating minimum-sized polygons for field personnel and planners. Deliverables included identification of eagle priority areas and an ESRI model, facilitating improvements and updates as new data become available.
          Mobile Data Collection, Mapping and Spatial Analysis
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            EDM 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. A full project cycle might include planning and field study maps, make-ready work drawings, a construction atlas, as-built drawings and an operations and maintenance plan atlas. 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. EDM uses natural resources data to model environmental impacts, compare project alternatives and develop appropriate mitigation measures. Mobile data collection integrated with cloud-based mapping streamlines work flow, improves accuracy and maximizes worker efficiency.
            GIS Technical Specialties Include:
            • APP, ARA & Permitting & Compliance Support
            • Mobile Data Collection Hardware, Software, & Integration
            • Cartography & Graphic Design
            • Full Project Cycle Map Development
            • Siting & Routing Comparative Analyses
            • Statistical & Spatial Modeling
            • Cloud-based GIS Integration
            • Scripting & Automation
            • Geodatabase & Workflow Development
            • System & Asset Mapping

            FEATURED PROJECT

            Tasked with delineating priority structures for eagle-friendly electrical retrofits in a 12,000‑square-mile service territory, EDM modeled the region in GIS, using habitat, nesting, and observational data to calculate the relative priority of each 30-meter grid cell. In an iterative process, features in each data layer were assigned positive or negative weights based on the scientific literature and EDM’s deep expertise in avian protection planning. Priority areas were smoothed and aggregated using nearest-neighbor techniques, generating minimum-sized polygons for field personnel and planners. Deliverables included identification of eagle priority areas and an ESRI model, facilitating improvements and updates as new data become available.
            Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Services

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              EDM uses a variety of UAS aircraft, flight control systems and post processing systems to tailor missions to meet specific objectives identified by clients. Missions can be as small as confirmation of activity in a single bird nest, or as large as multiple miles of distribution line, transmission line, or gas pipeline rights-of-way. EDM carefully maintains currency in aircraft, sensor technologies and payloads, flight and analysis software and pilot certifications. Our multiple certified pilots ensure flexibility and timeliness in responding to customer needs. Our ability to leverage LiDAR, PhoDAR and infrared technologies ensures that flight parameters meet mission goals.

              Recent UAS Projects Include:
              • Distribution Line & Equipment Inspection
              • Transmission Line & Equipment Inspection
              • Gas Line & Natural Areas Inspection
              • Pre- & Post-Construction Documentation
              • 3D Photogrammetry (PhoDAR point clouds)
              • Orthomosaic Imagery
              • Terrain Modeling
              • Transmission Phase Identification
              • Installation of Collision Mitigation Line Markers
              • Avian Nest Status Checks
              • UAS Environmental Applications Document for the Electric Power Research Institute
              Applied Research, Product R&D and Outreach

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                EDM seeks objective, decision-relevant and science-based answers to difficult challenges. EDM maintains an active applied research program, combining expertise in wildlife study design, engineering and product development. EDM partners with industries and industry groups, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and academia to develop practical solutions to pressing concerns. EDM strives to expand the scientific understanding of wildlife interactions with electric utility infrastructure, improve the effectiveness of mitigation products and develop new technology for monitoring and preventing interactions between wildlife and infrastructure.

                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.

                Recent Applied Research and R&D Projects Include:
                • Predictive Avian Electrocution Model
                • Perch Deterrent Effectiveness Study
                • Nest Deterrent Effectiveness Study
                • Line Marking Effectiveness Analysis
                • Woodpecker Damage Prevention Study
                • Pole Repair Products Testing
                • Migratory Response to New Transmission Line
                • Wildlife Insulation Materials Evaluation
                • UAV-assisted Line Marker Installation
                • Automated Avian Hazing Field Study

                FEATURED PROJECT

                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.

                Resources

                Guide to Raptor Remains

                guide raptor remainsIn 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. 

                Environmental Publications

                Below is a link to our up-to-date list of publications produced from the folks in EDM’s Environmental Services sector. Feel free to print out a copy for your review.

                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.

                Video: Raptors at Risk

                raptors at risk videoVideo: 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.

                Bird Strike Indicator - BSI

                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.

                EDM International, Inc. is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado and has offices in San Diego, California,
                Billings, Montana and Phoenix, Arizona 
                as well as staff in other locations in North America.

                Copyright © 2022 EDM International, Inc. |  4001 Automation Way • Fort Collins, CO 80525 U.S.A. • 970-204-4001  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
                Design & Development, Full Circle Creative | Cover image: Erik Stensland, "Bierstadt Fire" - Rocky Mountain National Park - not far from EDM's Headquarters.