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
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.