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Appendix B: Avian Protection Plan Development General Guidelines

 

Voluntary Avian Protection Plans (APP) Recommendations for Wind Energy Development in Wyoming

USFWS Action
Wind Developer Action
Provide general avian/wind energy development information on websites and through agency conatacts Review available information to select a project site with low avian risk
Pre- Construction

Year
1

Provide guidance on avian survey needs for APP and eagle take permit applications
  • Review avian survey guidance
  • Plan 1st year avian surveys (all seasons)
Review Wind Developer’s avian survey methodology and provide guidance as needed
  • Meet with FWS to finalize avian survey protocols
  • Complete 1st year avian surveys
  • Provide USFWS with avian survey report
  • Review 1st year survey results
  • Advise Developer of avian concerns
  • Recommend second year avian survey needs based on 1st year results
  • Provide guidance on APP development based on 1st year survey results
  • Meet with FWS to finalize 2nd year avian survey protocols
  • Plan surveys
  • Start drafting APP
  • Establish control plots

Year
2

Provide guidance on APP development
  • Complete second year avian surveys
  • Provide USFWS with avian survey report
  • Provide USFWS with APP outline and draft contents
  • Plan and map project layouts to avoid/minimize avian impacts

Year
3

  • Review 2nd year survey results and assess project layout options to avoid and/or minimize avian impacts
  • Identify if third year surveys are needed and provide guidance on post-construction monitoring
  • If needed, complete 3rd year avian surveys
  • Develop post construction survey protocols
  • Meet with FWS for review of avian survey results
  • Complete draft of APP
By Construction
  • Review 3rd year survey results and assess project layout options to avoid and/or minimize avian impacts
  • Review APP
  • Provide guidance on mitigation in the APP and any applicable permits
  • Finalize APP
  • Incorporate APP as a company document to be used for the life of the project and amended as necessary with review by FWS
Life of the Project
  • Review avian mortality reports and studies
  • Provide guidance on APP modification as needed to ensure avoidance and minimization of avian impacts
  • Use APP to direct avian protection measures and surveys, to evaluate avian trends, and to measure effectiveness of protection measures
  • Provide post construction monitoring results and studies to FWS
  • Meet with FWS as described in APP
  • Revise APP as needed

Avian Survey Recommendations for Wind Energy, Avian Protection Plans in Wyoming

A Wind Energy APP+ depends on avian surveys beginning with project site selection and continuing through project development and operation.

Time Survey Effort Product to FWS
Year
1
Identify and map important bird habitats (IBH) (e.g. water features, prey base, nest /roost/perch sites, cliffs/ridges/thermal updrafts, migration corridors, focus species habitats) in project area and appropriate buffer.
  • IBH map and GIS shape files
Survey for raptor nest sites and activity in project area and buffer to be determined (See draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance).
  • Maps of nest sites by species and activity and GIS shape files
Survey species composition and abundance (all seasons) Select point-count, transects and/or radar locations by habitat type. (Record species, numbers, and behaviors (e.g., flight heights, flight direction).
  • Tabulated occurrence data by location
  • Maps and GIS shape files
Eagle surveys as needed to develop an Eagle Conservation Plan.
  • Mapped and tabulated data
Survey for focus species known to be impacted by wind energy development (e.g. raptors) and migratory flocks (all seasons) by selecting survey points and radar zones to maximize viewshed/ geographic coverage of the project area and IBHs (add survey points if there is suspected use of project area by focus
  • Map of locations/flight paths with frequency of occurrence/ observation effort indicated on grid maps (e.g.100m x 100m).
  • GIS shape files.
Incidental avian observations. Record incidental observations of eagles, focus species, other species of note, and migratory flocks.
  • Mapped and tabulated by location
Year
2
Repeat IBH surveys
  • IBH map and GIS shape files
Repeat raptor nest surveys
  • Mapped and tabulated data
Refine point count, transects and/or radar surveys of species composition and abundance based on FWS review of first year results
  • Mapped and tabulated data
Repeat eagle surveys
  • Mapped and tabulated data
Repeat surveys of focus species adjusted by first year survey results
  • Same as for Year One. Combine both years of data.
Incidental avian observations
  • Tabulated by location
Year
3
Third year surveys based on FWS review of two years of survey results. May include evaluating areas of concentrated abundance/seasonal use and further delineating focus species use.
  • Avian Risk map: to be used to adjust project layout and evaluate construction and operation risks
Repeat eagle surveys
  • Mapped and tabulated data
Year
4
Fatality surveys
Monitoring/mapping changes in IBH
Monitoring of focus species nest activity
Point count surveys in project area and control plots, or establishing research studie
s as guided by FWS
  • Mortality reports. Post Construction monitoring to be used to guide adaptive management/ mitigation in the APP

+Wind Energy Avian Protection Plans (APP) include (1) comprehensive pre and post construction avian surveys, (2) identification of project elements that are threats to avian species, and (3) project management to avoid and minimize avian threats through (a) project design and layout, (b) conservation measures applied during construction, and (c) conservation measures implemented during operation and adapted to changing situations.

Contents of Wind Energy Avian Protection Plans

  1. Corporate policy: Statement of company commitment to protect migratory birds.
  2. Description of the Project action covered by the APP.
  3. Pre-construction avian surveys: Survey methodologies (with survey results provided in appendices).
  4. Pre-construction planning: Description of plans to minimize and avoid avian impacts through project infra-structure design, layout, construction, and operation modifications based on survey results provided in appendices.
  5. Avian Monitoring during Construction and Operations: Description of ongoing and adaptive avian monitoring methodologies (based on survey results provided in appendices).
  6. Personnel Training: Description and schedule of training for all personnel (supervisors, construction, operation, and maintenance, and others) on reasons, needs, and procedures for avoiding and minimizing impacts to avian species and reporting of avian concerns such as injuries, fatalities and nest disturbance. Proactive reporting, e.g. reporting avian concerns prior to avian injury or fatality is emphasized.
  7. Avian Risk Assessment: Methods for evaluating threats to avian species. Threat assessments begin with pre-construction surveys to identify the presence and use patterns of species likely to be impacted by construction and operation. Threat assessments involve monitoring through-out project operation and may require involvement of avian experts for development of adaptive management to reduce threats.
  8. Threat reduction measures: Timeline descriptions of what/where/when/how remedial actions are/will be focused. Threat reduction measures are listed, prioritized and scheduled. Descriptions of how measure will be implemented.
  9. Quality control: Review of threat reduction management actions and results. Modify or refine threat reduction measures with new information, changes in species concerns, or with technological innovations. Independent assessments and research on the effectiveness of different techniques/technologies used to avoid or minimize risks may be needed.
  10. Studies: Sstudies to investigtae project-specific threat reduction measures.
  11. Permits: Description of process and identification of responsible parties for obtaining and complying with migratory bird permits.
  12. Reporting: Reporting requirements, needs, formats and schedules
  13. Mitigation/ Avian enhancement options: Mitigation to offset habitat loss and/or enhancement of avian populations or habitat that may include working cooperatively with agencies or organizations.
  14. List of key resources: Resources for addressing migratory bird protection including experts to call to aid in resolving avian issues.
  15. Public education: Information on avian issues in wind energy development and avian protection programs.

 

 

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Last updated: April 10, 2013