Conservation Measures

Avoiding and Minimizing Impacts to Birds

During the project impact analysis process, developers should identify project-related impacts to migratory birds and the conservation measures that will be used to mitigate them. Under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) framework, mitigation measures (conservation measures) may fall into at least one of 5 categories.  Each category manages the level of impact to birds from a specific project or activity differently, and attempts should be made to avoid and minimize to the maximum extent practicable before advancing to restoration or compensation options. A given mitigation measure may:

  1. Avoid the production of a stressor/impact to birds altogether by not taking a certain action;
  2. Minimize the exposure of birds and their resources to project-related stressors by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation; 
  3. Rectify the effects of an impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment; 
  4. Reduce or eliminate the stressor/impact over time; or
  5. Compensate for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

Measures may either be in the form of ecological or habitat-based measures (those that are aimed specifically at conserving or compensating for impacts to bird habitat) or avian mortality-based (those that are specifically aimed at reducing sources of direct mortality to birds). 

The following links contain a steadily growing compendium of conservation measures that federal agencies, partners and industry can utilize in their daily activities. Some measures are the result of formal partnerships between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) and federal agencies, technical working groups or industry organizations.  The conservation measures within these documents have either been scientifically proven to show a reduction or avoidance in impacts to migratory birds, or are the current expert-supported policy and practice based on the best available science and research to date.

Nationwide Measures

Activity/Structure Specific

Species Specific

In the near future, the Service plans to begin delivering several of the individual conservation measures within these documents directly via the Information Planning and Conservation (IPaC) Tool. To learn more about IPaC and the development of IPaC see the Decision Support Tools webpage.

For additional resources containing guidance on how to avoid and minimize impacts to birds, visit Guidance Documents.

Last Updated: August 30, 2017