Transmission Migratory Birds
Present, Potentially Affected
- BLM-NV-WN-ES-08-01-1310, NV-020-08-01 (Blue Mountain Geothermal Well Field and Power Plant EA)
- Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission (Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project Environmental Impact Statement)
- DOE-EA-1759 (EA for Geothermal/Exploration at Southwest Alaska Regional Geothermal Energy Project Naknek, Alaska)
- DOE-EA-1849 (EA for Northern Nevada Geothermal Power Plant Project at McGuinness Hills Geothermal Area)
- DOI-BLM-CA-EA-2002-??? (Glass Mountain Exploration Environmental Assessment/Initial Study for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091 (Jersey Valley and Buffalo Valley Geothermal Development Projects EA for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2011-0026-EA (Clayton Valley Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0006-EA (Gabbs Valley and Dead Horse Wells Geothermal Exploration Projects EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0008-EA (EA at Soda Lake Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0010-EA (EA at Coyote Canyon and Dixie Meadows for Geothermal/Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA (EA for Airborne Electromagnetic Survey at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0001-EA (Coyote Canyon Utilization Project EA for TGP for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0516-EA (EA for Thermal Gradient Holes at Dixie Meadows Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2012-0029-EA (Tungsten Mountain Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Geothermal/Well Field Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2012-0050-EA (Wild Rose Geothermal Project EA for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2012-0051-EA (Coyote Canyon South Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-NV-CC-ES-11-10-1793 (Salt Wells Geothermal Energy Projects EIS for Geothermal/Power Plant Development Drilling)
- DOI-BLM-NV-CO10-2011-0501-EA (EA for Phase II Production Wells and Thermal Gradient Holes at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2010-0004-EA (New York Canyon Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2011-0001-EA (EA of the Leach Hot Springs Geothermal Exploration Project at Grass Valley Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field Drilling and Well Testing)
- DOI-BLM-NV-W010–2012–0005–EA (EA for Development Drilling at New York Canyon Geothermal Utilization and Interconnect Project for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Transmission, Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-NV-W030-2010-0006-EA (EA for Drilling and Flow Testing at San Emidio Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-OR-P000-2011-0003-EA (EA for Newberry Volcano Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) Demonstration Project for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-OR-P040-0021-EA (EA for Exploratory Wells at Midnight Point and Mahogany Geothermal Exploration Projects, Glass Buttes, Oregon for Geothermal/Exploration)
- DOI-BLM-OR-V040-2011-0008-EA (EA for Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Well Construction Right of Way, Phase 2 for Geothermal/Well Field)
- DOI-BLM-UT-C010-2010-0042-EA (EA of Cove Fort/Sulphurdale Geothermal Utilization Plan for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- DOI-BLM-UT-W020-2010-042-EA (EA for Exploration and Development Drilling at Drum Mountain Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration)
- EA for Well Field Development at Patua Geothermal Area - DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-00016-EA (EA for Phase II of Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field)
- LLNV-WO1000-2009-0002-EA (EA for Observation Wells at Jersey Valley II Geothermal Exploration Project)
- NV-020-03-26 (Desert Peak 2 Geothermal Project Environmental Assessment for Geothermal/Power Plant)
- NV-020-07-EA-01 (EA for Observation Wells at Jersey Valley Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Exploration)
- NV-063-EA06-098 (Reese River Valley Geothermal Exploration Project Environmental Assessment)
The Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918 provides regulations to protect birds from human impacts. It prohibits activities that: “Pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, cause to be shipped, deliver for transportation, transport, cause to be transported, carry, or cause to be carried by any means whatever, receive for shipment, transportation or carriage, or export, at any time, or in any manner, any migratory bird, included in the terms of this Convention . . . for the protection of migratory birds . . . or any part, nest, or egg of any such bird." (16 U.S.C. 703). This treaty applies to the United States of America and its territories.
Examples of listed birds are the following:
- Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
- Black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus)
- Common night hawk (Chordeiles minor)
- Red tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
- Barn owl (Tyto alba)
- Snowy egret (Egretta thula)
Migratory Birds Impacts & Mitigation
Infrastructure such as transmission line towers, power lines, ancillary facilities, and substations harm migratory birds, as they are not accustomed to coexisting with high voltage and pathway obstruction. The nesting season lasts from May 1st-September 15th, activating special provisions to protect birds. If construction activities occur during these months, young bird development becomes threatened.
The following mitigation measures can decrease the impacts to birds and transmission line facilities:
- Provide training programs for employees to learn bird migration patterns, area specific species, essential habitats, and laws protecting birds. Develop an Avian Protection Plan to take proactive measures against bird electrocution and injury.
- To mitigate avian collisions with transmission lines, mark shield wires, guy wires, and overhead optical ground wires with flight diverters. Conduct similar processes in areas where the line crosses, or is adjacent to water.
- Close off any gaps or narrow open hollow spaces in the proposed facilities or structures capable of trapping cavity-nesting birds. Fill or cap any open-ended posts to discourage new nests during construction.
- Cover phase conductors with manufactured covers, add perch discouragers on cross arms and on top of poles and space each conductor farther than the minimum distance required to mitigate avian electrocution. Furthermore, use longer horizontal insulators, suspend phase conductors on top of poles and cross arms, install horizontal jumper support to increase the phase-to-ground separation, replace tension members with fiberglass or non-conducting materials, cover tension members with dielectric material, use fiberglass poles or switches, and install standard nest discouragers.
- Hire a biologist to conduct pre-construction surveys that determine active bird nest status (i.e., containing eggs or young, or a mated pair is observed exhibiting territorial defense, carrying nesting material, and/or transporting food). In some situations, biologists allow vegetation clearing near active bird nests, however noise and physical barriers are mitigation measures to further protect the young birds until they have either “fledged or failed”. In other situations, construction restraints, area closures and site relocation may be suggested to protect the bird habitat.
- Typical surveys occur within 500 feet of tower sites, laydown/staging areas, substation sites, access/spur road locations, or any other area subject to ground disturbance. If no nests are found, proceed with construction.