Eagles

WEST has decades of experience conducting eagle studies and, risk assessments and assisting with eagle regulation compliance. Our wide range of experience includes designing and conducting bald and golden eagle field research, including:

  • eagle use and migration surveys
  • comprehensive aerial and ground-based nest surveys
  • telemetry surveys
  • fatality monitoring
  • supporting municipalities and companies with rules compliance and mitigation
  • preparing Eagle Conservation Plans

Our team of eagle experts develop sound scientific strategies, study designs, and analyses to effectively address eagle issues while withstanding agency and public scrutiny. Our statisticians and biometricians possess an in-depth understanding of the US Fish Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Bayesian approach to predict eagle take. A 2016 publication authored by WEST staff updated the prior distribution for collision rate from the USFWS baseline model using data from 40 wind energy facilities across North America with modern turbine specifications. Our expertise assures credible, objective, and responsible solutions for our clients. Our professional relationships with USFWS and state agencies helps ensure timely solutions to our clients’ permitting and compliance needs.

Eagle Areas of Expertise

  • Avoidance, Minimization, and Mitigation Strategies
  • Compliance Strategies: Eagle Conservation Plans and Bird and Bat Conservation Strategies
  • Experimental Advanced Conservation Practices Research and Development
  • Population Monitoring
  • Resource Equivalency Analysis

Peer-Reviewed Eagle Publications

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Project Highlights

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Western-Wide Golden Eagle Survey

WEST developed the aerial survey design and analysis methods for the first western wide golden eagle survey in 2003 for USFWS. Aerial survey efforts were annually from 2006 to 2017. This survey which covers over 17,500 kilometers of transects in under 30 days, has resulted in four peer-reviewed publications. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits “take” of eagles and defines “take” to include human alterations that cause interference with or interruption of normal habits, feeding or breeding or cause nest abandonment, injury, or death. This monitoring effort provided consistent baseline information on golden eagle abundance and trends across the western US, and allowed USFWS to evaluate potential effects of authorizing take requests for energy and other development, protection of livestock, and ceremonial purposes. 

Eagle Permitting

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits “take” of eagles and defines “take” to include human alterations that cause interference with or interruption of normal habits, feeding, or breeding or cause nest abandonment, injury, or death. In 2009, and revised in 2016, the USFWS published regulations that allow for the issuance of Incidental Take Permits for eagles under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

WEST has and continues to assist clients in obtaining eagle Incidental Take Permits and nest disturbance permits for projects across the US. Additionally, WEST is actively assisting wind energy clients in the development of single or multi-project Eagle Conservation Plans and permit applications for over 50 wind facilities across the range of both bald and golden eagles. All of these activities have included extensive coordination with the USFWS Migratory Bird Permit Offices in all regions of the continental US. In doing so, we have developed strong and trusted working relationships with USFWS staff across the country. Industries that WEST has supported through the eagle incidental take or nest disturbance permitting process have included:

  • wind energy
  • solar energy
  • oil and gas upstream development and pipelines
  • transmission lines
  • other development (e.g., golf courses, commercial warehouse, etc.)