Eagle Conservation Plans

Utilizing state-of-the-art methods and analyses, WEST has developed reasonable, practical, and, when necessary, sophisticated risk assessments for eagles that can include habitat modeling and take estimation. WEST has successfully designed avoidance and minimization measures at operating facilities, developed mitigation strategies to support Eagle Conservation Plans (ECPs), and developed Resource Equivalency Analysis to quantify necessary mitigation.

In addition to our team’s strong background in wind energy projects, we have participated in the National Environmental Policy Act process associated with ECPs as a sole consultant, an interdisciplinary team leader, and team member for projects that require the US Fish Wildlife Service to consider the potential environmental impacts associated with the actions and alternatives under the National Environmental Policy Act, including Environmental Assessments.

Our team has experience with all aspects of the ECP process and has developed or is currently developing ECPs for over 80 renewable energy projects in the US. In coordination with the USFWS and the Bureau of Land Management, WEST developed one of the first publicly available ECPs, the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility ECP (finalized in February of 2012). WEST is also a leader in the design and analysis associated with eagle fatality monitoring and applying the monitoring results to the USFWS’ eagle collision risk model. Our statisticians and biometricians possess a thorough understanding of the USFWS eagle collision risk model, including the underlying mechanisms and assumptions.

ECP Publications

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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.)