With bird nesting season in full swing, our Mid-Atlantic Environmental team has been providing dozens of migratory bird evaluations in short succession. Due to the high volume and rapid turnaround time required for these surveys, we have nicknamed the group doing the surveys the “Bird Rapid Response Team (BRRT).” Dana and Jannifer share with us more about what the BRRT does.
Provide a brief synopsis of what the Bird Rapid Response Team does.
For a little background, most birds in North America are protected under several environmental conservation acts, such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Federal Endangered Species Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, as well as state regulations. Our team supports our clients by providing guidance on complying with these regulations and helping avoid impacts to these species through the design and building process.
If a client is working on a project that requires migratory bird and other protected species monitoring (i.e. cell tower, water tower, transmission line, pipeline development, etc.) and finds a bird nesting in the area, they would need our support. We go to the site, find the nest, identify the bird species, note if the nest is active and determine where they are in their breeding season. If the nest is active, we advise our clients to what sort of work they may be able to perform and estimate when the nest would be declared inactive based on what we find. We can also perform stress monitoring for birds during construction activities even if the nest is not located on an artificial structure. For example, if a client is doing road work near a protected nest, stress monitoring would be a service that we could provide to limit the possibility that the road work would cause the bird to abandon its nest causing a “take” under these regulations.
Our team can travel anywhere in the United States and mobilize to produce a deliverable within days for our clients in order to minimize the disruption to their project.
How was the Bird Rapid Response Team started?
A client reached out to us to inquire about conducting biological monitoring on super structures all over the country. With our diverse backgrounds and depth of personnel, we were able to put together a team of knowledgeable employees with years of diverse experience conducting biological monitoring. This particular client required a quick response due to the nature of their work and our team was designed to provide these surveys, start to finish, within seven days anywhere in the country.
Share a highlight of one of the projects you’ve worked on as part of the BRR.
On a recent project, we monitored a cell tower for suspect migratory bird nests located on top of a mountain in central California. We noted multiple large birds perched on the towers, but no signs of any nests. Upon further investigation, we observed that at least half of them had wing tags. Approximately 16 California Condors, a critically endangered species, were using the towers as perching spots overlooking the valley, ranch lands, and the surrounding mountains. During the observation period, four additional Condors were observed flying and perching within close proximity to the observation point. A very small percentage of the world has ever seen that many Condors in one location. Approximately 4.5% of the world’s population in one spot! It was pretty amazing.
What types of clients could utilize us for these services?
People that work on super structures, including cell towers, bridges, dams, water towers, transmission lines, pipe lines, as well as wind farms, roadway projects and utility companies.
We can also perform these services for animals that not are birds, including turtles, marine mammals (seals, dolphins, whales, etc.) for in-water work and more.
Thanks Dana and Jannifer for sharing. If you are interested in learning more about our environmental services, including the BRRT, please contact us!