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Portland, Ore.-based Iberdrola Renewables has released an avian and bat protection plan. The plan is modeled in part after the 2005 avian protection plan template developed by 30 electric utility companies, numerous electric cooperatives and rural utilities, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to address impacts of transmission and distribution lines on birds. Iberdrola's plan applies those principles to its wind fleet and addresses bats as well as birds.

Currently, 836 species of migratory birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Many birds and bats are also protected by the Endangered Species Act and other federal and state wildlife statutes. The Iberdrola Renewables' plan establishes internal processes that will help the company responsibly develop wind energy while addressing wildlife concerns.

Iberdrola Renewables' plan contains a corporate policy about wildlife protection and establishes a process for contact with agencies and non-governmental organizations early in the site assessment stage of project evaluation. It also sets up internal policies for pre- and post-construction monitoring and proper site design, impact assessment, permit compliance, nest management, training, mortality reduction measures and mitigation. It supports Iberdrola Renewables' efforts on research and includes sections on quality control, public awareness, cost and implementation.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commends Iberdrola Renewables for seeking ways to minimize bird and bat deaths at their wind turbine facilities while pursuing renewable energy development in an environmentally responsible way," says USFWS Director H. Dale Hall. "The plan's principles, similar to ones originally developed by the electric utility industry to minimize bird electrocutions and power line collisions, will reduce risk to birds and liability under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act."

Service staffs from the Migratory Bird Program and the Office of Law Enforcement have been working with the company's U.S. wind permitting director for nearly a year to develop and refine the plan.

SOURCE: Iberdrola Renewables


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