ESE coordinated and conducted eagle and threatened and endangered species surveys for a proposed utility-scale wind farm facility in south-central Oklahoma. Target species included large raptors, including eagles and the American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus).
ESE conducted two years of aerial (helicopter-based) eagle and raptor nest surveys covering approximately 20,000 acres. Surveys were performed in accordance with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recommendations, including the Landbased Wind Energy Guidelines and Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance Module 1 – Land-based Wind Energy (Version 2) and included use of a transect-based methodology for survey of the proposed development area and a one-mile buffer thereof, as well as targeted surveys of landscape features within ten miles of the project, including large water bodies. Aerial surveys were with ground-based nest monitoring, in order to verify nest occupancy, and, if eagles were present, nest phenology. The data collected during the raptor and eagle survey effort will inform consultations with USFWS, including discussion of turbine placement, mitigation requirements, and potential Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) permitting.
ESE also provided oversight and coordination of USFWS-protocol surveys for the American Burying Beetle within the proposed development area. Surveys for this species are currently ongoing, and will be used to inform USFWS as to the status of the species within the survey area, including determination of the potential need for a Section 10 permit and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).