New Guidebook Offers Latest Insight On Reducing Bird Collisions With Power Lines

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) today released their updated state-of-the-art guidance document Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines: State of the Art in 2012.  This manual, originally published in 1994, identifies best practices and provides specific guidance to help electric utilities and cooperatives, federal power administrations, wildlife agencies and other stakeholders reduce bird collisions with power lines. 

The Service worked with APLIC, a voluntary partnership among the utility industry, wildlife resource agencies, conservation groups, and manufacturers of avian protection products, to revise the guidance using the most current published science and technical information.

"This updated guidance provides state-of-the-art guidance to help utilities and regulators site, design, and operate power lines and other electrical infrastructure to reduce bird injury and mortality from power line and infrastructure collisions, ensure compliance with Federal conservation laws and enhance the reliability of electrical energy delivery," said Service Director Dan Ashe.  "The cooperative effort between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee exemplifies what we can achieve when we work together for conservation.”

On behalf of APLIC, Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn said, “As electric utility investment in the nation’s power grid continues to increase, so too does the need to reduce bird injury and death from power lines.  The industry’s commitment and efforts to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are contributing effective methods for reducing collisions.  We encourage all stakeholders to use this new guidebook and benefit from its invaluable advice.”

"APLIC-member utilities and the Service have had a long history of working together to find practical solutions to minimize avian impacts from power line construction and operations," said PacifiCorp Avian Program Manager and APLIC Chair Sherry Liguori.  “This updated collision manual edition, along with the 2006 Electrocution Manual, the 2005 Avian Protection Plan Guidelines, and Edison Electric Institute’s 2001 Introduction to Public Participation, provides utilities with a toolbox of the latest technology, science, expertise, and field experience."

Since the early 1970s, the electric utility industry, wildlife resource agencies including the Service, conservation groups, universities, and manufacturers of avian protection products have worked together to understand the causes of bird-power line collisions and electrocutions, and to develop ways of preventing bird mortalities, as well as associated power outages.  APLIC leads the electric utility industry in protecting avian resources, while enhancing reliable energy delivery, and is often cited as the example of a partnership that works well for the industry, the agencies, the conservation community, and the power consumers.

Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines was first published by APLIC and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) in 1994 under the title Mitigating Bird Collisions with Power Lines, as a comprehensive review of avian collisions with power lines and recommendations for minimizing them.  The 2012 version was co-authored by several U.S. utilities and a Canadian utility; wildlife biologists from the Service, the USDA Rural Utilities Service, and the U.S. Department of Energy; and representatives from the consulting firm Normandeau Associates. A companion document, Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines, was published by APLIC and the Service in 2006.  

Both guidance documents, as well as other materials for reducing bird collisions with power lines are available at www.aplic.org.


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