Wind Power Services

turbine

Each wind development project is unique. Site specific considerations vary across the country, between habitat types, and on local geography. Merlin Ecological’s national experience allows us to focus on the services you need.

We have the scientific experience for quality ecological analysis and the ingenuity to create pragmatic solutions to match your project goals.  We work with you, local residents, and state and federal permitting agencies to ensure a smooth process from beginning to end.

Wind development is a primary focus at Merlin Ecological.  We offer your project an integrated set of ecological services that cover initial site screening to post-construction monitoring. We can also provide targeted services to suit your needs.  A short list of the services we can provide:

  • Initial Site Review
  • Avian Acoustic Monitoring
  • Avian Point Count Surveys
  • Avoidance & Minimization Planning
  • Bat Acoustic Monitoring
  • Endangered Species Surveys
  • Mitigation & Adaptive  Management
  • Post-Construction Monitoring
  • Quantitative Risk Analysis
  • Raptor Nest Surveys
  • Sensitive Habitat Mapping
  • USFWS recommended Tier 1 through Tier 5 review
  • Additional services to suit your project

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 Initial site Review (critical issues analysis)is desktop review of the biological issues that may affect your wind energy project.  We review site specific information for your project location and surrounding area.  We review plant and animal communities; migratory pathways and geographic features of biological importance; and an analysis of endangered, threatened and special concern species nearby.  We can also provide preliminary design recommendations to avoid and minimize impacts.

Avian Acoustic Monitoring is a cost effective way to obtain large sample sizes during the most risky periods.   We use automated monitoring equipment to record hundreds and even thousands of hours of migration.  A biologist then can screen the recordings in a fraction of the time to determine the species and activity levels at your location.

 Avian Point Count Surveys are the industry standard for determining what species are present, and the relative abundance of each species.  These surveys form the basis for most quantitative risk analysis.  We can combine these surveys with a GIS based “risk topography” which can be used in final site planning.

Crested Caracara (courtesy of B. Pranty)

Avoidance & Minimization Planning are an essential component of an Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP) or Best Practices document.  These documents provide important ongoing guidance, provide assurances to regulatory agencies, may speed permitting, and help avoid legal issues when implemented in partnership with the regulating agencies.

Bat Acoustic Monitoring is the industry standard for assessing risk adn potential impacts to bat species on site.  We have conducted numerous acoustic surveys and analyses.

 

Endangered Species surveys assess the presence of and risk to listed species.  While we can conduct surveys on almost any species, we often bring in recognized experts or coordinate with agency personnel to ensure high quality defensible assessments.  Species we have recently worked on include Bald Eagle,  Crested Caracara, Florida Mastiff Bat, Indiana Bat, Kirtland’s Warbler, Massassauga Rattlesnake, Northern Harrier, and Wood Stork.

Mitigation & Adaptive  Management is similar to avoidance and minimization, but involves compensation for unavoidable losses, and planning in case losses are higher than anticipated.

Post-Construction Monitoring provides assurance to regulatory authorities that your pre-construction assessment was unbiased, and provides an early warning system in case there are unanticipated issues.  We have trained technicians, as well as K9 survey units ready to deploy onto your site, or we can assist with training your personnel and conducting quality assurance trials.  Whether you want to conduct monitoring as a precursor to further wind projects, as part of a good stewardship policy, or as a permit requirement, we are here to help.

Quantitative Risk Analysis We have developed a simple method for assessing the risk to each species on a  project site.  Our results provide a straightforward and transparent assessment of impacts and can be used to compare between sites.

Raptor Nest Surveys are standard in many states.  We have experience conducting aerial and ground surveys, long term monitoring, and flight path analysis.

Sensitive Habitat Mapping can help you avoid and minimize impacts. Projects can be analyzed to provide micro-site evaluations or landscape-level overviews for potentially sensitive habitats, travel corridors or migration pathways. Paired with on-the-ground surveys, habitat mapping can be a powerful tool to help you avoid and minimize impacts and proceed smoothly through permitting.

Additional services to suit your project We are happy to work with you to assess your specific project needs.  Based upon state, location and habitat type, your project may need some services but not others.  We are happy to work with you in creating a plan that suits your needs.

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