Wildlife Surveys and Impact Assessments

ROE ECOLOGICAL SERVICES

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Have a construction or energy development project and need to determine the impact of that project on wildlife and your mitigation options?


We are available to conduct basic wildlife assessments to assess adverse impacts upon wildlife species that could occur as a direct or indirect result of any future development. The primary focus of our impact assessments is to determine whether any potential habitat of any federal or state-listed threatened or endangered species or migratory birds exist on or adjacent to the subject property. We also assess potential impacts to many other species of wildlife - including cottontail rabbits, foxes, deer, elk, bears, etc. 


These habitat-based assessments help us and our clients determine whether in-depth species surveys to determine whether certain species are present (especially during the nesting/breeding season) are warranted. To ensure compliance with local, state and federal laws, it is important to identify the wildlife species issues on your property so you can work towards mitigating any impacts through live relocation or avoidance, or by obtaining the proper state or federal take permits. 


Whether you need a simple plan for avoidance, or large-scale comprehensive mitigation, conservation, and/or management plans, Roe Ecological Services has the expertise to help get you on the right track. 


At Roe Ecological Services, we work hard to help developers find balanced solutions to their wildlife issues that work within proposed development schedules and budgets to the greatest extent possible. We are also available to help our clients obtain wildlife-related permits, navigate public or governmental review processes, and develop public relations strategies for dealing with controversial species or projects.


Have you already started your project and now find yourself faced with wildlife or habitat issues and need immediate assistance? Call us! We can still help.


We will review your development plan, determine the wildlife or habitat issues, and work with you to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective course of action.




Relevant Federal Laws:

Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act ("ESA") of 1973 as amended (16 U.S.C. §§ 1531 et seq.) prohibits the “take” of any federally listed species. “Take” is defined as harm or harassment (including to pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct) of individuals of a protected species and—under certain circumstances—the destruction of habitat.

Migratory Bird Species Act
All raptors and other migratory birds, eggs, and active nests are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as amended (16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712). The nesting season for raptors and migratory birds generally extends from mid-March through the end of July[1]. If there is any construction activity (including surveying, grading, etc.) during this timeframe and it is determined that there will be any impacts to any migratory birds, eggs, or active nests, then a Federal Fish and Wildlife License for depredation must be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    
[1] NOTE: This is just a guideline and does not determine liability under the Act.




Project Examples:
Western Burrowing Owl Surveys
The Western Burrowing Owl is a grassland bird that nests in underground burrows, relying almost completely upon fossorial mammals (such as prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and badgers) to excavate these burrows. Breeding populations may be observed from late spring through October. This owl and its eggs and active nests are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as amended (16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712). It is also listed as a threatened species in the state of Colorado and is a species of special concern in most other states.


If prairie dogs or other burrowing animals exist on the site, a burrowing owl survey should be conducted if there will be any activity that will destroy the burrow system or could otherwise disturb any nesting owls (i.e., construction/grading work) between March 15 and October 31. Because burrowing owls can arrive at any time within this timeframe, a burrowing owl survey should be conducted within two weeks of the start of any construction activity (including surveying). If owl(s) are observed, construction must be delayed at least until the state wildlife agency and/or USFWS is consulted and a mitigation plan developed. ROE is available to conduct this survey, and consult with the relevant government entities to develop a mitigation plan, if necessary. The best way to avoid any burrowing owl issues and subsequent construction delays, however, is to avoid any construction activity between March 15 and October 31.

Wildlife Impact Assessments
We frequently perform presence/absence assessments for threatened, endangered, sensitive or all wildlife that could be present on or adjacent to the proposed project. This is done based on an assessment of the habitat on the site, identification of possible species, and identification of any species observed. This assessment helps guide whether additional surveys are needed for purposes of determining whether mitigation is necessary and whether avoidance is possible or if any take permits are required.

Surveys for Nesting Migratory Songbirds and Raptors
Most birds and their nests, eggs, and young are protected under federal law from "take." The nesting season for most migratory songbirds and raptors is typically between March and August, but--depending on the species--can extend to the end of September. Therefore, if your construction or energy development project is scheduled to begin within this timeframe, and the wildlife impact assessment has revealed that the habitat is favorable, it is important you have Roe Ecological Services conduct an in-depth transect and observational survey to make sure you will not be adversely impacting any birds, nests, eggs, or young. If nests, eggs, or young are found, we can then help you determine appropriate mitigation or avoidance options, or to obtain the necessary take permit(s) from the state and/or federal government.

Big Game Habitat Assessments and Movement Analyses
Big game species, such as deer and elk, can be adversely impacted by development projects. Not only are these animals state-managed game species (meaning not only does the state have an economic interest, but the hunting public and outfitters have an economic and recreational interest), they are also often watchable wildlife and the general public may object to any activity that might change the movement patterns or numbers of these animals. Therefore, where there is a project that may impact big game, it is important to bring in Roe Ecological Services to help you identify: ​

  • Current, pre-development property characteristics;
  • Proposed post-development property characteristics;
  • Elk, deer, and other wildlife behavior;
  • Elk and other wildlife movement across the property and within the area;
  • potential impacts to elk and deer calving/fawning that may occur on the property and within the surrounding area;
  • Past development within the area and its subsequent impact on elk behavior, movement, and reproduction; and
  • Efforts that may be taken to minimize potential impacts.