PRECorp updates Avian Protection Program
Powder River Energy Corporation is updating its migratory and predatory bird protection program for 2021.
PRECorp’s electrical distribution system features thousands of miles of overhead power lines and power poles spread across northeast Wyoming. The poles and their adjoining cross-arms, switches and insulators offer an inviting perch or nesting area for many species of birds. Lines can also pose collision hazards for some birds in flight.
The Avian Protection Plan (APP) has been a part of PRECorp’s operating procedures since 2005. PRECorp has updated the plan multiple times to ensure it aligns with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) guidelines, as well as changes to PRECorp’s power delivery technology and systems.
Over the past 8 years, PRECorp has undertaken specific measures to reduce avian injury and deaths, as well as associated power outages. Incidents in 2020 covered all five counties in PRECorp’s service territory, with the majority in Campbell County.
Greater clearances between conductors and the installation of protective devices on transformers, lines, and other equipment has helped the cooperative reduce bird mortalities in recent years. Outage minutes due to wildlife has also been reduced by as much as 80% due to these efforts. Although PRECorp goes to great lengths to avoid occasions of bird deaths, electrocutions and collisions still occur. While some eagles and hawks have wingspans that stretch greater than 6 feet that put them in danger of electrocution by touching energized lines, the majority of avian mortalities on PRECorp’s system occur with owls and non-raptor species.
Although PRECorp employees have the greatest probability of noticing avian threats, PRECorp members, wildlife officials, and partner agencies also play a large role in reporting general hazards.
People who discover a bird carcass, or an injured bird, should call 1-800-442-3630. Please do your best to have a location and any identifying numbers attached to a nearby pole. Callers will also be asked for their contact information and any photos of the scene would also assist in the response.
Reporting is the most important part of the APP. The quicker PRECorp is notified, the quicker the cooperative and its partner agencies can respond and assess the situation.
PRECorp immediately partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wyoming Game & Fish Department and other involved agencies. Some of our investigations are very lengthy and detailed because many are not related to electrocution.
Data is logged and issues with individual structures are addressed. The data helps in reducing future incidents. All new power line and infrastructure is designed and constructed with avian safe practices. Routing of new projects is considered for habitat and other environmental impacts, along with other pertinent and practical solutions.
In 2021, PRECorp will continue to retrofit poles and wire with avian protection devices as part of the ongoing system maintenance plan. Specially designed structures will also be installed where needed as a follow-up to special mortality cases.
These structures can include nesting platforms located near problem poles. Under USFWS and WGFD guidance, PRECorp has successfully moved many nests to safe platforms since 2005.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding PRECorp’s Avian Protection Program should call 1-800-442-3630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some species you might see:
Great Horned Owl
Red Tailed Hawk
Great Blue Heron