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GLIN==> [fws-news] Public/Private Partnership Promotes "Bird-Safe" Electric PowerDistribution




----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 09/06/2001 02:22 PM -----

Karen Miranda Gleason 303-236-7931 ext. 431
Sandra Cleva 703-358-1949

In partnership with corporate and non-profit groups, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service is reaching out to electric power companies, bird lovers,
and federal and state natural resource agencies to encourage the use of
"bird-safe" power equipment that prevents the electrocution of raptors and
other migratory birds.  Distribution of a new video showing the specific
dangers of high-voltage lines and other equipment to birds and proven ways
to protect them is part of an effort to enlist the support of power
producers and consumers in safeguarding birds.

The 26-minute video, titled "Raptors at Risk," was produced by a
partnership of EDM International, an environmental engineering firm;
Montana Power Company; Montana Audubon Society; North American Falconers
Association; Southern Engineering Company; Swift Creek Consulting; and
Arizona Public Service Company, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service, the Rural Utilities Service, and the Western Area Power
Administration.

The video explains the electrocution problem and federal laws that protect
birds while providing practical information on retrofitting existing power
lines and installing new equipment to prevent bird deaths.  The video
points out the benefits of bird-safe lines to both utilities and their
customers.  Companies that protect birds eliminate "brown outs" and other
power interruptions that occur when birds are electrocuted. They also avoid
fines for violating bird protection laws and other legal costs that may be
passed on to consumers in the form of rate hikes.

"Our goal is protecting birds, which is why partnerships like the one that
produced this video are so important," said Kevin Adams, the Service's
Assistant Director for Law Enforcement. "By working together with electric
utility companies to prevent bird electrocutions, we can identify and
remove hazards, promote the conservation of migratory birds, and keep the
public supplied with power."

Bird deaths linked to electric power equipment can often be prevented by
using the industry-developed protection measures described in the new
video.  Birds with large wingspans, like raptors, run the highest risk of
electrocution, which occurs when their bodies close a circuit between two
wires.  Wider spacing between lines, attractive perches away from dangerous
locations, and devices to prevent perching are effective techniques in
preventing bird electrocution.

Raptors  such as eagles, hawks, and owls  and other migratory birds are
protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a federal law that dates
back to 1918.  Additional safeguards are provided for eagles under the Bald
and Golden Eagle Protection Act and for birds listed as threatened or
endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The video explains the
Service's responsibility to enforce these federal laws and efforts being
undertaken by utility companies to protect birds.

The Service has distributed 2,000 copies of "Raptors at Risk" to its field
offices nationwide and to other federal and state natural resource agencies
for sharing with local power companies and consumers.  Information on
acquiring a copy of the video, which is also being distributed among bird
conservationists, is available at http://www.edmlink.com/raptorvideo.htm.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands
of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70
national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological
services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and
hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

- FWS -

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,visit our
home page at http://www.fws.gov

***************************************************************************
News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at
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Questions concerning a particular news release or item of
information should be directed to the person listed as the
contact. General comments or observations concerning the
content of the information should be directed to Mitch Snow
(Mitch_Snow@fws.gov) in the Office of Public Affairs.





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