- :: Norris Public Power District
Rock Creek Station, Fairbury
0525
Norris PPD
606 Irving Street
Beatrice, NE 68310
1-800-858-4707

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Rural Electric Systems are…Working for Nebraska



 

 

District Designs Protections for Endangered and Migratory Birds

Bruce Vitosh--General Manager and CEO

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Norris Public Power District faces challenges every day to supply customers with reliable energy.  Severe weather is a leading cause of power outages.  Another major cause for outages is wildlife, such as birds, squirrels, raccoons, snakes and other animals coming into contact with electrical equipment.  The District is committed to minimizing the impact electrical facilities have on wildlife, which in turn benefits District customers. 

The District has over 4,500 miles of energized power lines in the air that pose collision risks to flying birds or risks for birds being electrocuted as they perch on electric structures.  The District’s service territory is home to many resident raptors, including bald eagles and migratory waterfowl, shorebirds and water birds.  The United States has implemented laws and regulations that are intended to protect endangered and migratory bird species.  Laws protecting birds in the United States and Nebraska, include the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act; Endangered Species Act; and the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act.  All birds in Nebraska and the District’s service territory are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, except for the English sparrow, European starling and rock pigeon, as well as non-migratory game birds, such as pheasants, wild turkey and grouse.   

Over the years, design standards for the District’s electrical facilities have been routinely upgraded to improve power reliability.  The District follows Rural Utility Service design standards for distribution facility construction and applies industry guidelines developed cooperatively by the electric utility industry and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for construction design in areas of high risk for avian power line interactions.  The District has implemented changes at various locations with a goal of improving avian protection.  Training is provided to employees to help them identify areas with a greater potential for power line interactions with avian species.  New electric infrastructure in these areas is designed to provide a greater level of protection for the various bird species.  This training also educates personnel on the necessary requirements to properly handle, report, and remediate avian interactions that result in raptor injuries or mortalities. 

Internal evaluations and risk assessments of electric facilities will be completed, as necessary, using Avian Risk Assessment Maps, On-site Assessment Checklist and personal knowledge of areas to determine priorities within the District’s service territory.  Areas designated as having “high avian use” and “high risk of mortality” will be given priority in planning and proactive remediation efforts.  Special consideration will be given to areas within the District’s service territory that are designated as Wildlife Management Areas or areas that have been designated as wildlife preserves. 

All of the information that the District will adhere to relative to avian protection is documented in an Avian Protection Plan that was approved by the Norris Board of Directors at the January 6, 2016 Board Meeting.  The Avian Protection Plan replaces the procedures that the District has followed dating back to 1988.  The Avian Protection Plan was developed with the assistance of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association and other rural electric utilities who worked cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  The District’s Avian Protection Plan has been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their approval.

Customers expect high quality and uninterrupted electric service that is provided efficiently.  The District has an ongoing respect for the natural environment and aspires to be environmentally responsible in our actions.  The Avian Protection Plan will be a resource for the District to follow as we design electric facilities to be both reliable for our customers and provide a greater level of protection for endangered and migratory birds.

 

Norris Public Power District ©2016