For the second year in a row, the Pantex Plant was nominated by the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration for an award in recognition of its efforts to research and protect migratory birds.
Pantex will represent the DOE/NNSA in the competition for the 2013 Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award, which has been administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2011. Each federal agency is eligible to nominate one project or action conducted by or in partnership with a federal agency that meets the intent and spirit of Executive Order 13186 by focusing on migratory bird conservation.
“We were honored to be selected last year, but to be picked two years in a row is very gratifying,” said Kenneth A. Hoar, assistant manager for Environment, Safety and Health with the NNSA Production Office (NPO). “We are proud to represent the DOE and NNSA in this competition and proud that our migratory bird conservation efforts have been recognized through this nomination.”
The site’s work to research and protect migratory birds began to evolve in 2002, and over the years has included efforts involving Western Burrowing Owls, Purple Martins and migratory birds that may be affected by wind energy development. Work is proposed and coordinated by James D. Ray, Pantex Plant wildlife biologist, with support from NPO.
Since 2002, more than 8,500 nestling martins have been banded throughout northwest Texas and western Oklahoma under the program. In 2008, protective devices were installed on 500 new utility poles at Pantex to help protect raptors from electrocution.
Much of the research was performed through contracted collaboration with Texas Tech University, the United States Geological Survey’s Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and West Texas A&M University (WTAMU).
Currently, a multifaceted project is evaluating the effects of wind energy development on migratory birds. This program includes a contract with WTAMU and has resulted in the development of a comprehensive literature review on the impacts of wind energy on wildlife, and the initiation of pre- and post-turbine monitoring of migratory birds. This project also involves surveys of plots for wintering and migrating raptors, surveys of plots in different habitat types during the breeding season for birds and nests, along with radio and satellite tracking of Swainson’s hawks.
Taken together, the different actions involved in the Migratory Bird Program present a picture of a site that is dedicated to going beyond the minimum federal mandates of migratory birds.
“At Pantex, we have an abiding respect for the environment and recognize our obligation to protect it,” said Jim Stevens, division manager for the Environment, Safety, Health & Quality Division at B&W Pantex.