Pantex named as finalist in National Conservation Award
Wildlife efforts at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas are being recognized as the Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds names its finalists for their 2016 Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award; including acknowledging conservancy efforts at Pantex with migratory birds.
The Council was established in 2009 by the Secretary of the Interior to oversee the implementation of the executive order 13186; Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds.
That order was a crucial first step in creating a more comprehensive strategy for the conservation of migratory birds by the Federal government. The Council serves to enhance coordination and communication among Federal agencies and builds upon the progress that has been made in recent years on conservation of migratory birds.
The goals of the Council are to:
- Promote coordination and collaboration of migratory bird conservation amongst the Federal agencies whose actions may affect migratory bird populations.
- Improve opportunities for Federal activities to more effectively protect and conserve migratory birds and recognize positive impacts Federal agencies are having on migratory bird populations.
- Ensure that each representative agency to which the Executive Order is applicable successfully implements its migratory bird conservation responsibilities, as described in its respective Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) developed with the Service in accordance with the Executive Order.
The finalists for the award are:
1.U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (USDOE/NNSA): Pantex-International Conservation of Migratory Birds through Research Collaborations
2.Bureau of Land Management: Raptor Inventory Nest Survey (RINS)
3.U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Holton and Hager Family Confluence Conservation Heritage as part of the Missouri-Mississippi Confluence Conservation Partnership
4.National Park Service: Denali National Park and Preserve Golden Eagle Program
Pantex initiated a comprehensive research program of multi-year projects based on collaborative partnerships of regional, hemispheric and global scopes. Partnerships with Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (Pantex Plant) include Texas Tech University (including), West Texas A&M University, University of Manitoba (Canada), York University (Canada), Purple Martin Conservation Association, Disney World Wide Fund, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, USGS Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and many property owners and volunteers.
Projects have focused on the ecology of western burrowing owls in rural vs urban areas, influences of wind farms including evaluating mortality, avoidance, lowered productivity, and use of data-loggers and GPS transmitters allow for year-round of the ecology and conservation needs facing Swainson's hawks and declining Purple Martin populations.
The research provides considerable value-added contributions to the understanding of migratory bird ecology and issues and has been shared through more than 25 technical presentations, seven theses/dissertations, seven magazine articles, four refereed journal articles and another two journal articles are in press. Pantex biologist Jim Ray has further promoted migratory birds through 30 additional publications, presentations, various media, and an innovative outreach program responsible for the banding of approximately 10,000 purple martins in two states.
In addition, protective devices were installed on more than 500 utility poles to protect raptors from electrocution and this practice was promoted to other agency sites. Pantex and members of the Texas Tech University Research Farm, capped dozens of open-topped pipe-fence posts across 18,000 acres to protect small birds. Pantex routinely recommends opportunities to USDOE/NNSA headquarters which has resulted in agency sponsorship of a Raptor Research Foundation conference.
The Pantex partnership may benefit the full suite (442 species) of migratory birds that breed in, migrate through, and winter in the Southern Great Plains. Research plot data includes 28 “special status species” and 26 others have been documented using the site. Multitudes of bird species and individuals fly through, rest, and feed on the Pantex property during migration, and all the while they must navigate through many potential threats and an ever-growing number of wind farms. Students working on partnership projects are graduating well-versed in migratory bird issues and advanced technology. Some, having tracked Swainson’s hawks and Purple Martins across “the Americas” have already contributed to migratory bird conservation of hemispheric or global significance.
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) operates the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under a single contract for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. Pantex and Y-12 are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on the performance excellence and the imperatives of safety, security, zero defects and delivery as promised.
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