Justin Bailey

Justin Bailey
Department Manager
Email Justin
P: 816-822-4311

Avian Protection for Electric Utilities

Avian Protection for Electric Utilities

Like many companies today, your electrical utility is likely to be proactively initiating programs to protect wildlife and reduce exposure to possible violations of state and federal laws protecting native birds, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Preventing avian incidents also improves the reliability of the system for customers and helps to avoid costly outages.

With decades of experience in dealing with the interactions of birds and electric utility equipment, Burns & McDonnell can develop and maintain the avian protection programs you need to comply with these laws. Our staff includes both engineers familiar with technical requirements for electrical infrastructure and biologists who helped research and develop industry standards and suggested best practices for the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC).

Customized Avian Protection Plans

Avian protection issues vary among electric utilities depending on their geographic location and potential interactions with sensitive species within their service territories.

Burns & McDonnell has developed avian protection plans in diverse situations. We will assess your unique needs and develop a comprehensive avian protection plan specifically for your company and the challenges you face.

Staff Honored for Contributions to Avian Protection

Our staff members' have contributed to APLIC publications that define industry standards, and have been honored by APLIC for significant contributions to avian protection in the United States.


To be effective, your avian protection strategy must provide the most protection for the least cost.

Our staff is experienced in designing and implementing pole-risk models to determine where to focus resources. Burns & McDonnell can conduct special studies to assess risk regarding avian issues for your company.

We also provide periodic examination of your system for insight into conditions that demand attention in order to avoid avian interactions.

To remain proactive, your field personnel must be trained periodically regarding company policy and procedures. Often, the greatest exposure to the risk of fines and negative publicity is when a utility must deal with the unfortunate event of an avian electrocution or collision. When properly handled according to company procedures, the overall impacts of these interactions can be minimized. Training is one important way Burns & McDonnell can assist you in maintaining compliance with federal and state bird protection laws.

If the need should arise, Burns & McDonnell staff will be there to assist you in negotiations with federal or state agencies. Sometimes a potential violation may occur and the need arises for the value added by Burns & McDonnell staff in negotiations. For example, Burns & McDonnell can assist with designing a settlement agreement that all parties can agree to in lieu of a violation.

Electric utility facilities and equipment must be strategically located to efficiently serve customers. However, the process of siting these facilities should include an awareness of potential avian issues. Future problems may be avoided or minimized when sensitive avian areas and issues are identified and addressed early in the process.

Burns & McDonnell scientists and engineers work together to site, permit, design and implement transmission and distribution routes that minimize the potential for impacts to protected species.

Developing engineering standards for construction or rehabilitation of lines can be an important part of your overall avian protection program. Burns & McDonnell has a full staff of electrical and structural engineers capable of developing avian-safe standards to meet your particular needs. For more than 100 years, Burns & McDonnell has led the engineering profession in creating innovative solutions to problems encountered by the electrical power industry.

As an electric utility, your company may have opportunities to assist public agencies and nonprofit organizations by developing partnerships that enhance the environment and meet your goals. The recovery of species such as the peregrine falcon and the California condor has benefited from partnerships between electric utilities, state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations.

Burns & McDonnell staff have identified opportunities and enacted programs for electric utilities to participate in these high-profile community projects. We can advise you of opportunities in your service area, and help arrange your participation in programs for the most positive impact.