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FCC releases final programmatic environmental assessment on impact of towers on birds

Fern Davies

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Full document here: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2012/db0313/DOC-312921A1.pdf


"For several reasons, the Bureau concludes that the additional migratory bird deaths caused by

communications towers are not cumulatively significant at the national level. First, the estimated 6.6

million annual bird deaths caused by communications towers constitute only approximately 0.3 percent of

the total bird deaths attributable to anthropogenic sources and cat predation. Thus, the incremental

mortality that these deaths add to the total avian mortality attributable to human actions is relatively not

large. In addition, these deaths occur against a backdrop of high natural mortality to migrating birds due

to a number of factors. Indeed, annual avian deaths attributable to towers constitute approximately 0.07

percent of the migratory bird population. Taking all these factors together, the incremental impact of the

ASR Program on migratory birds, considered in context and together with the impacts of other past,

present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, is not cumulatively significant nationally."


"The impacts of the ASR Program at the national level on all resources, including migratory birds, are not

significant. However, depending on the alternative selected, there may be instances in which potentially

significant impacts to a local population of migratory birds, Bald Eagles, or Golden Eagles would not be

addressed. At the national level, the best available and most current estimate of avian mortality, primarily to

migratory birds, from collisions with communications towers is 6.6 million birds annually. Tall towers,

steady-burning lights, and guy wires are the primary tower characteristics contributing to avian mortality.

Migratory bird mortality from all sources would be expected to increase in the future, with an anticipated

increase in the number of vertical structures in the environment as well as continuing impacts from other

actions and factors. The construction of new communications towers would contribute incrementally to

this future increase in mortality, regardless of whether FAA lighting changes are implemented."

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