Appendix G - Guidelines for Protection and Conservation of Bird Species

Appendix G - Guidelines for Protection and Conservation of Bird Species at Mountain Top Communications Sites, US Forest Service

The four southern California national forests are comprised of the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. A major program administered by these national forests is the issuance and administration of special-use authorizations for communication facilities at designated communication sites. The following guidelines have been developed and adopted by the four southern California national forests as a supplement to Communications Site Plans, for the protection and conservation of bird species covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and/or Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.

I: Guidelines for Communication Tower Siting, Construction, Operation, Maintenance and Decommissioning

New towers shall be the same or lesser tower height as existing towers at the site and no more than 199 feet above ground level (AGL), and shall not require guy wires.

Towers shall be unlighted if Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations permit. If towers requiring lights for aviation safety must be constructed, the minimum amount of pilot warning and obstruction avoidance lighting required by the FAA should be used. Unless otherwise required by the FAA, only white (preferable) or red strobe lights should be used at night, and these should be the minimum number, minimum intensity, and minimum number of flashes per minute (longest duration between flashes) allowable by the FAA. The use of solid red or pulsating red warning lights at night should be avoided.

Any existing tower using guy wires shall have daytime visual markers on the wires to prevent collisions by diurnally moving species. Spacing of markers should be at 10-foot intervals for smaller 'tags' and at 20-foot intervals for larger more linear 'flight diverter' structures.

In order to reduce the number of towers needed in the future, providers shall design new towers structurally and electrically to accommodate the applicant/licensee’s antennas and comparable antennas for multiple users.

Security lighting for on-ground facilities and equipment should be down-shielded to keep light within the boundaries of the site.

Towers, facilities and structures no longer in use or determined to be obsolete should be removed.

Road access to mountain top communication sites must be adequate to support construction, maintenance and demolition of facilities. Communication service providers responsible for construction activities must notify the Forest Service prior to removal of equipment and structures to assess access needs.

II: Additional Guidelines for Other Structures Associated with Communication Towers and Sites

Place anti-perching materials along the top of open horizontal surfaces at tower tops or protruding arms of other tall vertical structures.

Place anti-perching materials or devices along the top edge of flat rooftops or roof ridges of equipment buildings or other similar structures located within the communication site.

Cover all microwave dishes with radome covers and place anti-perching materials or devices along the top quarter-arch of the front edge of dishes capable of supporting a perching condor (approximately 20 pounds per bird).

Place anti-perching materials or devices along the top surface of horizontal coverings or tracks holding wave-guides capable of supporting a condor.

Keep all trash, garbage or excess scrap materials removed from the communication site, or placed in enclosed structures not accessible to condors or other large bird species.

Secure all loose wires or netting to prevent accidental entrapment of large birds. Placement of wires in conduit is also recommended where feasible.

Cover or otherwise protect external fiberglass type insulation or other soft materials which could be ripped apart or ingested by condors or other large birds.

Cover all spill retention or catchment basins or other open structures that may collect and hold water or other liquids, which condors or other birds may attempt to drink.

Cover or screen all large drains, conduits or other similar openings, which are large enough for a condor to walk into to prevent potential entrapment.

All doors and windows on buildings or other structures shall be designed to ensure they remain closed when not occupied by personnel to prevent accidental entry and entrapment of condors or other species.

Cyclone type fencing or other similar security fencing or walls surrounding equipment or other structures should be designed and located to avoid the potential for accidental entrapment of condors or eagles.

Place raptor guards or other anti-perching materials or devices along the upper surface of the horizontal cross arms of electrical power poles at communication facilities, which could serve as perches for larger birds.

Fuel storage tanks associated with generators and other facilities shall meet current fire department, federal, state, and local safety and hazardous materials requirements. Fuel storage shall be consolidated into one tank large enough to accommodate all tenants in a facility.

(For guidance on markers and other anti-perching devices, see Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC). 1994. Mitigating Bird Collisions with Power Lines: The State of the Art in 1994. Edison Electric Institute, Washington, D.C., 78 pp, and Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC). 1996. Suggested Practices for Raptor Protection on Power Lines. Edison Electric Institute/Raptor Research Foundation, Washington, D.C., 128 pp. Copies can be obtained via the Internet at, or by calling 1-800-334-5453).

Next section: Appendix H



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