Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Migratory Bird Incidental Take Rule

Programmatic NEPA Analysis | Climate Change Analysis | Public Involvement | MBTA | ESA | NHPA

migratory bird

Increasing development and other human activities are producing stressors that cause incidental take of migratory birds, and, as a consequence, migratory bird populations are in decline.  Millions of birds are killed as a result of human activities such as collisions with man-made structures, and other direct impacts such as electrocution, entrapment, and exposure to toxins. Approximately 900 million birds are killed annually by human activities. The rate of bird mortality is exacerbated by the landscape alterations resulting primarily from human development but also a changing climate.

TCG managed the preparation of a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of a proposal to authorize incidental take of migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with Parametrix and EcoMetrix. The PEIS included analysis of various alternative approaches to authorizing incidental take of migratory birds to determine what type of program might reduce take of birds, while providing applicants and agencies with regulatory certainty and feasibility for the Service to effectively implement a program with existing resources.

The magnitude of scope and affected environment, combined with the broad nature of the alternatives under consideration, made developing an analytical framework for the proposed NEPA analysis challenging. External factors such as the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and rulemaking review requirements and the close relationship and interplay between the NEPA analysis and evolving rulemaking documents, such as the economic analysis, further complicated the schedule and project plan. To address these challenges, TCG worked closely with the FWS team to develop an innovative analytical solution that met the requirements of NEPA and CEQ regulations and also allowed the agency flexibility in their approach and consideration of alternatives.

TCG supported FWS on scoping, public involvement, and the effective integration of Section 106 of the NHPA, Endangered Species Act, cumulative effects, climate change, adaptive management, and tribal considerations into the PEIS. The TCG Team successfully provided project management and technical support to FWS on all aspects of the PEIS development. Additionally, TCG provided its expertise to FWS in developing programmatic approaches to NEPA analyses for the development of the PEIS.