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GLIN==> U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Implement Study to AssessImpacts of Communications Towers on Migratory Birds

Richard Greenwood
    USFWS Liaison to USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office
    Team Leader Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team
Great Lakes National Program Office
77 West Jackson Blvd. (G-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604
Ph:  312-886-3853  Fax:  312-353-2018
Email:  rich_greenwood@fws.gov or greenwood.richard@epa.gov

17 September 2003

Contacts:   Albert Manville, 703/358-1714
            Craig Czarnecki, 517/351-8470
            Steve J. Lewis, 612/713-5473
            Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5636

           U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Implement
    Study to Assess Impacts of Communications Towers on Migratory Birds

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Service today signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with Michigan's Department of Information Technology and the
Michigan State Police to study bird strikes at communication towers.

The study is intended to assess the effects of lighting, height, and guy
wires on avian collisions at selected towers in the 350-500 foot height
range in the State Police System.  The variety of types and heights of
towers within the system provides conditions that are conducive to
measuring the effects of these variables on migratory birds.  The study is
designed to help identify reasonable and cost-effective measures that might
be available to minimize impacts of the towers on migratory birds.

Construction of communications towers (including radio, television,
cellular, and microwave) in the United States has been growing at an
estimated 6 percent to 8 percent annually. According to the Federal
Communication Commission's 2000 Antenna Structure Registry, the number of
lighted towers greater than 199 feet above ground level is  currently over
45,000, and the total number of towers exceeds 74,000.

The construction of new towers creates a potentially significant impact on
migratory birds, especially some 350 species of night-migrating birds.
Migratory birds may be confused in low visibility and fly into towers and
guy wires.  This study will focus on how tower height, construction, and
lighting can be altered to minimize collisions.  Communications towers are
estimated to kill at least 4 million per year.

A Communication Tower Working Group composed of government agencies,
industry, academic researchers and non-governmental organizations was
formed in 1999 to develop and implement a research protocol to determine
the best ways to construct and operate towers to prevent bird strikes.  The
working group is chaired by the Service.  The study will be used by this

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services
field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat
such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation
efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes
hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting
equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


      For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

                 visit our homepage at http://www.fws.gov

News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at

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