Compensatory Mitigation Webinar 3: Grouse Management and Conservation

Block Island Wind Farm by Chris Bently, Flickr

Webinar 3 – Compensatory Mitigation: Grouse Management and Conservation

Friday, October 20th, 2:00PM – 3:00PM (EST)

Grouse are considered an umbrella species because of their close connection to the surrounding habitat. The prairies and sage-brush where grouse reside are disappearing as a result of many stressors, including invasive species, climate change, and human development. Thus, any new disturbance or loss of habitat can significantly impact the species. Proper siting of wind energy facilities can avoid potential impacts to the species or their habitat, but it is likely that compensation measures will be needed to ensure there is no net loss. This webinar brought together representatives from regulatory agencies, industry, conservation organizations, and researchers to discuss the regulatory landscape that guides decision-making around wind energy development and prairie grouse, and hear about the various mechanisms available to improve the availability of quality habitat.

Moderator: Cris Hein (NREL)


  • David Wolfe (Independent Consultant)
    • David Wolfe, Principal and Senior Consultant, Bonamia, LLC., is a conservation professional with extensive knowledge of conservation science, policy, strategy, and practice. Mr. Wolfe served in a variety of conservation roles at both The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund and has over 30 years’ experience working with public and private landowners, the scientific community, and corporations to design and implement programs to restore, conserve, manage and monitor habitats for at-risk species. He is currently a consultant for Defenders of Wildlife, the Knobloch Family Foundation, and Orsted. 

View David’s Presentation

  • Karen Tyrell (Principal Ecologist, WEST, Inc.)
    • Dr. Karen Tyrell is a Principal Ecologist with WEST and has over 30 years of experience specializing in wildlife resource investigations and regulatory permit compliance for the development of energy generation and transmission facilities throughout the US. Much of this work has been in support of compliance with the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.  After receiving her doctorate from the University of Illinois, Karen served on the faculty of the University of Illinois and of the University of TennesseeDr. Tyrell has developed impact assessment and environmental compliance training courses for federal and state environmental programs and has served on the USFWS Indiana Bat Recovery Team and on technical and academic committees addressing environmental effects of utility-grade wind power. Karen leads WEST’s team in providing contractor support for the development and administration of both the Oil and Gas, and the Renewable Energy, Power Line, and Communication Tower Habitat Conservation Plans for the Lesser Prairie-chicken. 

View Karen’s Presentation

  • Matt Preston (Deputy Stat Director for Resources, Bureau of Land Management)
    • Matt Preston is the Deputy State Director for Resources for the Bureau of Land Management in Utah. Matt previously served as Field Manager for the Salt Lake Field Office where his worked touched all aspects of land management in northern Utah. He has also filled a variety of roles in BLM Headquarters, where he provided leadership on sage-grouse conservation, mitigation, wildlife migration, T&E recovery, aquatic restoration, greenhouse gas emissions, the remediation of abandoned mine lands and hazmat sites, National Conservation Lands, and scientific integration. Matt has a Bachelor’s degree in biology (Univ. of Colorado), and a Master’s degree and PhD in evolutionary anthropology (Univ. of California-Davis). During his academic career, he spent several years in Tanzania and other tropical countries studying wild primates, examining forest conservation issues, and working with local communities to help implement sustainable conservation practices. 

View Matt’s Presentation

  • Kathleen Steele (Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
    • Kathleen Steele began with the State as a member of the Sagebrush Ecosystem Technical Team in 2017, helping the Program grow and develop as she worked with landowners and industry proponents to achieve mitigation conservation for Greater Sage Grouse in Nevada. Prior to that, she worked for the Great Basin Institute in Nevada, partnering with the Bureau of Land Management for five years as an Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring Technician, and eventually a Lead for Land Health Monitoring in Northern Nevada. In this position, she monitored public lands to gather information regarding ecological sites, use and grazing, sage grouse habitat quality, endangered native plant presence, and invasive plant movement. Steele has a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and Management and a minor in Photography from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. 

View Kathleen’s Presentation

  • Nancy Smith (Senior Program Manager, PacifiCorp)
    • Nancy Smith, Senior Program Manager for PacifiCorp, has more than 25 years of environmental and engineering program management experience for public utilities as owner/applicant representative. She has been a commissioned employee with PacifiCorp in the Gateway Program for the past 12 years.  Her role at PacifiCorp involves coordinating with numerous Federal/State agencies from the routing and siting and permitting phases of large transmission lines and associated facilities through the actual construction stages. She is responsible for determining potential suitable transmission line routes and alternatives, conducting agency involvement, obtaining all the necessary permits, and ensuring implementation of all pre-construction activities with engineering and rights of way acquisition, including all resource surveys to meet the notice to proceed to construction requirements.

View Nancy’s Presentation

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