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Compensatory mitigation is applied in grassland and wetland ecosystems to offset environmental damage from disturbances such as energy development. Energy facilities continue to proliferate across the United States, yet implementation of mitigation tools to ameliorate habitat loss or behavioural effects on wildlife is rare. NPWRC scientists conducted a 10-year Before-After, Control-Impact (BACI) study that indicated avian behavioral avoidance and thus reduced use of habitat near wind infrastructure—research notable for its scope, duration, and use of a BACI design. To quantify and compensate for loss in value of breeding habitat, NPWRC and USFWS scientists developed the Avian-Impact Offset Method (AIOM) to estimate the amount of habitat needed to support displaced birds. Scientists developed 3 other tools: a tutorial that describes applying a BACI design to field research on behavioral displacement and demonstrates the AIOM using examples for wind and oil infrastructure, a worksheet for AIOM users to apply to their own projects, and a geospatial Decision Support Tool that identifies habitats for mitigation fulfillment and forecasts mitigation costs of proposed developments.
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