Collaboration between the Government of Aragon and Red Eléctrica to protect and conserve the birdlife in Aragon
The collaboration includes a programme for the marking of birds with satellite transmitters, and a project to identify and map out the flight paths of birds that interact with electricity lines.
To drive, promote and carry out conservation projects for the birdlife that exists in Aragon and maintain the necessary degree of coordination for this to be carried out successfully. Under this common interest, the Regional Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and the Environment of the Government of Aragon, Modesto Lobón, by way of the Directorate of Conservation of the Natural Environment, and the General Manager of the Transmission Division of Red Eléctrica de España, Carlos Collantes, have today signed a collaboration agreement.

The aim is to establish a collaboration framework in order to perform a series of actions related to the protection of birdlife regarding electricity transmission facilities, define joint action and coordination protocols, and carry out birdlife conservation projects in Aragon.

"All this shows the importance that, in the fight for the conservation of the environment, we all collaborate, public and private entities, and therefore what is needed is to have what we have here, sensitivity towards environmental protection, as is being demonstrated by Red Eléctrica. We want this to be the beginning of a lifelong journey ", stated the regional minister, Modesto Lobón.

In this respect, Carlos Collantes declared that "the signing of this agreement, which is part of our corporate responsibility policy in caring for the environment, allows us to bear in mind what is best for the locations in which we build power lines and to benefit the territory through these types of actions, which are very important for the conservation of the environment".

The actions set out and contemplated by this agreement are:

- Monitoring certain Bonelli's Eagles in Aragon via the use of satellite transmitters (GPS) to mark out their territories and dispersal areas:

The marking and monitoring of 4 Bonelli's Eagles with satellite tracking transmitters, as a continuation of a marking programme of individuals of this species initiated by the Government of Aragon in 1999 and that has yielded information on the dispersive movements of young individuals, the location of the dispersal areas, the characteristics of long-distance movements and the use of the space by reproductive adult eagles.

These actions are defined within the Bonelli's Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) Recovery Plan, in Aragon, and the information obtained is essential when designing the management mechanisms for the species and establishing the most appropriate measures to minimise the risk factors of this species.

- Identification, characterisation and mapping of routes and flight paths of birds that interact with the electricity transmission lines:

The aim is to determine and map the flight paths of birds that are potentially prone to colliding with electricity lines and to identify the most frequented and used areas and routes by birds in their regular displacements, which are principally those associated with potential risk situations of collision with the lines.

In this regard, the Director General of Natural Environment Conservation for Aragon, Pablo Munilla, explained that, "because of the tracking of individuals that we carry out at the Alfranca Wildlife Recovery Centre, we know the stretches of electricity lines that are more problematic and we can take action regarding them".

It is a project that was initiated by Red Eléctrica in 2010 in some autonomous communities and that this year has added Aragon along with other autonomous communities to complete the territorial scope of the project.

The Government of Aragon participates in this project by providing detailed information on the distribution of bird species in Aragon for the drafting by Red Eléctrica of a corridor analysis that minimises the potential impact on birdlife of electricity transmission infrastructures.

Red Eléctrica will fully fund the extent of the actions set out in the various Technical Programmes set out in the agreement. On one hand, the marking programme, which has a budget of €40,000 for 2013 and 2014, and on the other, identifying flight corridors, whose budget is included in the project at a national level.

The signing of this agreement for the protection of birdlife is included in the social responsibility policy of Red Eléctrica. This policy assumes that the company not only constructs lines and operates the national electricity system, but also has a strong willingness to engage with society in those areas where it is present and to carry out a resolute policy on environmental conservation.

Therefore, initiatives like this are very important for Red Eléctrica since they drive and materialize the spirit of cooperation of the Company regarding environmental conservation as a part of its commitment to sustainable development. This backing is one of the pillars of Red Eléctrica’s corporate responsibility policy and involves a commitment towards society regarding environmental conservation matters so that future generations may also enjoy the benefits of sustainable and lasting environmental initiatives.

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