Project Merit: Habitat Protection

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AECOM (Los Angeles) for completing the Environmental Baseline Study (EBS) and ecological assessment for Total E&P Uganda's Project area within the Albertine Graben in early 2015-one of Africa's most important areas for biodiversity. Approximately 70% of the project area is located in the Murchison Falls National Park, which hosts a range of wildlife and attracts tourism. For the challenging 18 month extensive field work and reporting project, AECOM led a global team of environmental and ecological experts in flora and fauna, soils and water resources; project managers from Dubai, Italy, U.K., U.S, Uganda and South Africa; and local Kampala, Uganda experts. The study involved documentary assessment of natural resources such as soil, surface water, groundwater, air quality, noise and ecology-including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds-and connected the presence of faunal species with various vegetation types.

Environmental Management and Planning Solutions Inc. (EMPSi, Reno Nev.) for assisting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in preparing the Fire and Invasives Assessment Tool (FIAT), an innovative GIS and management tool designed to protect and enhance Greater Sage-Grouse habitat in the western United States. The FIAT identifies priority project areas within which wildfire and invasive plants threaten the sage-grouse. FIAT tools include fire suppression, reseeding, and invasive weed treatments. A fast-tracked project, the BLM released final FIAT reports in March 2015. The FIAT became a central element of the BLM and Forest Service's Greater Sage-Grouse land-use plan amendments now being implemented throughout the west. EMPSi helped develop five FIAT reports, which provide habitat management strategies for 107 million acres in Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, and Utah.

Green Sun Rising Inc. (Windsor, Ont.) for providing a 15 kW solar PV system at Sachs Harbour on Banks Island in the Western Arctic- the Northern-most solar energy system in North America. The system is micro-grid connected and reduces diesel generation in the hamlet. The project was written, awarded, installed, inspected and commissioned in four weeks-record time for such a challenging project in the Arctic. Sachs Harbour is the Northern-most community in the Northwest territories. The solar system will generate about 15,000 kWh of electricity per year.