HABITATS AND SPECIES

Monitoring flora and fauna

Iberdrola group applies several measures to protect and restore areas that might be affected by its facilities in the main countries it operates in.

Iberdrola carries out monitoring of flora and fauna, depending on the needs of each project, especially of protected or vulnerable species, silvicultural treatments, forest restoration with native species, integration and landscaping, etc. depending on the needs of each project with the objective of protecting species and habitats or mitigating the damage caused to them.

These activities are performed throughout the life of the project, tailoring the actions according to the construction, operation and dismantling phases.

BIODIVERSITY IN COMPENSATED HABITATS

Iberdrola applies the mitigation hierarchy (avoid, minimize, correct and, as a last resort, offset) in its projects' environmental impact assessments. It avoids sites which are protected or which are valuable because of their biodiversity and minimizes any impact on the environment.

By means of its offsetting activities, it sets out to improve the state of conservation of the biodiversity of species and habitats in areas affected by the presence of group facilities. Actions to improve biodiversity are also carried out, as described in the biodiversity reports and in the environmental dimension in the Sustainability Report [PDF].

Some of the habitats being offset are listed below, most of which are from projects that have been under way for several years and that have continued actively in 2019:

  • Spain

    TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS RESULTS
    Hydroelectric power plants Release of almost 5,600 eels into the Júcar, Cabriel and Mijares rivers under the plan to restore the eel population in the rivers of the Valencian Community, this being the fifth of 10 years. Eel repopulation initiative.
    Onshore wind farm Sowing 5 ha of cereals to encourage colonization by Bonelli's Eagle-Goshawk. Colony recovery: Bonelli's Eagle-Goshawk.
    Onshore wind farm projects Relocation of the habitat of the Pimelia Canariensis affected by the project through environmental restoration and landscape integration of an area of 4 ha with 4,430 specimens of Euphorbiaceas, Ceropegia, Kleinia, and Plocama. In March 2019, 38 specimens rescued during the environmental monitoring prior to construction were released in the restored area. Monitoring and follow-up will be carried out over the next few years. Relocation and habitat of the species of Pimelia Canariensis.
    Photovoltaic projects As part of the Núñez de Balboa project, in coordination with the Directorate General for the Environment of the Regional Government of Extremadura, two Agro-Environmental Management Areas of 45 ha each and two reserve areas will be created for steppe birds in the vicinity of the project, each with 5 ha. In 2019, the procedures for locating the land were being carried out. Recovery of farmland and creation of steppe bird reserves.
    Nuclear Power Plants As part of the project for the construction of the Individualized Temporary Warehouse (ITW), an area of oak woodland will be restored and maintained, equivalent to the area removed during the construction of the ITW. The initial reforestation of pastureland will take place in 2019 with consisting of Quercus rotundifolia, Olea europaea var. Sylvestris, and Quercus suber. Restoration of the Dehesa meadow habitat. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the project will be monitored and the necessary replacements made.  
      A birdlife monitoring program has been carried out to ascertain the structure and dynamic of the bird community in the Arrocampo Reservoir as part of the ITW Almaraz project. Classification of birds in ZEPA zone of the adjacent reservoir.
  • United Kingdom

    TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS RESULTS
    Wind farms Continuation of the activities of the Habitat Management Plan for 19 wind farms with a surface area of 8,700 ha, managing more than 93 km2 to date. In 2019, we will carry out maintenance work on the vegetation, manage the entry of livestock and monitor species such as the northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), the black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and the Northern Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus). Compensated habitats improved. Management example serving as a guide for other projects.
  • United States

    TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS RESULTS
    Power lines and substations The Columbia County Transmission project resulted in the conversion of 0.26 acres of forested wetland to brushwood and the permanent loss of 0.096 acres of wetland for the substation. Mitigation included: 0.8 acres of forested wetland enhancement, 0.16 acres of enhancement to a 160-foot linear channel, enhancement to 1.23 acres of upland area, and the permanent preservation of the 2.19-acre mitigation area. A total of 215 native trees and shrubs were planted. Restoration of wetlands and habitat compensation.
    The Rochester Area Reliability Project (RARP) affected 0.78 acres of wetland and transformed several acres of wooded wetland into a wetland of bushes. To offset this impact, RG&E built a 12.6-acre wetland in Ballantyne Road, replanted a 17-acre wetland and added 34 acres of wetland under a conservation easement. 440 trees planted in Ballantyne Road and 3,001 bushes planted in the 17-acre wetland. Big Shell Bark Hickory Tree was planted at a ratio of 5:1. RG&E also agreed to plant selected trees in the Conservation Easement Area. Creation of habitat to offset wetlands. Planting of a threatened tree species.
    RG&E provided a comprehensive mitigation plan for unavoidable wetland impacts associated with three pipeline projects. An existing wetland on the East River Road property was expanded by 2.4 acres and an additional 2.0-acre wetland was improved. A total of 969 native trees were planted. Cost approximately $800,000. Creation of a compensatory wetland habitat.
    Wind farms Continuation of monitoring and maintenance of more than 1,120 areas of migratory habitats within and around these. Improvement of adjacent habitats and associated wildlife protected.
    Mitigation and commissioning of a conservation and management plan for San Diego Conservancy. Conserve and manage sensitive habitats and species.
  • Brazil

    TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS RESULTS
    Baguari (hydroelectric) Reforestation of 1.77 km2 of Permanent Preservation Areas (PPP). In 2019, work was done to recover slopes, enrich 48.11 and plant 64.01 ha. All areas were fenced and monitored except for islands, creating corridors for use by animals. Improving adjacent habitats, enhancing the absorption capacity of the soil and reducing the risk of losses due to erosion.
    Corumbá (hydroelectric) Continuation of the reforestation of 2,562,308 trees for the recovery of 1,538 ha of Permanent Preservation Areas (PPA). Improvement in soil quality and a reduction in the erosion.  
    Teles Pires Dardanelos (hydroelectric) In 2019, 774,126 native plants were planted on 88.75 ha of the reservoir's forest restoration areas. Since 2014, 697.2 ha have been planted with native plants. Adjacent habitats improved and the risk of loss from erosion decreased.
    Baixo Iguaçu (hydroelectric) 192.1 ha will be reforested which will connect the wooded areas of the Iguazú National Park (PNI) with the areas to be taken over and reforested in the Area of Direct Influence (AID) of the UHEBaixo Iguaçu, comprising the biodiversity corridor. The creation of an ecological corridor to interconnect existing remaining forest in the Area of Influence of the undertaking to the Iguaçu National Park (PNI) in conjunction with the actions described in the Consolidation Program for the Biodiversity Corridor of the Baixo Iguaçu plant.
    Power lines Reforestation of degraded areas with seedlings at different stages of growth. Compensatory reforestation is taking place, with species native to the region in keeping with environmental licenses for the installation and operation of transmission lines (69 kV to 138 kV), substations (69 kV to 138 kV) and distribution grids (13.8 kV to 34.5 kV). In 2019, 171,287 plants were replanted. Natural regeneration is under constant development due to maintenance works in connection with the presence of sections of native vegetation on the banks of the Aguapeí River - factors that encourage the repopulation of many native species.
  • Mexico

    TECHNOLOGY ACTIONS RESULTS
    Wind farms Reforestation plan of 83.1 ha in the "Predio la llorona" Voluntary Conservation Area (ADVC) in Colonia Cuauhtémoc, Municipality of Matías Romero Avendaño, Oxaca as a way of offsetting the construction of the PE Venta III project and its evacuation line. The plan aims to recover forest cover in fragmented areas, establishing biological connectors to the fauna and contributing to the recovery and conservation of the habitat. In this period, 25 ha have been replanted with Ceiba forest species. The technical supervisory committee that monitors the reforestation plan is made up of representatives of Iberdrola Renovables Mexico, the CONANP and the owners of the meadows of the colony. Recovery of forest cover in areas fragmented by agricultural activity.
    CCC Project Topolobampo II 39 ha compensation area. Activities of rescue and placing of wild flora species in order to retain their functions in the ecosystem and avoid soil deterioration. Rescue activities for wild fauna paying special attention to those in any protected category to avoid harm to individual fauna present by relocation to allow them to continue with their natural activities. Of the 12,120 specimens relocated, 4,600 come from seeds or cuttings in own nurseries, and 154 from plantations.
    96.3% survival rate. 150 specimens of wild fauna rescued and relocated.
    CCC Project Topolobampo III 35.1 ha of compensation area, rescue and relocation activities of wild flora. Preventive flushing out and rescue of fauna. 21,060 trees planted and 77 specimens relocated, 42 from own nursery seeds and cuttings and 5 from plantations. 100% survival rate. 87 specimens of wild fauna rescued and relocated.
    El Carmen Project 35.4 ha of compensation area, and wild flora rescue and relocation activities. Preventive flushing out and rescue of fauna. 22,990 trees planted and 51 complete specimens relocated with a survival rate of 90%. 87 specimens of wild fauna rescued and relocated.
    Escobedo Project 36.4 ha of compensation area, wild flora rescue and relocation activities in order to retain their functions in the ecosystem and avoid soil deterioration. 1,433 specimens relocated with a survival rate of 90%. 244 wild fauna specimens rescued and relocated.

PROTECTED OR RESTORED HABITATS

Iberdrola carries out a variety of actions to protect or restore the different habitats that surround or are affected by the group's facilities. These are actions that have continued actively in 2019 which are also included in the action plans.

  • IUCN Red List

    Knowledge of the species living in the vicinity of the facilities is essential for preventing harming them, even more so if they are protected.

    Iberdrola identifies the threatened species included in the IUCN Red List(1) and in national and regional lists with habitats in the areas where it operates to prevent any impact. The company implements species monitoring programs and research projects at many of its facilities to learn more about their behavioral patterns and integrate this knowledge into its operations.

    The following table shows the number of IUCN Red List threatened species identified by Iberdrola's facilities, without suggesting any impact or threat from its activity.

    IUCN Red List Classification  No. species
    Critically endangered (CR) 14
    Endangered (EN) 54
    Vulnerable (VU) 83
    Near threatened (NT) 59
    Least concern (LC) 533

    (1) 'International Union for the Conservation of Nature' (www.iucn.org).

  • Each country's specific lists

    The species that appear as not assessed by the IUCN appear as threatened on each country's specific list. Some of the species are:

    • In critical danger: birds such as the California Condor, Eskimo curlew, Lear's macaw, channel-billed toucan; mammals such as the Iberian lynx, woolly spider monkeys, brown titi; fish such as the European eel, Austrolebias carvalhoi, etc.
    • Endangered: birds such as the Iberian imperial eagle, red kite, black stork, Egyptian vulture, Cantabrian capercaillieExternal link, opens in new window., Dupont lark and the squacco heron; bats such as the long-fingered bat, Indiana bat; insects such as the American burying beetle, fish like the Piabanha and Crumatã.
    • Vulnerable: birds such as Bonelli's eagle, osprey, Montagu's harrier, red-tailed amazon, neotropical bellbird; bats such as Geoffrey's bat, Mehely's horseshoe bat, the greater mouse-eared bat, common bent-wing bat and the common noctule; insects such as backswimmers, the hairy canary fly and river jelly lichen, fish like Lambaríes and Guarús.

    On the properties of the generation centres in the United Kingdom, a total of 28 birds included on the UK BAP — half of the 56 species on the priority list — have been recorded as over-wintering or raising young. Also living on the properties are nine species of mammals, seven fish species, five reptile species, two amphibians, eight species of butterflies and moths, another four species of invertebrates, a species of lichen and seven plants on the UK BAP list.