Caltrans has worked closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to ensure our survey protocols will find and protect any nesting birds within the construction area of the Willits Bypass Project. The protocols require three consecutive days of surveys in an area during times the birds are most active. The biologist conducting the surveys not only looks for nests, but observes bird behavior and listens to their calls for signs that an active nest may be near.
After the third day’s surveys confirm no nesting activity in an area, Caltrans has three days to perform the vegetation removal to ensure birds do not have time to begin nesting.
The protocols also outline the steps which will be taken if an active nest of a protected species is found. There will be additional observations of the nest and a buffer area will be established: 100 feet for non-raptor species and 1,320 feet (1/4 mile) for raptor species. Buffer areas may be adjusted following consultation with CDFW and/or the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.