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A 3-month bird survey, covering the spring 2022 migration season has been awarded to Sustainability East Asia by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The survey is to assess potential impacts for the proposed Sainshand-Tsagaan Suvarga Transmission Line located in the eastern Gobi Desert of Mongolia.

An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is required by the EBRD for consideration of a sovereign loan to the Government of Mongolia. The loan is to finance the 214-kilometre double circuit 220kv overhead power line between the Sainshand and Tsagaan Suvarga towns.

The ESIA scope encompasses ornithological surveys for 12 months inclusive of an avifauna baseline survey to establish baseline conditions of the bird species in the project area.

The main objectives of the avifauna baseline survey are to:

  • Record target bird species and quantify the level of flight activities in the survey area;
  • Understand the use of the site during avian peak migration season;
  • Determine the presence of species of conservation priority that use the survey area;
  • Aid with the assessment of potential collision risks with the proposed powerline; and
  • Inform the development of mitigation measures aimed at mitigation of impacts on birds, notably the reduction of potential bird collisions.

The target species of this study include bird species with higher conservation status such as the threatened species (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) included in the IUCN and Mongolian Red Lists or species with significant concerns by other stakeholders, or other species vulnerable to potential impacts from power lines.

The survey will be conducted from March through May this year, to increase chances of recording the highest variety of species and groups of birds during migration to Mongolia.

Sustainability East Asia has been providing environmental, social and safety services in Mongolia since 2002 and supporting EBRD projects since 2008.