Protecting endangered species during projects Environmental monitors help protect endangered species like the American burying beetle during projects.

Transmission line projects and endangered species: You might ask what they have in common. The answer? A lot! Transmission line projects deal with a number of factors — budgets, protocol and compliance, just to name a few. And on some projects, our concern is of the living, breathing variety — endangered species.

Take a recent transmission line project in Oklahoma. In addition to keeping the project moving forward on time and on budget, the team is tasked with monitoring and overseeing surveys on endangered species, which include the pint-sized American burying beetle, a colorful creature that’s been on the U.S. endangered species list since 1989.

In addition to endangered species, other environmental concerns include wildlife buffers, wetland boundaries, and historical and cultural resources. To help keep projects on schedule, on budget and in compliance, project teams do extensive training before the project begins to better understand conditions, sensitive species and permit requirements.

And once the project is under way, our team often relies on technology to assist in day-to-day monitoring. In California, our project management team uses tablets to maintain data gathered on a route that includes 26 environmentally sensitive areas. Because the tablets are portable, the project team is better able to provide current, accurate field data that not only allows them to communicate more effectively with each other — they can also keep the client up to speed, too.

Old technology can be tedious and expensive, but with tablets, the team can view all environmental impacts instantly. Real time data that tablets deliver to our teams’ fingertips keeps everyone on track and up-to-date. That helps keep projects on time and on budget.

And not only that, the data collected — and the subsequent monitoring that’s facilitated by easy access to regularly updated information — helps protect natural resources while also maintaining the project’s bottom line.

"We want to protect natural resources," said one of our team members in a recent article on this topic, "but we are also here to protect the integrity of our clients while maintaining focus on the project budget and schedule."

Who knew a handheld tablet could help accomplish all of that?