Wildlife Studies for Wind Energy Development

Electrical Consultants, Inc.

Eastern Montana • 2017 - 2019


Grouse Mountain was contracted to complete pre-development wildlife studies in compliance with the USFWS Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (WEG), Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance, and the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0408) for a proposed wind energy project in eastern Montana. Eagle and large bird point count surveys, passerine point count surveys, and migration point count station surveys were conducted monthly by our team of experienced wildlife biologists from October 2017 through September 2019. Additional tasks included conducting two years of eagle/raptor nest monitoring and occupancy surveys, sharp-tailed grouse lek surveys, acoustic monitoring surveys for bat species, and the completion of monthly and annual reports.

Watershed Rangeland Health Assessments

Bureau of Land Management Buffalo Field Office

Johnson and Sheridan Counties • May 2016 – Present


Grouse Mountain’s highly trained team worked closely with the BLM-Buffalo Field Office to coordinate and conduct 228 terrestrial Assessment Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) points and assess 11.75 miles of intermittent and perennial stream segments for Proper Functioning Condition (PFC). Grouse Mountain communicated with private landowners and BLM personnel in order to secure access and identify approved routes to the points. GMEC then created maps and import files to navigate to the points using the approved routes. At each point, our Interdisciplinary Team of three specialists collected a host of site information including: Plot characteristics, photo points, a description of soil profiles and soil characteristics, current land use, presence of erosional features, vegetative cover and composition using line point intercept, vegetation height and sagebrush shape, forage production, and soil stability. The IDT Team then used the collected information to identify the ecological site and state and interpret indicators of rangeland health using seventeen (17) Indicators for Rangeland Health.

On-Call Environmental Compliance

New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources – Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program

Statewide •  January 1, 2017-Present


Grouse Mountain is currently contracted by New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), Mining and Minerals Division, Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program providing environmental compliance services throughout the state of New Mexico. To date, Grouse Mountain has successfully guided the AML through multiple complex environmental and NEPA compliance tasks and is working with the AML to complete most complex restoration project to-date. Our technical professionals have prepared National Environmental Policy Act documentation (including Biological Assessment/Biological Evaluation (BA/BE), Categorical Exclusions, and Environmental Assessments), conducted natural resource inventories, held public information meetings and performed extensive surface water quality baseline sampling.

Grouse Mountain planned and implemented a water quality monitoring program to ensure compliance with New Mexico Water Quality Standards and the New Mexico Water Quality Act for stormwater conveyances associated with coal waste piles in Madrid, New Mexico. A total of five (5) monitoring sites were selected for water quality testing and analysis within the Area of Potential Effect (APE). Monitoring sites were selected based on accessibility and the ability to meet the objectives of monitoring plan. The monitoring sites consisted of one (1) reference site, two (2) coal waste drainage sites, and two (2) discharge point sites. Each monitoring site was equipped with a Global Water WS705 composite automatic sampler. At each site the automatic samplers were set up in flow trigger mode meaning the samplers initiate intaking water samples when the sensor detects flow. All the designated sites were monitored until water samples are collected for at least five (5) separate rainfall events. Grouse Mountain personnel completed an analytical report for the collected water samples and made recommendations for any chemical constituents that exceed permissible levels.

Artificial Raptor Perch Fabrication and Installation- Military Department Lands

Wyoming Military Department

Sheridan, Wyoming • 2017


Grouse Mountain worked with the Wyoming Military Department (WYMD) to construct and install five (5) artificial raptor perches on Military Department lands in Sheridan, WY.  Our team of wildlife biologists coordinated with WYMD to determine perch placement. Perches were placed within prairie dog colonies to create vantage points for hunting raptors.

Abandoned Mine Site Environmental Resource Evaluations

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Abandoned Mine Land Division

Statewide • January 2017 - Present


Grouse Mountain is contracted by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Abandoned Mine Land Division to perform environmental resource evaluations prior to the reclamation of abandoned mine sites across the state.  Our biologists and vegetation specialists travel to the mine sites and perform an inventory of flora and fauna as well as identify any potential direct or indirect impacts the proposed action may have on threatened, endangered, candidate and sensitive species.  Potential impacts to bats, migratory birds, big game, wetlands and Waters of the United States are also analyzed.


Wildlife Season

When Jason Sutton and Jenna Foss first started Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants in 2007, their initial goal was to provide federal oil and gas permitting, as well as environmental consulting services to the Powder River Basin. As the principal owners of the company, Jason and Jenna’s mission was, and still is, to deliver the highest-level professionalism and experience to their clients by providing creative solutions and offering timely, responsive services.

Those services have grown to include many aspects, including helping clients obtain federal Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs), proposed development for renewable energy, navigating policies surrounding greater sage grouse management and more. Some of the most important services Grouse Mountain offers, however, involve the upcoming wildlife season.

“One of the biggest services we offer at Grouse Mountain is our wildlife surveying,” Sutton said. “Whether our clients are planning to build a well location, or upgrade a road or perform any type of new disturbance- a lot of these projects, especially if they have a federal component, have a wildlife survey requirement before they start the actual work.”

Wildlife surveys include a broad spectrum of considerations, often focused on threatened, endangered and sensitive species, avian point count and mortality, eagle, raptor and migratory bird nesting, Bald Eagle winter roosting, bat acoustic monitoring, sage-grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and lesser prairie-chicken lek inventory, small mammals, big game and more. Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants provide all of these services in an efficient, all-encompassing way designed to offer support and guidance to their clients throughout the wildlife season.

“Depending on where our clients are located, our surveyors have to conduct these surveys within a certain time window,” Sutton stated. “Specifically with our Buffalo office [for example], our wildlife biologists will make three visits over the course of the spring to make sure that they get an accurate representation of what’s out there. So, they will go visit the site, then they will wait 10 days and visit the site again. Then, they will wait another 10 days and visit the site a third time and compile their results. Then, they’ll submit that information back to the agency and the agency will use that information to determine whether they are going to restrict activities or not.”

Grouse Mountain also partners with clients to navigate environmental regulatory processes, from pre-planning through post-development project phases. They design and implement wildlife studies and mitigation strategies that are compliant with federal and state regulations for threatened and endangered species, species of concern, and special status plant and animal species.

“We have very experienced wildlife biologists,” Foss revealed. “Many of them have been doing this kind of work for more than 10 years. [At Grouse Mountain], we’re very familiar with the area, with the species involved and with the protocols and processes that our clients need to get their job done. We’re expanding into more areas as well, and our biologists have built a great reputation of performing good, quality surveys.”

And really, that’s the biggest reason Jason and Jenna started Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants thirteen years ago. They wanted to provide the people of Wyoming and beyond a full-service resource for planning, permitting and implementation. While their services have evolved, their mission has not, and they continue to prove themselves to be a reliable resource for a wide variety of clientele.

“Jenna and I both have natural resource backgrounds,” Sutton stated. “When we came to the area, we noticed that there was a big need for a company that could provide clients with the environmental services that they needed to secure their permit. We were able to bridge that gap for them because we had the ability to speak with landowners and operators to explain what needed to be done. We’re able to relay the information back and forth and communicate well with all parties involved. This job is a challenging and exciting thing to do, and I feel like we make a difference when we do it. We may have, more or less, “fallen into” this job, but that’s why we continue to do it.”

Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants will continue to provide services to clients throughout the Rocky Mountain, Southwest, and Midwest regions. For more information, visit grousemtnconsultants.com or call 307-684-2112.

Katie Taylor on Wildlife Surveys

Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants specializes in environmental permitting and compliance services throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Those services include Federal and State permitting, GIS and Database solutions, Phase I Environmental Site assessments, reclamation and remediation, water monitoring and more. Some of the most essential services that Grouse Mountain offers are Wildlife Surveys, performed by wildlife biologists with extensive experience in the field.

One of those biologists is Katie Taylor, the Lead Wildlife Biologist and Project Manager at Grouse Mountain. Taylor completed her undergraduate in Washington State, before receiving her master’s degree from the University of Wyoming. During her studies, Taylor specialized in wildlife research relating to big game, which led her to Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants.

“We provide a wide range of wildlife services for our clients,” Taylor stated. “As Wildlife Biologists, we’re acting as the middle-man to help our clients make sure that they’re meeting all federal and state wildlife regulations in pursuance of their development projects.”

Those projects can take on a variety of forms, depending on the region and its regulations. It also depends on the species; whether they’re considered ‘special status,’ species of concern, threatened or endangered, etc.

“As wildlife biologists, we get into this line of work because we love being outside,” she said. “We love learning that way. I really enjoy the avian raptor and small bird avian point counts. I love the nest monitoring surveys that we do- those are some of my favorites.”

But Taylor and her compatriots know that they also have a job to do, and they are happy to do it.

“Generally, in the spring, we do a lot of eagle and raptor nest surveys and monitoring. We’re trying to get an idea of how many territories related to which species there are, and what nests they might be using within those territories and how that might change from year to year. We compile the information to provide to the relevant agencies to supplement permit applications.”

Essentially, the wildlife surveys that Taylor and the team at Grouse Mountain conduct are designed to help their clients conduct business in a way that is safe for surrounding wildlife, while also ensuring that their clients are acting within the guidelines and regulations of the given area. It’s a lot to navigate and a lot of things can fall through the cracks, unless you have a team like Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants to ensure that doesn’t happen.

The work that Grouse Mountain does for their clients is unparalleled and, Taylor says, a big reason for that is the team that has been assembled by Jenna Foss and Jason Sutton, the principal owners of Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants.

“We work with great people at Grouse Mountain,” Taylor stated. “We have such amazing people on our staff. Everybody brings something different to the table and we all make each other better. We are a growing company, but we still have this small company feel, with small company values. We bring those values to our clients as well. We’re very personable. We have actual relationships with our clients and it’s rewarding when you work through a long-term project and you’re invested in that relationship as much as you’re invested in the actual work.”

For more information about Grouse Mountain Environmental Consultants, or to schedule a consultation, visit https://grousemtnconsultants.com/ or call 307-684-2112.


You can find us in the office weekdays from 8am-5pm or call anytime.

P: 307.684.2112
F: 307.684.2142

Grouse Mountain Headquarters
760 West Fetterman Street
Buffalo, WY 82834

Grouse Mountain New Mexico
3600 Cerrillos Rd, Ste 407
Santa Fe, NM 87507

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