Dr. Richard Podolsky is a Certified Senior Ecologist (through the Ecological Society of America), with a twenty year track record in helping “big box” developers, oil and gas, electric and renewable (especially wind), energy companies to reduce potentially adverse environmental impacts from a wide range of projects and achieve regulatory compliance. Podolsky routinely applies cost-effective, state-of-the-art environmental techniques, materials and software to new development and mitigation projects. He also is experienced at proactively addressing the environmental concerns of non-profit organizations and community groups, and troubleshooting with governmental officials to achieve regulatory compliance on behalf of clients. Podolsky is especially versed in Section 7 consultations, threatened and endangered species surveys, mitigation plans, and habitat conservation planning associated with electric generation facilities.
Podolsky’s formal training is in ornithology and he has been studying the ecology of inshore and pelagic seabirds for twenty-nine years. As consulting ornithologist to the National Audubon Society Podolsky helped to restore populations of Atlantic Puffins, Common, Arctic, and Roseate Terns, and Leach’s Storm-petrels to North Atlantic islands. Podolsky has also managed numerous endangered seabird projects in the Galápagos and Hawaiian Islands, working for many years with the highly endangered Galápagos and Hawaiian Petrel, and the rare Newells Shearwater. In Alaska, Podolsky consulted with the Exxon Valdez Restoration Team on the impact of the spill on Marbled Murrelets and other seabirds in Prince William Sound. Podolsky is currently advising the developers of the Freedom Tower, the successor building(s) to the World Trade Center Twin Towers, how to minimize the risk of birds colliding with the buildings and with the wind turbines planned for the upper floors.
With regards to power generation, Podolsky has directed the siting and design and prepared State and Federal environmental permits for over 20 wind power projects in the east, south, and west ranging in size from single turbine projects producing 18 MW up to 230 WTGs producing 831 MW. Podolsky is presently directing all seabird and mammal observations pertaining to the pre-construction phase for a utility-scale wind power projects Buzzards Bay, MA including boat and aerial transect surveys as well as nocturnal, boat-based, radar surveys to monitor nocturnal migration of bird.
Regarding radar ornithology, Podolsky was involved with the design and implementation of some of the very first applications of marine surveillance and NEXRAD radar for monitoring birds. Podolsky authored the image analysis software (FullPixelSearch) that is used to analyze radar images in the Radar Ornithology Lab headed by Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux at Clemson University. Podolsky holds patent #7,315,799 on a software model called Avian Risk of Collision (ARC) that uses passage rates of birds from radar and field studies to model the collision rate of birds flying through wind power projects. ARC has been used to estimate the reduction in bird kills from the repowering of Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. Podolsky has published widely on birds, bats and wind power and he has given many technical presentations nationally and internationally on wind power and avian collision risk, as well as the impact of offshore wind on marine birds and mammals.
Podolsky also has in-depth experience with the application of technology to scientific problems, specifically with software used in spatial analysis, pattern recognition, data mining, remote sensing and geographic information systems. Podolsky is the principal designer and developer of scientific software including ARC (Patent Pending), a model that quantifies the risk of birds colliding with wind power turbines, and FullPixelSearch©, GAIA, Diversidad© and FireTower©. Podolsky has led bird ecotours to the Galápagos, Hawaii, Caribbean, Amazonia and Antarctica.
Podolsky received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Biological Conservation, a Master of Science degree in Ecology from Rutgers University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ecology, Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.