NHC President Contributes to Tricolored
Blackbird Conservation


Photo credit: Stephen Fischer

While NHC focuses mainly on hydrology and hydraulics, our President, Dan Airola, has the only somewhat related pastime as an ornithologist and conservation biologist. Recently, Dan has been focusing his spare time pursuits conducting research and conservation planning for an endangered songbird, the Tricolored Blackbird. The blackbird is nearly endemic to California and nests in large colonies in marshes and rangelands. Its populations are declining due to conflicts with agriculture and loss of open space habitat.
In his capacity as the volunteer editor of the Central Valley Bird Club Bulletin, Dan organized and produced a special issue including nine articles providing state-of-the-moment information on population status, ecology, and conservation for the blackbird. He authored or co-authored three of the Bulletin's articles.

Dan is currently using his expertise to assist one of NHC's clients, the mitigation banking firm Westervelt Ecological Services, to evaluate their properties for potential to provide mitigation for Tricolored Blackbird habitat loss. The recommendations for this client, to develop new wetlands areas to support blackbird nesting, are one of the primary measures that have been identified throughout the species range to recover the species' population. With NHC's decades of experience in hydraulic design and wetland development, we are in a strong position to help implement the nesting habitat conservation program for the blackbird.