Dr. William O’ Connor is a senior ecologist who has over 15 year’s professional ecological management experience. He is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway where he received a PhD degree in Zoology. He is a Chartered member of the Institute of Biology and a full member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. He was employed as Senior Biologist with ESB Conservation & Amenities during the period 1992-1998, and has been working as a private consultant since 1999. He is the owner and Principle Ecologist of Ecofact Environmental Consultants Ltd. He has extensive experience of ecological surveys, and has vast experience in the preparation of EcIAs. Overall, he has undertaken over 500+ ecological assessments relating to projects such as national infrastructural and renewable energy developments. He is regularly engaged by state agencies such as NPWS, OPW, ESB, EPA, NRA and BIM, along with the county councils to advise on ecological issues.
William is one of most senior ecological consultants currently working in Ireland, and he has extensive experience in managing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies for large scale projects on behalf of public and private clients; including national infrastructural and renewable energy developments. Although William’s primary environmental consultancy expertise lies in water quality, fisheries and aquatic ecology, he has wide ranging experience in ecological survey methodologies in marine and terrestrial environments, having carried out intertidal and benthic sampling surveys; wintering and breeding bird surveys, non-volant mammal surveys; and amphibian surveys.
In relation to bats, Dr. O’Connor is a highly experienced and licensed bat surveyor, and has been working professionally with bats for over 12 years. He has received formal training with Bat Conservation Trust (UK) attending modules including “Planning and management of bat surveys” and “Surveying Buildings and Bridges for bats“. He has also completed the NPWS/BCT “Advanced bat handling course“. He has extensive experience of bat surveys on NRA road schemes over the past 10 years, the most recent of which include full seasonal bat surveys of the entire corridors of the N4 Colloney to Castlebaldwin and N17 Tobercurry to Colloney Road Schemes in Co Sligo. He is an expert in bat sonogram analyses, and has received formal training on Anabat data analyses form Alana Ecology. He is also a fully trained technician on the DeTect Merlin Radar System and is working to introduce this technology to Ireland for use with bats and birds. He is the manager of the popular bat themed ECOBATS facebook page www.facebook.com/ecobats. He is on the Heritage Councils Bat Expert Panel, and has advised NPWS on bat issues, including the management of forestry operations near Lesser Horseshoe Bat SACs in Co Kerry.
Recent bat survey work for wind farms included 2011-2012 surveys at four proposed wind farm sites in Co Kerry and preparation of Bat Impact Assessment Reports (on behalf of Saorgus Energy Ltd.). He also recently completed a yearlong ecological study (including 4 season bat survey) for a proposed wind farm on cutover bog (mainly) at Cloghan, Co Offaly. EcIA including bat surveys for a wind energy development at Listowel, Co. Kerry. he also recently prepared an ecological impact assessment, including bat surveys and assessments, for a proposed single turbine at Listowel, Co Kerry. Other recent projects include:-
- EcIA including bat surveys for Gortnacarriga Wind Farm
- EcIA including bat surveys for the Bord na Mona renewable energy development, Derrygreenagh, Co. Offaly
- Bat survey and impact assessment for Irish Rail Western Rail Corridor.
- EcIA including bat surveys for Fota Island redevelopment, Co. Cork
- EcIA including bat surveys for R312 road improvement scheme in Co Mayo (30km).
- Bat surveys for a suite of bridge improvement works in Co. Galway on behalf of Galway County Council
- Bat surveys for a suite of bridge improvement works in Co. Laois on behalf of Laois County Council.
He has also has also participated on an annual basis in the All-Ireland Daubenton’s Bat Waterway Monitoring Scheme; surveying a number of river sections in Co. Limerick since 2009.