Karen is a Senior Ecologist in the WEST Knoxville Tennessee field office. Karen has 25 years of experience specializing in wildlife resource investigations and regulatory permit compliance for the development of renewable and fossil fuel energy generation and transmission facilities throughout the U.S. Karen’s role at WEST includes expanding client support in the fields of energy generation and transmission, as well as government contracts. Karen serves as the lead for the Technical Team for the Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan, which covers a nine-state region and is one of the Nation’s largest and most complex endangered species compliance efforts.
Karen received a BS in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Karen began her professional career in the late 1980’s working for the Illinois State Natural History Survey, completing state-wide surveys and impact assessments for endangered Indiana bats. Upon completing her PhD at the University of Illinois, where she studied auditory system development and sensory cue use by foraging bats, Karen taught Behavioral Ecology at U of I for a year, then took a faculty position in Biology at the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining WEST, Karen was responsible for establishing and growing the natural resources management capabilities for private environmental consulting groups, and has focused on projects addressing the environmental planning and regulatory permitting needs of commercial developers as well as federal, state, and municipal government organizations. Much of this work has been in support of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Dr. Tyrell has developed impact assessment and environmental compliance training courses for a number of federal and state environmental programs, and served on the USFWS Indiana Bat Recovery Team. Karen is active on a number of technical and academic committees addressing environmental effects of utility-grade wind power facilities.