Michelle Ritzert has been a research biologist for WEST since 2008. Michelle has served as a project manager, field supervisor, and research biologist on projects throughout the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and primarily been involved with research designed to estimate impacts of wind development on wildlife at proposed and existing wind energy facilities. Her background includes conducting songbird and raptor point counts, sensitive bird species surveys, acoustic bat surveys, habitat mapping, and post-construction surveys. In addition, Michelle is well-versed in the current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wind Energy Guidelines and Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance and has completed numerous site assessments for potential wind projects. Michelle has a broad range of field experience, including post-construction fatality monitoring, habitat assessments for federal- and state-listed plants and animals, site characterization studies, acoustic bat surveys, avian use surveys, sensitive bird surveys, raptor nest surveys, and small mammal identification and trapping surveys. Michelle has also helped clients develop and implement Bird and Bat Conservation Strategies and Eagle Risk Assessments. Additionally, Michelle has a background in GIS that includes map production, landcover analysis, and digitizing.
Michelle received a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries from Frostburg State University in 2003 and a Master of Science in Biology from Eastern Kentucky University in 2009. Michelle’s M.S. thesis was an investigation of the tail-wagging behavior of eastern phoebes, examining a variety of hypotheses to determine the function of the behavior. Prior to joining WEST, Michelle worked on a variety of wildlife research projects in Virginia and Maryland. Michelle was also employed as a teaching assistant and part-time faculty member for Eastern Kentucky University.