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Endangered bats may delay wind project in Logan County

The presence of the federally-endangered Indiana bat may delay plans to install wind turbines in southern Logan County, but shouldn't have an impact on Champaign County, said a wind company representative Friday. "We are aware of the bat being found and we're working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources," said Michael Speerschneider with Everpower Renewables.

The presence of the federally-endangered Indiana bat may delay plans to install wind turbines in southern Logan County, but shouldn't have an impact on Champaign County, said a wind company representative Friday.

"We are aware of the bat being found and we're working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources," said Michael Speerschneider with Everpower Renewables. "It certainly won't halt the project altogether, but we'll be going forward in the most responsible and prudent way from here. Our site assessment is not complete and we're not sure exactly where these bats have been found in Logan County. Fish and Wildlife has been intentionally vague, I think, on the location."

Mary Knapp, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Field Office in Reynoldsburg, was able to elaborate Friday, but said another biologist would be unable to provide specific data on the size and range of the population until Monday.

"I can tell you several Indiana bats were found," Knapp said. "Electronic transmitters were put on at least three and they were followed to see where they went. They were foraging for insects in the wind project area in southern Logan County."

Speerschneider said... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The presence of the federally-endangered Indiana bat may delay plans to install wind turbines in southern Logan County, but shouldn't have an impact on Champaign County, said a wind company representative Friday.

"We are aware of the bat being found and we're working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources," said Michael Speerschneider with Everpower Renewables. "It certainly won't halt the project altogether, but we'll be going forward in the most responsible and prudent way from here. Our site assessment is not complete and we're not sure exactly where these bats have been found in Logan County. Fish and Wildlife has been intentionally vague, I think, on the location."

Mary Knapp, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Field Office in Reynoldsburg, was able to elaborate Friday, but said another biologist would be unable to provide specific data on the size and range of the population until Monday.

"I can tell you several Indiana bats were found," Knapp said. "Electronic transmitters were put on at least three and they were followed to see where they went. They were foraging for insects in the wind project area in southern Logan County."

Speerschneider said the presence of the endangered species in Logan County does not mean Champaign County will get priority for turbine placement by Everpower.

"We'd be looking to put as many turbines in Champaign County as we can regardless of what's going on in other parts of the project area," Speerschneider said.

David Groberg, a representative of another wind development company, Invenergy LLC in Chicago, said he was unaware of the presence of the Indiana bat, but other Invenergy projects have adapted to accommodate wildlife concerns.

"At all of our projects, due diligence as part of the site review is checking to determine impacts on threatened or endangered species," he said. "We're still working on the environmental assessment in Ohio.We know the Indiana bat is endangered and federally listed, but we haven't found it. We're still actively pursuing installations in both counties."

A representative of Babcock and Brown, which has focused wind development efforts on Logan County, did not return a phone call Friday.

The largest populations are found in Indiana; half of all Indiana bats hibernate in caves in southern Indiana. Large hibernating populations are also found in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. The current population estimate is about 380,000 Indiana bats, a 60 percent decline since the species was listed as endangered in 1967.

Loss of habitat and pesticide use are two key factors leading to the Indiana bat's endangered status. It was added to the U.S. list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants on March 11, 1967, due to drastic declines in the species' population. Under the Endangered Species Act, listing protects the Indiana bat from take (harming, harassing, killing) and requires federal agencies to work to conserve it.

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Reynoldsburg/indiana_bat.html.


Source: http://www.urbanacitizen.com/

NOV 22 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18053-endangered-bats-may-delay-wind-project-in-logan-county
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