Library filed under Impact on Birds from California

Study: California wind power is the worst for wildlife

Despite numerous calls for an increase in the transparent reporting of study results and availability of reports to the public and scientists, collision data largely remains confidential and/or offline. Furthermore, reports that have been released to the public (e.g. on the internet) are often difficult to locate. We join previous authors in calling for increased transparency in data reporting. Requiring industry reports to be made publicly available would greatly improve understanding of wind energy impacts to wildlife.
21 Nov 2013

Windmill farm seeks permit to kill eagles

The report, which will now go through a 45-day public comment period, analyzed four alternatives, including the possibility of denying the permit application. In addition to retrofitting the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power poles, Shiloh, which is an affiliate of EDF Renewable Development, has agreed to use audio or visual deterrence measures to scare away eagles, migratory birds and bats.
27 Sep 2013

Wind farm pressed to protect eagles

For a long time, the wind industry operated pretty much with impunity when it came to its impact on golden eagles and other birds. Those days could be coming to an end. ...with wind’s big expansion during the Obama presidency and under pressure from conservation groups, the Fish and Wildlife Service has been pressuring the wind industry to get permits to “take” eagles.
20 Sep 2013

California leads nation in wind turbine eagle deaths

The apparent uptick in Californian eagle deaths is cause for significant concern. For more than a decade after 1997, the year of the first records examined by the authors, verifiable eagle mortalities from Californian wind facilities other than Altamont stayed between zero and two annually, with a peak of three eagles confirmed killed in 2002. And then, in 2011, that number more than doubled with six confirmed deaths, and then four more in just the first half of 2012. ...Wyoming's eagle kills have shot up even more dramatically, with all 31 taking pace in the years since 2009 -- 24 in 2010 and 2011 alone.
10 Sep 2013

Conservationists react to eagle biologist's sentencing

Boulevard activist Donna Tisdale, who works with the Protect our Communities Foundation among other local groups, was blunt in her assessment of Bittner's legacy. In an interview with the local publication East County Magazine , which has been following the Bittner story closely, Tisdale blasted Bittner. "Now we know why Bittner was the go-to-guy for the industry. His services, and whatever ethics or integrity he might have once had, were literally 'for sale' to the highest bidder."
16 Aug 2013

Eagle expert Bittner sentenced to probation, ordered to turn over missing data

U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Bartick sentenced John David Bittner of Julian, president of the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona,  to three years probation and a $7500 fine.  Bittner pled guilty  to unlawful taking of a Golden Eagle without a permit and failing to file any data reports for a four-year period on birds that he had banded.   The government could have imposed up to a $100,000 fine and a one-year prison sentence, but instead hope to induce Bittner to turn over years of missing data as a condition of probation.
13 Aug 2013

CA wind facilities want permits that will allow them to harm eagles

The existence of the permit applications was revealed by FOIA requests by Oklahoma journalist Louise Red Corn, and shared Thursday in a web-based seminar held by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). The 102.5-megawatt Shiloh IV Wind project applied for its take permit in March 2012, and the other three projects have applied in the last six months.
13 Jun 2013

Does controversial decision pit California Condors against wind turbines?

This is not a blank check. If a condor is killed by the turbines, the company will need to further adapt its operations and turn the turbines off during the day when the condors are most active. It will also be required to take further, undisclosed "additional measures to ensure that the project does not pose any threats to condors," according to a BLM press release. Although no dollar values have been assigned to those actions, they would no doubt significantly cut down on the wind farm's generating capacity and its profits.
30 May 2013

Turbine plans unnerve fans of condors in California

The California condor's slow 20-year climb back from the brink of extinction has long been a fragile not-quite-success story in the conservation world. So when the news came on Friday that developers of a wind-energy project near the Mojave Desert would not face criminal charges if the blades killed a single condor, environmental groups expressed grave concern. "This blindsided folks," Kelly Fuller of the American Bird Conservancy said in an interview.
26 May 2013

Terra-Gen gets OK on wind farm in wake of condor decision

Randy Hoyle strode proudly this week along a wind-swept expanse of sand, sage and juniper in the Tehachapi Mountains that will soon bristle with antennas and listening devices designed to protect endangered California condors. As Hoyle explained, the forbidding terrain is the future home of Terra-Gen Power's 2,300-acre Alta Windpower Development —and that project will include equipment to detect incoming condors soon enough to switch off the company's massive wind turbines before they slice into one of the birds.
24 May 2013

Obama administration gives wind farms a pass on eagle deaths, prosecutes oil companies

Nearly all the birds being killed are protected under federal environmental laws, which prosecutors have used to generate tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements from businesses, including oil and gas companies, over the past five years. "What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK," said Tim Eicher, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent based in Cody, Wyo.
14 May 2013

Companies won't face charges in condor deaths

In a decision swiftly condemned by conservationists and wildlife advocates, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said operators of Terra-Gen Power's wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains will not be prosecuted if their turbines accidentally kill a condor during the expected 30-year life span of the project.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants exceptions to a wind farm and a building project in harassing or killing the endangered birds.
10 May 2013

Eagle expert hired by wind industry locally pleads guilty to illegal Golden Eagle take and failing to file reports on birds he tracked

"The lack of data is particularly troubling because it is just this sort of data from permit holders that permits the U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service to monitor the health of the eagle populations within the United States, the release notes. Despite lacking a permit, Bittner continued to capture and band 144 migratory birds in the region, including at least one female Golden Eagle.
19 Apr 2013

Wind farm won't buckle amid concern for birds

Center for Biological Diversity partnered with Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife to sue the Board of Supervisors in March 2012, claiming the impact report did not incorporate enough protections for endangered birds like the golden eagle and California condor. They also said the report did not consider a reasonable range of project alternatives, include enough mitigation measures, or adequately explain why the county rejected curtailment - shutting down turbines at certain times - as a way to reduce bird fatalities.
11 Apr 2013

Feds ask for help in wind turbine eagle deaths

"Un-permitted take of eagles is the illegal take of eagles," Birchell said in the release. "We want power companies or any company involved in planning to build wind generation facilities in the Tehachapi range, where a significant golden eagle population exists, to contact the Service well in advance of construction and work with our biologists to develop conservation plans that will avoid take of eagles."
13 Mar 2013
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