A new study led by a U.S. Geological Survey biologist reaches a simple conclusion: Do not disturb the sage grouse. Steve Knick's work shows that 99 percent of active leks, or breeding sites, are in areas with no more than 3 percent of the land disturbed by humans for uses such as roads, power lines, pipelines and communication towers.
Library filed under Impact on Birds from Idaho
"I can hardly imagine what the government is thinking. Whooping cranes are the rarest of all the cranes, the rarest of American birds," said Paul Johnsgard, author of several books on the cranes and professor emeritus of ornithology at the University of Nebraska.
"It will be appealed and litigated to block it, and I think there's a good chance it can be stopped," Marvel said. "The Browns Bench and China Mountain area is acknowledged by all as a key, core area for the survival of sage grouse. It's ridiculous they even started the process to put in a wind farm at this location."
The project is drawing some concern for how it may impact the greater sage grouse population. The sage grouse has been named a candidate species for federal protection because of its struggling population. Few studies exist on how wind farms affect sage grouse, limiting scientific predictions of the impact.
Idaho and the federal government have signed an agreement that offers incentive and protection for ranchers and landowners who voluntarily take conservation steps to improve the plight of the sage grouse. ...Todd Tucci, attorney for Advocates for the West, said the bigger challenge is dealing with sage grouse habitat on public land, where wind energy development, oil and natural gas drilling and cattle grazing pose thornier policy questions.
David Parrish, reassigned from Magic Valley regional supervisor to Boise as fisheries program coordinator, wrote in a letter to The Times-News on July 6 that the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife." "It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat (for) sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species," Parrish wrote.