Library filed under Impact on Birds from North Dakota
“How many bald eagle deaths from a North Dakota wind farm can wildlife officials accept?”
Consequently, federal wildlife officials are mulling a morbid question involving a large North Dakota wind farm: How many bald eagle deaths do they consider acceptable for a bird that is legally protected and hallowed as a national symbol?
ASHLEY, N.D. - Only four members of the public spoke at an almost five-hour public hearing Wednesday held by the North Dakota Public Service Commission on the proposed Merricourt Wind Power Project.
Standup: The Missouri river area in Bismarck is the heart of the migration corridor for whooping cranes. Niemuth doesn't know the effect wind energy has had on the species.
Rolette Power was first informed of bald eagles in the area in 2013 and initially made “a good effort” to work with the FWS to address the issue. But [the service] hasn’t heard from them since December 2014 and they haven’t provided an eagle use study, which the service recommends should take two years to determine where the eagles spend their time.
Are bald eagles at risk from wind turbines likely to be erected south of Rolette? That's a question that sparked a second hearing by the Public Service Commission today regarding a wind farm proposal.
Bald eagles have put the brakes on a proposed wind farm in North Dakota as state regulators seek input on how the towers with their spinning blades could impact the national bird.
The U.S. Geological Survey on Monday said wind farms "placed in prime wildlife habitat in North and South Dakota can influence the distribution of several species of grassland birds for years after construction, including species whose populations are in serious decline."
Two leading bird conservation groups, American Bird Conservancy and the International Crane Foundation, have sent a joint letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) voicing strong concerns about renewed consideration of the Merricourt wind energy project in North Dakota.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commented in February 2010 that “an adverse effect to whooping cranes is likely” from the project and recommended EDF not start construction until it obtains an “incidental take” permit, which allows a landowner to proceed with an activity that would otherwise result in the illegal killing of an endangered or threatened species.
Seventy-six groups led by American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the nation's leading bird conservation organizations, have called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to fully analyze the environmental consequences of a proposed North Dakota wind farm to the endangered Whooping Crane. FWS is considering issuing the first-ever Incidental Take Permit (ITP) to a wind farm for the killing of endangered Whooping Cranes and threatened Piping Plovers.
“At the North Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office, we are committed to enforcing laws that protect North Dakota’s outdoors and to providing companies who follow the law with a level economic playing field.” The statutory maximum sentence for violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is six months in federal prison and a $15,000 fine.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nation's leading bird conservation organization, today said that the cancellation of the Xcel Energy Inc. 150-megawatt, $400 million wind farm in southeastern North Dakota reflects how serious bird mortality issues are in connection with the burgeoning wind farm industry.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service expressed concern that the wind farm could harm whooping cranes and piping plover birds that are protected by federal law, which was a "major factor" for terminating the agreement, Xcel spokeswoman Patti Nystuen said in an emailed statement.
But scientists still don't know much about the long-term effects of wind turbines on wildlife. So researchers are studying a variety of bird species to determine if they are killed by spinning turbines, or avoid habitat hear them. One of the places they're searching for answers is the prairie pothole region of North Dakota, often called the nation's duck factory.
Developers of a new power line in western North Dakota are spending $500,000 to make sure whooping cranes don't run into it. Minnesota Power is building the 22-mile line in Morton and Oliver counties. It's supposed to connect a new 75-megawatt wind farm to the Square Butte electric substation near Center.
Tanner Gue knows as well as anyone just how wet it's been this summer in some of North Dakota's prime waterfowl country. That's good for ducks, of course, even if it sometimes complicates life for people trying to study them. A UND graduate student, Gue, 25, is heading up the fieldwork portion of a two-year research project aiming to learn more about the impact of wind farms on the survival of nesting ducks.
Death comes from above and below for birds on the causeway that separates Lake Audubon from Lake Sakakawea along the Missouri River. Biologists believe overhead electrical power lines and car collisions make the two-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 83 through the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge one of the world's deadliest places for birds, on land or air. Recently, biologist Darren Doderer located casualty No. 373, a mangled and bloodied double-crested cormorant that appeared to have hit one of the dozen or so unmarked overhead power lines.
Facing a huge increase in North Dakota's number of wind towers, state regulators promised to pay close attention to projects' potential effects on the whooping crane, a huge bird is in danger of extinction. "We generally aren't happy until you are," Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer told Jeffrey Towner, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife field supervisor in Bismarck, and Terry Ellsworth, an agency wildlife biologist, at a commission meeting Tuesday. Most of North Dakota's wind energy projects are outside the normal migratory path that whoopers take from Canada to Texas each year, wildlife officials say.
With wind energy towers rising around the state, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials worry about rare whooping cranes that pass through on their migration route betweem Canada and Texas. Representatives of the Fish and Wildlife Service plan a meeting this week with the North Dakota Public Service Commission and a separate meeting with officials of some 30 wind companies working in the Great Plains. They want to discuss a habitat conservation plan for the big white birds. "It's on the table now because we're seeing such a rapid increase in the number and size of wind power projects.