Documents filed under Impact on Birds
This useful paper sheds light on the fact that there is remarkably little information that fully validates methods of determining bird mortality risk at operating wind projects and the success of mitigation approaches. Large wind turbine deployment has been accelerating since 2003 and is rapidly spreading in high-value bird areas. Yet, in nearly 15 years, researchers are still asking key questions and demanding more research. A portion of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service denied Iberdrola's request for an eagle take permit. The rejection letter is provided below and can be accessed by clicking the link on this page. Iberdrola's application was one of the first to seek a 30-year term on the permit. In addition to the FWS letter, you can also view Iberdrola's cover letter submitted with its permit application where the company cites its interest in a long-term permit.
Collisions and electrocutions at power lines are thought to kill large numbers of birds in the United States annually. However, existing estimates of mortality are either speculative (for electrocution) or based on extrapolation of results from one study to all U.S. power lines (for collision). This paper attempts to quantify bird mortality. The abstract is posted below. The full paper can be accessed at the links on this page.
Duke Energy Renewables Inc., a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in connection with the deaths of protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. This case represents the first ever criminal enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unpermitted avian takings at wind projects.
This new study by researchers at the Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identifies the real risk of industrial scale wind turbines to bird life. The paper will be published in December 2013 but portions can be reviewed by clicking the links on this page.
Eagles are among the bird species that can be injured or killed by collision at wind energy facilities when the birds are flying at the same height above ground as the blades of horizontal-axis wind turbines. This paper attempts to quantify the number of eagles killed at wind sited other than the large project at Altamont Pass California which is estimated to have slaughtered 75 golden eagles per year from 2005-2007. The summary and conclusions of the paper are provide below. The full paper can be accessed at the links on this page.
The Sheffield Wind Energy facility, a 40 megawatt project that went into service in October 2011, released the first season of bird/bat mortality. Total bird fatality estimates for the project site for the entire season was 211 (95% CI: 147, 321), with an estimated 13.17 birds killed per turbine (95% CI: 9.20, 20.05). A total of 87 bats of three species from 1 April-31 October, all of which were migratory tree-roosting bats. Bat carcasses were found at all 16 turbines. The full report can be found by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
This recent paper offers important data on how birds use wind flows to aid in flight and how modeling wind flow across complex terrain can assist in siting wind energy facilities to reduce avian mortality.
Invenergy proposed the Pantego project in September 2011. The 49-turbine project, each standing 492-feet tall, was approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission in March 2012 but encountered objections from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the military. This letter was sent by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding impacts to migrating birds.
This important study identified a significant reduction in successful breading of white-tailed eagles within 500 meters of an operating wind project. The study also enforced the importance of conducting thorough pre-construction studies on vulnerable bird species. The abstract and conclusion of the report is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
In this strongly worded letter sent to Heritage Sustainable Energy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service advises Heritage to table its plans to erect a commercial wind energy facility on the Garden Peninsula because of the high potential for avian mortalities and violations of Federal wildlife laws.
AES' Laurel Mountain wind energy facility in West Virginia experienced significant bird mortality over the weekend of October 1, 2011. Nearly 500 birds were reportedly killed after lights were left on at the electrical substation associated with the wind project. The deaths occurred due to collisions with the substation and apparent exhaustion as birds caught in the light's glare circled in mass confusion. The incident report of what happened can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This important report examines a new approach to understanding how birds see the world and why they find pylons and turbines so hard to avoid. The abstract of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
This important report prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bend Field Office was submitted to the Energy Facility Siting Officer of the Oregon Department of Energy in reference to the proposed Summit Ridge Wind project. The project to be located in Wasco County Oregon, will include up to 87 wind turbines for a total generating capacity of approximately 200 megawatts. While much of the project site is agricultural land used for dry land winter wheat production, the proposed facility would be built on land one to four miles west of the Deschutes River Canyon extending from river mile 7 on the north end of the project boundary to river mile 31 on the south end. The Service expresses its concern regarding short and long-term Project impacts to migratory birds including bald and golden eagles and bats. Golden eagles, large stick nests, and bald eagles were recently documented in the project vicinity.
An agreement was reached among all parties involved in federal litigation under the Endangered Species Act concerning the Beech Ridge wind project in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, that will provide for additional protection of the endangered Indiana bat and other wildlife while allowing some elements of the project to move forward.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wet Virginia field office, issued these comments regarding the Pinnacle wind power project proposed for ridgelines in Mineral County, WV. The comments pertain to the Habitat Characterization and Assessment of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species for the Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009a); the Avian Risk Assessment for the Pinnacle Wind Power Project (Kerlinger 2009); and the Bat Risk Assessment: Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009b). Excerpts of the letter are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
As imperiled bird populations continue to increase, new challenges arise from the effects of growing numbers of communication towers, power lines, commercial wind facilities, and buildings. This paper briefly reviews steps the USFWS is taking to seriously address structural impacts to migratory birds. New findings will be briefly reviewed that address lighting impacts, new challenges facing birds from tower radiation, and collision and habitat fragmentation effects on avifauna.
This important report, which appeared in the Wildlife Society's Journal of Wildlife Management, details the effect on raptor and bird mortality following repowering a portion of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California (USA). Repowering involves removing older generation towers and replacing them with higher capacity -- and potentially better sited -- units. The abstract to this report appears below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This page contains links to letters sent between the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wild Service regarding whether wind power development is permitted in Wyoming's 'core sage grouse habitat area'. Brian Kelly of the USFWS states in his letter that “ . . . constructing wind farms in core areas, even for research purposes, prior to demonstrating it can be done with no impact to sage grouse, negates the usefulness of the core area concept as a conservation strategy and brings into question whether adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place to protect the species.”
This useful paper examines the impact of wind turbine development on species habitat use. In particular, this paper focuses on bird species residing in American grasslands. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded from the links on this page.