Documents filed under Impact on Bats

Behavioral responses of bats to operating wind turbines

ABSTRACT: Wind power is one of the fastest growing sectors of the energy industry. Recent studies have reported large numbers of migratory tree-roosting bats being killed at utility-scale wind power facilities, especially in the eastern United States. We used thermal infrared (TIR) cameras to assess the flight behavior of bats at wind turbines because this technology makes it possible to observe the nocturnal behavior of bats and birds independently of supplemental light sources. We conducted this study at the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in Tucker County, West Virginia, USA, where hundreds of migratory tree bats have been found injured or dead beneath wind turbines. We recorded nightly 9-hour sessions of TIR video of operating turbines from which we assessed altitude, direction, and types of flight maneuvers of bats, birds, and insects. We observed bats actively foraging near operating turbines, rather than simply passing through turbine sites. Our results indicate that bats 1) approached both rotating and nonrotating blades, 2) followed or were trapped in blade-tip vortices, 3) investigated the various parts of the turbine with repeated fly-bys, and 4) were struck directly by rotating blades. Blade rotational speed was a significant negative predictor of collisions with turbine blades, suggesting that bats may be at higher risk of fatality on nights with low wind speeds. (JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 72(1):123-132; 2008)
1 Mar 2008

Bird fatality study at Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA)

M21_2008_altamont_bird_fatality_report_01_25_08_thumb The current management goal for the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) is to significantly and substantially reduce the fatalities of birds resulting from collisions with the wind turbines and other turbine-related incidents. This is the first report on bird/bat mortality rates at the APWRA since the management plan was implemented. "The results of this study show an apparent continued trend of high bird fatalities, both raptors and non-raptors at APWRA. The number of annual fatalities does not appear to be decreasing despite implementation of specific conservations measures including the cross-over winter shutdown program, high risk turbine removal and blade-painting."
25 Jan 2008

Patterns of Bat Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities in North America

Arnett2008patbatfatal_thumb ABSTRACT: Wind has become one of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy worldwide, but widespread and often extensive fatalities of bats have increased concern regarding the impacts of wind energy development on bats and other wildlife. We synthesized available information on patterns of bat fatalities from a review of 21 post-construction fatality studies conducted at 19 facilities in 5 United States regions and one Canadian province. Dominance of migratory, foliage- and tree-roosting lasiurine species (e.g., hoary bat [Lasiurus cinereus]) killed by turbines was consistent among studies. Bat fatalities, although highly variable and periodic, consistently peaked in late summer and fall, coinciding with migration of lasiurines and other species. A notable exception was documented fatalities of pregnant female Brazilian freetailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) in May and June at a facility in Oklahoma, USA, and female silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) during spring in Tennessee, USA, and Alberta, Canada. Most studies reported that fatalities were distributed randomly across turbines at a site, although the highest number of fatalities was often found near the end of turbine strings. Two studies conducted simultaneously in the same region documented similar timing of fatalities between sites, which suggests broader patterns of collisions dictated by weather, prey abundance, or other factors. None of the studies found differences in bat fatalities between turbines equipped with lighting required by the Federal Aviation Administration and turbines that were unlit. All studies that addressed relationships between bat fatalities and weather patterns found that most bats were killed on nights with low wind speed (6 m/sec) and that fatalities increased immediately before and after passage of storm fronts. Weather patterns may be predictors of bat activity and fatality; thus, mitigation efforts that focus on these high-risk periods could reduce bat fatality substantially. We caution that estimates of bat fatality are conditioned by length of study and search interval and that they are biased in relation to how searcher efficiency, scavenger removal, and habitat differences were or were not accounted for. Our review will assist managers, biologists, and decision-makers with understanding unifying and unique patterns of bat fatality, biases, and limitations of existing efforts, and it will aid in designing future research needed to develop mitigation strategies for minimizing or eliminating bat fatality at wind facilities.
24 Jan 2008

US Fish and Wildlife Service letter to Gamesa regarding Shaffer Mountain (PA) wind energy proposal

Usfws_shaffermountainpa_thumb US Fish and Wildlife Service responded to Gamesa Energy USA in regard to whether an “Incidental take” permit could be granted for the Shaffer Mountain wind project proposed for Somerset County, PA. An “Incidental take” permit allows for the destruction of federally listed species. A subset of the letter is included on this page. The full letter, in PDF format, can be accessed by clicking on the link below.
19 Dec 2007

Guidelines for conducting bird and bat studies at commerical wind energy projects

Drwindguide1207_thumb The Department of Environmental Conservation has released for public review proposed Guidelines for Conducting Bird and Bat Studies at Commercial Wind Energy Projects. These guidelines inform potential wind developers of the information DEC needs about wind farm sites to assess impacts to birds and bats. The guidelines were developed through a stakeholder process sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority which included industry representatives as well as bird and bat biologists from government agencies, academia and non-governmental environmental groups. Comments will be received until March 7, 2008 via mail to Brianna Gary, NYSDEC Bureau of Habitat, 625 Broadway 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4756 or via email.
1 Dec 2007

Wind energy development and wildlife conservation: Challenges and Opportunities

Kuvlezky-windwildlife_thumb ABSTRACT Wind energy development represents significant challenges and opportunities in contemporary wildlife management. Such challenges include the large size and extensive placement of turbines that may represent potential hazards to birds and bats. However, the associated infrastructure required to support an array of turbines—such as roads and transmission lines—represents an even larger potential threat to wildlife than the turbines themselves because such infrastructure can result in extensive habitat fragmentation and can provide avenues for invasion by exotic species. There are numerous conceptual research opportunities that pertain to issues such as identifying the best and worst placement of sites for turbines that will minimize impacts on birds and bats. Unfortunately, to date very little research of this type has appeared in the peer-reviewed scientific literature; much of it exists in the form of unpublished reports and other forms of gray literature. In this paper, we summarize what is known about the potential impacts of wind farms on wildlife and identify a 3-part hierarchical approach to use the scientific method to assess these impacts. The Lower Gulf Coast (LGC) of Texas, USA, is a region currently identified as having a potentially negative impact on migratory birds and bats, with respect to wind farm development. This area is also a region of vast importance to wildlife from the standpoint of native diversity, nature tourism, and opportunities for recreational hunting. We thus use some of the emergent issues related to wind farm development in the LGC—such as siting turbines on cropland sites as opposed to on native rangelands—to illustrate the kinds of challenges and opportunities that wildlife managers must face as we balance our demand for sustainable energy with the need to conserve and sustain bird migration routes and corridors, native vertebrates, and the habitats that support them. (JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 71(8):2487–2498; 2007)
1 Nov 2007

Maple Ridge Wind Power Avian and Bat Fatality Study Year One Report FINAL REPORT

Mapleridgereportfall2006final_thumb The following report describes the research design, initiation and completion of the first year of postconstruction study (fall migration only) of avian and bat collision fatalities at the 120 turbine Maple Ridge Wind Power Project in Lewis County, New York. The work was conducted in accordance with the “Proposed Scope of Work for a Postconstruction Avian and Bat Fatality Study at the Maple Ridge Wind Power Project, Lewis County, New York” dated March 14, 2006, and agreed upon in mid-May 2006, after several revisions. People/agencies who reviewed the proposed scope of work included staffers from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), Environmental Design and Research (EDR), NYS DEC staffers, developers (PPM and Horizon), and others. Representatives from some or all of these groups have been included in a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which has the responsibility of reviewing and commenting on progress reports, annual reports, and other updates from this project.
25 Jun 2007

NY DEC comments on DGEIS for Horse Creek wind power project

Nysdec_ppmjefferson_thumb The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reviewed the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) for PPM's Horse Creek wind facility proposed for the New York towns of Clayton and Orleans, Jefferson County. The project consists of approximately 62 wind turbines (130 MW) with 54 turbines in the Town of Clayton and 8 turbines in the Town of Orleans. The project scope also includes construction of two permanent meteorological (met) towers, an operations and maintenance facility, approximately 16 miles of gravel access roads and approximately 28 miles of buried electric collection lines, and an interconnection substation adjacent to the existing electric transmission line.
15 Jun 2007

Biological Survey responds to PA Game Commission wind energy voluntary cooperation agreement

Review_of_pgc_wind_energy_agreement_mtc_of_pa_biological_survey_thumb This report, authored by the Wind Energy and Bats subcommittee to the Pennsylvania Biological Survey's (PaBS) Mammal Technical Committee, documents the PA Game Commission's direct side-stepping of a long-established memorandum of agreement with the PaBS when the Game Commission developed and finalized the Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperation Agreement without the review or input of the Biological Survey. The memorandum of agreement was created over 10 years ago to help ensure that the Game Commission obtained advice from experts about actions affecting the mammals inhabiting the Commonwealth.
1 Jun 2007
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