Documents filed under Impact on Bats
These guidelines, prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, set forth recommendations to commercial wind energy developers on how to characterize bird and bat resources at on-shore wind energy sites, and how to estimate and document impacts resulting from the construction and operation of wind energy projects. By issuing these guidelines, DEC intends to provide a consistent and predictable methodology for developers to assist them in the planning and development process.
Wildlife expert Dan Boone presented these slides at the 38th North American Symposium on Bat Research held in Scranton, PA in October 2008. Mr. Boone's presentation focused on the trade-offs of wind energy development in Eastern US balancing the benefits of this energy resource against the environmental risks, particularly to bats. Note that slides # 27, 32 and 33 of the presentation provide graphs which quantitatively estimate the potential impacts on bats and forest habitat resulting from the projected intensity of wind energy development within the eastern US states which comprise the bulk of the Appalachian mountain region. The summary slide from the presentation is listed below. The full presentation can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This important recommendation is excerpted from the report:
Be it resolved on this 7th day of July, 2008 that members of the North American Symposium on Bat Research have expressed concern about fatalities of bats at utility-scale wind energy facilities in North America. Because bats have exceptionally low reproductive rates making them susceptible to population declines and local extinctions, bat fatalities at wind facilities could pose biologically significant cumulative impacts for some species of bats unless solutions are found.
This paper documents the results of an in-field test at the Maple Ridge wind energy facility in New York to determine the effectiveness of using an experimental acoustic bat deterrent to reduce bat mortality. The executive summary excerpted below suggests the results were inconclusive. Most bat experts remain unconvinced that acoustic deterrence will be a suitable mitigation approach to reduce bat fatalities at existing turbines.
WHEREAS, wildlife conservation and energy efficiency should be major considerations in the development of viable sources of alternative energy (Government Accountability Office 2003; Arnett et al. 2007; National Research Council 2007); and,
While the public and many decision-makers generally believe that wind energy is environmentally benign, it may entail significant detriments to wildlife and essential habitats, which need to be more clearly understood, and addressed. State fish and wildlife agencies should be at the forefront of cooperative development and implementation of measures to characterize, avoid, minimize and effectively mitigate the impacts of wind energy development on natural resources. Therefore the position of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, in regard to wind energy development is to: ...
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)
Edward Cherian Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA 20 Warren Street, Suite 8 Concord, NH 03301
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."
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.
Executive summary of the Coastal Habitat Alliance's independent review on the potential environmental impact of the proposed Kenedy County wind projects. Click here to access the full document.
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.
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.
Letter to Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin in response to Mayor Kilmartin's request for community input on a potential wind facility. Gamesa is proposing to erect 10-15 wind turbines on borough property located on Ice Mountain for a total of 25 units on the ridge tops in the area.
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)
This important collaborative document describes the current research on wind energy and the assessment of impacts on nocturnally active birds and bats.
Ridge Protectors was an intervenor on the Sheffield Wind case before the Vermont Public Service Board. This petition letter was sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in response to the requirement that UPC Wind, the developer, secure a federal permit for wetlands impacts at the site.
The public version of this filing can be downloaded below.
This important peer-reviewed paper written by bat expert Dr. Thomas H. Kunz et al identifies the significant risk wind turbines pose for migratory and local bat populations in the mid-Atlantic Highlands region of the United States. The projected number of annual fatalities of bats at wind energy facilities in the Highlands in the year 2020 can reach up to 111,000 bats.