Library filed under Impact on Bats
This important paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines the unprecedented numbers of tree-roosting bat fatalities at operating wind turbine facilities and the behavior of the bats near the turbines. The abstract of the paper along with the significance of the findings are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Twelve lifeless bodies were found near the machines at a wind farm in Benton County, Ind., during the study period between July 29 and Oct. 1 in 2012. The study was published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More dead bats is bad news, particularly at this time of year. Around the end of the month, hibernating bats will start flocking back to caverns, where a lethal disease called white-nose syndrome lurks.
“Bats may not have the cognitive ability to differentiate wind turbines or other tree-like structures from real trees either at a distance or at close range,” the researchers said. “The simplest explanation for bats closely approaching turbines may be that they are seeking places to roost in what they perceive as trees while migrating.”
“Coloradans treasure their environment. This bill will protect our sacred Bald Eagles and other bird species that currently are being killed in alarming numbers,” Senator Balmer said. “This legislation will require prudent steps renewable energy producers must take as they site and operate their facilities.”
The number of bats killed by wind turbines at the Spring Valley Wind Farm in 2014 has been reduced by more than 75 percent compared to the same time frame last year.
“If municipalities are going to go by avian studies that are funded by turbine developers, they’re not going to find mention of something such as this migration that has been documented since 1991. Right now, we are relying on numbers from the exact corporations that don’t want to find any dead birds, because any dead birds they find is subjected to prosecution and fines.”
The 152-megawatt Spring Valley Wind Energy project about 260 miles northeast of Las Vegas killed an estimated 566 bats in 2013, so its operator agreed to change when the windmills kick on in hopes of reducing the number of deaths.
In this recent study, researchers present a comprehensive study on the breeding provenance of endangered and protected noctule bats killed at German wind turbines, showing that individuals from local and distant populations are among the recorded fatalities. The results provide a first step on the way towards an evaluation on how bat fatalities at wind turbines might impact local and regional populations in migratory bat species. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
Heartland Community College will be doing a more complete study later this year to determine if its wind turbine is killing too many birds and bats.
Disease and heedless management of wind turbines are killing North America’s bats, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture and human health. We have yet to find a cure for the disease known as white-nose syndrome, which has decimated populations of hibernating, cave-dwelling bats in the Northeast. But we can reduce the turbine threat significantly without dismantling them or shutting them down.
USFWS’s National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory studied three solar farms in Southern California: Desert Sunlight, Genesis Solar and Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS). Two-hundred and thirty-three different birds from 71 species were found over the course of a two-year study.
Wildlife-smart wind power may be as close as it gets to "green energy." But over vast swaths of America, the "smart" part is still more hot air than reality--especially when it comes to raptors. Essayist Ted Williams provides an important review of wind energy and its impact on birds.
Developing and implementing a habitat conservation plan is a requirement for obtaining an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. Without such a permit, it is illegal to harm or kill federally threatened and endangered species. The plan and permit allow for projects that potentially impact threatened or endangered species to continue while the company takes actions to avoid, minimize and mitigate for the impacts.
Exelon Generation, which owns and operates the 28-turbine Criterion wind project built in 2010 in Garrett County, has pledged to "feather" or reduce the rotation speed of its turbines' blades during nighttime from late summer to early fall, peak bat migration time.
A business park near the Camp Perry site already has put up a wind turbine, but it isn't operating yet. Kim Kauffman, director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, said they will be monitoring it. "If we were to learn it killed migrating birds or eagles, we would pursue legal action," she said. There are about 60 bald eagle nests within 10 miles of the wind turbine, she said.
This important paper examines bat movement and foraging offshore along the United States eastern shore. The authors raise the concerns that migratory bats are at risk of mortality due to offshore wind turbines. The abstract and a portion of the paper's background section is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The development and expansion of wind energy facilities is a key threat to bat populations in North America. Dead bats are being found underneath wind turbines across North America, and bat fatalities have been documented at almost all of the wind facilities at which thorough bat surveys have been conducted. This paper examines the scale of the problem. The abstract and conclusions of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed at the links on this page.
But these are hard days for these peculiar animals, because they face mass extinction from a disease called White Nose Syndrome and every night thousands of are killed by energy-producing wind turbines that conservationists, economists and politicians hope will reduce this nation's need for foreign oil. A new study from the University of Colorado, Denver, estimates that 600,000 bats were killed by wind turbines last year alone.
The review of a proposed 62-turbine wind farm project in this Somerset County town has been put on hold in part because of concerns about the danger the turbines might pose to bats being threatened by white-nose syndrome, a rapidly spreading fungal disease.
Bat mortality is a typical concern at wind energy farms and it is standard practice to evaluate bat habitats and mortality rates during project reviews. The Department of Environmental Protection, however, may be revising its recommendations on the turning speed of wind turbines, which can be a threat to birds and bats that fly into them.