GREAT FALLS, Mont. – A wind farm in Montana might be killing more birds and bats than expected, according to preliminary findings of a study by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Articles filed under Impact on Bats from Montana
A preconstruction acoustic survey for bats predicted that the wind farm’s impact would be low, but the preliminary results of the study show it’s been higher than anticipated. Over the first six months of the post-construction study, FWP is estimating with 95 percent confidence that the turbines killed between 120 to 397 bats with the figure likely 221 or about nine bats per turbine.
An estimated 1,200 bats, most of them probably just passing through Montana, were killed after striking wind turbines at the Judith Gap Wind Farm between July 2006 and May 2007, according to a post-construction bird and bat survey. The number surprised Invenergy, which owns the farm, as well as government and private wildlife experts. "It's killing 1,200 bats a year and that's a lot more than anybody anticipated," said Janet Ellis of Montana Audubon, a bird conservation group. ...The study estimates that 406 birds, or 4.52 birds per turbine, were killed during the study period.
As wind power gears up in Montana, the effects of large-scale wind projects on wildlife remain a concern: Birds may be in the clear, but bats are running into trouble. Turbine-related fatalities at Judith Gap Wind Energy Center near Harlowton were 1,206 bats and 406 birds, according to a 2007 preliminary study prepared by TRC Solutions' Laramie, Wyo. office. Roger Schoumacher, a biologist and consultant for TRC, said the bat fatality count is higher than what generally occurs in the West.