Articles filed under Impact on Bats from USA
About 140 people got another look at the coming world of wind power Friday. Birds and bats were major topics, but the basic message was that there needs to be more study of the impact of wind farms and turbines. "We're kind of finding our way along with the industry," Kathy Boydston, a biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, told the gathering at the Ambassador Hotel in Amarillo. Experts are trying to find ways to deter birds and bats from hitting turbines, but the lack of information on how many fall victim and how it happens is lacking.
David Parrish, reassigned from Magic Valley regional supervisor to Boise as fisheries program coordinator, wrote in a letter to The Times-News on July 6 that the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife." "It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat (for) sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species," Parrish wrote.
Two years ago, PPM commissioned a study to learn how many bats could be affected by its proposed wind farm. Biologists hung nets for two nights in 10 locations and caught 138 bats. Cale calculates that if 24 nets -- that's one for each turbine -- were left up through the 14 combined weeks of seasonal bat migration, more than 16,000 bats would be caught. Each net covered an area of about 1,000 square feet. That compares to 66,000 square feet carved out by a turbine's rotating blades. "It's going to be a slaughterhouse," Cale said.
Highland New Wind Development (HNWD), developer of the proposed 20-turbine ridgeline wind project in Highland County, Virginia, has taken its search for investors to extremes, posting a website entitled: "The Greenest Windfarm in the World." ...This greenest-of-all posturing puts a new spin on the permit conditions imposed by the State Corporation Commission (SCC). Although potential investors will want to know why the SCC imposed precedent-setting wildlife monitoring conditions on the project, this critical information is missing from the HNWD website. Most of the extensive record, however, including expert reports and testimony submitted to the SCC, is provided here on the Virginia Wind website.
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.
The company is seeking an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and has prepared a draft habitat conservation plan and environmental assessment to minimize the effects on the endangered Hawaiian petrel ('ua'u), the endangered Hawaiian stilt (ae'o), the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat ('ope'ape'a), and the threatened Newell's shearwater ('a'o). Six of the seven 165-foot towers already have been built on land owned by Castle & Cooke. The company plans to build the remaining tower and operate all seven for a period of up to two years to collect data on wind patterns, according to permit documents.
Researchers studying birds killed by power lines are encouraged by recent findings from a study in the Dakotas that could hold implications throughout the Central Flyway, the major migration route that stretches from Canada to Texas. Wildlife deaths from power lines, wind turbines and other structures are a growing concern across the country, said Al Manville, a senior wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More transmission lines and wind turbines are planned in coming years, which could put several bird species at risk, Manville said. ...Research is important, partly because "birds play a key role in the ecosystem," said Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation at the National Audubon Society.
Paul Cryan was surprised and curious. Cryan had been studying bats since 1990, but only in 2003 did he learn that bats were being killed at wind energy farms. Cryan wanted to know why the bats, whose visual and echolocation abilities allow them to find and catch flying insects at night and avoid obstacles in the dark, run into or otherwise are killed by rotating turbine blades. Why would bats be around wind turbines in the first place? And which species were most at risk?
Marty has been studying the life cycle of the timber rattlesnake for 25 years. He regularly visits several dens that have been in existence on the Allegheny Front for thousands of years -- to check on the emergence of snakes in the spring. Marty had been concerned about the possible disruption of the snake dens by the construction of the Ned-Power Industrial Wind Turbines, but he was assured that the dens, located in rock piles, with crevasses going into the earth, would not be disturbed. When Marty returned to his study site this Spring, this is what he found: "It is finished. There is nothing left to save.
A regional conservation group is pointing out where birds and wind farms might not mix. A Playa Lakes Joint Venture mapping project shows the few remaining acres of habitat for the lesser prairie chicken and where playa lakes can draw large numbers of migrating birds. "There has been a lot of interest from the wind industry, local and state conservation groups and state agencies," said Megan McLachlan, a geographic-information system analyst for the group. "We've gotten a lot of phone calls the last couple of months asking us to share the data. There's a lot of people working on the issue."
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.
Iberdrola Renewables is considering options for Horse Creek Wind Farm about two weeks after it told the Clayton Planning Board it was suspending its application. While the company insists it was an internal decision, its representative did admit that the nearby Indiana bat population was a consideration. Indiana bats are an endangered species and there is a hibernation spot near the proposed wind project. The bats also have been affected by white nose syndrome, the mysterious ailment that has killed thousands of bats. The loss of the endangered species to disease has made federal wildlife experts even more sensitive to losses induced by man.
The prospect of thousands of endangered bats flying to their deaths in West Virginia wind turbines soon could get consideration in federal court because of Judy Rodd. The 63-year-old is the president of Friends of Blackwater Canyon, which recently joined 10 other groups in filing a "notice of intent" with the Fish and Wildlife Service to sue a wind company on Endangered Species Act grounds. The organizations warned of potential turbine kills of the Indiana bat, Virginia big-eared bat and Virginia northern flying squirrel. "Yes, we're concerned about climate change," said Rodd in a phone interview. "But that doesn't mean they can't build the turbines somewhere else and let the bats live."
With the numerous issues that building a wind farm raises for residents, the environment is always near the top of the list. In the case of the Horse Creek Wind Farm, which would be located in the Town of Clayton and the Town of Orleans, its the reason the project is going into a temporary suspension. The plight of the Indiana Bat and how wind farms can affect them is not a new issue for other wind farms in the nation, but it has been brought into serious contention for the Town of Clayton and the state since the bats are dying off in New York and no one is sure why. ...According to the DEC, "in New York, knowledge of (the bats) distribution is limited to known wintering locations-caves and mines in which they hibernate. There are eight hibernacula currently known in Albany, Essex, Warren, Jefferson, Onondaga and Ulster Counties." Until the DEC can figure out what is happening with the bats, the Horse Creek Wind Farm project is suspended.
Diane Winn doesn't dispute the need for clean, renewable energy -- the kind provided by wind turbines and hydroelectric dams. But Winn and Marc Payne, her partner at Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, are all about saving injured or abandoned wild birds. Wind turbines provide clean energy, but birds often die when they fly into turbines, and the noise the machines make can disrupt bird and human alike. For those reasons, Winn and Payne say they would close their North Palermo Road facility if Beaver Ridge Wind, an affiliate of Competitive Energy Service, builds three electricity-generating wind turbines on nearby Beaver Ridge. "No one argues with the basic fact that turbines kill birds," Winn said. "The only issue is how many are killed, and whether those numbers impact species populations."
The Wildlife Society (TWS) today released their position statement on wind energy, "Impacts of Wind Energy Facilities on Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat." This position statement is based on TWS' award-winning technical review of the same name. ..."We have found that the magnitude of impacts from wind energy development on wildlife, particularly migratory birds and bats, is not articulated consistently to wildlife managers, decision makers or the public," stated Michael Hutchins, PhD, executive director of TWS. "This lack of consistency hinders progress toward developing energy solutions that do not adversely impact wildlife."
The tiny, endangered Indiana bat lives on Shaffer Mountain in northeastern Somerset County and that should be enough to keep 30 big wind turbines off that ecologically sensitive Appalachian ridge, according to three environmental groups. The groups -- Sensible Wind Solutions, Mountain Laurel Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society -- yesterday served the Spanish-owned wind power company, Gamesa Energy, with a notice of intent to sue under the federal Endangered Species Act. According to the notice, the site where the 404-foot tall turbines and 18 miles of service roads would be built on 22,000 acres of leased land is confirmed habitat for the Indiana bat, listed as an endangered species since 1967. ...Gamesa officials yesterday declined comment.
Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C., attorney who is preparing the lawsuit, referred to the Endangered Species Act. "The courts view the unauthorized loss of even a single member of such a species to be an irreparable harm that should be prevented," he wrote in an e-mail. The letter of intent is required by the Endangered Species Act, he said. The groups have yet to decide where the suit would be filed, Glitzenstein added. "Our hope is that Gamesa - which touts itself as an environmentally responsible company - will agree either to do the right thing and abandon this ill-considered project site or, at least, do what is required by federal law and not proceed without applying for an ‘incidental take permit' from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service." The Indiana bat has been a protected species since 1967.
Building turbines in some of the best places to harvest wind in Ohio could put millions of birds and bats -- some protected by state and federal law -- at risk. That's why the state is asking companies to sign voluntary agreements to study the risk before and after wind farms are built. And if the companies follow the rules, neither Ohio nor the feds will shut down turbines, even if thousands of animals are killed. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently sent agreements to 10 developers, and hired a wildlife biologist last week to draft rules that the companies would have to follow to limit harm. ...The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said it expects to join in the state's voluntary agreement as well. "We would agree to work cooperatively with (companies) and not necessarily pursue court action if wildlife species are taken," said Megan Seymour, a wildlife biologist at the agency's Ohio field office.
A wildlife biologist whose area of expertise is bat and bird activity, has joined the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to study the effects of wind turbines on native and migrating wildlife, especially in the Lake Erie Basin. Keith DeWitt Lott will study the impact that the rotating blades of wind turbines have on the 300 species of birds and nine species of bats found in the state. "As Ohio moves into the realm of wind-based energy, it's important that we do so in a socially and environmentally responsible way," said ODNR Director Sean D. Logan in a news release.