Understanding the Impacts of Wind Energy on Birds and Bats
Presenters: Robb Diehl and Rick Sojda, USGS
Summary: Many areas within the GNLCC are rich in wind resources, and area managers should expect development of these resources in coming years. Our understanding of the potential impacts of wind energy on wildlife, specifically birds and bats, has generally (and perhaps necessarily) lagged wind energy development itself. Much research conducted to date focuses primarily on wildlife monitoring in relation to assessing wind energy impacts and has been less oriented toward gaining a deeper understanding of why certain species may be more at risk than others. However, in some cases, detailed knowledge of how animal behaviors interact with wind turbines is informing the development and testing of new technologies designed to reduce interactions between wildlife and wind energy.
We will review the current state of the art in some popular wildlife detection and monitoring technologies and consider quantitative methods used to measure the potential impact of wind energy on wildlife. We will also examine some current efforts at mitigating wildlife impacts, and characterize wind-wildlife research that not only assess impact but also advances our understanding of animal behavior and ecology in ways that allow for better species conservation and management.