Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wind Power and Whooping Cranes

The nation’s leading experts on wind energy and wildlife met last month in Denver, Colorado to share their latest findings and evaluate progress in understanding and addressing wind energy’s potential impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat. The meeting, the largest ever of its kind,  was co-hosted by the American Wind Wildlife Institute and the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative and included over 40 speakers, 70 poster presentations, and 350 attendees.

Presentation topics included the whooping crane, which migrates along a 1500-mile long corridor extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico over some of the best wind resources in North America, including North Dakota's. To comply with the Endangered Species Act and to address potential impacts to four species including whooping cranes that are covered under the law, 17 wind industry companies are developing the Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan (GPWE HCP). 

In an effort to design a landscape-level HCP that, according to the joint mission statement, “provides a means for reasonable wind power development in the planning area, that will support the survival and recovery of the species covered in the HCP,” the plan considers the future development of wind energy facilities in a nine-state, 200-mile wide area of the central US, including North Dakota. The companies are collaborating with the US Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the state wildlife agencies to analyze potential impacts from the proposed development and operation of wind energy facilities on two endangered species: the Whooping Crane and Interior Least Tern; one threatened species, the Piping Plover; and on the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, a species that is a candidate for listing. 

The Wind Wildlife Research Meeting agenda with a full list of presentation topics is included here.

Source: AWWI

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