As part of its ongoing efforts to develop an environmentally responsible wind energy project, Power Company of Wyoming, LLC, (PCW) said last week that it has started an intensive avian monitoring program at its proposed wind project site.
A sophisticated avian radar system was installed in March on the Overland Trail Cattle Co. ranch, with the primary purpose of collecting data and insight into habitat uses and migration patterns of golden eagles. It also will be used to monitor and learn about other large raptors like bald eagles and hawks, as well as other avian and bat species.
The information collected will be used to help create a science-based Eagle Conservation Plan, an Avian Protection Plan and a Bat Protection Plan for PCW’s proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, being designed to generate approximately 2,500 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. The monitoring program also will identify any areas of high eagle usage, which may then be considered when siting turbines and designing the Eagle Conservation Plan.
The PCW announcement came one day after the American Wind Energy Association filed comments criticizing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's avian guidelines for wind farms as "unworkable," and is another example of the wind power industry's generally proactive effort to address potential wildlife issues at potential wind farm sites.
AWEA files comments on "unworkable" U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service guidelines, May 19, 2011
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, AWEA, wind developers sign agreement to promote endangered species conservation, April 20, 2011
Wind industry backs research on bat concerns including White-Nose Syndrome, April 1, 2011
Wind turbine bird threat modest, January 18, 2011
Editorial: How serious is threat to birds?, January 5, 2011
Wind energy and birds: No double standard, September 9, 2009
Wind-wildlife group names first president, February 24, 2009