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Re: E-M:/ Seminar: Wildlife and Wind Generation



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Enviro-Mich message from Jacob Stevens Corvidae <jacob@ic.org>
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Indeed it would be great to get harder data here. The big question I have is how kills and behaviour changes related to wind farms compares to the kills, health problems, reproductive problems and behaviour changes created by the alternative energy production choices, which for Michigan mostly means coal burning. Of course, the mercury and other pollutants put out by the coal plants and the harm they cause wildlife are harder to trace to the direct source of the pollution, which makes the comparison more difficult. Still, it should be possible to get ballpark figures.

Instinctively, I imagine the coal's a lot more harmful, but it would be great to have more data to actually compare.

If anyone was able to ask along these lines and report back to this list about it (I won't be able to make the event in Lansing) that would be great.

Jacob
WARM Training Center

Link, Terry wrote:
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Enviro-Mich message from "Link, Terry" <link@mail.lib.msu.edu>
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">Can we beat the scavengers?>The Challenge of quantifying wildlife impacts of wind generation."

Dr. Rolf Koford, Iowa State University, Thursday, September 8 Michigan State University, in 338 Natural Resources Building


Promoters of wind energy like to point to its low environmental
cost. Although mountain-top removal is not required to harvest wind
energy, wind farms can negatively affect wildlife species in a variety of
ways. Mortality is the most obvious effect, but there may be behavioral
effects (e.g., avoidance of areas near towers) as well. Wildlife
researchers can play a useful role by providing information used in
developing siting guidelines for windfarms, by monitoring wildlife
populations before and after construction, and by assessing effects on
population viability. Quantifying effects on wildlife, and understanding
how they vary spatially, has proven to be challenging. Planned
experiments, the strongest basis for inference, are unheard of in windfarm studies. Scavengers may find carcasses before searchers do. Bored or >>>distracted searchers may miss some carcasses. Behavior is variable and
has multiple influences. In 2003-2004, a study in northern Iowa was
designed to address some of these challenges at a newly constructed
89-tower wind farm. The study, funded mostly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (State Wildlife Grant), the company that managed the wind farm, and
the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), was conducted by
biologists with the IDNR and Iowa State University (Iowa Cooperative Fish
and Wildlife Research Unit). The wind towers were all on gently rolling
cropland (corn and soybeans). To facilitate carcass searches, strips of
ground were kept bare of vegetation. We estimated the total number of
birds and bats killed each year by adjusting the carcass counts to account
for proportion of the area searched, search efficiency, and scavenging
rate. Bird abundance and bat activity (assessed with bat detectors) near
towers was compared to abundance and activity away from towers. We
examined Canada Goose foraging activity and vigilance behavior in an area
closed to goose hunting. Approximately 1 million goose-use days were
documented each year in three wildlife management areas within a few miles
of the wind farm. Our findings indicate which taxa were most at risk at
this site. In conjunction with results from other studies, our findings
provide some guidance for siting midwestern windfarms and direct attention
to additional research needs.



>>Dr. Koford has experience researching the effects of wind towers on >>wildlife. He is a wildlife biologist working for the USGS Iowa >>Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and has a faculty position >>in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa >>State University. For the past three decades, he has conducted field >>studies on a variety of vertebrate species, as well as constructing >>simulation models of mallard populations. He has conducted field work in >>Arizona, California, Costa Rica, Iowa, and North Dakota. He recently >>supervised a graduate-student project on a northern Iowa wind farm that >>was placed in the middle of three wildlife areas. He helped design the >>study, conduct analyses, and interpret results, thus gaining familiarity >>with issues relevant to wind farms and wildlife. The project included >>assessing mortality of birds and bats, surveying abundance, and examining >>behavioral responses by birds. He has given technical assistance to >>private companies and public agencies in Wisconsin in connection with the >>permitting process for a proposed wind farm near Horicon Marsh.


Sponsored by DOE, State Energy Office, and MSU Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife


Terry Link, Director Office of Campus Sustainability Michigan State University 15 Olds Hall East Lansing, MI 48824 1-517-355-1751 (Phone/fax) link@msu.edu www.ecofoot.msu.edu

One planet, one family, one future


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-- Jacob Stevens Corvidae Green Programs Manager jacob@warmtraining.org

 WARM Training Center
 Promoting affordable sustainable communities since 1981
 www.warmtraining.org

 4835 Michigan Avenue
 Detroit, MI 48210
 313-894-1030


============================================================== ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

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