Game Commission Releases Second Wind Energy Summary Report

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission has released its second report summarizing survey results and other associated activities, through June 30, 2010, which are a product of the voluntary agreements signed by the state's wildlife agency and 30 wind energy companies working in the commonwealth.

The voluntary agreements between the game commission and wind energy companies are a commitment that the companies will strive to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts on wild birds and mammals by pooling data about impacts and pre- and post-construction monitoring.

‘The major question has been where best to site turbines in relation to important migration routes of birds and bats, as well as critical habitats used by birds and mammals,’ says Carl G. Roe, executive director of the game commission. ‘This report reveals which species are most susceptible to impacts from wind turbines and how much mortality is occurring in Pennsylvania.’

The agreement requires the companies to work with the game commission to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts on wild birds and mammals. It also requires companies to report one year of pre-construction surveys of wild birds and mammals in the project area, as well as two years of post-construction monitoring for mortality of birds and mammals in the project area.

Findings of the summary report include the following:

– Telemetry surveys conducted on state-listed eastern small-footed bats and the federally- and state-listed Indiana bats yielded new capture locations, roost locations and foraging areas for both species in Pennsylvania;

– A new hibernaculum containing the federally- and state-listed endangered Indiana bat was documented in 2009;

– The average estimated bat deaths per turbine per year was 24.6. Hoary bats comprised 30% of bat mortality documented at cooperating wind facilities. No threatened or endangered bat mortalities have been documented;

– The average estimated bird deaths per turbine per year was 3.9. Passerines accounted for the largest portion of bird mortality at wind sites; and

– Research on bat deterrents and curtailment conducted at cooperator wind sites in the state has shown promise to reduce bat mortality at operational wind sites.

SOURCE: Pennsylvania Game Commission

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