The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has sent a set of final recommendations on how to minimize the impacts of land-based wind farms on wildlife and its habitat to Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Ken Salazar.
These recommendations represent the consensus of the 22 members of the Wind Turbine Guidelines Federal Advisory Committee and were reached over a two-year period. Salazar plans to review the recommendations and take them under advisement as he directs the FWS to develop guidelines for evaluating wind energy development on public and private lands.
The document contains both policy recommendations and recommended voluntary guidelines for siting and operating wind energy projects in order to avoid or minimize potential impacts to wildlife and habitat. After Salazar's review, the FWS will use the committee's recommendations to develop and publish its revised guidelines in the Federal Register and open them for public comment.
Highlights of the recommendations include the following:
– A decision-making framework that guides all stages of wind energy development;
– Reliance on the best available science when assessing renewable energy projects and their potential environmental impact; and
– Use of landscape-scaled planning that recognizes the need to think long-term about protecting the nation's economic and natural resources.
The document is available online at fws.gov.