Impacts of wind-turbine energy complexes on northern prairie grouse

Science Center Objects

Wind-energy development in the northern Great Plains primarily occurs along the Missouri Coteau and Missouri River Plateau in North Dakota and South Dakota.  While these areas rank high in wind-energy potential they also contain important breeding habitat for sharp-tailed grouse and greater prairie-chickens.  The impact of these wind-energy developments on prairie grouse populations and trends in the northern Great Plains are largely unknown.  Since 2003, NPWRC has conducted research on the impacts of wind-energy developments on breeding grassland birds, including sharp-tailed grouse and greater prairie-chickens.  Using spring lek survey data collected by NPWRC and existing grouse survey data provided by ND Game and Fish (NDGF) and by SD Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP), NPWRC is assessing if the various survey data sets can be combined, and if so, can they be used to assess the potential impacts wind-energy development might be having on grouse lek counts and trends at a landscape level.