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Interest is booming in renewable energy sources, especially in the areas of wind, solar, and biofuels. Such energy sources have huge benefits, including diversification of the nation’s energy portfolio, new jobs, and potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Yet these energy sources sometimes have adverse effects on ecosystems and wildlife.

Our Research Portfolio

Our Research Portfolio

USGS has over 100 research projects designed to help understand and reduce potential negative interactions of wildlife with energy development.

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America's Last Grasslands

America

Which prairie flowers are best for bees? USGS scientists and partners are studying the effects of biofuel production on pollinators.

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Research by Species

USGS supports the U.S. goal to increase energy production from renewable sources by conducting research into minimizing or mitigating any negative effects of the expanding energy infrastructure on wildlife.

Bats

Condors

Eagles

Grassland and Wetland Birds

Seabirds

Desert Tortoise

Pollinators

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News

Date published: April 16, 2018

Flight Response of California Condors to Inform Risk from Wind Turbines

Large soaring birds rely on topographic and weather conditions also preferred by wind facility developers.

Date published: March 9, 2018

Raptor Interactions with Wind Energy: Case Studies from Around the

Attempts to measure and mitigate the effects of wind turbines on wildlife have been an integral part of wind energy development.

Date published: July 27, 2016

Videos Reveal Birds, Bats and Bugs near Solar Project Power Towers

Video surveillance is the most effective method for detecting animals flying around solar power towers, according to a study of various techniques by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System facility in southeastern California.

As our nation’s energy portfolio continues to grow, it is critical that energy development be guided by the best science available to ensure the coexistence of new power technologies and wildlife. USGS is in a unique position to provide that science through focused research on three main goals: understanding risks, measuring impacts, and developing solutions.

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Filter Total Items: 18
Date published: December 27, 2017
Status: Active

Regional Patterns of Relationship of Bat Activity to Environmental Conditions

We are exploring models that relate measures of bat activity to environmental conditions, such as weather, moon phase, and day of year.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso
Date published: December 27, 2017
Status: Active

Relationship of Bat Fatality to Activity in the Rotor-Swept Zone

We are conducting daily fatality searches for bat carcasses in order to relate fatality pattern to measures of bat activity, as well as to daily environmental conditions - such as weather, moon phase, and day of year.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso
Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

Estimating the Abundance of an Animal Population When the Total Observed Count is Zero

We are developing the theoretical statistical framework that would allow inference from known search effort and detectability parameters regarding estimated fatality when there are no or few observed carcasses. In addition, we are developing software that resource managers as well as developers can use to design fatality monitoring protocols optimized for different objectives.

Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

Density Weighting

We are investigating ways to accurately estimate this fraction in order to improve the accuracy of estimates and the efficiency of searching.

Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

A General Estimator of Wildlife Fatality from Count Data

We are creating an estimator that allows a more general parameterization of carcass arrival and persistence times, while accommodating the different assumptions regarding the likelihood that a carcass is observed.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso, David Dail
Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

Fatality Estimation Software

We are developing publicly available open-source software that uses data provided by the user to estimate the probability that a searcher will miss a carcass and the probability that a carcass will be removed before a searcher has the opportunity to observe it. The estimates are combined with the observed casualties and an estimate of the fraction of the population of killed animals expected...

Contacts: Manuela M Huso, Nick Som, Lew Ladd
Date published: November 28, 2017
Status: Active

FRESC Wind Energy and Wildlife Team

The Team's research is organized into two major themes: 1) applied statistical methods and tools, which includes fatality estimation software; and 2) effects of wind energy development on wildlife, particularly bats.

Click on the Related Science tab for more information.

The team is affiliated with the FRESC Snake River Research Station, but work out of the FRESC Corvallis office...

Contacts: Manuela M Huso
Date published: October 27, 2016

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative: Inventory and Long-Term Monitoring

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest Wyoming’s...

Date published: October 27, 2016

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative: Mechanistic Studies of Wildlife

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest Wyoming’s...

Date published: October 27, 2016

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative: Baseline Synthesis

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest Wyoming’s...

Date published: October 27, 2016

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative: Effectiveness Monitoring

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest Wyoming’s...

Date published: September 1, 2016
Status: Active

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI)

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest Wyoming’s...

USGS scientists collect data and develop tools and techniques to minimize potential negative effects of new energy development.Monitoring protocols and habitat-use models are providing the basis for understanding how wildlife can be affected by energy development, supporting permitting and siting of new facilities, and guiding strategies for mitigation.

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Filter Total Items: 1
Date published: May 2, 2016

Evidence of Absence Webinar

This video describes a statistical software package called "Evidence of Absence" that can be used to provide evidence of compliance with incidental take permits. It will be useful to wildlife managers and wind energy operators to estimate, with reasonable certainty, that a certain number of birds or bats have been killed at wind energy facilities, even when no carcasses are found.

Filter Total Items: 2
Date published: July 6, 2017

Evidence of Absence (EoA) Software and User's Guide

Software to Estimate Bird and Bat Fatality at Wind Farms

Date published: December 11, 2012

Fatality Estimator Software

Tool to Evaluate Wildlife Fatalities at Wind-Power Facilities

Filter Total Items: 11
USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag.
December 31, 2017

USGS scientist holds a surf scoter that has been tagged.

USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag that works by transmitting the location of the birds to satellites that are orbiting the Earth. (Jonathan Fiely, USGS)

Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave Desert.  The parent is feed the chick a snake.
December 31, 2017

Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave

Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave Desert.  The parent is feed the chick a snake.  

July 6, 2017

Wildlife on the Nevada National Security Site

Mountain lions, desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a variety of other wildlife live on and pass through the Nevada National Security Site each day. It’s a highly restricted area that is free of hunting and has surprisingly pristine areas.This 22-minute program highlights an extraordinary study on how mountain lions interact with their prey. It shows how the scientists use helicopters and...

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm
September 8, 2016

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm

The Altamont Pass Wind Far is located in northern California.

August 25, 2016

Eagle Tracking

Cell phone video of USGS biologist Diego Johnson releasing a golden eagle that had just been fitted with a tracking device.  The work is informing land managers on eagle movements in the southwest, an area of expanding renewable energy development.

August 23, 2016

Golden Eagle Flight

Golden eagles can be killed by colliding with a number of human-made objects, including wind turbines. USGS research wildlife biologist Todd Katzner describes his studies of golden eagle flight. This research is being done to model flight behavior which might help managers understand how placement of wind turbines might pose significant risks to golden eagles.

 

A female Agassiz's desert tortoise at Joshua Tree National Park
May 6, 2016

A female Agassiz's desert tortoise at Joshua Tree National Park

A female Agassiz's desert tortoise at Joshua Tree National Park lounges in the entrance of her burrow, wearing a USGS radio.

USGS scientist Dave Brandt holds a captured whooping crane .
December 6, 2011

USGS scientist holds a captured whooping crane.

USGS scientist Dave Brandt holds a captured whooping crane while Dr. Barry Hartup with the International Crane Foundation assesses the bird's health before marking.

December 31, 2009

Bats at Wind Turbines

Bats at Turbines (B-roll): Surveillance video (B-roll) from a temperature-imaging camera showing a bat interacting with a wind turbine at about 3 a.m. on a brightly moonlit night in late August.[video resolution 614 by 454 pixels, limited by imaging device]

Filter Total Items: 4
Date published: April 16, 2018

Flight Response of California Condors to Inform Risk from Wind Turbines

Large soaring birds rely on topographic and weather conditions also preferred by wind facility developers.

Date published: March 9, 2018

Raptor Interactions with Wind Energy: Case Studies from Around the

Attempts to measure and mitigate the effects of wind turbines on wildlife have been an integral part of wind energy development.

Date published: July 27, 2016

Videos Reveal Birds, Bats and Bugs near Solar Project Power Towers

Video surveillance is the most effective method for detecting animals flying around solar power towers, according to a study of various techniques by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System facility in southeastern California.

Date published: May 6, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms of All Species

USGS wishes to honor all mothers, of all species. Many of our research findings have and are shedding light on the lives of non-human moms.