Energy & Wildlife

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Energy development is booming across the United States, helping to secure plentiful energy to meet our nation’s needs.  Yet energy generation can sometimes have adverse effects on ecosystems and wildlife. USGS scientists are studying the effects of energy infrastructure on wildlife, and are working to develop the technical and management options that can reduce risks to wildlife and industry.

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Our Research Portfolio

Our Research Portfolio

USGS projects are designed to help understand and reduce potential negative interactions of fish and wildlife with energy development.

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Informing Solutions

Informing Solutions

Can we make wind power more compatible with wildlife? A story about Hawaii’s only native land mammal, the ōpe‘ape‘a, and wind energy in Hawaii.

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Annual Report

Annual Report

USGS conducts research on species impacted by energy development and develops methods to minimize negative effects to species and habitats.

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News

Date published: July 13, 2021

New Study Helps Wind Industry, Wildlife Managers Identify Risks to Certain Raptors from Collisions with Wind Turbines

A recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Oklahoma State University study shows not all raptor species are equally impacted by collisions with wind turbines. Of 14 species studied, five are at risk of population declines due to collisions.

Date published: April 8, 2021

Wildlife Mortality from Wind Turbines Scales with Energy Production

Older wind facilities are being “repowered,” which involves replacing smaller, closely spaced turbines with larger ones, more widely spaced.

Date published: March 31, 2021

New USGS Analysis of Wind Turbine Upgrades Shows No Impact on Wildlife Mortality

CORVALLIS, ORE. – Reduction in wildlife mortality rates is sometimes cited as a potential benefit to the replacement of older, smaller turbines by larger, next generation turbines. In contrast, others have expressed concern that newer, larger turbines may actually increase bird and bat deaths.

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

Connectivity of Mojave Desert tortoise populations—Management implications for maintaining a viable recovery network

Executive SummaryThe historic distribution of Mojave desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) was relatively continuous across the range, and the importance of tortoise habitat outside of designated tortoise conservation areas (TCAs) to recovery has long been recognized for its contributions to supporting gene flow between TCAs and to minimizing...

Averill-Murray, Roy C.; Esque, Todd C.; Allison, Linda J.; Bassett, Scott; Carter, Sarah K.; Dutcher, Kirsten E.; Hromada, Steven J.; Shoemaker, Kevin T.; Nussear, Kenneth E.
Averill-Murray, R.C., Esque, T.C., Allison, L.J., Bassett, S., Carter, S.K., Dutcher, K.E., Hromada, S.J., Nussear, K.E., and Shoemaker, K., 2021, Connectivity of Mojave Desert tortoise populations—Management implications for maintaining a viable recovery network: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1033, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211033.

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Year Published: 2021

Relative energy production determines effect of repowering on wildlife mortality at wind energy facilities

Reduction in wildlife mortality is often cited as a potential advantage to repowering wind facilities, that is, replacing smaller, lower capacity, closely spaced turbines, with larger, higher capacity ones, more widely spaced. Wildlife mortality rates, however, are affected by more than just size and spacing of turbines, varying with turbine...

Huso, Manuela; Conkling, Tara; Dalthorp, Daniel; Davis, Melanie J; Smith, Heath; Fesnock, Amy; Katzner, Todd E.

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Year Published: 2021

Eagle fatalities are reduced by automated curtailment of wind turbines

Collision‐caused fatalities of animals at wind power facilities create a ‘green versus green’ conflict between wildlife conservation and renewable energy. These fatalities can be mitigated via informed curtailment whereby turbines are slowed or stopped when wildlife are considered at increased risk of collision. Automated monitoring systems could...

McClure, Christopher J W; Roleck, Brian W; Dunn, Leah; McCabe, Jennifer D; Martinson, Luke; Katzner, Todd E.