Habitat and Landscape Alteration

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USGS research on wildlife behavior, abundance, and sources of mortality are improving our understanding of the specific effects of renewable energy on wildlife and habitats. This knowledge is guiding the development of effective strategies to minimize the impact of renewable energy development on wildlife.  USGS is improving and developing software models and statistical tools that can be used to measure the effectiveness of mitigation strategies and help avoid siting projects in areas with high wildlife fatality potential and habitat disturbance. These tools and additional data collected from monitoring activities improve the ability of resource managers to determine how and where future facilities should be built and operated. 

Learn more about our research by visiting the web pages below.




Biofuels in the Southwest

Science Center: Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC)

This research aims to assess the potential benefits and negative consequences of biofuels development in the southwestern U.S. 


Quantifying the effects of land-use change and bioenergy crop production on ecosystem services in the Northern Great Plains (NGP)

Science Center: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC)

This research seeks to understand how land-use changes and biofuel crop development affect ecosystem services in the NGP.



Aridlands Disturbances and Restoration Ecology

Science Center: Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)

Research into the recovery of vegetation on abandoned gas and oil pads on the Colorado Plateau in Utah with collabortors at USGS-WERC, USGS-SBSC, USGS-FORT, and Texas State University. 


Assessing the impacts of mining in the Transboundary Flathead and Kootenai River systems

Science Center: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

Despite the tremendous historical and ecological value of the region, the headwaters in the Flathead were targeted for coal mining, which may threaten water and habitat quality, migratory fish populations, and aquatic life downstream. 


Colorado Plateau Futures: Understanding Agents of Change on the Colorado Plateau to Facilitate Collaborative Adaptation

Science Center: Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC) 

Increasing trends and overlapping areas of high intensity for use, including oil and gas development and recreation, and climate drying, suggest areas with high potential to experience detrimental effects to the recreation economy, water availability, vegetation and wildlife habitat, and spiritual and cultural resources.

Mapping Marsh Structure with Polarimetric Radar: Highlighting Change in Oil Spill Impacted Marshes

Science Center: Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)

Canopy structure information is critical for monitoring status and trends, and essential in climate, weather, and ecological studies. A three-dimensional description of canopy structure improves water flow estimates, advances optical condition and change mapping, and fire burn dynamics and emission projections. 


Mapping Oil in Marshes and Its Implications

Science Center: Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)

Remote sensing detection and mapping of surface oil in deep and coastal open water environments has been and continues to be a high profile research focus. More recently, remote sensing research has recognized the need to detect and track oil pollution into the coastal embayments and tidal channels that define the coastal landscape. 


Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Science Center: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC)

Federal resource managers in the Williston Basin need to understand how the recent expansion of oil and gas development is affecting a range of natural resources.