Energy & Wildlife

Solar Energy

USGS scientists are developing conservation planning tools to help land managers and energy developers identify areas where solar development will result in the lowest impact to wildlife and sensitive habitats. Research is also focused on understanding the effects of large utility-scale solar projects on migratory birds and terrestrial wildlife.

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

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.

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Statistical Tools for Wind and Solar Energy Development and Operations

Statistical Tools for Wind and Solar Energy Development and Operations

Explore the library of USGS Tools for Solar and Wind Energy Development and Operations.

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Filter Total Items: 14
Date published: March 12, 2019
Status: Active

A Generalized Estimator for Estimating Bird and Bat Mortality at Renewable Energy Facilities - GenEst

GenEst - One estimator for accurate bird and bat fatality estimates

Contacts: Daniel Dalthorp, Manuela M Huso, Paul Rabie
Date published: August 28, 2018
Status: Active

Statistical Tools for Wind and Solar Energy Development and Operations

Solar and wind power development is increasing exponentially in the United States. However, these energy sources may affect wildlife, either directly from collisions with the turbine blades or photovoltaic arrays or indirectly from loss of habitat and migration routes. An important component to understanding the effects of these renewable energy projects on wildlife is accurate and precise...

Date published: November 13, 2017
Status: Active

Interaction between Energy Development and Raptors

Energy production has become essential for modern society. At the same time, this process can have negative effects on wildlife and ecosystems. It is in the best interest of society and the environment to understand these effects and to manage and mitigate for them. Our team focuses on measuring how energy development influences birds of prey and learning how to minimize negative influences....

Contacts: Todd E Katzner
Date published: November 9, 2017
Status: Active

Golden Eagles and Renewable Energy Development in the Western U.S.

Development of wind-power and solar facilities is expected to increase dramatically in areas occupied by golden eagles in the western U.S. Renewable energy development in areas used by golden eagles poses a unique challenge to natural resource managers because of this species’ vulnerability to collisions with wind turbines and sensitivity to changes in human land-use.

Contacts: J David Wiens
Date published: November 9, 2017
Status: Active

Effects of Wind and Solar Energy Development on Wildlife

This research theme informs adaptive management and siting decsions in relation to bats at wind and solar power-generation facilities.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso
Date published: November 6, 2017
Status: Active

Bird Movement and Migration

Migration is an amazing annual event. Every year billions of animals – birds, mammals, insects, and fish – make long-distance journeys from breeding grounds to wintering grounds. Most northern hemisphere birds migrate southward, but there are many other ways that birds move seasonally. If we want to protect birds that take these long distance journeys, we need to understand why they move, why...

Contacts: Todd E Katzner
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Assessing Spatial Patterns in Genetic Diversity Across Species Assemblages

WERC's Dr. Amy Vandergast and colleagues merge genetic data with mapping and modeling tools to inform biodiversity conservation efforts. They define evolutionary significant units within species, reveal evolutionary mechanisms responsible for diversification, and identify regions with high genetic diversity for protection.

Contacts: Amy Vandergast
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Golden Eagles in Coastal Southern California

The status of the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) in coastal southern California is unclear. To address this knowledge gap, Dr. Robert Fisher in collaboration with local, State and other Federal agencies begin a multi-year survey and tracking program of golden eagles to address questions regarding habitat use, movement behavior, nest occupancy, genetic population structure, and human impacts...

Contacts: Robert N Fisher
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ecology and Conservation of Golden Eagles in the Mojave Desert

Dr. Kathleen Longshore, in collaboration with Dr. Todd Esque, provides information to project the possible conflict between losses of habitat for foraging involved in the proposed development of alternative energy installations in the Mojave Desert and help develop advanced conservation efforts for the golden eagle. Information from this project will also inform California’s Desert Renewable...

Date published: June 30, 2017
Status: Active

Greater Sage-Grouse Population Ecology

Greater Sage-grouse are iconic birds found only in the Great Basin of the western U.S. Known for their showy courting displays, sage-grouse rely on native sagebrush habitat to shelter their young. Dr. Pete Coates is providing resource managers with the tools and information they need to conserve sage-grouse as invasive plants, evolving wildfire patterns, and energy development change the Great...

Contacts: Peter Coates
Date published: May 17, 2017
Status: Active

Relocating and Augmenting Desert Tortoise Populations

As resource managers balance the needs of humans and wildlife, WERC’s Dr. Berry provides the necessary science to inform decisions on shared lands. Visit the “Science” tab to delve into specific projects.

Contacts: Kristin Berry
Date published: March 16, 2017
Status: Active

Energy development and the airspace

Today, the alternative energy and telecommunications industries are developing the airspace much the way metropolitan growth and mechanized agriculture develop the landscape. NOROCK scientists and partners are using both historical and traditional technologies in new and innovative ways to observe wildlife behaviors in response to these changing habitats.