Energy & Wildlife

Wind Energy

Wind power is one of the fastest-growing sources of new electricity generation in the United States. While wind energy supplies renewable power, wind facilities can affect bats and birds through collisions, and indirectly through loss of suitable habitat. USGS scientists are studying the behavior of vulnerable species near wind facilities, and are developing technologies and management options that can be used to reduce negative impacts of wind energy on wildlife. 

Filter Total Items: 27
Date published: August 27, 2019
Status: Active

Estimating offsets for avian displacement effects of anthropogenic impacts

The avian-impact offset method (AIOM) quantifies the amount of habitat needed to provide equivalent biological value for birds displaced by energy and transportation infrastructure. The AIOM can be applied in situations where avian displacement (i.e., behavioral avoidance) requires compensatory mitigation. The AIOM is based on the ability to define five metrics: impact distance, impact area,...

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: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Impacts of wind-turbine energy complexes on northern prairie grouse

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...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Migration and winter ecology of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo Population of whooping cranes

The only self-sustaining population of endangered whooping cranes nests within and near Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada, migrates through the Great Plains, and winters primarily along the Texas Gulf Coast. Our objectives of this collaborative project are to address the entire annual life cycle of this species by advancing knowledge of breeding, wintering, and migration ecology, including...

Contacts: Aaron Pearse
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Ecology and management of midcontinent sandhill cranes

Midcontinent sandhill cranes occupy a large geographic area of central and western North America and northeastern Asia during breeding, winter, and migration.  They are a species representing a unique convergence of multiple user groups with an interest in the continued health of this population.  Tens of thousands of people view cranes during spring staging at the Platte River Valley in...

Contacts: Aaron Pearse
Date published: April 6, 2018
Status: Active

Wind Energy

Demands for alternative energy are increasing and the number of wind farms, both terrestrial and in the marine environment, while serving great benefit to society, have the potential to impact wildlife populations, particularly birds and bats.  Studies of the spatio-temporal distribution and abundance of birds can identify sensitive and high–use areas in need of protection, not to mention...

Date published: January 17, 2018
Status: Active

Common Loon Migration Study

Common loons often migrate several hundred miles to reach coastal waters during fall migration. Information about this part of the loon's life history is not well known.

The use of satellite telemetry allows biologists to track loon movements through distant migrations and during winter. A transmitter attached to a radiomarked loon periodically sends a signal which is detected by a...

Contacts: Kevin P Kenow
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