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Finding compatibility between renewable energy and whooping crane habitat

Detailed Description

In the northern Great Plains, conservation actions focus on maintaining the intactness of native grasslands and wetlands because they support high numbers of breeding and migrating bird species. Energy developers typically employ an “avoidance-first” wildlife mitigation strategy, in which they try to avoid known negative impacts to wildlife. A USGS-led study asked whether compatibility can be found between the two priorities of increasing renewable-energy capacity and conserving the Nation’s lands and waters. Scientists developed a model that allows the user to evaluate tradeoffs in the face of potential land scarcity owing to increased build-out of energy infrastructure and other human developments, against the need and desire to protect the Nation’s resources. Thus, the model identified the highest-quality breeding or migration habitat for 3 categories of birds:

  1. selected species of grassland-nesting waterfowl
  2. selected species of grassland-nesting birds, and
  3.  the Whooping Crane (Grus americana)


Public Domain.