Skip to main content

Energy & Wildlife

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.

News

link

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

link

Wildlife Mortality from Wind Turbines Scales with Energy Production

link

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

Publications

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 impacts and edge effects within TCAs. However, connecti

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 operation, seasonal and daily weather and habitat, all o

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 improve efficacy of informed curtailment, yet such

Science

Well Pad Reclamation and Research

Reclamation on lands impacted by energy development is complicated and extremely challenging in arid environments due to unstable soils, exotic species, and low and variable precipitation. The reclamation tactics employed by energy operators vary widely and outcomes can differ across plant communities and soil types. In order to address the knowledge gaps regarding how to successfully and...
link

Well Pad Reclamation and Research

Reclamation on lands impacted by energy development is complicated and extremely challenging in arid environments due to unstable soils, exotic species, and low and variable precipitation. The reclamation tactics employed by energy operators vary widely and outcomes can differ across plant communities and soil types. In order to address the knowledge gaps regarding how to successfully and...
Learn More

Deep Learning for Automated Detection and Classification of Waterfowl, Seabirds, and other Wildlife from Digital Aerial Imagery

In collaboration with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Vision Group at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California - Berkeley, the U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center is developing deep learning algorithms and tools for the automatic detection, enumeration, classification, and annotation...
link

Deep Learning for Automated Detection and Classification of Waterfowl, Seabirds, and other Wildlife from Digital Aerial Imagery

In collaboration with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Vision Group at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California - Berkeley, the U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center is developing deep learning algorithms and tools for the automatic detection, enumeration, classification, and annotation...
Learn More

Seabird Vulnerability Assessment for Renewable Energy Projects

The WERC seabird studies team has developed a new framework for quantifying seabird species vulnerability to wind infrastructure in the California Current region of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf. This tool supports marine resource-use planning by identifying sites where seabirds are most vulnerable and predicts how different species may be affected by wind-energy infrastructure.
link

Seabird Vulnerability Assessment for Renewable Energy Projects

The WERC seabird studies team has developed a new framework for quantifying seabird species vulnerability to wind infrastructure in the California Current region of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf. This tool supports marine resource-use planning by identifying sites where seabirds are most vulnerable and predicts how different species may be affected by wind-energy infrastructure.
Learn More