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Response of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) to wind-power development

January 1, 2006

Wind-power development is occurring throughout North America, but its effects on mammals are largely unexplored. Our objective was to determine response (i.e., home-range, diet quality) of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) to wind-power development in southwestern Oklahoma. Ten elk were radiocollared in an area of wind-power development on 31 March 2003 and were relocated bi-weekly through March 2005. Wind-power construction was initiated on 1 June 2003 and was completed by December 2003 with 45 active turbines. The largest composite home range sizes (>80 km2) occurred April-June and September, regardless of the status of wind-power facility development. The smallest home range sizes (<50 km2) typically occurred in October-February when elk aggregated to forage on winter wheat. No elk left the study site during the study and elk freely crossed the gravel roads used to access the wind-power facility. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes and percent nitrogen in feces suggested that wind-power development did not affect nutrition of elk during construction. Although disturbance and loss of some grassland habitat was apparent, elk were not adversely affected by wind-power development as determined by home range and dietary quality.

Publication Year 2006
Title Response of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) to wind-power development
DOI 10.1674/0003-0031(2006)156[363:RORMEC]2.0.CO;2
Authors W. David Walter, David M. Leslie, J.A. Jenks
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title American Midland Naturalist
Index ID 70028104
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse