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Wind energy development: Methods to assess bird and bat fatality rates post-construction

May 16, 2016

Monitoring fatalities at wind energy facilities after they have been constructed can provide valuable information regarding impacts of wind power development on wildlife. The objective of this monitoring is to estimate abundance of a super-population of carcasses that entered the area within a designated period of time. By definition, the population is not closed and carcasses can enter as they are killed through collision with turbines, and leave as they are removed by scavengers or decompose to a point where they are not recognizable. In addition, the population is not inherently mobile, but can only change location through some external force. A focus on number of animal carcasses comprising the super-population, combined with peculiar traits that resist classic assumptions, distinguish fatality estimation at wind-power facilities from more classic abundance estimates that can be addressed through mark-recapture techniques or other well-known abundance estimators. We review the available methods to estimate the super-population of carcasses at wind power facilities. We discuss the role of these estimates in determining appropriate levels of minimization and mitigation of impacts to individual species of concern. We discuss the potential to extrapolate these measurements to reflect the cumulative effect of the industry on individual species. Finally, we suggest avenues of research needed to strengthen our understanding of the effect wind power development has, and might have in the future, on wildlife on this continent and worldwide.

Publication Year 2016
Title Wind energy development: Methods to assess bird and bat fatality rates post-construction
DOI 10.26077/36fe-0296
Authors Manuela M. Huso, Daniel Dalthorp, T. J. Miller, Dawn Bruns
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Human-Wildlife Interactions
Index ID 70170980
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center