[TN-Bird] Fw: USFWS issues guidelines for siting and design wind energy facilities

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "TN-birds" <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 00:16:32 -0400

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ellen Paul" <epaul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ORNITH-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 10:11 AM
Subject: USFWS issues guidelines for siting and design wind energy

> The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued guidelines for locating
> and designing wind energy  facilities to avoid or minimize the loss of
> wildlife, particularly birds and bats, and their habitats. These
> guidelines apply to federal lands. It has no direct applicability to
> private or state-owned lands.
> See full notice below. The complete URL for the guidance document is
> http://www.fws.gov/r9dhcbfa/windenergy.htm
> Comments are requested by July 7. Given that much of the data
> (pre-construction siting analyses and post-construction monitoring) are
> not readily available, and given that there has been little study on
> indirect impacts (habitat alteration), it may be difficult to assess
> these guidelines and provide comments. The Ornithological Council and
> some of its member societies, together with the American Bird
> Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife, is embarking on a project to
> obtain and assess these studies.
> Ellen Paul
> --
> Ellen Paul
> Executive Director
> The Ornithological Council
> Mailto:epaul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Ornithological Council Website:  http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET
> "Providing Scientific Information about Birds"
> [Federal Register: July 10, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 132)]
> [Notices]
> >From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Fish and Wildlife Service
> Interim Voluntary Guidelines To Avoid and Minimize Wildlife
> Impacts from Wind Turbines
> AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service.
> ACTION: Notice of availability of interim guidelines and request for
> comments.
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has developed
> voluntary interim guidelines for locating and designing wind energy
> facilities to avoid or minimize the loss of wildlife, particularly
> birds and bats, and their habitats. These guidelines are intended to
assist Service personnel in
> providing technical assistance to the wind energy industry to avoid or
> minimize impacts to wildlife and their habitats through: (1) Proper
> evaluation of potential wind energy development sites; (2) proper
> location and design of turbines and associated structures within sites
> selected for development; and (3) pre- and post-construction research
> and monitoring to identify and/or assess impacts to wildlife. This
> guidance is intended for terrestrial applications only; guidelines for
> wind energy developments in marine environments and the Great Lakes are
> being studied and will be provided at a future date. While these
> guidelines are voluntary, we encourage their immediate use by the wind
> energy industry. We also encourage and solicit comments on this
> guidance, including suggestions for improvement based on new scientific
> research. The interim guidelines are based on current science and will
> be updated as new information becomes available. They will be evaluated
> over a 2-year period, and then modified as necessary based on their
> performance in the field and on the latest scientific and technical
> discoveries developed in coordination with industry, States, academic
> researchers, and other Federal agencies. Extensive use of the interim
> guidelines by the wind industry will be vital to this evaluation. The
> guidelines may be accessed on the Service's Web site at
>  Comments on the interim guidelines are invited
> during the 2-year interim period.
> DATES: Comments on the interim guidelines must be received or
> postmarked by July 7, 2005.
> ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle, Chief,
> Division of Federal Program Activities, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
> 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22203.
> FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle at
> (703) 358-2161.
> SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In response to recommendations made in the
> National Energy Policy report, the Department of the Interior has been
> re-evaluating its existing renewable energy programs and industry
> access limitations to Federal lands. These actions are intended to both
> increase the Department's use of renewable energy and to assist
> industry in increasing renewable energy production, in an
> environmentally friendly manner, on Department managed lands.
> Development of wind energy is a significant component of this
> initiative.
>     Wind-generated electrical energy is renewable, produces no
> emissions, and is considered to be generally environmentally friendly
> technology. However, wind energy facilities can adversely impact
> wildlife, especially birds and bats, and their habitats. Commercial
> wind energy facilities have been constructed in 29 States, with
> developments planned for several other states as well as coastal and
> offshore areas. As more facilities with larger turbines are built, the
> cumulative effects of this rapidly growing industry may initiate or
> contribute to the decline of some wildlife populations. The potential
> harm to these populations from an additional source of mortality makes
> careful evaluation of proposed facilities essential. Considerable avian
> mortality occurred at older wind energy facilities; therefore, the
> potential impact of the current rapid expansion of wind energy
> developments on wildlife is of serious concern to the Fish and Wildlife
> Service, the wind energy industry, and the public. Due to local
> differences in wildlife concentration and movement patterns, habitats,
> area topography, facility design, and weather, each proposed
> development site is unique and requires detailed, individual
> evaluation.
>     Service personnel may become involved in the review of potential
> wind energy developments on public lands through National Environmental
> Policy Act review (Sections 1501.6, opportunity as a cooperating
> agency, and Section 1503.4, duty to comment on federally-licensed
> activities for agencies with jurisdiction by law, i.e., the Migratory
> Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act); or because
> of special expertise. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement
> Act requires that any activity on Refuge lands be determined to be
> compatible with the Refuge system mission and Refuge purpose(s). In
> addition, the Service is required by the Endangered Species Act to
> assist other Federal agencies in ensuring that any action they
> authorize, implement, or fund will not jeopardize the continued
> existence of any federally endangered or threatened species. Service
> biologists have also received requests from industry for consultation
> on wildlife impacts of proposed wind energy developments on private
> lands.
>     In January 2002, the Service established a Wind Turbine Siting
> Working Group to develop a set of comprehensive national guidelines for
> locating, designing, and operating wind energy facilities in a manner
> that would avoid or minimize the loss of wildlife and their habitats at
> these facilities. The purpose of this effort is to ensure that wildlife
> resources are protected while streamlining the site selection and
> facility design process, and avoiding unanticipated conflicts after
> construction.
> (Notice: Interim Voluntary Guidelines to Avoid and Minimize Wildlife
> Impacts from the Wind Turbines)

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