Mortality of Bats at a Large-Scale Wind Power Development at Buffalo Ridge, Minnesota

By Johnson, Gregory D.; Erickson, Wallace P. et al. | The American Midland Naturalist, October 2003 | Go to article overview

Mortality of Bats at a Large-Scale Wind Power Development at Buffalo Ridge, Minnesota


Johnson, Gregory D., Erickson, Wallace P., Strickland, M. Dale, Shepherd, Maria F., et al., The American Midland Naturalist


ABSTRACT.-In 1994 a major wind power development project was initiated in southwest Minnesota that may eventually produce 425 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The wind plant currently consists of 3 phases that total 354 turbines capable of generating 236 MW. During a study conducted from 1996-1999 to assess effects of wind power development on wildlife, 184 bat collision fatalities were documented within the wind plant. Hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) and eastern red bats (L. borealis) comprised most of the fatalities. After correcting bat fatality estimates for searcher efficiency and scavenger removal rates, we estimated that the number of bat fatalities per turbine ranged from 0.07 per y at the Phase 1 wind plant to 2.04 per y at the Phase 3 wind plant. The timing of mortalities, and other factors, suggest that most mortality involves migrant rather than resident breeding bats.

INTRODUCTION

Wind has been used to commercially produce energy in North America since the early 1970s [American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), 1995]. Recent advances in wind turbine technologies have reduced costs associated with wind power production (Hansen et al., 1992), and wind power produced in the United States in 2001 was comparable in price to conventional power produced using natural gas [American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), 2001]. Commercial wind plants have been constructed in 26 states (Anderson et al., 1999; AWEA, 2002). Although generally considered environmentally friendly, wind power has been associated with the deaths of birds colliding with turbines and other wind plant structures, especially in California. As a result of these concerns, state and federal agencies require monitoring of many new wind development areas to assess the extent of and potential for avian mortality from collision with turbines.

In 1999 development of a 354-turbine wind plant was completed on Buffalo Ridge in southwestern Minnesota (Fig. 1). Avian monitoring studies were initiated during completion of the first 73 turbine phase of the facility in 1994. An unexpected outcome of these monitoring studies was the discovery of 13 bat fatalities near turbines during the first 2 y of operation (Osborn et al., 1996). We conducted additional monitoring studies at the expanded wind plant from 1996-1999. Although our study was designed primarily to assess effects of wind power development on birds, data collected during fatality searches also allowed us to address wind power impacts on bats. Our objectives were to estimate the number of bal mortalities attributable to collisions with wind turbines for the entire Buffalo Ridge wind plant, to determine the species and groups at highest risk and to determine what factors might be related to the collision mortality.

STUDY AREA

The study area was comprised of a large portion of Buffalo Ridge, a 100-km-long segment of the Bemis Moraine located in southwest Minnesota and northeast South Dakota (Fig. 1). Buffalo Ridge is located in the Coteau des Prairies, a major physiographic landform consisting of terminal moraines and stream-dissected lands (Coffin and Pfannmuller, 1988). The ridge runs diagonally from southeast to northwest and separates the Missouri and Mississippi river watersheds. Elevations range from 546 m to 610 m above sea level. Vegetation types consist primarily of corn, soybeans, small grains and hay; pasture; and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands. Less prevalent vegetation types include deciduous woodlots associated with farmsteads, wooded ravines and wetlands. Vegetation, including vertical density and vegetation height, has previously been described for cropland, pasture and CRP habitats in the Buffalo Ridge study area (Leddy, 1996).

The wind plant currently consists of three major phases of development (Fig. 1). Phase 1, constructed in 1994, consists of 73 turbines and related facilities, including distribution lines, meteorological towers, communication systems, transformers, substations, roads and operations and maintenance facilities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mortality of Bats at a Large-Scale Wind Power Development at Buffalo Ridge, Minnesota
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.