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Bird Monitoring Project to Determine Effects of Wind Turbines on Breeding Grassland Birds in Missouri
Midwest Region, June 8, 2007
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Wind farm similar to the one being built in Dekalb County. 
- FWS photo
Wind farm similar to the one being built in Dekalb County.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a
Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jill Utrup conducts vegetation survey as part of bird monitoring project. 
- FWS photo
Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jill Utrup conducts vegetation survey as part of bird monitoring project.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a

As part of a newly developed breeding grassland bird monitoring project, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed its initial round of surveys on breeding bird populations in De Kalb County, Missouri on June 2.

 

The bird monitoring project was developed through a collaborative partnership between Missouri Ecological Services and Wind Capital Group to determine the effects of wind farms on breeding grassland bird populations during both pre- and post- construction of wind turbines in two habitat types; Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land and crop fields.

 

The ongoing survey involves placing three transects adjacent to the future location of the wind turbines. At the initial surveys in June, one transect was placed directly underneath the future wind turbine site, and two additional transects were placed 100 and 200 meters from and adjacent to future wind turbines.

 

The three transects were surveyed at each CRP or cropland site, and vegetation surveys were conducted along CRP bird survey transects to determine if vegetation structure and composition vary between sites. 

 

The effects of wind turbines on birds vary dramatically between regions, and results from other studies throughout the country cannot necessarily be applied to grassland birds of Missouri. Grassland birds continue to exhibit a more wide spread population decline than any other North American bird guild. According to Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jill Utrup, “It is therefore crucial that the Service develops recommendations to minimize the effects of large obstructions, like wind turbines, on these birds.” 

 

Once surveys are complete, the Service will analyze the data and develop recommendations to aid future wind energy projects. According to Utrup, “We believe this project will yield valuable information on the effects of wind power on birds in Missouri, and improve the timing and efficiency of future wind power projects.”

 

The second round of pre-construction surveys will be conducted in early to mid-July of this year. Surveys will continue at these existing sites post construction in 2008.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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