February 8, 2010
Georgia Parham (USFWS) 812-334-4261 x (1)203
BP Press Office: Tom Mueller – 281 366 1236
Dominion: Ryan Frazier – 804 819 2521
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wind Farm Owners Work Together
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the owners of the Fowler Ridge I Wind Farm in Benton County, Ind. have announced they are working together to develop a plan to reduce the potential impacts of wind power generation on bats. The effort follows the discovery of a dead Indiana bat at the wind facility.
The bat was discovered late last year. After a preliminary identification, the facility operator, BP Wind Energy, reported the discovery to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Subsequent examination by the Service and genetic tests at independent labs confirmed the species as an Indiana bat, a federally endangered species.
“We commend the wind farm owners for taking a proactive approach to work with the Service,” said Lynn Lewis, the Service’s Midwest Assistant Regional Director. “With wind power playing an increasing role in meeting the country’s energy needs, we embrace opportunities to partner with companies providing renewable energy while reducing the impact to wildlife.”
Phase I of the wind facility, located in northern Indiana, is owned by BP Wind Energy and Dominion.
In securing permitting for the wind facility, the owners of The Fowler Ridge I Wind Farm conducted due diligence wildlife surveys and consulted with all necessary state and federal wildlife agencies. Through these efforts it was concluded that development of the wind farm represented a very low risk for bats in general and the Indiana bat in particular. The wind farm is located in an area where Indiana bats were not known to roost during the summer or hibernate during winter. Based on the timing of the discovery, it appears the bat was a migratory individual.
The Indiana bat ranges through most of the eastern United States, hibernating in groups in caves and mines during the winter. About half of all Indiana bats hibernate in caves in southern Indiana. Females form maternity colonies under the bark of large trees during the summer, where they raise their young. Like most bats in the eastern United States, Indiana bats are significant consumers of insects, including agricultural pests.
With this new information the Service will work with wind facilities within the range of the Indiana bat with a goal to minimize the impact to the bats during the summer maternity period, near hibernation sites, and during migration while facilitating the production of wind energy.
For more information on Indiana bats, visit the Service’s Midwest Region Web site at www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov
BP Wind Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of BP, one of the world’s leading energy companies. BP Wind Energy has interests in 8 operating wind farms in six States. The total gross installed capacity for the wind farms is over 1250 MW producing enough clean electricity with the potential to supply power to approximately 375,000 average American homes annually.
BP America is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the United States and one of the nation’s largest energy investors. For more information, visit the company’s Web sites at http://www.bpalternativenergy.com and http://www.bp.com/us.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,500 megawatts of generation, 1.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent of proved natural gas reserves, 12,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,000 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates the nation’s largest natural gas storage system with 941 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 12 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at http://www.dom.com.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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