U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
July 18, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Approves Habitat Conservation Plan For Proposed Ohio Wind Farm
Indiana bat conservation plan and incidental take permit approved for Ohio wind power project. USFWS photo.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved an extensive habitat conservation plan and has issued an incidental take permit to Buckeye Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based EverPower Wind Holdings, allowing for the incidental take of a small number of endangered Indiana bats at its proposed wind power project in Champaign County, Ohio. To offset the loss of Indiana bats at its project, Buckeye Wind must follow the approved habitat conservation plan designed specifically for the Indiana bat.
The habitat conservation plan includes measures to minimize impacts and ensure the long-term conservation of Indiana bats through offsite mitigation, which will offset the incidental take resulting from construction and operation of the facility. Under the Endangered Species Act, take means harming, harassing or killing endangered or threatened species.
"This is a first for Indiana bats and wind energy. This habitat conservation plan is a positive step toward recovering the endangered Indiana bat and addressing this country’s future energy needs, " said Tom Melius, the Service’s Midwest Regional Director. "The overall benefits to Indiana bat populations as a result of this plan would not have been achieved without the issuance of this permit. "
Before approving the permit, the Service evaluated the possible effects of implementing Buckeye Wind’s habitat conservation plan and granting an incidental take permit. The Service issued a permit based on Buckeye’s plan, which includes measures to reduce the likelihood of taking Indiana bats by modifying their turbine operations during times when Indiana bats are most vulnerable to collision with turbine blades. These include spring and fall migrations as well as the summer maternity period, between sunset and sunrise.
In addition, Buckeye Wind’s habitat conservation plan addresses the Indiana bat’s conservation needs, including protecting and enhancing existing habitat; monitoring take through post-construction mortality studies; adaptive management; and funding of research to better understand Indiana bat and wind turbine interactions.
"We would like to thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their work on this consultation," said Michael Speerschneider, EverPower’s Senior Director for Permitting. "Because it is generated without harmful emissions and other impacts, wind power generally improves conditions for wildlife. Even so, we believe this permit is another important step for EverPower and for the wind industry that shows we are committed to environmental stewardship. "
Buckeye Wind proposes to construct and operate a maximum of 100 wind turbines and associated facilities for a period of 30 years in eastern Champaign County, Ohio. While approximately 80,051 total acres are located within the Buckeye Wind Action Area, a relatively small portion of that land, about 130 acres, will be permanently occupied by project facilities. The project would include wind turbines, access roads, and other facilities.
Visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/permits/hcp/buckeyewind/index.html for more information.
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.
Connect with our Facebook page at facebook.com/usfwsmidwest, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.