Monitoring Migration Along the Great Lakes
Tracking Bird and Bat Migration Along the Great Lakes Shorelines to Guide Wind Energy Development and Reduce the Risk to Migrants
Every spring and fall, millions of birds and bats migrate through the Great Lakes region as they travel between their wintering and breeding grounds. The Great Lakes are a barrier for many species and concentrate the migrants along the shorelines. By studying when, where, how high, and under what conditions birds and bats migrate, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can advise wind energy developers about areas that if wind turbines were built there would present high risks to migrants.
With funding provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses multiple methods such as avian radar, acoustic and ultrasonic monitoring, and visual bird surveys, to gain a broader picture of what is occurring on the landscape. The data from this project along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Voluntary Land Based Wind Energy Guidelines will help to meet the need for development and the need for conservation.
Wind energy is a key part of our country's approach to energy independence and commitment to renewable energy production. The wind energy industry is rapidly expanding, and while it has many advantages over other sources of energy, if not sited and operated with thoughtful planning, the rotating turbines kill many birds and bats and construction of the facilities can destroy habitat. Wildlife agencies have recognized the need to evaluate and address the potential impacts of wind energy projects on wildlife. Only by working together can we, collectively, ensure that development of renewable wind energy does not replace one set of environmental problems with another.
The Avian Radar Project has published its report for the study of the shorelines of Huron and Oceana counties, MI during fall 2011. This report details the migrant activity in the area and examines ways to look at that activity and determine the risk to migrants from radar data. Click here to download the full report or just the executive summary.
January 5, 2016