Interim Work Products
Credit: Dave Hacker, CDFG
California Condor Wind Energy Work Group
PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND
The California Condor Wind Energy Work Group has been assembled as a subgroup of the California Condor Recovery Team. The Work Group was appointed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service per the Endangered Species Act. Our purpose is to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recovery efforts for the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) by assessing and minimizing the risks associated with wind energy activities within the range of this federally and state endangered bird. The Work Group is comprised of individuals with expertise on the issues including scientists and representatives from State and Federal agencies (including the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Public Utilities Commission, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service), and stakeholders from the wind energy industry and conservation community.
The production, development, and delivery of renewable energy, including wind energy is one of the Department of Interior’s highest priorities, and an important component of the renewable energy portfolio for the State of California. Wind energy has the potential to conflict with the recovery of the California condor unless projects are properly sited and measures are taken to minimize risks to California condors. The recovery program for the California condor is showing success, and the birds are expanding their range and reoccupying portions of their historic range, which includes areas of existing and proposed wind energy development. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes it is imperative to use the best scientific and technical guidance available to ensure that wind energy development proceed without compromising California condor recovery.
OUR PROCESS AND GOALS
The California Condor Wind Energy Work Group has been tasked with evaluating wind energy development within the range of the California condor in California. The goal of the group is to provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, science-based recommendations that will minimize the risk associated with wind energy activities on the conservation and recovery of the California condor. To assist the Work Group with developing recommendations, we will be working with the USFWS’s Condor Recovery Program and the U.S. Geological Survey to analyze California condor location, movement, and wind usage. This analysis will examine current habitat use patterns to identify the probability that California condors will expand and occupy particular areas of their historic range. This information will aid the Work Group in identifying potential areas of conflict between wind energy and long-term conservation of the California condor. Results from the analyses also will provide us with tools to develop assessment criteria for future wind resource development within the range of the California condor. The Work Group will also be working with counties and special interest groups to gather additional information that will be valuable in understanding the issues.
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