New York Field Office
Northeast Region

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Wind power projects in NY

The New York Field Office (NYFO) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is playing an important role in the development of New York State’s wind energy resource. We are partnering with other stakeholder agencies and organizations involved in bringing electrical energy generated by wind power to the State’s transmission grid, and ultimately to consumers. Wind energy is expected to meet increasingly more of our State’s electrical demand for energy generated from renewable sources. It produces no emissions, and is generally environmentally clean technology. The Secretary of the Interior strongly endorses the development of wind energy. Also, the New York State Legislature has enacted the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, requiring utilities to acquire at least 25% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2013. Energy generated by wind power projects, both on shore and off-shore, is expected to comprise a substantial portion of this total amount. Although an estimated 1,000-2,000 turbines would have to be erected across New York to achieve this goal, little data exist from which to assess any resulting impacts to wildlife resources, including the species entrusted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires protection of the nation’s fish and wildlife resources for the benefit of the American people. Our trust wildlife species include migratory birds, and Federally-listed threatened and endangered species. Even though wind-generated power is considered environmentally friendly, the construction of landscape-scale wind turbine farms may cause mortality to birds and bats from collisions, particularly, but not exclusively, during migration.

NYFO will continue to consult informally or formally prior to construction with project sponsors to assess if proposals might adversely affect our trust resources, especially threatened and endangered species like Bald eagles, Indiana bats, or piping plovers.

Avian Radar Unit

Case Study: Avian Migration

In spring of 2013, Merlin Avian Radar Systems were placed at four sites along the shore and inland of Lake Ontario in Niagara, Genesee, Wayne and Jefferson Counties, New York. Shorelines in the Great Lakes region are an important stopover habitat for many migratory species of birds. These same shorelines also have good wind resources that attract wind energy development. Recognizing the potential for bird mortality from wind turbines, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Region 3 office initiated a study with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to document migration patterns along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. This is part of a series of seasonal migration studies on the broader scale of Great Lakes shorelines. The purpose of this study on Lake Ontario was to provide data on migration patterns along the southern and eastern shoreline as well as relevant information for the conservation of migratory species of birds and bats. The resultant data from this report can be extrapolated to the entire lakeshore of Lake Ontario due to selection of representative sample sites. By examining data from these sites, this report provides insight on areas with avian migration that could be at high risk from wind energy development. With this preliminary data and the ability to monitor migration activity by time of day and time of season, there are great implications to help tailor conservation efforts, such as turbine curtailment during heavy migration periods.  

Link to full report:

For additional information about NYFO’s efforts to conserve threatened and endangered species see:

New York Map of Current Wind Projects:

For additional information on the Service’s position on wind power see:

FWS Wind page

FWS Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines

Bird Mortality Fact Sheet

FWS Conservation Planning Assistance Home PageFWS Conservation Planning Assistance Northeast Region

Conservation Planning Assistance


Federal Permits

Federal Projects

Long Island Conservation Planning Assistance

Bald and Golden Eagle Delisting


  Wind power


  Shale Drilling

Last updated: December 15, 2016
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.