New wind siting guidelines will allow for responsible wind development while protecting birds and other wildlife, like the iconic Bald Eagle.
On Friday, March 23, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe released unprecedented federal wind guidelines intended to improve siting of wind development across the country and reduce impacts on birds and other wildlife.
The guidelines were developed with the assistance of a 22-member Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee which included experts from the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, Massachusetts Audubon, and Bat Conservation International. The committee, created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) in 2009, worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to recommend guidelines to avoid or minimize impacts to birds and their habitats by land-based wind energy facilities.
Audubon was instrumental in making sure the guidelines address habitat fragmentation, one of the most significant potential impacts of wind development on birds. As a result, wind developers who cooperate with the guidelines will be expected to avoid approaches that cut up and divide important habitats like forests and grasslands and make them less suitable for wildlife.
Audubon is now urging strong implementation of these guidelines across the country. More than 70 local Audubon chapters have already signed Audubon’s letter to the Interior Secretary urging use of the guidelines to ensure strong protections for birds. If you represent an organization and would like to sign on, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org by next Friday, April 20.
To download a copy of the final Guidelines and for other background information on the Service’s role in wind energy development, please visit www.fws.gov/windenergy
See examples of Audubon's work to advance properly-sited wind power around the country in the November/December 2011 issue of Audubon Magazine.