Resource Documents — latest additions
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.
Home Range and Resource Selection by GPS-Monitored Adult Golden Eagles in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion: Implications for Wind Power Development
Author: Watson, James; Duff, Andrew; and Davies, Robert
ABSTRACT: Recent national interest in golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) conservation and wind energy development prompted us to investigate golden eagle home range and resource use in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion (CPE) in Washington and Oregon. From 2004 to 2013, we deployed satellite transmitters on adult eagles (n = 17) and monitored their movements for up to 7 years. We used the Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM) to estimate range characteristics from global position system (GPS) fixes and flight paths of 10 eagles, and modeled resource selection probability functions (RSPFs). Multi-year home ranges of resident eagles were large (99% volume contour; x̄ = 245:7 km², SD = 370.2 km²) but were onethird the size (x̄ = 82:3 km², SD = 94.6 km²) and contained half as many contours when defined by 95% isopleths. Annual ranges accounted for 66% of multi-year range size. During the breeding season (16 Jan–15 Aug), eagles occupied ranges that were less fragmented, about half as large, and largely contained within ranges they used outside the breeding season (x̄ overlap = 82.5%, SD = 19.0). Eagles selected upper slopes, rugged terrain, and ridge tops that appear to reflect underlying influences of prey, deflective wind currents, and proximity to nests. Fix distribution predicted by our resource selection model and that of 4 eagles monitored independently in the CPE were highly correlated (rs = 0.992). Our findings suggest conservative landscape management strategies addressing development in lower-elevation montane and shrub-steppe/ grassland ecosystems can best define golden eagle ranges using exclusive 12.8-km buffers around nests. Less conservative strategies based on 9.6-km buffers must include identification and management of upper slopes, ridge-tops, and areas of varied terrain defined by predictive models or GPS telemetry. For both strategies, high, year-round intensity of eagle flight and perch use within 50% volume contours (average 3.2 km from nests) due to nest centricity may dramatically increase the probability of eagle conflict with wind turbines in core areas as evidenced by eagle turbine strikes that studies have documented within and beyond this zone.
JAMES W. WATSON, ANDREW A. DUFF, and ROBERT W. DAVIES
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA, USA
The Journal of Wildlife Management 78(6):1012–1021; 2014; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.745
Topography drives migratory flight altitude of golden eagles: implications for on-shore wind energy development
Author: Katzner, Todd; Brandes, David; Miller, Tricia; et al.
1. Wind power is a fast-growing industry with broad potential to impact volant wildlife. Flight altitude is a key determinant of the risk to wildlife from modern horizontal-axis wind turbines, which typically have a rotor-swept zone of 50–150 m above the ground.
2. We used altitudinal GPS data collected from golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos tracked using satellite telemetry to evaluate the potential impacts of wind turbines on eagles and other raptors along migratory routes. Eagle movements during migration were classified as local (1–5 km h−1) or migratory (>10 km h−1) and were characterized based on the type of terrain over which each bird was flying, and the bird’s distance from wind resources preferred for energy development.
3. Birds engaged in local movements turned more frequently and flew at lower altitude than during active migration. This flight behaviour potentially exposes them to greater risk of collision with turbines than when engaged in longer-distance movements.
4. Eagles flew at relatively lower altitude over steep slopes and cliffs (sites where orographic lift can develop) than over flats and gentle slopes (sites where thermal lift is more likely).
5. Eagles predominantly flew near to wind resources preferred by energy developers, and locally moving eagles flew closer to those wind resources with greater frequency than eagles in active migration.
6. Synthesis and applications. Our research outlines the general effects of topography on raptor flight altitude and demonstrates how topography can interact with raptor migration behaviour to drive a potential human–wildlife conflict resulting from wind energy development. Management of risk to migratory species from industrial-scale wind turbines should consider the behavioural differences between both locally moving and actively migrating individuals. Additionally, risk assessment for wind energy–wildlife interactions should incorporate the consequences of topography on the flight altitude of potentially impacted wildlife.
Todd E. Katzner, David Brandes, Tricia Miller, Michael Lanzone, Charles Maisonneuve, Junior A. Tremblay, Robert Mulvihill, and George T. Merovich Jr
Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Acopian Engineering Center, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, USA; Cellular Tracking Technologies, Somerset, PA, USA; Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, Rimouski and Quebec City, QC, Canada; and Field Research, National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Journal of Applied Ecology 2012; doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02185.x
Author: Ambrose, Stephen
There is an unsaid purpose and intent for this request [from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB)]. Might it be an acknowledgement that “Vermont’s wind turbine noise rule does not protect neighbors from excessive noise and adverse health impacts”? This is obviously due to persistent complaints, and at least one home abandonment. This solicitation for public comments should not be used to divert-delay-deny public attention. Wind turbine neighbors want the PSB to correct the current flawed regulations based on accepting for regulatory rules those the wind industry recommends. If the PSB sought advice from truly independent sources they would have learned that 45 dBA is only applicable for urban-residential areas and even for those communities is not sufficient to protect people. Ontario, and other Canadian provinces have regulations setting 40 dBA as the not-to-exceed threshold. Yet, recent studies have shown strong evidence that 40 dBA is not preventing adverse health impacts. Even 40 dBA is too loud. Somehow the cautionary warnings of the 1970s about 35 dBA for quiet rural-residential environments have been ignored. Standards such as ISO 1996 and ANSI’s S12.9 still support 35 dBA for nighttime noise in quiet rural regions.
The noise rule needs a large scale reduction in its permitted noise limits to protect and minimize noise complaints. Anything less will only continue the endless discussions for equivocating with fudging, quibbling, and evading the need to lower to 35 dBA. Adding superfluous and complicated measurements, procedures or protocols around the 45 dBA will only continue to result in failure. The PSB should understand this after receiving reams of unfathomable data from acousticians closely aligned with developers that has no connection to a human response.
The PSB should seek assistance from independent experts to establish a noise rule that minimizes adverse human responses. This noise limit must be easy to understand and enforce. The PSB should not have to deal with the intricacies of acoustic science, noise sources, propagation, and weather. These are the concerns for the noise consultants who are responsible to their wind developer clients, who need to advise their clients on how not to harm the public. The PSB should focus on public health and enforcing compliance; and not be negotiating mitigating options with developers, operators, or consultants.
The current wind turbine sound rule should be abandoned and replaced with the previous noise limits. The Environmental Board used Lmax for its regulations and that has been upheld by the Vermont Supreme Court (see page 11). The Lmax refers to the instantaneous maximum level (LAmax) relative to the background (LA90). People hear the instantaneous variations above the background and respond accordingly, which cannot be substituted with a time-weighted average. Adverse public reactions are shown to occur when the Lmax exceeds the background L90 by 10 dB.
Answers for most of the questions start on the next page …
Author: Ambrose, Stephen