May 26, 2011

Bat versus turbine issue focus of special meeting 26 May 2011

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold an information meeting June 7 to receive comments and answer questions about development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County.

A plan being developed by BP Wind Energy, Sempra Generation and Dominion Energy for approval by the fish and wildlife service would include measures for long-term conservation of the Indiana bat, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Fowler Ridge Wind Farm involves 355 wind turbines in Benton County. There are plans for additional turbines to be installed.

The Habitat Conservation Plan being developed for Fowler Ridge will include proposing an exemption of the prohibition of harming, harassing or killing endangered or threatened species.

Two occurrences of Indiana bat mortality have been discovered and reported by the company during routine surveys of the wind farm facility.

The plan will describe the wind energy facilities, natural resources and measures the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm will implement to protect and conserve bats.

As part of a review of the plan, the fish and wildlife service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

The session will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7 at the Benton County Government Annex, 410 S. Adeway Road, Suite A in Fowler.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service encourages anyone with interest in the issue to attend, ask questions and share their concerns. Information gathered at the meeting will be considered in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The forum also will serve as an opportunity to identify or provide information on historic or cultural resources that should be considered in the assessment. More information on the Indiana bat and habitat conservation plans is available on the website

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