The American Bird Conservancy has announced a three-year, $743,130 grant from the Leon Levy Foundation for a campaign to encourage the use of techniques designed to eliminate bird collisions with wind turbines and promote the selection of safe sites for wind farms.
The campaign will include a wide variety of advocacy and communications efforts, including the development of a grassroots support network based on collaborative approaches that ABC has successfully undertaken in the past; the fostering of new techniques for bird avoidance at wind farms; and the advancement of critical research in collaboration with universities. ABC also will recommend that wind projects temporarily cease their power generation during times when bird mortality risk is anticipated to be greatest; that no-development buffer zones be established around sensitive bird habitats; and that compensatory mitigation practices be adopted for any unavoidable bird or habitat losses due to turbines.
The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that some 19,000 square miles of land in the U.S. will be occupied by wind turbines by 2030 and that as many as one million birds a year could be killed if collision mortality rates stay at current levels. Some species will suffer additional impacts from habitat fragmentation, while other species could be killed outright.
“ABC supports the development of wind power as a valuable, non-polluting, renewable power source that can reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint in the U.S.,” said ABC president George Fenwick, “but it has to be done right, and it can be done right so large numbers of birds aren't needlessly sacrificed in the process.”
“American Bird Conservancy to Launch Campaign to Reduce Wind Turbine Risks to Birds — Supported by Three Quarters of a Million Dollar Grant From the Leon Levy Foundation.” American Bird Conservancy Press Release 5/10/10.