BLM overestimated potential eagle deaths at Wyo. project — company

Source: E&E • Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014

The Bureau of Land Management overestimated how many eagles could be killed by what may become the largest wind energy project in the United States, the developers of the farm said.

The federal agency said the Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind power project would result in between 46 and 64 eagle deaths a year. But Power Company of Wyoming LLC said it has planned measures to keep that number much lower.

The company has spent thousands of hours studying eagles in the area around the Wyoming project site, according to company officials. The research has resulted in data collection on eagle flight corridors, nesting areas and areas where the bird’s prey lives. The turbines will be kept away from such areas.

BLM’s estimate is based on the mortality rates at wind farms where preventive measures weren’t taken, the company said.

During the project’s first phase, 500 turbines will be installed in an area south of Rawlins, Wyo. Eventually, the plan is for 1,000 turbines to be built, generating enough power for 1 million homes.

The Fish and Wildlife Service also will provide an eagle death estimate for the farm. It plans to take BLM’s projection into account.

“That definitely caught our attention, in terms of we really need to pay attention to what’s going on with this project,” FWS’s Dave Carlson said (AP/Billings Gazette, Dec. 23)