Energy development is rapidly escalating in resource-rich Wyoming, and with it the risks posed to raptor populations. These risks are of increasing concern to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is responsible for protecting the persistence of protected species, including raptors. In support of a Federal mandate to protect trust species and the wind energy industry’s need to find suitable sites on which to build wind farms, scientists at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) and their partners are conducting research to help reduce impacts to raptor species from wind energy operations. Potential impacts include collision with the turbine blades and habitat disruption and disturbance from construction and operations. This feature describes a science-based tool—a quantitative predictive model—being developed and tested by FORT scientists to potentially avoid or reduce such impacts. This tool will provide industry and resource managers with the biological basis for decisions related to sustainably siting wind turbines in a way that also conserves important habitats for nesting golden eagles. Because of the availability of comprehensive data on nesting sites, golden eagles in Wyoming are the prototype species (and location) for the first phase of this investigation.
Habitat and nesting biology of Mountain Plovers in Wyoming
Although previous research has considered habitat associations and breeding biology of Mountain Plovers in Wyoming at discrete sites, no study has considered these attributes at a statewide scale. We located 55 Mountain Plover nests in 6 Counties across Wyoming during 2002 and 2003. Nests occurred m 2 general habitat types: grassland and desert-shrub. Mean estimated hatch date was 26 June 1.11 = 31; m 2002 and 21 June (n = 24) in 2003. Mean hatch date was not related to latitude or elevation. Hatch success of nests, was inferred in 2003 by the presence of eggshell fragments In the nest scrape. Eggs in 14 of22 (64%) known –fate nests hatched. All grassland sites and 90% of desert sites were host to ungulate grazers, although prairie dogs were absent at 64% or nest site…
Application of GIS to evaluate Sandhill Crane nest site characteristics
Baker, B.W. and W.L. Mangus
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Proceedings of the Second National U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service GIS Workshop