In January 2001, Northwestern Windpower completed development of a 16 turbine 24-megawatt (MW) wind plant on private land in Sherman County, Oregon (Figure 1). A one-year baseline study was conducted at this site prior to wind plant development to assess the potential for bird, bat and sensitive species impacts (Johnson et al. 2002a).
The Monitoring Plan used for this study was developed in response to the Sherman County conditional use permit conditions, and through input from both the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Central Oregon Audubon Society (COAS). Components of the monitoring study included: (1) fatality monitoring using standardized carcass searches, scavenging and searcher efficiency trials, and a protocol for handling and reporting of fatalities and injured wildlife found by maintenance personnel, (2) a ground survey of existing raptor nests identified during 2001 helicopter surveys within three miles of project features, and (3) formation of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) made of stakeholders for review of monitoring protocols and results and mitigation measures and making recommendations to Sherman County, which retains jurisdiction over the Monitoring Plan. The monitoring study was conducted for one full year. The protocol for the fatality monitoring study was similar to protocols used at the Vansycle Wind Plant in northeastern Oregon (Erickson et al. 2000), the Stateline Wind Plant in Oregon and Washington (FPL et al. 2001), the Buffalo Ridge Wind Plant in southwestern Minnesota (Johnson et al. 2000a), and the SeaWest Wind Plant in Wyoming (Johnson et al. 2000b).