Invenergy LLC (Invenergy) is developing the Pleasant Ridge Wind Project (Project or PRWP) in Livingston County, Illinois (Figure 1.1). Land use within the Project area is 98 percent tilled agriculture and developed areas. Native habitats exist but occupy a small proportion of the Project area, mainly riparian corridors along the Vermilion River, South Fork Vermilion River, and Indian Creek.
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy in the United States, is the most economically competitive form of renewable energy, and is generally viewed as an environmentally friendly alternative to nuclear and fossil fuel power plants (AWEA 2008, National Research Council 2007). However, construction and operation of wind energy projects has the potential to impact birds and bats through habitat fragmentation, displacement, and mortality due to collision with or proximity to rotor blades (NWCC 2010).In March of 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published Land-based Wind Energy Guidelines(WEG) that identify voluntary actions wind developers can take to demonstrate compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). One of the recommended actions identified in the WEG is development of a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy (BBCS) documenting measures a company has taken to properly construct a wind project to avoid and minimize impacts to migratory birds and other sensitive species.