Interactions between wind turbines and wildlife, particularly flying creatures such as birds and bats, are a known and documented occurrence. Utility-scale wind turbines can directly and indirectly affect bats that occur in or migrate through the wind energy generation facility. Collisions between bats and other aerial manmade structures are well documented. Numerous impacts with television towers, other communication towers, large buildings, power lines, and fences have been reported. Though in some cases, bat collisions with wind turbine blades appear to occur at higher rates. At this time, such cases of higher fatality rates appear to be limited to sites located on forested Appalachian ridgelines. In evaluating the risk of bat mortality at this site, which is located on primarily flat, agricultural land, it is useful to consider mortalities at other operating utility-scale wind energy generation facilities in the midwestern United States.
This report documents design and site attributes of the proposed Pleasant Ridge wind energy generation facility, evaluates the avenues by which bats may be affected by the Pleasant Ridge facility, and provides a review of information pertaining to bat mortality at existing wind energy generation facilities. Based upon these data, and upon information provided by state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), we qualitatively estimate the risk of effects to bats posed by the Pleasant Ridge facility.