Eurus Energy America Corporation completed construction the Eurus Combine Hills Turbine Ranch, Phase 1 near the end of 2003. Due to concern over potential impacts from the wind project development, Eurus developed a post-construction study plan to monitor impacts to birds and bats over a minimum of two years. The first year of monitoring surveys were conducted on the site between February 2004 and February 2005.
The project is located approximately 6 miles west of Milton Freewater, Oregon, and is north and east of Vansycle Ridge and the existing Vansycle wind plant and east and southeast of the existing Stateline wind project. Agriculture and livestock grazing have converted the overall area to a mosaic of cultivated wheat fields, CRP pastures, and grazed native grassland/shrubsteppe rangeland.
The overall objectives of the monitoring studies were to determine whether the project causes significant mortality of birds and bats and to determine whether the project results in a loss of habitat quality or displacement related impacts. The monitoring study consists of four components designed to address different potential impacts: (1) fatality monitoring involving standardized carcass searches and searcher efficiency trials to address direct mortality impacts; (2) paired plot avian point count surveys during the nesting season to assess potential displacement effects; (3) a raptor nest survey within two miles of the development area boundary to assess potential disturbance or displacement impacts; and (4) sensitive species monitoring surveys to address potential disturbance or displacement impacts.