Renewable energy production is expanding rapidly despite mostly unknown environmental effects on wildlife and habitats. We used genetic and stable isotope data collected from Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California in demographic models to test hypotheses about the geographic extent and demographic consequences of fatalities caused by renewable energy facilities. Geospatial analyses of δ2H values obtained from feathers showed that ≥25% of these APWRA-killed eagles were recent immigrants to the population, most from long distances away (>100 km). Data from nuclear genes indicated this subset of immigrant eagles was genetically similar to birds identified as locals from the δ2H data. Demographic models implied that in the face of this mortality, the apparent stability of the local Golden Eagle population was maintained by continental-scale immigration. These analyses demonstrate that ecosystem management decisions concerning the effects of local-scale renewable energy can have continental-scale consequences.
Golden Eagle Fatalities and the Continental-Scale Consequences of Local Wind-Energy Generation
Title: Golden Eagle Fatalities and the Continental-Scale Consequences of Local Wind-Energy Generation
April 01, 2017
Journal: Conservation Biology
Katzner, T.; Nelson, D.; Braham, M.; Doyle, J.; Fernandez, N.; Duerr, A.; Bloom, P.; Fitzpatrick, M.; Miller, T.; Culver, R.; Braswell, L.; DeWoody, J. (2017). Golden Eagle Fatalities and the Continental-Scale Consequences of Local Wind-Energy Generation. Conservation Biology, 31(2), 406-415.