Increasing concern for environmental sustainability, the demand for domestic energy, and an impetus on reducing dependence on fossil fuels have led to substantial investment in renewable energies including wind energy over the last 2 decades. Increases in wind energy development are especially noticeable in prairie habitats with high wind capacity. This has raised concerns over effects on grouse species including greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). We monitored 346 female greater sage-grouse via telemetry from 2009 to 2014 in southeastern Wyoming, within a control area and an area influenced by a wind energy development to estimate the potential effects of wind energy infrastructure on greater sage-grouse habitat selection and demography. We developed resource selection functions by comparing habitats used to habitats available relative to the wind energy development during the nesting, brood-rearing, and summer periods. In addition, we used survival models to estimate the variability in nest, brood, and female survival relative to the wind energy development. The relative probability of greater sage-grouse selecting brood-rearing and summer habitats decreased as percentage of surface disturbance associated with the facility infrastructure increased. We did not, however, detect a negative effect of the wind energy facility on nest site selection or on nest, brood-rearing, or female survival during the study. Future wind energy developments should consider the potential effects of wind energy development on sage-grouse habitat selection patterns and survival parameters ≤1.20 km from any occupied sage-grouse nesting, brood-rearing, or summer habitats.
Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat Selection, Survival, and Wind Energy Infrastructure
Title: Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat Selection, Survival, and Wind Energy Infrastructure
April 07, 2017
Journal: Wildlife Management
LeBeau, C.; Johnson, G.; Holloran, M.; Beck, J.; Nielson, R.; Kauffman, M.; Rodemaker, E.; McDonald, T. (2017). Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat Selection, Survival, and Wind Energy Infrastructure. Wildlife Management, 84(4), 690-711.