Oregon's high desert has world-class wildlife and wildland values that deserve protection. Likewise, the region has outstanding wind power resources that could be developed as part of state and national efforts to create energy independence and develop clean sources of renewable energy. Oregonians have the opportunity to develop wind energy responsibly. The key to successful development will be siting wind power strategically in areas suitable for wind power facilities after taking into account other valuable resources in those areas. As interest in constructing utility-scale wind power facilities increases, siting decisions that allow wind power to be developed in a way that protects special landscapes and sensitive wildlife will mutually benefit wind power companies, government entities, local communities, and the larger public.
This report provides an initial analysis of wildlife habitats and landscapes sensitive to wind developments throughout Oregon's high desert. Some of these lands and species are sufficiently sensitive or unique to require the exclusion of wind energy development altogether, while other categories would permit wind energy development if certain best practices are implemented. By overlaying wind resource potential with these other natural values, a picture emerges showing where wind power development will have the least social conflict and environmental impact.