The High Winds Project Area is situated on roughly a 10 square mile area in the Montezuma Hills, about 3.5 miles west of Rio Vista in Solano County, California. FPL Energy developed the project through its subsidiary High Winds LLC. The project consists of 90 wind turbines rated at 1.8 MW each for a total capacity of up to 162 MW. Eighty one turbines went on-line by the end of July 2003, followed by 9 more turbines in December.
During this two-year project, carcass surveys were conducted twice per month at every wind turbine tower between August 4, 2003 and July 30, 2005, for a total of 48 total surveys (or rounds).
A post-construction survey protocol was developed to determine avian presence (species composition and abundance) and use (behavior and seasonal presence) within and adjacent to the project area. Avian Abundance and Behavior observations were made in conjunction with the Prey Monitoring/Raptor Abundance and Use Surveys. This prey monitoring and raptor survey was developed to determine the presence and abundance of raptor prey species (e.g. California ground squirrel and black-tailed jackrabbit) within the project area. The purpose of these observations was to determine whether the numbers of these prey species was affected by construction disturbance and, if so, whether that would serve as an attraction to Golden Eagles and other large avian predators.
Raptor nesting surveys were conducted in the spring of each year of the two year project, between the months of March and July of 2004 and April and June of 2005. Searches were done via automobile, on foot and through regular avian survey observations.