The Grande Prairie Wind Project proposal is for the construction and operation of a commercial scale wind turbine facility (estimated up to 400 MW capacity) in eastern Holt County, Nebraska. The project site is located in the Mixed Grass Prairie Ecoregion, although the land use within the project area is primarily agricultural. North East Ecological Services (‘NEES’) conducted a desktop risk assessment for the impact of project development on bats residing or migrating through the project area. In addition to the desktop analysis, NEES conducted an extensive site evaluation to document the presence of potential roosting and foraging habitat within the project area. Lastly, NEES conducted a full year of acoustic monitoring at the project site using ultrasonic microphones to document the spatial, temporal, and species distribution of bat activity within the Grande Prairie project area.
Nebraska has one of the largest wind resources in the United States and responsible development of that resource will allow cleaner energy while minimizing the impact to wildlife. Using methodologies consistent with state, national, and international guidelines, NEES documented a spatial and temporal distribution of bats at the project site that was consistent with other wind projects in the state. These data suggest that the Grande Prairie project site would have minimal indirect impact on bats and that the vast majority of direct impacts (mortality) will occur among the migratory tree bats. There are no data to suggest the scale of mortality should be any different than mortality levels seen at nearby projects on similar habitat; generally less than 4 bats per turbine annually.
1. Project Overview
2. Bats of Nebraska and the Risk of Wind-Related Mortality
3. Sources of Mortality for Bats
4. Existing Data on Bat Mortality from Wind Projects
5. Pre-Construction Monitoring Data from Grande Prairie
7. Literature Cited
Appendix One: Bats of Nebraska with Basic Ecological Properties
Appendix Two: Natural History of Bat Species in Nebraska
Appendix Three: Migratory Behavior of Bats
Appendix Four: Pre-Construction Acoustic Monitoring for Bats at the Grande Prairie Wind Project Site