This report contains comprehensive results of the avian and bat monitoring program conducted at the Stateline Wind Project. Data and results are representative of the Oregon and Washington facilities. Data were collected during the monitoring period: July 2001 through December 2003.
The Stateline Wind Project was developed, constructed, and is operated by FPL Energy Vansycle LLC (FPL Energy). It is located in Umatilla County, Oregon and Walla Walla County, Washington, and was built in multiple phases between the years 2001 and 2002.
The Washington facilities were studied in 1994, 1995, 1999-2001 and analyzed and permitted in 2000 and 2001 under the Walla Walla County conditional use permit process. Subsequently, 273 wind turbine generators (Vestas V47 660-kilowatt [kW]), capable of producing approximately 180 megawatts (MW) were constructed in 2001 (referred to as Washington Stateline 1 area). At the same time, underground collector cables, a substation, and transmission lines that deliver power to the western power grid system were constructed in Washington. In 2002, FPL Energy submitted an application and required environmental analysis data to amend the Walla Walla County Conditional Use Permit to enable the construction of an additional 29 turbines (FPL Energy et al. 2002), which were not constructed during the timeframe of the monitoring studies reported in this document.
The Oregon facilities were studied in 1994, 1995, 1999-2001 and initially analyzed and permitted in 2001 using the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (OEFSC) site certificate process administered by the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE). Subsequently, 126 wind turbine generators (Vestas V47 660-kW), capable of producing approximately 83 MW were constructed in 2001 and are located in the Oregon Stateline 1 area. Upon completion, FPL Energy submitted an application to amend the Stateline Wind Project site certificate, requesting authorization to construct an additional 60 wind turbine generators. In 2002, the Stateline Wind Project site certificate amendment (Amendment #1) was granted by OEFSC and FPL Energy constructed 55 of the 60 authorized wind turbine generators. These 60 turbines are referred to as the Oregon Stateline 2 area. A third phase of expansion was permitted and authorized in Oregon in 2003. This project permit was the second amendment (Amendment #2) of the Stateline Wind Project site certificate and is referred to as the Stateline 3 area. The remaining 5 turbines approved within the Oregon Stateline 2 area as well as the turbines in the Stateline 3 area had not been constructed during the time frame of the monitoring studies reported in this document.
Each permitting agency required specific pre-construction studies and impact analyses to meet their standards. There was general consistency among the agencies. The primary objective in the Washington TAC monitoring plan (WWMP) was to "estimate the number of avian and bat fatalities attributable to wind turbine collisions for the entire Project on an annual basis". The primary objectives in the Oregon Wildlife Monitoring Plan (OWMP) were to "determine whether the facility causes significant fatalities of birds and bats and to determine whether the facility results in a loss of habitat quality".
Operational monitoring requirements for wildlife varied slightly in the two plans. However, most components of the monitoring program were conducted in both states including:
- Standardized Carcass Searches (OWMP and WWMP requirement)
- Protocol searches and Incidental Injured Animal/Fatality Discoveries, otherwise described as the Wildlife Response and Reporting System (OWMP and WWMP requirement)
- Carcass Removal Bias Experimental Trials (OWMP and WWMP requirement)
- Observer Detection Bias Experimental Trials (OWMP and WWMP requirement)
- Avian Use Surveys (OWMP and WWMP requirement)
- Burrowing Owl Surveys (OWMP and WWMP requirement)
- Short-eared Owl Surveys (WWMP requirement)
- Raptor Nest Surveys (OWMP and WWMP requirement)
The OWMP had an additional monitoring component that was conducted in Oregon only:
- Grassland Monitoring Transect Surveys (OWMP requirement)