Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems provide valuable services to humans and are a source of clean water, raw materials, and productive soils. Healthy rivers contribute to commercial fisheries, native pollinators enhance agricultural crops, and insect-eating bats provide pest control services worth billions of dollars to farmers annually (Boyles and others, 2011). Fish and wildlife are vital to a vibrant outdoor recreation and tourism industry, which generates billions of dollars in revenue to States, large and small businesses, and local communities (Cullinane Thomas and others, 2018).
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists study and monitor fish and wildlife, providing natural resource managers evidence-based information on the status and trends of species of interest. A rigorous scientific process is applied to understand risks, measure impacts, and inform solutions to national and local challenges facing both humans and wildlife. Energy security remains a national priority, and the United States is expanding access to vast natural resources to produce electricity as well as petroleum and natural gas products to meet society’s growing energy needs (U.S. EIA, 2017). Oil and gas production and wind and solar energy generation have shown consistent growth over the last 10 years. Currently, more than 57,000 wind turbines are contributing to power grids in 41 States, Guam, and Puerto Rico (American Wind Energy Association, 2018).
With expanding energy generation infrastructure across the Nation, some conflicts have surfaced. Effects of energy infrastructure include fragmentation and loss of habitat as well as mortality of birds, bats, fish, and other wildlife interacting with energy generation facilities. Because energy development often takes place in critical wildlife habitats, ecological science can be used to help guide project siting and operational decisions to areas and practices that present the lowest risk to energy development and wildlife. The USGS produces science that addresses challenges and develops workable solutions to help sustain wildlife and their habitats while allowing informed development.