In 1994, Kenetech Windpower, Inc. (Kenetech) proposed to construct a 500-megawatt (MW) windpower development in Carbon County, Wyoming. Kenetech applied for a right-of-way (ROW) permit from the Rawlins District Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to construct and access facilities of the wind plant on federal land. While preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed windpower project, TRC Mariah Associates Inc. (Mariah) initiated studies to obtain baseline data on avian resources in the study area. Results of those studies are presented in the EIS (BLM 1995a, 1995b) and in Thomas et al. (1997). As part of the ROW permit conditions, Kenetech agreed to continue study of potential effects of the proposed project on wildlife resources. Wildlife risk assessment and monitoring studies were initiated by Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (WEST) in March 1995. These studies were terminated in March 1996 just prior to the declaration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Kenetech. In late 1996, SeaWest Energy Corporation (SeaWest) acquired the rights to the Carbon County windpower project and wildlife monitoring studies were reinitiated in mid February 1997.
The first development unit, Foote Creek Rim I (FCR I), consists of a 41.4 MW wind plant comprised of 69 600-KW Mitsubishi turbines that was completed on Foote Creek Rim by SeaWest in January 1999. FCR II, a 1.8 MW wind plant consisting of three Mitsubishi 600-KW turbines, was completed in August 1999. FCR III, consisting of 33 NEG Micon NM 750 KW turbines capable of generating 24.75 MW, was also completed in August 1999. The wind plant currently consists of 105 turbines capable of generating 67.95 MW of electricity and related facilities (Figure 1), including meteorological towers, transmission lines, communications systems, transformers, substations, roads, and operations and maintenance facilities.
The scope and methods for conducting the wildlife risk assessment and monitoring studies were defined through consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), and BLM. Objectives of this study were to obtain quantifiable data on wildlife use, species composition, reproductive success, and distribution in areas with windpower developments or proposed for windpower development and in a comparable reference area. Preconstruction data collected in 1995 and 1997 and subsequent during and post-construction data collected in 1998 and 1999 were used to evaluate potential effects on wildlife of windpower development and operation.
The primary goals of the monitoring studies are to evaluate impacts to wildlife from each phase of development and the cumulative impact to wildlife from all windpower development in the Wind Resource Area (WRA) (BLM 1995b). The secondary goal of monitoring is to obtain information that can be used to reduce impacts to wildlife from subsequent developments. This monitoring study uses a before/after and control/impact (BACI) design (Green 1979) to assess effects. This monitoring study also provides data compatible with studies of numerous other windpower projects in operation or under development. Finally, this monitoring study assesses risk based on a weight of evidence approach.
This report presents wildlife monitoring data for four years of study and includes monitoring data collected up to the end of the most recent fall period (31 October 1999). Results of fatality searches conducted in 1999 have been presented in a separate report (Johnson et al. 2000). Due to the technical nature of this study, this report may be difficult to interpret by the general public and questions should be directed to the BLM.