BWEC conducts local, regional, and global research required to develop practical solutions to monitor and minimize the impact of wind energy development on bats.

Currently, BWEC focuses on three main areas of research:

Behavioral Monitoring

Post-construction fatality surveys determine estimates of fatality, compare fatality
estimates among facilities, and determine patterns of fatality in relation to weather and habitat variables.

Operational minimization and deterrence evaluating the effectiveness of existing and novel minimization approaches to practicably reduce bat mortality at wind energy facilities.

Acoustic monitoring allows BWEC researchers to detect and record calls of echolocating bats that can be used to assess relative activity and identify species or groups of species. Understanding bat activity levels prior to construction of wind facilities will assist in identifying habitats and features that may pose high risk of fatality and aid with decision-making, including specific placement of turbines.

BCI field biologist Adam Harpster (right) and contractor Jack Waggert prepare to install an acoustic monitoring system on a meteorological tower at a proposed wind facility (photo by Ed Arnett, BCI).

BWEC scientists have conducted intensive studies to assess whether pre-construction monitoring for bat presence and activity levels can predict post-construction fatality. We are currently involved with several studies at sites in south-central Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin that include multiple years of pre-construction bat activity monitoring and at least 2 years of post-construction fatality surveys.

Biologist Scott Reynolds (yellow pants) with Northeast Ecological Services explains acoustic monitoring and deployment of equipment to participants on a field trip to the proposed Hoosac wind energy project (photo by Ed Arnett, BCI).

Objective
Determine level and patterns of activity of different species groups of bats using proposed wind facilities prior to construction of turbines.

Objectives:

  • Correlate bat activity with weather and other environmental variables
  • Combine results from multiple sites to determine if indices of pre-construction bat activity can be used to predict post-construction bat fatalities at proposed wind facilities.
  • Develop methods and metrics for assessing wind energy impacts and develop standard protocols for pre-construction studies.
 
 

 

Acoustic detector system deployed near ground level on a portable tower (photo by Ed Arnett, BCI).

Study Reports

pdf-documentPatterns of pre-construction bat activity at a proposed wind facility in south-central Pennsylvania (Arnett, Hayes, and Huso, 2005 Annual Report)

pdf-documentPatterns of pre-construction bat activity determined using acoustic monitoring at a proposed wind facility in south-central Wisconsin (Redell, Arnett, Hayes, and Huso, 2005 Annual Report)

pdf-documentPatterns of pre-construction bat activity at a proposed wind facility in northwest Massachusetts (Arnett, Huso, Reynolds, Schirmacher, 2006 Annual Report)

pdf-documentEvaluating Pre-construction sampling regimes for assessing patterns of bat activity at a wind energy development in southern California (Weller 2007)

pdf-documentPatterns of Pre-construction Bat Activity at the Proposed Hoosac Wind Energy Project, Massachusetts, 2006-2007 (Hein, Arnett, Schirmacher, Huso, and Reynolds 2011 Final Report)

pdf-documentPatterns of Pre-construction Bat Activity at the Proposed Resolute Wind Energy Project, Wyoming, 2009–2010 (Hein, Schirmacher, Arnett, Huso 2011 Final Report)

Publications

pdf-documentAssessing impacts of wind-energy development on nocturnally active birds and bats: a guidance document. (Kunz et al. 2007)