Building Mitigation Best Practices
When developing wind energy projects, careful siting and best
operational practices are used to avoid and minimize negative impacts to
wildlife and wildlife habitat. When avoidance and minimization do not
satisfactorily reduce negative impacts, the environmental and regulatory
communities prescribe compensatory mitigation to reduce or offset
unavoidable harm to wildlife.
Compensatory mitigation is controlled by state and federal laws and
regulations that are site-specific. Compared to other environmental
quality issues such as air pollution and wetlands preservation,
regulatory processes for mitigating wind-wildlife impacts is in its
infancy. AWWI is committed to developing a toolbox of approaches and
best practices for compensatory mitigation that are science-based,
cost-effective, and field-tested.
As a baseline for future work, AWWI commissioned a comprehensive
study by Solano Partners on current compensatory mitigation practices
and legal requirements, released in June 2010. You can download the
full report, Enabling Progress: Compensatory Mitigation Scenarios
for Wind Energy Projects in the U.S.
Expanding Mitigation Options for Eagles:
AWWI’s Eagle Initiative
Mitigation practices, including compensatory mitigation, are
instrumental in resolving the challenge of wind energy development and
eagle protection. Eagles can be killed or disturbed by wind turbines and
are protected under federal law and some state laws. At the same
time, wind energy development is critical to addressing climate
change--itself a major threat to eagles and other wildlife--and to
supplying a clean, sustainable, water-smart source of electricity.
AWWI has launched its Eagle Initiative to expand available mitigation
options and thereby help advance the permitting of wind energy facilities
while conserving eagles. The initiative draws on the contributions of
eagle experts attending AWWI’s November 2011 Eagle Workshop and AWWI’s
Eagle White Paper, which synthesizes our current knowledge and
understanding of eagle population trends, threats to eagles, and
mitigation of eagle take. AWWI’s Eagle White Paper is available [here].
The goal of the initiative is to create additional, scientifically
justifiable options for offsetting predicted golden eagle take at wind
energy facilities and thereby satisfy the “no-net-loss” policy of the 2009
Eagle Rule and environmental assessment that guide implementation of the
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. AWWI will work with eagle experts,
conservation organizations, agency staff, and industry stakeholders to
create alternative management scenarios that offer the highest potential
for increasing eagle productivity or adult survival, and implementation
success. Options will be selected from a preliminary list developed at the
November 2011 Eagle Workshop that include decreasing eagle mortality from
anthropogenic sources, improving quantity and quality of eagle habitat,
and enhancing eagle reproduction or adult survival. The new mitigation
options will have broad application for offsetting eagle take and
enhancing eagle management.
A fact sheet on AWWI's Eagle Initiative is available [here].