Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From The Ground Up

An interesting partnership

Today's newsletter from Playa Lake Joint Venture reports conservation groups and wind energy developers are teaming up to try to help out the lesser prairie chicken.

Actually, the wind groups outnumber the conservationists in the new effort to help out the bird that has seen its numbers drop to about 3 percent of the total a century ago. The developers include several who have plans to build in the Panhandle.

Human activity, especially building tall things like utility poles and low things like roads, have hacked up the prairie chicken's habitat, pushing it toward a possible listing on the endangered species list.

Having watched them booming, where the males shook their groove things for the females on a way-too-early morning in southwest Kansas, I kind of got attached to the unusual bird. I even felt a little sorry for them when the festivities were interrupted by a pheasant wandering through the lek, a tramped down area in the prairie where the romancing goes on.

The new partnership is called the American Wind Wildlife Institute and it's funded to the tune of $3 million for the first two years. Some of the goals are research, mapping, habitat mitigation and public education on where to put wind farms to reduce their impact on the prairie chickens and the interplay between wildlife and wind turbines.

According to the PLJV, the conservation members of the group include: The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists.

The wind industry members include: AES Wind Energy, BP Wind Energy, Babcock & Brown, enXco, Clipper Windpower, E.ON, GE Energy, Horizon Wind Energy, Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA, Nordic Windpower, NRG Systems, Renewable Energy Systems Americas and Vestas Americas.

No comments: