Our Wind Risk Assessment Map promotes Bird-Smart wind energy siting by highlighting the locations of important bird areas that should be avoided by wind developers or approached with care.
Though not a substitute for detailed site-by-site risk assessment, we hope that wind developers and state and federal regulatory agencies use this map as a tool to aid in siting decisions.
To view the Wind Assessment Map, you'll need Google Earth. (Download Google Earth for free.)
When you click on a state, chose the option to "Save As" and save the file to a place you'll remember (like your desktop). Then, open Google Earth, go to "File" on the top toolbar, chose "Open," and open the .kmz file you downloaded. After a moment of loading, you will be able to see many layers of data on proposed wind turbines.
The locations of the wind turbines used in the study were derived using data supplied publicly by FAA (for proposed turbines) and USGS (for existing turbines). These data sets provide specific locations for individual wind turbines in GIS form.
The GIS files were de-duplicated by removing any turbines shown to be located within 50 feet or less of each other. We have also removed any proposed turbines that have already been assessed as high-risk for air traffic, as they are unlikely to be constructed. Decommissioned turbines were also removed from the assessment.
GIS analysis was conducted on behalf of ABC by Eric Wengert, a graduate student at Mississippi State University.
The bird data were derived from a variety of sources, including ABC's list of the 500 most Important Bird Areas in the U.S., the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Critical habitat designated by FWS as authorized by the Endangered Species Act was downloaded from the FWS website.
Site boundaries are either provided by existing federal or other GIS layers, or produced by ABC using the best available data, maps, and expert staff opinion. Boundaries for Key Habitat Areas are based on greatest breeding densities from Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) maps combined with expert staff opinion. For the few Red WatchList species where BBS data were unavailable, entire species range boundaries were used.
Areas marked in red on our map are crucial migratory routes and breeding habitat, wildlife refuges, and parks, which should be avoided at all costs. These areas include:
To view existing (asterisk) and proposed (star) turbines in “Critical Importance” areas, download the Google map file.
Solid orange on our map signifies Globally Important Bird Areas. Areas shown in a tint of orange are one of the following:
Some wind development might be possible within some of these areas if seasonal shutdowns during migration are feasible, or if micro-siting can enable the key habitat areas to be completely avoided.
To view existing (asterisk symbol) and proposed (star symbol) turbines in “High Importance” areas, click download a Google map file.