Katrina J. Smith;; Bronwyn Hogan, Doug Leslie

Hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) are at risk of severe population decline and face significant impacts from wind energy facilities (Friedenberg & Frick 2021; Rodhouse 2019). For the first time in California, actions to reduce these impacts are being implemented at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. An adaptive management strategy was designed to ensure that the best available science and emerging technologies are used to assess impacts on bats, and that impacts are minimized to the greatest extent possible while maximizing energy production. First, blanket curtailment stops turbines from spinning at low wind speeds during the high-risk period from April to October. Second, acoustic monitoring at turbine height and ground level facilitates analysis of bat activity in relation to wind speeds and bat fatality patterns, which could inform smart curtailment. Third, submission of carcasses and tissue samples supports genetic research to inform population-level impacts. Finally, installation of Motus towers near wind energy facilities and funding Motus tag deployment supports migration research, which could inform siting of future wind energy facilities. As wind energy scales up, collaboration and incentives to implement creative solutions are needed to mitigate adverse impacts to bat populations.

Conference Theme Session - Adaptive Management - III