Evaluating the Influence of Wind Energy on the Movement, Distribution, and Habitat Quality of Pronghorn
July 2018 - December 2023
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
- Wyoming Governor's Big Game
- WY Community Foundation
Wyoming has approximately half of the world's total population of pronghorn, and local herds are strongly challenged by harsh winter weather. Much of the Shirley Basin in southeast Wyoming is designated crucial winter range for the Medicine Bow pronghorn herd. The Shirley Basin winter range contains a substantial footprint of proposed wind energy development and thus presents an opportunity to learn about how pronghorn respond to wind development. We are studying the effects of wind energy development on the movement of pronghorn that winter in the Shirley Basin. The project is a collaboration between the Wyoming Unit, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and The Nature Conservancy, in cooperation with the associated wind power companies. The overall goal of the study is to evaluate whether and how wind development influences pronghorn habitat use, the results of which will provide a useful comparison with prior work done on the influence of oil and gas development on mule deer and elk and will guide pronghorn management amid continued development.