Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Texas Project

RWO84 Golden eagle survey and monitoring strategy development

September 2011 - September 2015


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The development of renewable energy sources is a national priority. In response, wind energy development activities are increasing at a rapid rate. Although wind energy is a renewable, non-carbon emitting source of energy, it is not without potential environmental costs. Among these are direct mortality of birds and bats due to collision with turbine blades (Hunt 2002, Chamberlain et al. 2006). Golden Eagles are a large apex predatory bird that typically occurs at low densities, has a long life span, experiences delayed maturity and low reproductive rates, and has no natural predators (Kochert et al. 2002). Thus, mortality experienced at wind energy centers may have population level effects on the species. A critical component of management of Golden Eagles in the presence of intensifying wind energy development is an understanding of the species’ distribution and status at three spatial scales: 1) the continental USA; 2) regional scales for which management can be implemented; and 3) wind energy project scales at which specific management actions can occur (e.g., permitting, mitigation). In particular, data are needed that facilitate relating Golden Eagle use areas to proposed wind turbine locations within project areas, and to establish a basis for identifying areas to focus management and long-term population monitoring. I propose to develop a survey and monitoring plan to support the US Fish and Wildlife Service goals to manage Golden Eagles in context of wind energy development.