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

Nebraska Project

Impacts of wind energy development and operation on soil invertebrates

September 2013 - December 2013


Participating Agencies

  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

The potential impacts of wind energy generation on wildlife and their habitats are not fully understood and vary greatly depending on the location of the wind facility. Wind energy development and operation can have direct and indirect impacts on wildlife. Direct impacts include deaths resulting from collisions and habitat loss from construction of roads, wind turbine pads, and other structures. Indirect impacts can include wildlife being displaced from preferred habitat through fragmentation or avoidance of the wind turbines, temporarily disturbed from an area, or forced to alter migration and/or movement patterns. Studies to evaluate the potential impacts of wind energy development on wildlife have been conducted for several years. Yet, there is still much more for researchers to learn. To date, most wind–wildlife studies have focused on the direct impacts to volant or flying animals such as birds and bats. More recent studies are looking at the indirect impacts on birds and large mammals. Very little research has gone into the potential impacts of wind energy development on soil invertebrates and insects. Soil invertebrates, such as the endangered American burying beetle, may be negatively impacted by wind energy development and operation. Through this UCARE project, we intend to investigate how and if soil invertebrates may be impacted by wind energy development through literature searches, and lab and field studies.