Opposing Wind Power Siting in Native Prairie Landscapes

Photo by Ron Klataske

Industrial Wind Turbines are destructive to native prairie ecosystems.   No amount of "mitigation" can bring prairie back once it has been fragmented and destroyed.  

Supporting the Siting Guidelines for Industrial Wind Power Developed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT)

AOK supports the citizens of Kansas counties who want to protect the plant and animal wildlife in their "land communities."   AOK urges counties to adopt KDWPT's guidelines for windpower siting as requirements.  The bitter track record for industrial wind in Kansas is that developers ignore  "guidelines" that do not have the force of law.  However, AOK believes the guidelines have moral force, especially since wind developers reap millions in taxpayer subsidies on the basis of industrial wind's claims to be "green."   They cannot be "green" if they ignore our state's recommendations for wildlife protection.   Here are KDWPT's guidelines for the protection of wildlife:

  1. That wind power facilities should be sited on previously altered landscapes, such as areas of extensive cultivation or urban and industrial development, and outside of the “Tallgrass Heartland” wind  moratorium area as well as other areas of large intact native prairie, important wildlife migration corridors, and migration staging areas.
  2. That projects should adhere to the Siting Guidelines for Windpower Projects in Kansas, produced by the Kansas Renewable Energy Working Group3, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Land Based Wind Energy Guidelines.
  3. That the study and establishment of standards for adequate inventory of plant and animal communities is conducted before wind development site selection, during construction, and after development is completed. The resultant improvement in available knowledge of wind power and wildlife interactions obtained through research and monitoring should be used to periodically update guidelines regarding the siting of wind power facilities.
  4. That the Department recommends avoidance of native prairie and other crucial habitats as opposed to compensatory offsite mitigation.
  5. That mitigation is appropriate if significant ecological harm from wind power facilities cannot be adequately addressed through proper siting and avoidance of crucial habitats. The Department requests that, when possible, project developers utilize established mitigation programs to offset unavoidable impacts (examples include established conservation banks and the WAFWA Range Wide Plan for Lesser Prairie-Chicken Conservation).
  6. That the Department manages public wildlife areas to optimize habitat for native wildlife species especially game species and migratory birds. This work tends to concentrate wildlife in those areas. To avoid adverse impacts to those species and the users of the wildlife areas, the Department recommends that turbines not be sited within three (3) miles of a KDWPT-managed property.
  7. That Environmental Reviews, which investigate possible impacts to native wildlife and habitats, should be conducted by Department staff to assist in the determination of possible adverse impacts to wildlife
  8. and support the establishment of processes to ensure a comprehensive and consistent method in addressing proposed wind power developments.

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