Wednesday, November 24, 2010

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Input on Developing Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan

Icon of Wind TurbinesImage via WikipediaThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host an open house Tuesday, December 7, 2010, to gather comments and answer questions about development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the proposed High Prairie Wind Energy Facility near the town of Queen City in Schulyer County.  The open house will be from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Days Inn in Kirksville.

Representatives from the Service and from High Prairie Wind Energy, a subsidiary of Wind Capital Group, will be on hand at the open house to answer questions about the planning effort and to hear ideas and opinions about potential impacts of the project on the Indiana bat, the little brown bat and the northern bat.  The Indiana bat is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and all three species occur at the site.

High Prairie is working with the Service to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan to address possible effects from the project on the Indiana bat.  The plan will describe project features, natural resources, and measures High Prairie Wind Energy will implement to protect and conserve bats.

A Habitat Conservation Plan developed by High Prairie and approved by the Service would include measures for long-term conservation of Indiana bats and other bat species and will be used by High Prairie to apply for a Service permit to exempt an otherwise lawful activity (construction and operation of a wind energy facility) from the prohibition of take under the Endangered Species Act.   Take, under the Act, means harming, harassing, or killing endangered or threatened species.

As part of the Service's review of the plan, and High Prairie’s request for an incidental take permit, the Service will prepare an Environmental Assessment evaluating effects of the project.

The Service encourages participation in the open house to solicit information on issues, concerns, or other information that should be considered in the Environmental Assessment.  The forum will also serve as an opportunity to identify or provide information on historic or cultural resources that should be considered in the assessment.

High Prairie’s proposed project will consist of wind turbine generators, transformers at the base of each turbine, access roads, a project operations and maintenance building, and other infrastructure.  All project facilities and infrastructure will be placed on private land.

The Indiana bat was listed as endangered in 1967, under the precursor to the current Endangered Species Act, because of large population declines believed to be from disturbance of caves where bats hibernate during the winter.  The Indiana bat is found across much of the eastern and central United States.   From late fall through winter Indiana bats in Missouri hibernate in caves in the Ozarks and Ozark Border Natural Divisions.  During the spring and summer, Indiana bats use living, injured (e.g. split trunks and broken limbs from lightning strikes or wind), dead or dying trees for roosting throughout the state.  Indiana bats forage for flying insects (particularly moths) in and around floodplain, riparian and upland forests.

For more information on the Indiana bat and habitat conservation plans, visit the Service’s website at

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit
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