Golden Eagle collisions in California – still happening

Here’s a post I just received from an email listserv.  The author is Alison Dalsimer:



Golden eagle death toll rises in Calif.’s wind corridor
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012

With two more golden eagles found dead at a wind farm in Southern California’s Tehachapi Mountains, the two-year-old project now ranks as one of the deadliest for birds in California’s wind industry.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still determining the cause of death of the two federally protected golden eagles found Sunday at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Pine Tree wind farm, said Lois Grunwald, a spokeswoman for the agency. Already the agency has determined that six golden eagles have died after being struck by blades from some of the site’s 90 turbines.

Those deaths give Pine Tree a per-turbine death rate three times higher than that of California’s Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, where about 67 golden eagles die each year among the facility’s 5,000 wind turbines.

Killing golden eagles is illegal under federal law, but so far, authorities have not made any prosecutions for violations (Greenwire, Jan. 26).

The utility says it is developing a bird- and bat-protection plan, but critics say the problem is fundamental.

“The increasing golden eagle mortality at Pine Tree clearly points to wind turbines built in the wrong location,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity. The organization is part of a coalition of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Defenders of Wildlife, that recently sued Kern County to block construction of two proposed wind energy projects that would span 13,535 acres of mountainous terrain next to Pine Tree (Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 16). — AS

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