Estimating Bat Fatality at a Texas Wind Energy Facility: Implications Transcending the United States-Mexico Border

Cris Hein, Sara Weaver, Amanda Jones, Ivan Castro-Arellano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Wind energy development causes bat fatalities. Despite emphasis on understanding and reducing these impacts, few data are available for the southwest region of the United States and northern Mexico. We monitored bat fatalities for a full year (March 2017-March 2018) at a wind energy facility in south Texas near the United States-Mexico border. We established search plots of 100-m radius at eight randomly selected turbines (of 255) and searched the roads and pads at an additional 92 turbines. We conducted weekly searches from spring through fall and bimonthly during winter. We used GenEst (Generalized Mortality Estimator) to estimate bat fatalities corrected for searcher efficiency, carcass removal, and density-weighted proportion of area searched. We found 205 bats during standardized searches, the majority of which were Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis, 76%). The corrected fatality estimates were 16 bats/megawatt/year (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12 - 30 bats/megawatt/year) across all species. Species composition at our site is similar to that of northern Mexico, an area of expanding wind energy development with no published studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1533-1541
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume101
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-74286

Keywords

  • bats
  • Brazilian free-tailed bat
  • fatality
  • GenEst
  • GenEst
  • Mexico
  • mortalidades
  • Murciélago brasileño de cola-libre
  • murciélagos
  • México
  • Tadarida brasiliensis
  • Tadarida brasiliensis
  • Texas
  • Texas
  • turbina eólica
  • wind turbine

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