This morning the Department of Interior, and specifically the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, released the final version of its land-based wind energy guidelines. The voluntary guidelines are intended to address “wildlife conservation concerns at all stages” of wind development, and are the result of a five-year process that included federal and state agencies, Native American tribes, wind industry representatives and conservation organizations.
The guidelines utilize what is referred to as a “tiered approach” for assessing potential adverse effects by development to species of concern and their related habitats. This process includes the collection of data related to the species of concern, and the date in turn is used to support developer decision-making during different phases of a project. The guidelines are based on an “iterative decision-making process” and intend to identify and quantify any risks associated with proposed projects as they related to the species of concern and their habitats.