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BIODIVERSITY

The United Nations General assembly declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity to increase the awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation throughout the world by highlighting the importance that biodiversity has on our quality of life, to reflect the efforts already undertaken to safeguard biodiversity and to promote and foster initiatives to reduce the loss of biodiversity.

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2010 saw the hosting of two significant meetings – the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, which have both lead to historic decisions on addressing biodiversity loss, deforestation avoidance and climate change lead to historic decisions on addressing biodiversity loss, deforestation avoidance and climate change.

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EDPR wants to contribute its share of biodiversity conservation and respect for environment, because preserving biological diversity requires action at all levels: government, business and individual.

We have developed and collaborated with public and private entities in several projects regarding biodiversity protection.

In Spain, EDPR has conducted an important number of initiatives aiming at improving the habitat of various species of birds. The monitoring of a golden eagle (Aquila chrisaetos) couple using a GPS transmitter; an eight-year rescue and census campaign of montagu’s harrier (Circus pygargus); the installation of nesting boxes for european roller (Coracias garrulus) and the adaptation of power lines to reduce birds mortality, are only some examples.

Copy Img Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) couple after labeling with GPS satellite transmitters in Tarragona (Spain). Autor: MN Consultors en Cièncias de la Conservacio

In Portugal we developed a bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciatus) couple habitat management programme to promote prey species and create a protection area around the nest.

EDPR portugal is member of the association of Iberian Wolf Habitat Conservation.

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In 2010, EDPR signed a cooperation agreement with the natural Heritage Foundation of Castilla y Leon, in Spain, for the implementation of natural space conservation projects.

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Copy Img Cooperation agreement with the natural Heritage Foundation of Castilla y Leon signing

EDPR NA has been actively engaged in addressing the critical wildlife issues facing wind farm development in the United States.

We are currently conducting studies to evaluate the effects of wind turbine cut-in speeds on bat fatality rates in the United States. We are also undertaking studies of Golden eagle activity by banding up to six eagles with GPS telemetry units which will track the movements of the birds. This information will aid in the identification of potential impacts and determine particular management needs to help protect the species.

In the United States we also collaborate with several organizations and wildlife associations, as the AWWI.

The American Wind & Wildlife Institute (AWWI) is a science-based organization created by people who support renewable energy and the environment: conservationists, state wildlife officials, wind energy leaders, and scientists. It is dedicated to providing and sharing scientific information and tools to advance wind energy with respect for the environment. In 2007, EDPR NA was one of the founding partners in this twenty-member organization which includes representation from the largest wind companies in the united States.

In December 2010, EDPR NA hosted the annual board meeting of the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) at its Corporate Headquarters in Houston.

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In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that the Greater Sage-Grouse warrants protection under the endangered Species act.

We are involved in a multi stakeholder collaborative to conduct research on potential wind energy impacts on the Greater Sage-Grouse in the United States.

Copy Img Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). | photo by Gary Kramer/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

EDPR NA is collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S, Geological Survey, the Nature Conservancy, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Audubon, several state wildlife agencies and universities, and other wind industry members in the Sage-Grouse Research Collaborative to support research that will fill a current data gap; providing the information needed to help advance wind energy development and inform protection/management of sage-grouse.

Currently, the Collaborative has selected projects across two states that will begin their research efforts in spring 2011.

EDPR NA in partnership with the Ranchland Trust of Kansas and the Nature Conservancy’s Kansas Conservation office finalized the first conservation easement associated with the Meridian Way Conservation Agreement in 2010.

Copy Img Kansas’ prairie conservation easement

This effort, which began in 2008, was established to conserve and restore native prairie ecosystems in Kansas. this first conservation easement helps to achieve more than 10% of the overall goal of the partnership by placing the land into permanent conservation easement status. The partnership remains on track to meet its total conservation goals by 2023.

In Oregon, United States, we are partially funding a research project on fledgling hawk mortality at wind projects.

Copy Img Juvenile red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). | photo by Lee Karney/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wind energy development is expanding rapidly throughout the Columbia Plateau and Columbia River Gorge area of Oregon and Washington States. To date, few studies in this area have examined the impact of wind projects on wildlife, specifically raptors. Currently, most information on the relationship between raptors and wind turbines comes from pre and post-construction surveys and mortality monitoring on wind project areas. Very little data is available on the long-term impacts of wind projects on breeding raptors or their young. While raptors appear to use nesting areas following development, more data is needed to determine if adult and juvenile hawks face an increased threat of mortality or if they are able to behaviorally adapt near turbines and how these factors might influence nest occupancy and productivity.

EDPR NA has partnered with Boise State University, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and members of the wind industry to fund a two-year research project to gather data on potential impacts of wind projects on breeding raptors and their young. results from the first year of the study were presented in a poster at the national Wind Coordinating Collaborative’s Wind and Wildlife Research Meeting in october 2010.

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