Thursday, November 5th, 2020
FOSL, in conjunction with Audubon and Shenandoah University, hosts a unique virtual program. Please join Joel Merriman of the American Bird Conservancy for this presentation on Wind Energy Development and Bird Conservation. During this presentation, we will explore how these two goals can coexist.
The United States is one of the world’s leading producers of wind energy, with tens of thousands of wind turbines in operation and many more planned. While this is positive from a climate change abatement perspective, bird mortality from collisions is escalating with each new turbine installed. The annual loss of birds from collisions with wind turbines now exceeds 500,000 and is expected to grow to 1.4 million by 2030. This is particularly problematic in areas where turbines and their associated power lines have been poorly sited from a bird conservation perspective. Renewable energy is critically important to address reverse the effects of climate change, but we must ensure that the benefits of this development exceed the impacts on wildlife. Our Bird-Smart Wind Energy Program’s primary goal is to promote best practices for development that provide clean energy while minimizing bird mortality.
Joel Merriman grew up fascinated by the great outdoors and got hooked on birds while earning a B.S. in Wildlife Science at Purdue University. This led him to complete an M.S. in Wildlife Management at Texas Tech University, where his thesis focused on bird-aircraft strike hazard. His 15+ years of professional experience include ecological consulting in the Pacific Northwest, conservation planning at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and facilitating corporate conservation at Wildlife Habitat Council.