THE USE OF SCENT DOGS DEMONSTRATES SPATIAL FATALITY PATTERNS AT A CALIFORNIA WIND FARM.
Dave S. Johnston; 983 University Ave Bldg D, Los Gatos, CA, 95032; (408) 448-3226; djohnston@harveyecology.com; Jeff P. Smith, Andrea K. Wuenschel, M. Murrelet Halterman, Michele L. Childs
Few studies have shown spatial differences among fatalities at wind turbines. Fatality studies using human searchers may not provide a high enough percentage of fatalities to detect spatial relationships. We hypothesized that a better searcher efficiency rate might lead to a better understanding of fatality patterns. We used scent dogs to increase our ability to detect fatalities at a project with 48 turbines at Altamont Pass in California where most previous studies suggest few bat fatalities. We used a Hot Spot analysis in ArcGIS 10.4.1 (ESRI, Inc., Redlands, CA) to quantify the degree to which fatalities were spatially clustered. The first year we found 229 bats including 133 (58%) Tadarida brasiliensis, 84 (37%) Lasiurus cinereus), and seven (3%) Lasiurus blossevillii). The hot spot analysis identified one turbine with 17 fatalities as a strong hot spot (P < 0.01) and another turbine with 12 fatalities as a moderate hot spot (P < 0.03). Additionally, five of seven western red bat fatalities were distributed within a narrow (~ 213 meters) east - west band occurring between latitudes 37.711743 deg and 37.708948 deg. Knowing spatial differences in fatality rates among turbines or within projects could be useful for developing mitigation strategies for new projects.
Ecology and Conservation of Bats II