BIOLOGIST JOINS ODNR STAFF TO STUDY THE EFFECTS OF
WIND-ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ON WILDLIFE
ODNR leading environmentally responsible wind energy in Ohio
COLUMBUS, OH - Keith DeWitt Lott, a wildlife biologist whose area of expertise is bat and bird activity, has joined the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife to study the effects of wind turbines on native and migrating wildlife, especially in the Lake Erie Basin.
Lott joined the agency as part of a comprehensive effort to support wind-energy development in Ohio. He will study the impact that the rotating blades of wind turbines have on the approximately 300 species of birds, nine species of bats and other wild animals that are found in the state.
"As Ohio moves into the realm of wind-based energy, it's important that we do so in a socially and environmentally responsible way," said ODNR Director Sean D. Logan. "Helping developers site wind turbines so that the impacts to birds and other wildlife are minimized is one way of accomplishing that objective."
Lott, who holds a graduate degree from the University of Maryland, is based at Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve near Huron. He will provide technical advice to the ODNR Division of Wildlife and help formulate pre and post-construction monitoring protocols for wind turbines.
ODNR is an active participant in the Ohio Wind Working Group (OWWG) and the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative (GLWC). The OWWG is a statewide collaborative of key stakeholders interested in smart and successful wind energy development for Ohio, while the GLWC is a regional effort to address issues such as off-shore wind turbines in the Great Lakes.
The agency drafted a cooperative agreement between the state and developers in recent months to help identify the best possible locations in Ohio for wind turbines - places with high wind potential, but limited impact to birds, bats, fish and amphibians.
"The voluntary partnership between the state and wind-power developers is an important step toward bringing wind energy to Ohio, which is a major focus of Governor Strickland's energy policy," Logan said. "ODNR plans to finalize the cooperative agreement in coming months."
Since early 2007, ODNR has been researching the interaction between wildlife and wind turbines. While these energy-generating structures are a common sight in other states and in many foreign counties, they remain a novelty on the Ohio landscape. Introducing this technology to the state will take planning and foresight. ODNR is actively involved in making this sustainable energy source a reality in Ohio.