- The goal Nebraska Wind and Wildlife Working Group (Working Group) is to minimize the potential impacts of wind energy development on Nebraska’s wildlife resources through a collaborative approach.
- The history of the Working Group goes back to 2009 when the group was formed. Since then, the group dymanic has changed in an attempt to include more stakeholders
- Any individual committed to the goal of the Working Group is invited to participate.
- The Working Group has no regulatory authority; guidance documents or recommendations will not supersede decisions made by the regulatory authorities.
- The Working Group supports the development of wind energy in Nebraska when the planning and siting process avoids or minimizes impacts to wildlife populations and natural areas.
Goal & Purpose
Goal: to minimize the potential impacts of wind energy development on Nebraska’s wildlife resources.
Purpose: through a collaborative approach, to develop Nebraska-specific guidelines and other tools that can be used to assess the risk of wind energy developments to wildlife resources and identify ways to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts of development.
Disclaimer: The Nebraska Wind and Wildlife Working Group has no regulatory authority. Nebraska has a formal state nexus for evaluating commercial wind energy development. Guidance documents or recommendations made by the group will not supersede decisions made by the regulatory authorities.
In the spring of 2009, the Nebraska Wind and Wildlife Working Group, a consortium of representatives from state and federal agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations, and public utilities, was formed to develop guidance for wind energy development in the state that minimizes impacts to wildlife resources.
The group works closely with wind developers and consultants who have developed or are looking to develop wind energy in Nebraska that minimizes impacts to wildlife populations and natural areas. The group has no rule-making or regulatory authority; rather it works cooperatively to discuss mutual concerns, learn of the latest developments, and coordinate action as warranted.
The group’s initial focus was to develop two decision support tools for wind energy development and wildlife resource management in Nebraska. The Guidelines for Wind Energy and Wildlife Resource Management in Nebraska was a set of non-regulatory statewide recommendations to help developers assess and minimize potential environmental impacts that could result from the development of wind energy facilities. They were developed by the group and reviewed by wind industry professionals, consultants, and other wind energy/wildlife stakeholders.
The second document the group participated in the development of was the Wind Energy and Nebraska’s Wildlife Map. The map depicted the relative sensitivity of Nebraska’s species of concern to wind energy development and has been received by the wind industry as a valuable tool for initial siting of wind energy facilities.
The Nebraska Wind and Wildlife Coordinator position was developed to facilitate communication among wind energy and wildlife stakeholders and to coordinate the Nebraska Wind and Wildlife Working Group. In the summer of 2011, the Coordinator position was transferred to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln to be housed in the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. The Coordinator, the Nebraska Wind and Wildlife Working Group, the NGPC, the USFWS, and other stakeholders are working together to develop additional decision support tools for wind energy development in Nebraska that minimizes the impacts to wildlife.
Subgroups will be established to help reach the Working Group goal.
- Each subgroup will have a chair and multiple supporting members.
- Ideally, the subgroups will be made of up of a variety of different stakeholders (wind energy developers, environmental consultants, natural resource managers, public power specialists, non-profit members, private landowners, and others) who have expertise, experience, and interest in the subgroup topic.
- Individuals are encouraged to join multiple groups if they have expertise in more than one area that would help reach the goal of the subgroup.
- As a member of a subgroup, an individual will have the opportunity to help develop guidance for wind energy development in Nebraska that takes into account wildlife and the environment.
- For some of the subgroups, documents have already been developed; group members will modify/update the documents when new information becomes available.
- Several of the subgroups are new and will require potentially more of a time commitment, but also the opportunity to contribute to a new project from the beginning.
List of Subgroups:
- Data Sharing
- Wind Energy and Wildlife Mapping
- Zoning Model
- Research Opportunities
- General Guidelines
- Bird Guidelines
- Bat Guidelines
- Wind – Wildlife Curriculum
- Nebraska Wind – Wildlife Meeting/Webinar Planning