Conserving Wildlife in a Boom and Bust State: Wildlife Conservation and Energy Development in Wyoming
Amanda Withroder, a staff biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Habitat Protection Program, will present “Conserving Wildlife in a Boom and Bust State: Wildlife Conservation and Energy Development in Wyoming” on Friday May12 at 7 p.m. at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. The talk is free and open to the public.
Withroder, who grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, has a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Studies and Environmental and Natural Resources. She started working for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in 2010 where her program is responsible for environmental commenting on development proposals of all types and sizes. The goal is to work with project proponents to avoid and minimize impacts to wildlife as much as possible, and to mitigate if needed. She spends a lot of time working with other state and federal agencies on large energy development projects, and to ensure that we have a process in place to adequately consider the needs of wildlife. She also works with project proponents on implementation of the State’s sagegrouse conservation strategy. In a state that is dependent upon energy development, and also is home to an amazing array of wildlife, it is sometimes hard to strike a balance that benefits both. The job of finding that balance falls in part on Withroder. She will discuss how Wyoming Game and Fish coordinates with state and federal agencies, industry, and other stakeholders to reduce the impacts of energy development on wildlife in Wyoming.
Last year the Hat-6 Lek had no Sage-Grouse. That eliminated the easiest place around Casper to see strutting Sage-Grouse. Now to see this spectacular display, you will have to go to a non-public lek. As part of Murie’s contribution to counting Sage-Grouse leks, I count two leks three times each during April and the first few days of May. I am willing to take up to 5 people with me on a first come first serve basis. The weather has to be dry so that we don’t tear up the dirt roads, so I cannot plan very many days in advance. I leave the ranch about 5:00 AM (as April progresses I leave earlier) and plan to get back about 3 hours later. Call me, Stacey Scott, if you are interested. Call before 8:00 PM (I go to bed early) at 262-0055.
Identiflight and Windfarms?
As most of us know, wind farms do kill some raptors, and other birds and bats. But technology is contributing to the conservation of eagles at windfarms with IdentiFlight®, a machine vision system being tested at the Top of the World windfarm in Rolling Hills, WY. Tom Hiester, Senior Vice-President, Strategy, for RES (Renewable Energy Systems), leads the IdentiFlight® technology development, and he will describe the technology, its status of deployment, and testing. Tom has nearly 40 years in the renewable energy business as a project and technology developer. IdentiFlight is high-precision optical technology used to detect eagles and protect them from collisions with rotating wind turbine blades. Automatic detection of birds, and the determination if it is an eagle, occur within seconds for eagles flying anywhere within a one kilometer hemisphere around the IdentiFlight tower. If an eagle’s speed and flight path indicate risk of collision with a wind turbine, a signal is generated to shut down that specific wind turbine, so that the probability of impact with rotating turbine blades is substantially reduced or eliminated. By empowering wind farm operators with signals to make highly targeted, informed and objective curtailment decisions, unnecessary and costly interruptions are avoided and legally protected species are conserved. The eagle photo was taken with the IndentiFlight system at about 700 meters. The program will be on Friday, April 14, 2017 at 7 PM at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. And as always, the program is free and open to the public!!
Our first Owl Prowl will be this upcoming Friday, March 17th, 2017. We will be meeting at the Menard’s Parking lot at 6:30pm and leaving for Box Elder Canyon at 6:45pm sharp. Please bring the appropriate clothing and flashlights/headlights, as it will be dark once we get to the canyon.
Owl Prowl to Box Elder Canyon
Friday, March 17th, 2017
Menard’s Parking Lot at 6:30pm.
Looking forward to seeing everyone!
Murie Audubon will have a field trip to the Jackson Canyon Eagle Roost on Saturday, Feb 18. We will meet at 3:00 PM at the Goose Egg Inn parking lot. That is about 200 yards south of Wyoming 220 on Goose Egg Rd. I even think that the Highway Department has a sign that says Goose Egg Rd. The Highway Department has its own name for roads around here, and only about half the time does the Highway sign list the same name as that assigned by the County.
My ranch hand took some friends up to the roost last night, and he said the biggest problem is slipping in the mud. He only saw 6 eagles, but he was back before dark. He also said there were lots of robins and some Clark’s Nutcrackers. This hike is energetic, climbing about 700 feet in a mile and a half on mud and rocks. Bring a flashlight because we will come down in the dark. Also, even if it is warm and calm in Casper, it will be cold and windy on the edge of Jackson Canyon. Call Stacey Scott at 262-0055 before 8:00 PM for more details.