Southern Plains Wind and Wildlife Planner

wind_wildlife_plannerThe Southern Plains Wind & Wildlife Planner provides best management practices for priority natural resources in Colorado and New Mexico. The tool is designed to help wind energy developers reduce potential impacts to wildlife and ecosystems during the planning and development of projects in these states.

Playa Lakes Joint Venture, one of the many partners involved in the Colorado Renewables and Conservation Collaborative and New Mexico Wind and Wildlife Collaborative, provides hosting for this online tool. The maps and documents are maintained and updated by the collaborative groups.

Partners in each state worked together to develop a science-based site selection and mitigation framework that can help guide the placement of renewable energy development facilities and the transmission of that energy so that wildlife resource concerns may be avoided, minimized or mitigated. The collaborative group working in each state reached consensus on a set of species and ecosystems that may be impacted by wind development and drafted best conservation practices for them. The final determination on which species and habitats to include was made based on whether a clear nexus could be demonstrated between renewable energy and the species or ecosystems of concern.

In Colorado, the Public Utilities Commission updated its renewable energy environmental rule by establishing a good faith expectation for use of the best management practices — meaning they should be used by industry during the course of developing and seeking approval of their projects.

Visit the Southern Plains Wind & Wildlife Planner to identify what resources are important for conservation, where to locate potential project sites in relation to resources of conservation concern, and how to develop offsets for potential impacts if avoidance is impractical.