US wind industry stakeholders met in California last month to talk about birds, bats and wind power -- and came away with a new national wind siting and wildlife collaborative. The as yet unnamed partnership includes the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Clean Energy States Alliance, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the National Audubon Society. "Those are the initial partners," says Laurie Jodziewicz of AWEA. "The group will take a look at a number of documents and reassess their impact on wind project sitings." The catalyst is an awkwardly named Fish and Wildlife Service document released in 2003 -- Service Interim Guidance on Avoiding and Minimizing Wildlife Impacts from Wind Turbines -- that still holds sway across the country. "The real issue is that the initial document was not developed through a broad stakeholder process," says Jodziewicz. The intent of the new grouping is to reach a national accord that feeds regional and local processes with a best-practices toolkit for wind development that satisfies all concerned. "The end result of this new collaborative is not predetermined," says Jodziewicz. "It will depend on what happens when all these groups get in one room. But the wind industry truly welcomes the opportunity. People are trying to understand what makes sense in pre-construction wildlife surveys and we have high hopes that this will result in something we can all agree on." The first meeting is planned for March.
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