By Sam Merrill, Black Hills Audubon

RES-Americas proposes to install 38 wind energy turbines on ridge tops in northern Lewis County, with part of the infrastructure in Thurston County.  Like National Audubon, Black Hills Audubon supports wind energy because it addresses climate change, which helps birds and other wildlife as well as people, as long as the direct damage to birds from the turbines is appropriately minimized and mitigated.

Input from the public to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is due Monday, June 4 concerning your recommendations about the impacts on wildlife and limits on “take” to be set by USFWS.  You can send comments to , and include “Skookumchuck Wind” in the subject line of the message.

For example, a simple message in which you ask USFWS to strongly limit “take” of Bald and Golden Eagles, and especially federally threatened and state-endangered Marbled Murrelets, which fly as far as 55 miles inland from the Coast to rear a chick in an old growth forest.  Several known Marbled Murrelet nesting sites are located near the eastern end of the proposed strip of turbines.

RES-Americas has a technology to detect approaching eagles and stop the turbines, but will not implement it during the first two years until they approach the “take” limit set by USFWS, so it’s important to set the “take” limit low.  Most other birds are much too small to be detected by this method as they fly through the area.  To protect Marbled Murrelets, we recommend that turbines be stopped during dawn flights for the duration of the breeding season (mid-April through mid-September) and stopped each day around sunset at the end of the season when the young fledglings make their first flight to the sea.

Further information is available at:  http://blackhills-audubon.org/your-comments-needed-about-impact-on-birds-by-the-skookumchuck-wind-energy-project-in-lewis-and-thurston-counties/

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