Nineteen wind energy companies (the Wind Energy Whooping Crane Action Group known as "WEWAG"), convened and coordinated by the American Wind Energy Association, are developing the Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan. WEWAG is collaborating with Region 2 (the Southwest) and Region 6 (Mountain-Prairie) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service), as well as each of the nine state wildlife agencies involved, in drafting this plan.
The Great Plains Wind Energy HCP covers a 200-mile wide corridor across nine states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The goal of WEWAG's Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is to comprehensively address potential wind energy development impacts to listed or sensitive species, contributing to more effective conservation efforts and reducing the burden of permit processing on the Service and wind energy developers.
The Great Plains Wind Energy HCP is currently analyzing the potential impacts resulting from the development and operation of wind energy facilities on four species: the endangered whooping crane (Grus americana), the endangered interior least tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos), the endangered piping plover (Charadrius melodus), and the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a candidate species. The final list of covered species may include all four of these species, a subset of them, or additional species, based on the outcome of the impact assessment and planning process.
The Service is conducting public meetings as part of its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review process for this HCP. Please see their website for more information on how to participate in these meetings or provide written comments:
www.fws.gov/southwest (then click on "Great Plains Wind Energy" in column on right side of page)