Thanks to the efforts of the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) and the Nature Conservancy, the AWWI's Landscape Assessment Tool (LAT) now includes data overlays of critical habitat for 225 endangered species, which could help wind energy companies and developers identify possible impacts to both wildlife and habitats in potential wind power sites.
"The wind-wildlife mapping tool of the American Wind Wildlife Institute and The Nature Conservancy just got more powerful with the addition of critical habitat overlays for 225 endangered species including numerous species of plants, insects, mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. We are providing wind energy companies and planners with an early screening tool to facilitate timely and responsible wind energy while protecting wildlife and natural habitat." - Joe Fargione of The Nature Conservancy
The upgrade to the LAT now features GIS data layers of critical habitats that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designate "as necessary to the survival or recovery of an endangered or threatened species," and which "may require special management and protection."
Users of the LAT can now choose from over 700 data layers for the maps, including the ownership and land use of areas, as well as any relevant habitat and wildlife data available for those areas. According to the AWWI, the mapping tool is intended to be used by companies that are undertaking their preliminary assessments for future wind power sites, as recommended by recent guidelines from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"AWWI’s mapping initiative is using qualified data and best science to estimate relative wildlife sensitivities through a state-of-the-art landscape-scale, GIS mapping tool. AWWI places a premium on transparency and credibility, and the tool will allow for the integration of new data on regular intervals. The goal is to provide stakeholders with an initial baseline of wildlife sensitivity to consider in medium and long-range planning for wind energy development."
See the LAT mapping tool here: Wind and Wildlife Landscape Assessment Tool