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Evaluating the influence of wind energy on pronghorn

April 30, 2018
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Laramie Region wildlife personnel fitted GPS collars on 80 pronghorn to study the effects of wind energy development on the movement of pronghorn that winter in Shirley Basin, an area with a substantial footprint of proposed wind energy development.

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In particular, the project will assess pronghorn movement throughout the TB Flats project area.
 
The six-year study will gather pre-development movement data prior to construction of wind turbines in the TB Flats project area to evaluate if pronghorn movements change in response to development. This long-term study has the two objectives:  To evaluate whether pronghorn change their seasonal movements or winter habitat use in response to wind energy development; and to evaluate if movement changes cause pronghorn to reduce their use of winter areas that contain the highest quality browse.
 
The GPS collars will record locations every two hours, and will transmit 1-2 locations per day via satellite to facilitate understanding of general movement and distribution in the early years of the study. The movement data from these collars will allow biologists to evaluate movement and habitat use. The study will allow biologists to determine if pronghorn behavior changes in response to wind development. The project is proposed as collaboration between the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Invenergy. The wind energy industry is providing funding for the project. Once sufficient pre-development data has been collected, a master's student will be brought on to conduct analyses as part of a graduate thesis.
 

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