Harvesting Wind In Sage Grouse Habitat

by | May 25, 2009

Federal workers at Bureau of Land Management sites throughout the West are being asked to weigh the nation’s need for clean and plentiful energy with concerns for wildlife habitat.

According to Matthew Preusch of The Oregonian:

Rows of tall turbines have already remade the landscape on wheat farms and ridgelines on private land around the region. But so far there have been no wind farms built on public land in the Northwest.

That’s about to change.

Although Oregon’s dry side was bypassed by the oil and gas boom that roiled the West in recent years, it’s clear that won’t be the case with wind. That could change the view from atop Steens Mountain or on Interstate 84 while driving toward Boise. But it also portends some bitter fights over who gets to use publicly owned land and for what purpose.

And a lot of that fighting could center on a showy, chickenlike bird called the greater sage grouse.

I’m not a wildlife scientist, an engineer, nor a politician, but I am confident there’s room for both the sage grouse and a conscientious wind industry on the publicly held lands in this state.