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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed guidelines to assist commercial wind energy developers in assessing the potential impacts turbines may have on birds and bats. Developed in consultation with energy officials, wildlife advocates and other stakeholders, the guidelines are intended to continue the state's effort to promote wind power as a renewable energy resource while minimizing the potential impacts to birds and bats.

"As proposals for commercial wind energy ventures continue to increase across the state, these draft guidelines will provide a valuable tool for those evaluating a project, as well as for our staff charged with protecting the state's critical bird and bat populations," says DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis.

The proposed guidelines provide a standardized process for completing assessments, which benefits project applicants and improves the quality of the information obtained about bird and bat populations.

The new guidelines outline DEC's recommendations to commercial wind energy developers on how to characterize bird and bat resources at wind energy sites and how to document and estimate bird and bat mortality resulting from collisions with turbines.

The protocols in the guidelines are intended to allow comparison of data collected at different sites and in different years so that the information can be used to assess the ecological effects of wind energy generation. Protocols for both pre-construction studies and post-construction monitoring are included in the proposed guidelines.

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