The American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have upgraded the AWWI Landscape Assessment Tool (LAT), a wind-wildlife geographic information system (GIS) mapping tool.
The tool is designed to help wind energy developers with early screening for possible wildlife and habitat impacts. Critical habitats are areas that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has designated as "necessary to the survival or recovery of an endangered or threatened species," and which therefore "may require special management and protection."
The new version of the tool features critical habitat maps for such species, as well as corresponding GIS layers. Users can now display Web-based maps drawn from over 700 data layers, including land use and ownership, the potential distribution of endangered and threatened species, and other relevant wildlife and habitat data.
The LAT is intended to be used by wind energy companies as they undertake Tier 1 assessments of potential sites, as recommended in the land-based wind energy guidelines recently issued by the FWS.