Meeting Abstract

82.6  Friday, Jan. 6  Using Meteorological Data to Predict Bat Mortality at a Wind Facility in Texas KARSTEN, K.B.*; HALE, A.M.; California Lutheran University; Texas Christian University karsten@callutheran.edu

Bats are an important component to many ecosystems and are under increasing pressure from both White Nose Syndrome and wind facility related mortality. The growth of the wind industry in the last decade is considerable. Recent experimental approaches have attempted to reduce bat fatalities by manipulating operation procedures. Bats are most active during low wind conditions and these experiments have relied upon adjustment of when turbines are operational—shutting down turbines during low wind conditions has reduced mortality in previous studies sometimes by up to 70%. While these experiments have advanced the field and successfully reduced mortality, there is still room for improvement. We analyzed two years of mortality data collected at a wind facility in north-central Texas. We calculated a Daily Fatality Index (DFI) as the number of bats killed the previous night per searched turbine. We modeled the DFI as a function of the previous night’s weather conditions to predict the weather conditions in which bat mortality is most likely to occur. Our results indicate that wind speed in combination with wind direction carry far more explanatory power in predicting bat fatality than does just using only wind speed as a predictor. We suggest curtailment strategies that not only incorporate wind speed, but also take into account the prevailing wind direction.