Oregon State University

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Department of Statistics Research Seminar

Estimating Wildlife Fatality at Wind Power Facilities

Monday, November 12, 2012 3:55 PM - 5:00 PM

 Manuela Huso, Research Statistician, US Geological Survey, Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Although wind-generated electricity is renewable and generally considered environmentally friendly, greater than anticipated bird and bat fatalities have occurred at wind-energy facilities worldwide.

Methods for estimating fatalities at these sites involve searching underneath turbines for carcasses, but carcass detection is imperfect, and much effort goes into estimating detection probabilities with which simple counts of carcasses are corrected using Horvitz-Thompson (HT) type estimators.

I will describe the most relevant sources of detection bias and describe our work in estimating one source which often is ignored: the configuration of the searched area. If time permits, I will also describe a special case of practical interest to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) which is considering applications for permitted take of certain species of concern at wind-power facilities.

Permits being considered by state, for example, that 3 Golden Eagles kills may be allowed over 5 years, and if the limit is exceeded, mitigation efforts will be triggered to compensate for the losses. Current HT estimators can only estimate 0 if no carcasses are found. No (or few) carcasses can be expected to be found when either true fatality is low or true fatality is high but probability of detection is low.

I will describe our work developing a Bayesian approach to estimating fatality when it is likely that no carcasses will be found, yet it is critical that the small target population be estimated with considerable precision.


Kearney Hall (campus map)
305
Free
Judith Burks
1 541 737 3361
judy.burks at oregonstate.edu
College of Science, Statistics Department