Wyoming wind project offers grouse conservation plan

1000 turbine wind farm proposed in Wyoming “Core” Sage Grouse Habitat

Misplaced Wind Destroys Wildlife Habitat

It seems the Wyoming Governor’s “core” sage grouse habitat mapping doesn’t mean much. Removal of fencing or marking it with reflectors doesn’t get around the fact that there will be gigantic wind turbines in the middle of sage grouse habitat. Sage grouse don’t like such things and will likely quit using the area. But they will still call it “green” and people will buy it.

Wyoming wind project offers grouse conservation plan
By MATT JOYCE – Associated Press

Project Area for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy with Wyoming Governor's Core Area mapping
Project Area for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy with Wyoming Governor's Core Area mapping
Project Area for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy with Audubon Grouse Density Mapping
Project Area for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy with Audubon Grouse Density Mapping






  1. pointswest Avatar

    I think wind farms are one of the biggest eye sores every dreamed up. There are a few here in So. Cal and driving through them or even within 20 miles of them reminds me of a junkyard.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    sage grouse don’t like tall structures. vertical things = predators in the eyes of sage grouse.

  3. Si'vet Avatar

    hmm. lets see!!!!!! No Dams, no coal, no oil, very limited solar, no wind, god forbid nuclear. Brian as a child from the earth what generates power for your computer/cell phone, and what are you willing to give up?????

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      there’s two sides to every coin:

      85% of new energy can be met by more efficient use of existing generating plants.

      Negawatts don’t require more impact to wildlife habitat and other public values.

    2. Si'vet Avatar

      Brian, meant to be a tongue in cheek statement. Everyone needs power, but there is stern opposition to every single power generation source. Power generation is like prisons, everybody wants them, just somewhere else or some other method.

    3. Brian Ertz Avatar

      Opposition to production technology & unwise development incentivices/makes more competitive wise conservation technologies which are better for our planet/public places/wildlife/water and which in most instances actually make more economic sense.

      The rush to develop wind/alternative production technologies is fostered be huge subsidies, subsidies that have to outcompete the huge subsidies enjoyed by fossil fuels.

      The hype on centralized “renewable” power is a sidestop, not a reduction of impact. We may (or may not) enjoy lesser GH emmissions from one source, but what of the impact to land ? water ? ecology ?

      Are those any less important to our standard of living ? long term viability ? or is it just that those things aren’t so close to the tip of our tongue ?… yet …

      looking forward, to future generations and the consequences that we bestow upon them given our political/social inability/unwillingness to halt excess/insatiable consumption now ~ is an irresponsible tragedy.

      It’s gunna hurt to slow down ~ eventually, we’re gunna have to do it ~ it’s gunna hurt more to slow down later if we keep picking up speed now. I’d like to be a voice that insists on our generation doing our part to slow down, such that my kids won’t be burdened with our share of the hurt in our unwillingness to do our part now.

  4. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    I think the plan should be judged on its merits or lack thereof and not dismissed out of hand just because it is a wind project. There are few actual details in the article.

  5. Ken Cole Avatar

    Oh yes, we must accept that Americans NEED more and more electricity and not examine where or how it is generated.

    Wind turbines KILL birds and wind turbines, along with their associated power lines, in sage grouse habitat, and “core” habitat at that, will have negative impacts on sage grouse populations.

    If we want more electricity/energy then we should be thinking about how to diversify in a way that doesn’t destroy more public lands and look to our own rooftops. I don’t think it all has to be filtered through some giant, for profit company who controls every aspect of the system.

    It’s time for a decentralized and more democratized model of energy production that relies more on rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and less on destruction of habitat.

    Wind projects like this are bad Matt. This one especially.

  6. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Ken, I agree (or at least can’t disagree) with everything you wrote until the last sentence. I don’t necessarily agree that this wind project is bad (I don’t know), nor are “wind projects like this” all bad, at least to me. But I understand that for you and others a WWP, building a wind project on public land is a non-starter. I still think that each project should be judged on its merits.

  7. Devin Avatar

    Not only are wind farms bad for sage grouse but in my opinion, wind farms and even solar farms on public land violate the doctrine of multiple use. When installing these alternative energy plants on public land, huge areas of public land are fenced off and gated from access. They deny access to recreation, range, and fish and wildlife. Until the Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act is modified, I don’t see how it can be legal.

  8. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    heck ranchers fence us off our own lands, why can’t they!

    (Sarcasm intended)

  9. francis reilly Avatar
    francis reilly

    this is just the type of hypocrisy that drove me away from the environmental movement. for starters, brian, the maps you are showing at the top of your page are incorrect, and do not accurately reflect the sage grouse core area strategy implemented by Gov. Freudenthal’s team. Second, what is bad about sierra madre and choke cherry? Yes, I firmly believe that the most important first step is energy efficiency, and negawatts as you so cleverly put it. second, i wish we lived in a world of decentralized energy that consisted of many little points feeding a larger whole. however, we do not, and the stark reality we all need to swallow is that climate change is real, and it is getting worse by the minute. a project like sierra madre and choke cherry can stand to significantly offset energy otherwise generated from coal, and for those of you who don’t believe that, take a drive through lovely wyoming and see firsthand where a majority of the power for the pacific northwest comes from. and finally, the sagegrouse population is declining mainly from the west nile virus and wildfires, both arguably results of climate change. the reality of the world we live in is that populations continue to grow, and with that more energy is demanded. renewables count for 2% of the total US supply, and while energy efficiency and distributed generation are the dream, large scale projects are in the interest of the american people if we are serious about combating climate change.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole