Goonhilly Downs, Bonython Wind Farm – bat and bird monitoring
Renewable energy is a fast growing sector and cutting-edge ecological information is required to be able to predict and assess impacts of these industries upon habitats, species and ecosystem functions. Bats and birds are often the species groups that can be particularly affected by wind farms. The key is in understanding impacts to ensure mitigation is appropriate, targeted and successful.
CEC were commissioned to produce an Ecological Management Plan (EMP) in 2009 to satisfy a planning condition for the Goonhilly wind farm repower project. We liaised closely with Natural England to ensure the level of baseline and monitoring surveys was appropriate. The planning condition was discharged and ecological monitoring under the direction of the EMP is currently being carried out by CEC.
Baseline bat surveys were carried out in 2009 and 2010 using remote detectors (AnaBat SD2 and Songmeter). Monitoring surveys consisting of remote detector surveys, transect activity surveys and corpse searches (including searcher efficiency and scavenger removal rate investigations) were carried out in spring, summer and autumn 2011, and will be ongoing until 2013. Bird monitoring consisting of breeding bird surveys, wintering bird surveys, vantage point watches, nightjar surveys and corpse searches will be ongoing until 2013. Our experienced lead bat ecologist and bird sub-contractor are able to use their extensive local knowledge and experience of the species’ use of the surrounding area to add value to analysis of data gathered.
Results of this monitoring programme will be used to inform the client of practical measures that will mitigate any unforeseen impacts upon species, and to feed into the wider scientific body of knowledge on this subject.