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New MMN Initiative: The Great Lakes Wind-Wildlife Coalition

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The Midwest Migration Network is excited to announce the addition of a fourth initiative! The Great Lakes Wind-Wildlife Coalition was organized with the intent of minimizing impacts to birds and bats by nearshore and offshore wind energy development in the Great Lakes. The group seeks to accomplish this by proactively informing and providing guidance for wind facility planning based on best available science.

Currently, a single five-turbine wind energy facility is in operation in U.S. marine waters off the coast of Rhode Island. Following this precedent-setting project, many more offshore facilities are in various stages of planning along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in Hawaii. The Great Lakes, on the other hand, remain a frontier region for offshore wind energy development. The Great Lakes and their shorelines are used by a vast number of birds, creating a clear need to ensure that best practices and current science are used to guide offshore wind development.

The Coalition has identified two primary objectives. To form the scientific baseline of this work, the group will gather and synthesize current offshore bird and bat movement data, which will also provide an opportunity to identify data needed to fully inform facility planning. Concurrently, best management practices for facility development will be synthesized, and a guidance document prepared for use by developers and resource management agencies. 

We are very excited about this new initiative and look forward to broad participation within our network of members!