CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal authorities have approved Beech Ridge Energy's plan to minimize the impact of its southern West Virginia wind farm on endangered bats and other wildlife.
The company's habitat conservation plan includes limiting turbine operations when Indiana bats and Virginia big-eared bats are most active.
Beech Ridge also plans to spend up to $758,000 on two off-site projects designed to protect the endangered bats' populations. One project is aimed at protecting the Indiana bat's hibernating, foraging and swarming habitat, while the other targets hibernating Virginia big-eared bats, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents.
A permit issued by the federal agency for the wind farm requires Beech Ridge to implement conservation measures to minimize and mitigate the project's damage to endangered wildlife.
The wind farm in Greenbrier and Nicholas counties is the first wind project in the U.S. to implement a habitat conservation plan for Virginia big-eared bats, the federal agency said in a news release. The project also is among the first to implement such a plan for the Indiana bat.