Geothermal/Wildlife Resources

From Open Energy Information

Geothermal Wildlife Resources

Wildlife Resources
Present, Potentially Affected

Geothermal energy development influences wildlife behavior, habitat and mortality. Wildlife depend on habitats that foster biodiversity. Healthy ecosystems decrease single-species dependency, competition, and species depletion. Often times, wildlife have physical adaptations to blend with the surroundings, therefore, decreasing effects to natural features such as trees, shrubs, lakes, and rivers will allow barriers between human activity and predators. Several species migrate seasonally either to breed or satisfy dietary needs. Interrupting this process may lead to wildlife disease, mortality, and effect the food chain cycle.

In addition to ecological efforts, the purpose of public land conservation is to instill, “educational, esthetic, cultural, recreational, and scientific enrichment of the public.”

Federal agencies work with other federal, state, local and private agencies to achieve wildlife land management. Methods include, “scientific resources management, such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition, development, information, education, population manipulation, propagation, technical assistance to private landowners, live trapping, and transplantation.”

Animal Legal and Historical Center-The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act

Wildlife Resources Impacts & Mitigation

Onsite activities may hinder natural wildlife tendencies. Typical impacts and mitigation measures include:


  • Gather migration pattern information on current and migrating wildlife near the proposed site.
  • Avoid activities between mid-April and mid-June to decrease impacts to migrating animals.


  • To protect wintering wildlife, avoid onsite construction, decommissioning, and vegetation treatment between December 1 and April 30.
  • Install fencing around the perimeter of the area including reserve pits, holding ponds and onsite lakes. If fencing is not possible for lakes, create a hazing program using radar or other visual detection. Vehicles will not be permitted to haze wildlife.
  • If wildlife mortalities can be traced to sumps, decrease flow testing and net or screen the areas.
  • Use airtight containers for any trash that could attract wildlife. Remove trash and dispose off-site.
  • Post speed limits onsite and post wildlife crossing signs on all public roads to mitigate wildlife mortalities.
  • Construct lighting fixtures to point downward to discourage insects and bats.

Onsite safety:

  • Prohibit firearms onsite to mitigate unlawful hunting or harassment.
  • Instruct employees how to handle wildlife encounters.
  • Report wildlife problems and wildlife mortality, to the appropriate wildlife agency.


  • Instruct all onsite drivers to stay on established roads to decrease wildlife impact in undisturbed areas.
  • Decrease long-term vegetation impacts by replacing any affected vegetation for wintering animals.
  • Reduce clearing all plants and trees to mitigate habitat loss.
  • Flag and map “no surface disturbance” areas.
  • Save tree snags, logs, and coarse woody debris throughout the site. Leave scattered piles to promote natural denning and loafing habitats.