Before constructing Cross Winds Energy Park’s Phase I, Consumers Energy undertook two years of wildlife studies based on recommendations from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources when considering placement of a wind energy farm in the project area. These studies include avian studies which looked at the use of the area by short ear owls and bald eagles, song bird breeding and large bird migration, by Dr. Joelle Gehring of Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Additional studies were also completed to identify the potential presence of the Indiana bat, an endangered species, or the eastern pipistrelle, a species of special concern in Michigan. The bat studies were completed by Dr. Alan Kurta of Eastern Michigan University.
Consumers Energy also conducted two years of post-construction wildlife studies following Phase I construction. These studies estimated bat fatality at Cross Winds Energy Park at 3.5 bats/turbine (1.9/MW), and bird fatality at 1.1 birds/turbine (0.6/MW). This was lower than 13 other Midwestern wind facilities.
No Indiana bats (a federally endangered bat) or the federally threatened northern long-eared bat were found in fatality monitoring or the pre-construction monitoring. This suggests those species do not reside in or travel through the area around Cross Winds Energy Park.