Northwest Iowa — (RI) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is entering the final phase in approving a plan for MidAmerican Energy to help prevent the number of bats and eagles killed by its current and future wind farms.

Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Kraig McPeek says the final plan is now available for public comment following an earlier public hearing.

McPeek says there were around 100 comments in the spring.

The plan would issue a permit to allow for a limited number of deaths for four bat species and 10 turbine-related incidental bald eagle deaths each year. Bats covered by the permit include the federally endangered Indiana bat, the federally threatened northern long-eared bat, the non-endangered little brown bat and tri-colored bat. McPeek says MidAmerican has agreed to take some measures that would cut down on the number of deaths of each species.

McPeek says the company has a set number of eagles and bats that can be killed and they will pay for habitat improvements designed to replace those animals.

McPeek says there are still some things that are not known about the impact of wind turbines, but MidAmerican has taken a lot of time to analyze the information available to come up with the best plan.

And he says if they find out that what they are doing is leading to more deaths then expected, they’ll have to take more action.

McKeever says this is a little bit like the process when electric lines started going up and changes were made to keep animals from getting killed on them. He says the work continues on solutions.

McPeek says you can view a copy of the plan online. Paper copies will be available at 22 county libraries in Iowa. A final order on the plan will be issued after the 30-day comment period.

Photo Courtesy Radio Iowa

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