BIOL 398N Week 4 Topic 2: Role Play Assignment & Discussion

Hello class,

I am Larry a Bird Biologist and wind energy engineer in Iowa working on projects to use wind energy in the safest manner to protect birds and make cheap energy. Birds play a large role in our environments for example they hunt over populated small creatures, they pollinate plant life. They also cause little harm to our environment although they are being treated by windmills, but wind mills are a cheap method for us to make nearly carbon neutral energy to power our great nation. Bats do more than even I thought for the environment.

Unlike larger birds the bats kill insects and I mean a lot of insects including mosquitos which care a multitude of deadly diseases like west nile, and zika to describe a few. Bats eat enough pests by them selves to save more than $1billion dollars worth of crop damage a year yes you read that right and this is only in the corn industry (Celley,2021). Now imagine how much they save all agriculture well I have an answer it is $3 billion dollars worth of crop damage is saved by bats (Celley,2021). Now they don’t only eat pests but some drink nectar and seeds leading to about 95% of the seed dispersal making forests grow larger and fuller. Now you see the good this weird looking little creatures do for us as a society, but we are there number one threat with wind mills. Not only are there strikes from the turbines we also destroy there homes to build the mills, and the farms disrupt their migration pattern killing them off.

Iowa has nothing a lot of corn fields which means bats save Iowa alone millions of dollars in pesticides and as well as crop damage from insects that without bats would destroy whole fields full of crop. So why would we build wind farms if the bats save so much of our crops why damage there populations? Well that’s why I am here to make sure we can use both while damaging none which is doable. Iowa needs windmills it makes up 105 megawatts of power and over twenty-five percent of the states power grid and it is cheap, it only costs the initial cost to build and then maintain the units (Inspire Clean Energy,2022). The habit was mostly saved in this great state, because most mills are built in open fields that Iowa has a lot of.

Now bats are small creatures and it can be extremely windy in the open fields of Iowa leading to higher spinning blades creating high pressure which will disrupt the bats internal organs killing them. The problem is that windmills are not really controlled they more or less run on the wind meaning they cant be slowed down so when they spin this fast causing the pressure there isn’t much we can do.

Now bats aren’t the only birds killed by the wind turbines Eagles and Hawks are also hit by spinning blades of the massive wind turbines. Now the eagles specifically are part of the Endangered Species Act which makes them protected and the deaths of them are often times investigated. Being part of this act requires builders to meet specific criteria when building mills and really any structure which disrupt the and harm an already diminishing population. Now at this time if an eagle whether bald or golden or endangered bat species is injured or killed the company will be fined and prosecuted under federal law. A new law is being petitioned called the “Mid American Energy’s Permit” this would allow a small number of protected species deaths (Schmidt,2018).

There intention of this would be to change how they operate to protect the species they will change the way the mills operate for example it would take more wind to spin the turbine hopefully less interrupting the bats and birds. This will of course minimize the amount of energy produced but only minimally. Another plan they have would be to create a conservation fund for both eagles and the bat populations. A method of preventing bird strikes is looking into their vision birds of prey are very binocular focused and don’t have good flight vision. Knowing this scientist have started to paint the turbine blades black so they stick out to the birds and they can better see them. Scientist plan to use gps trackers to monitor how the birds react around the painted black versus how they act around non painted typical white blades (Gauld,2022).

To conclude we need to save bird populations while also saving our resources and being as close to carbon neutral as possible starting with power. Wind is a great resource that is never ending and a low maintenance alternative that has very little negative effects to our habitat and society. From my research we are on a great path forward to ensure less bats and other birds are cared for a conserved. This is includes efforts to make the wind mills as bird safe as possible which is a start the ultimate goal would be to ensure that gets to zero.

References:

Celley, C. (2022, November 10). Bats are one of the most important misunderstood animals: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. FWS.gov. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.fws.gov/story/bats-are-one-most-important-misunderstood-animals

Gauld, J. G. (2022, September 13). Painting wind turbines black could help protect birds – as long as it doesn’t disrupt their migration. The Conversation. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://theconversation.com/painting-wind-turbines-black-could-help-protect-birds-as-long-as-it-doesnt-disrupt-their-migration-145407

Inspire Clean Energy. (2022). Which State has the most wind turbines & produces the most wind energy?: Inspire Clean Energy. Which State Has The Most Wind Turbines & Produces the Most Wind Energy? | Inspire Clean Energy. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.inspirecleanenergy.com/blog/clean-energy-101/which-states-produce-the-most-wind-energy

Schmidt, M. (2018, August 30). MidAmerican plan aims to reduce number of eagles, bats killed by wind turbines. the gazette.com. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.thegazette.com/business/midamerican-plan-aims-to-reduce-number-of-eagles-bats-killed-by-wind-turbines/

By Sunday, 11:59 pm, you will need to post your main role play assignment as a main topic. This week, in this topic, your main post is required by Sunday night! Check the syllabus carefully to fulfill all requirements for this Assignment and Discussion–it’s a little complicated so you want to make sure you don’t lose points for not following instructions.

It works best if your subject line clarifies whom you are portraying. Remember to write in character, revealing what position you’re taking on the wind power vs. wildlife controversy. I’ll be replying in character too, as the curmudgeonly A. Skeptic, who finds fault with everyone’s arguments. Please don’t take it personally! A. Skeptic is a pain in the neck, but she is trying to get you to think more clearly and carefully about whatever position you take on this issue as an excecise in applying science to a critical thinking problem.

Remember, too, late main posts are subject to standard point losses for lateness (see syllabus). You will also need to submit your post in the Assignment Folder so that I can grade it & assign points (that’s the way the LEO system works). And don’t forget the 4 required references for this assignment.

Stay in character when making comments to classmates in the discussion threads. You are expected to make substantive comments to at least three (yes, 3!) postings by your classmates, using information you gathered in your research to support or refute (politely) the arguments of other characters in the discussion. Follow up posts are due by Tuesday night, 11:59 pm.

To receive full credit, you need to contribute significantly to the discussion with your posts. Simply saying that your character agrees or disagrees will not earn points for this assignment. Citations are not required in the discussion comments, but they may sometimes be desirable. They are required in your main post!

Please continue to observe respectful conference etiquette, regardless of the character you are depicting.

I’ll be responding in character too. Have fun!