Wind power is an alternative energy source with many benefits. However it also can negatively impact the environment. Winds in the plains and prairies of the Midwest offer great potential, but flow over one of the country's most threatened ecosystems: tallgrass prairie.
To make the most of this available and abundant resource, public and private partners are taking steps to mitigate land fragmentation and habitat degradation that may result from wind energy development. These are crucial steps to ensure the ecological soundness of wind as a renewable resource.
The Native Environment Conservation Plan (NECP) was developed to offset adverse impacts of the Caney River Wind Project near Howard, Kansas. Located in the Flint Hills Grasslands, this initiative seeks to conserve a minimum of 10,000 acres of high-quality tallgrass prairie through the use of permanent conservation easements.
NECP provides permanent land protection through conservation easements on 18,200 acres of tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills. It supports restoration near the Caney River Wind Project site and on other areas in the Flint Hills, as well as research on the greater prairie chicken and lesser prairie chicken in Kansas.
Funding priorities for this program include conservation easements within the Heart of the Flint Hills or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area for lands with intact native tallgrass prairie.
The NECP was developed by TradeWind Energy, Enel Green Power North America, Inc. and Caney River Wind Project, LLC and enhanced through the efforts of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority.