In the course of approved LIFE project and within its framework it is possible to expand these The EU even wants this if the targets are overachieved compared to what has been approved. Pending a decision of the Steering Committee for the planned project expansion, the discussions can be finalized and funding agreements can be signed with other co-financiers.
We now want to implement the expansion in the LIFE EUROKITE project, by MEGEG in coordination with all project partners.
As an additional component of LIFE EUROKITE, the new project part “LIFE EUROKITE+” shall address the legal forms of human-caused mortality (e.g. collision with infrastructures and electric shock), with the objectification of the wind energy discussion playing a particularly important role. The extremely extensive database of the LIFE EUROKITE project offers the possibility, not previously available to this extent, on a strictly scientific basis and open-ended, to provide the basis for discussion and decisions without any preference or preconceived opinion. The aim is never to stand up for or against something, but to provide objective and scientifically reliable facts for the decision-makers.
It is definitely in the interests of species protection that the findings generated in the project are generally taken into account in environmental impact assessments and infrastructure projects and that recommendations for the topics of wind energy and traffic are drawn up, based on the scientific analysis of telemetry data. At the suggestion of WWF and at the request of representatives of the EU Commission, the extensive data in the new EUROKITE + project will also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of Natura 2000 bird sanctuaries for selected species of birds of prey (e.g. red kite) in order to then take targeted measures to improve these European protected areas from the point of view of the birds of prey.
In the LIFE EUROKITE + project, in Germany alone, significantly more than 180 other red kites and possibly also some individuals of other species, such as white-tailed eagles or honey buzzards, are to be tagged across several federal states. By concluding comprehensive data usage agreements with several scientific institutions, such as the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach and the Ornithological Institute in Radolfzell, data from more than 500 other tagged red kites has already been secured and available for scientific evaluations within the framework of LIFE EUROKITE or the LIFE EUROKITE+ project. Data usage contracts with other organizations and private individuals have already been signed or are currently being negotiated and should enable access to as many red kites as possible that have already been tagged in whole Europe. This means that telemetry data from more than 1,000 red kites are already available for scientific analyzes. These offer a precise insight into the life of the individuals and allow new knowledge about the behavior of the species.
- Exact analysis of the causes of mortality and scientific publication together with numerous partners of all causes of mortality and a special evaluation of the influence of wind energy on the red kite based on the data of all tagged red kites that have already died and analyzed (two working groups of the LIFE EUROKITE project has already been established and the working titles and authors have been determined). From the telemetry data and the known cause of death, it is also possible to draw conclusions as whether the animals with transmitters were at all, and if so, how long they were in the danger zone of wind turbines.
- Creation of a basis on the subject of "standards of the BVwG" (e.g. average collision risk or at what point a significant increase in general life risk occurs).
- Investigation of the relationship between the use of space and the time of death of birds of different age groups (1st calendar year, 2nd CY and 3+ CY) with their location (breeding area, migration time or winter location).
- Frequency of evasive behavior of red kites on the rotors of wind turbines (presumably with data from the tagged birds in the risk area) as an important basis for the probabilistic.
- Identification of high-risk stretches of power lines for birds of prey collisions or electric shocks in the breeding areas, the wintering areas and along the migration routes.
- Suggestions for mitigation measures (avoidance of collisions, for example by reducing the attraction effects under wind turbines).
- State-specific evaluation of GPS-supported, mostly perennial red kite space use data (map displays and habitat potential analysis as the basis for the definition of priority areas) as well as mortality data of all red kites that were emitted or died there in the respective federal state.
- Data collection and evaluation for evidence-based species protection law risk decisions on the subject of "wind turbines and red kite collision risk" as well as validation of future significance thresholds based on the collected space use and mortality data of the red kite. The basis is the resolution of the Conference of Environment Ministers on December 11, 2020 (“Significance Framework”). With the help of representative telemetry data, a population-based approach will also be possible in the future.
This project expansion should be possible through further co-financiers. Good discussions are already in progress with representatives of the ministries of several German federal states.