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WildSNaP: Wildlife in Solar through Native Planting

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WildSNaP Wildlife Biodiversity Sampling

We are sampling wildlife using an array of established field methods, combined with cutting edge technologies, to target a diverse assemblage of wildlife taxa. Our methods take advantage of remote sampling technologies (cameras, recorders), allowing us to simultaneously sampling across a large number of widely-spaced sites.

  • Birds - 3 weeks of morning recordings in summer

  • Bats - 3 weeks of dawn/dusk ultrasonic recordings in summer

  • Frogs - 3 weeks of night recordings in late winter through summer

Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs)

Micro-recorders can log auditory and ultrasonic recording over long periods

Combination of AI call identification and manual validation to rapidly screen and validate detections.

Visual Encounter Surveys (VES)
Rapid VES are used to sample herpetofauna and pollinators

  • Reptiles and Amphibians - Three 2-man-hour surveys conducted in spring and early summer, focusing on habitats preferred by these species

  • Pollinators - VES are conducted for pollinators in spring, summer, and fall; each VES consists of a transect visual survey, and perimeter visual survey, and 2 sweep net samples

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  • Fence - a plywood barrier intercepts animals and directs then through a passage in an upturned bucket

  • Camera - Inside the bucket a custom-tuned widlife camera takes images pointing down at the ground, photgraphing animals as they pass through

  • Sampling - Fences are set for 3 months per site, taking pictures using infrared motion detection and timelapse.

Drift Fence Mounted Wildlife Cameras

Drift fences are an established method for sampling herpetofauna and small mammals. Adding wildlife cameras allows us to sample continusously for long periods without needing to actually capture animals.

Combination of AI photo identification and manual validation to rapidly screen and validate detections.

Wildlife Cameras for Mammals
Wildlife cameras are used to sample mammals

  • Sampling - 4 cameras are set per site for 6 weeks

  • Positioning - 2 cameras are positioned within the array, 2 along the interior feneline

  • Analysis - Combination of AI photo identification and manual validation to rapidly screen and validate detections.

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Wildlife Taxa We've Documented Using Solar Sites in Arkansas and Kansas

Mammals

Coyote

Red Fox

Gray Fox

Raccoon

Virginia Opossum

Nine-banded Armadillo

Striped Skunk

Mink

River Otter

Bobcat

Eastern Cottontail

Woodchuck

Least Shrew

Hispid Cotton Rat

Mouse (Peromyscus sp.)

Birds

American Kestrel

Cooper's Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

American Woodcock

Killdeer

Solitary Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Lesser Yellowlegs

Bobwhite Quail

Upland Sandpiper

Grasshopper Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Eastern Meadowlark

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Eastern Bluebird

Blue Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Painted Bunting

Bell's Vireo

Mourning Dove

Dickcissel

American Goldfinch

Common Yellowthroat

Red-winged Blackbird

European Starling

Barn Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Purple Martin

Northern Flicker

Carolina Wren

Northern Cardinal

Common Nighthawk

Fish Crow

American Crow

Co

Reptiles

Common Gartersnake

Western Ribbon Snake

Plain-bellied Watersnake

Broad-banded Watersnake

Northern Cottonmouth

Graham's Crayfish Snake

Dekay's Brownsnake

Ringneck Snake

North American Racer

Speckled Kingsnake

Prairie Kingsnake

Western Ratsnake

Three-toed Box Turtle

Slider Turtle

Eastern Mud Turtle

Common Five-lined Skink

Great Plains Skink

Prairie Racerunner

Prairie Lizard

Amphibians

Cajun Chorus Frog

Boreal Chorus Frog

Spring Peeper

Gray Treefrog

Green Treefrog

Blanchard's Cricket Frog

Southern Leopard Frog

Plains Leopard Frog

Bullfrog

Bronze Frog

American Toad

Fowler's Toad

Eastern Narrowmouth Toad

Smallmouth Salamander
 

Butterflies

Monarch

Buckeye

Cabbage White

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Common Gartersnake
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office supports early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid. Learn more at energy.gov/solar-office.
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