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WildSNaP: Wildlife in Solar through Native Planting



  • The WildSNaP Project uses repeated sampling of a broad array of wildlife taxa and community occupancy modeling to disentangle factors influencing biodiversity within solar facilities, including:

    • Site Variables: Array Size, Age, Panel and Fencing characteristics, Habitat features such as Wetlands or Pollinator Habitat

    • Management Variables: Ground Cover, Mowing Frequency, Vegetation Characteristics

    • Landscape Variables: Ecoregion, Surrounding Land Cover, Proximity to Wetlands, Streams, Forest Patches



Traditional Turfgrass
Native Vegetation

Study Design

  • Working in partnership with several solar companies and site managers, we aim to sample at least 45 solar sites over 3 field seasons

    • Sites managed for native vegetation cover, either through seeding or selective management with mowing and herbicide

    • Sites under traditional mown grass or gravel management

    • Sites vary broadly in size, age, surrounding landscape, etc.

  • Each solar site is paired with a nearby control site typical of land that would be converted to solar in the region (hayfield, cattle pasture, row crop, or mown grass)

  • Sites located in Arkansas and eastern Kansas, spanning the Eastern Great Plains, Interior Highlands, Mississippi Alluvial Plain, and Western Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoreions.

Field Methods

  • We are sampling wildlife using repeated low-intensity/remote sampling methods:

    • Automated Audio Recorders

      • Breeding birds

      • Frogs

      • Bats

    • Wildlife Cameras

      • Terrestrial Mammals

      • Reptiles and Amphibians

    • Visual Surveys

      • Reptiles and Amphibians

      • Pollinators

    • Detailed Vegetation Sampling




Analyses and Products

  • Peer-Reviewed Scientific Publications

  • Presentations and Conferences

  • User Implementation Manual for Practitioners and Regulators

Outreach and Education

Throughout the life of the project, we are sharing information about the project through public speaking events to a wide array of audiences. Our presentations include discussions of wildlife habitat requirements, often with live animals, and how those requirements can be achieved within solar arrays. Typical audiences include K-12 school groups, summer camps, conservation organizations, and community events. If you are interested in having us come talk to your group, please contact Dr. Willson

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
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