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Promoting the enjoyment, study, and conservation of Wisconsin's birds.

Greater Prairie-Chicken Solar Farm Update

We asked and birders responded. Over 300 birders and conservationists, as well as their organizations, sent in comments about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in the Public Service Commission proceeding about the Vista Sands Solar project adjacent to Buena Vista Wildlife Area in Portage County.

WSO sent in a comment also, and you can find it here. WSO emphasized the sixty (60) plus years of conservation efforts and financial investments on behalf of the Greater Prairie-chickens in the best habitat they have left in Wisconsin as well as the need for space of a mile or more around lek sites for nesting and brooding habitat. Other organizations that we have been working in collaboration with covered other specifics and areas outside of bird issues.

Vista Sands Solar is proposing nearly 10,000 acres of primary and alternative solar arrays, with buildings and other structures. Its application is being evaluated in a PSC proceeding that includes WDNR evaluation of various environmental concerns, including rare species. Currently, the parties are engaged in written testimony about the potential solar farm. WSO has been assisting the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, who is an intervenor in the proceeding representing various conservation concerns. A revised final Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be filed before July 15. Then there will be a combined public hearing on the project application and the final EIS on August 15 in Plover and by Zoom. There will also be a party hearing on August 16. WSO will provide more information and send more details closer to the hearing dates.

Under PSC rules, a person can only comment once more in writing, virtually or in person. Although you can send written comments on the entire proceeding now, comments may be more effective if they include information on the final EIS that comes out in a few weeks. Written comments are only accepted through the PSC comment submission system or by letter (not email at this stage). The PSC also has a document that explains how to submit effective comments through their process here.

Documents for the proceeding can be found at the PSC website. Reference docket number 9820-CE-100. If you have specific skills or knowledge and are interested in assisting WSO on this issue, please contact Jennifer at