Wind development has become a common site in the mixed grass prairies of the Great Plains. The benefits to the economy have to be balanced against the ecological impacts of where they are placed.
Soil in this particular ecological site within the Great Plains mixed-grass prairie is considered stabilized sand dunes. In the presence of overgrazing with the associated removal of vegetation, this site is susceptible to wind erosion. However, after a prescribed fire under normal soil moisture conditions, rapid regrowth of the vegetation limits this threat.
On the High Plains of Oklahoma, grasses are typically shorter in stature and are interspersed with various annual and perennial forbs as well as woody shrubs such as Sand Sagebrush. Species richness is high, but density and ground cover is typically less than the Tallgrass Prairie. Areas like this support a wide range of wildlife species including the Northern Bobwhite Quail, Wild Turkey, White-tailed Deer, Mule Deer, and the ever-popular Lesser Prairie Chicken, just to name a few.
Throughout the high plains of Oklahoma, wind turbines are starting to dominate the landscape. Hundreds of these windmills can be on a single wind farm. These towering spectacles are fragmenting the Oklahoma plains and pose conservation issues to threatened species such as the Lesser Prairie Chicken.
Ground being disturbed for wind generator foundation
Sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) in the sand sage prairie is unique to most Artemisiae in that it is fire tolerant and will re-sprout following a fire. This shrub provides food and shelter resources for many wildlife species.