Wind Farm & Suitability Mapping

Wind Farm & Suitability Mapping

Wind Farm & Suitability Mapping plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

This summer the Palouse will be the home of a major wind farm. Boston-based “First Wind” will build 58 giant windmills between the town of Oakesdale and US 195. Each can produce 1.8 megawatts of electricity, for a total of 105 megawatts of power. Officials said Palouse Wind will produce enough power to serve 30,000 customers.The company has a 30-year agreement to sell the power to Avista, the Spokane-based utility that serves eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

The Risk Management Agency is using ‘suitability mapping’ to assist producers interested in growing feedstock for biofuels. David Hannaway, forage agronomist at Oregon State University, explains.

HANNAWAY: We needed the mapping for climate, we needed the mapping for soils. Thins is an example of one of the characteristics we use in the very simple model of soil pH. We also us drainage and salinity and alkalinity and so these combining precip, max temperature, min temperature pH, salinity, alkalinity and drainage gave us some of the characteristics that we need to say; “will this species work here or not.”

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

They’re rather cute with their big eyes and ears, and white tummies. But the deer mouse can be anything but cute when it comes to the virus they carry. Spring is that time of year when people get busy cleaning out garages, barns, and storage sheds, and these are also the places that the deer mouse prefers, since it often lives near people in rural and semi-rural areas. While other rodents do carry Hantavirus, the deer mouse has been found to be the main host. People are exposed to the virus by breathing in tiny virus laced dust particles kicked into the air. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome has symptoms similar to influenza, and was virtually unknown to the medical community before its 1993 outbreak in the Southwestern United States, but that doesn’t mean it was a new disease. Interestingly, the Navajo Indians, living in the area of the 93 outbreak, recognized a similar disease in their medical traditions, and actually associated its occurrence with mice. Even more impressive is that Navajo medical beliefs concur with public health recommendations for preventing the disease, which is to keep your home, outbuildings, and worksites clean and set traps to decrease rodent infestation.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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