Wind turbines over a prairie
Wind turbines Wind turbines above The Nature Conservancy’s Hole In The Mountain Prairie near Lake Benton, Minnesota. © Richard Hamilton Smith

Stories in Missouri

Climate Resilience

Climate change may be the most important challenge humanity has ever faced. But together, we all are part of the solution.

Weather patterns and the overall climate is changing- the needs of our society and wildlife are changing with it. We must ask ourselves if it’s possible to meet our needs as humans, while also protecting our natural resources. Research has shown that not only is it possible, but nature itself holds the key to many of the solutions to climate change.

This means that nature-based solutions – such as stopping deforestation and prescribed fire can get us on a more sustainable trendline. Our conservation strategies must either reflect those changes or risk being left ill-prepared for the future.

Let’s give nature back its power to protect us! Oceans, grasslands, wetlands, peat bogs, forests – when they’re destroyed, the carbon they hold is released into the air, and their ability to provide us with life-giving assets disappears. A huge part of our climate work, therefore, is continuing the work that we’re known for: saving nature.

By 2025, The Nature Conservancy in Missouri has a goal to help double low impact renewable energy production within our state from 2016 levels.

The demand for energy is expected to rise 60% by 2050. Meeting that increased demand and simultaneously reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is critical for both people and nature. The Nature Conservancy is working throughout the Central Plains “wind belt” to support the rapid expansion of wind energy, while making sure our iconic landscapes and wildlife are protected.

Working together across multiple states, TNC developed Site Wind Right, which is a siting decision support tool to identify low-impact lands for wind development. With mapping in Kansas, Oklahoma, and parts of Texas complete, staff in Missouri have now identified areas with low risks of conflict among wind energy development, important wildlife habitats, and sensitive species throughout the state.

The Site Wind Right tool uses the best available science and serves as an important guide for developers, power purchasers, investors, and other decision-makers to help inform the accelerated development of low impact renewable energy without the harmful effects that threaten sensitive ecosystems. The tool will also help reduce costs, delays and other potential liabilities to wind energy purchasers while providing benefits to consumers and wildlife.

By 2025, The Nature Conservancy in Missouri has a goal to help double low impact renewable energy production within our state from 2016 levels—reducing dependence on foreign energy sources and driving jobs to our local communities—while avoiding impacts on conservation priorities throughout the state. This goal will not only enrich our local economy but will also work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their harmful effects.

If properly sited, low-impact renewable energy is a win-win—reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting biodiversity conservation goals, jobs, and homegrown energy. Simply by planning and investing wisely, we can build a prosperous clean energy future where people and nature thrive.

About the Mapping Tool

Through Site Wind Right, information is now readily available to energy purchasers so they can determine, using detailed maps, if the location of a proposed wind energy facility has a high or low risk for negative ecological impacts. The mapping tool will identify areas that have the least amount of negative impacts to endangered species, birds and bats vulnerable to collisions with wind turbines, and habitats of wildlife that are sensitive to the presence of wind turbines and associated infrastructure.

Rolling hills of Dunn Ranch Prairie.
Dunn Ranch Prairie Rolling hills of Dunn Ranch Prairie. © Hilary Haley/TNC

The following Missouri projects also showcase how TNC using the power of nature to reduce the impacts of climate change:

MO Fire Program
The Missouri Fire Program is an important part of our climate strategy. Prescribed burns and vegetation thinning can both reduce the risk of wildfire and trap more carbon in tree growth.

Dunn Ranch Prairie
Grasslands that feature diverse plant species have more carbon storage capacity than less-diverse grasslands. Carbon sequestration is one of the benefits of our work and research at Dunn Ranch Prairie.

Current River Watershed Freshwater & Sustainable Forestry Program
Forest loss accounts for 8 to 10 percent of carbon emissions globally – Learn more about what the Conservancy is doing in Missouri with our Sustainable Forestry Program.

St. Louis Office Goes Virtual
In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the St. Louis office went virtual. With staff working from home most days, we moved to a smaller, more energy-efficient office space and reduce staff’s commuting time and emissions.