Library filed under Impact on Birds from New York
The Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), as lead agency in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, is considering potential impacts from construction of 53 wind energy turbines which would generate approximately 79 megawatts of power. Turbine structures are anticipated to be approximately 389 feet tall from the ground to the highest blade tip. Structures such as a substation, 4.8 miles of buried cable, an unspecified amount of overhead transmission lines, and 3.4 miles of access roads must also be built in the 33,000 acre project area. This project is situated at the southern end of the Finger Lakes, near the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area, the Hi Tor Bird Conservation Area, and generally along a north-south oriented ridge.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) sent two letters October 12, 2005 to David Perry, Executive Vice President of Chautauqua Windpower LLC, severely critical of the draft Avian Risk Assessment (ARA) completed by Chautauqua Windpower and its consultants for the proposed wind power development in the Towns of Ripley and Westfield, Chautauqua County, New York. The shorter of the two letters focuses on the ARA’s attention to migrating and resident American Bald Eagles; the longer of the two letters consists of a broader evaluation of the ARA and its attention to all resident and migrating birds. The pdf file below is a brief summary of the USFWS letters criticizing the risk assessment. The full text of the two USFWS letters is available via the link below.
September 2, 2005 City of Lackawanna Planning and Development Board Room 311, City Hall 714 Ridge Road Lackawanna, NY 14218 Attn: Joseph G. Geyer Re: Steel Winds Wind Farm Route 5, Former Bethlehem Steels works Lackawanna, NY Dear Mr. Geyer; The New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff have performed an initial review of the information and material provided with the City of Lackawanna’s SEQR Notice of Coordinated Review and Declaration of Intent to Act as Lead agency. These materials include the Application for Site Plan Approval and Certain Area variances to Authorize Construction and Operation of a Wind Energy Facility on a Portion of the Former Bethlehem Steel Works Site in Lackawanna, New York (the Application), and the Analysis of Environmental Impacts pursuant to SEQR (The EA). Please be advised the DEC does not object to the City of Lackawanna assuming the role of lead agency, but the DEC does reserve the right to comment on this action if a positive determination is made. As indicated in the following text of this letter, DEC staff have concerns for the potential impacts of certain aspects of this project. Our comments and concerns are listed below under the appropriate topic.
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors for the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory concerning the recent EIS issued for the Prattsburgh/Italy Wind Farm.....All BBBO Board members are trained ornithologists with extensive knowledge about local breeding and migratory birds. In addition, the Board has considerable expertise in methodologies and techniques used to assess and census breeding and migratory bird use of the local landscape (e.g. radar, breeding and migratory bird surveys, bird banding, population demographic, etc).... BBBO’s Board of Directors was surprised and shocked to see our organization’s data used in Ecogen’s EIS. We were not informed or consulted about the use of our data and, furthermore, we were not sent a copy of the draft EIS to review.
The DEC Staff's four major points are as follows: (1) The proposed project area is an extremely important bird/raptor migration area (2) Data collection methodology and duration for this project is extremely limited (3) The mortality constant chosen and its application to available date are inappropriate (4) Bald eagles and other protected species do and can be expected to us the project area.
In August 2004, Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power submitted a letter to the NYSERDA Board of Directors outlining our concerns about NYSERDA’s involvement with the proposed Chautauqua County wind energy project. Mr. Vincent DeIorio initially responded to us in a letter dated August 24, 2004. Mr. Peter Keane then provided a supplemental response in his September 29, 2004 letter. We find that both of these letters do not address the core issues outlined in our August 2004 letter. The following summarizes our concerns in context of the responses provided by NYSERDA to date:
William R. Evans, a renowned ornithologist with expertise in nocturnal bird migration, provides a comprehensive critique of the Avian Risk Assessment for the Chautauqua Wind plant (NY). As part of this critique, Evans addresses the deficiencies in the Erickson, et al. bird mortality studies widely quoted by the wind industry.
This graphic shows the relationship between the height of turbines and the collision threat to nocturnal migrants at the Chautauqua Windplant, NY, in the Fall of 2003. A companion graphic included in the NWW photo gallery depicts this threat to noctural migrants in the Spring of 2003.
This graphic shows the relationship between the height of turbines and the collision threat to nocturnal migrants at the Chautauqua Wind Farm, NY, in the Fall of 2003. A companion graphic included in the NWW photo gallery depicts this threat to noctural migrants in the Spring of 2003.
This graphic shows the relationship between the height of turbines and the collision threat to nocturnal migrants at the Chautauqua Wind Farm, NY, in the Spring of 2003. A companion graphic included in the NWW photo gallery depicts this threat to noctural migrants in the Fall of 2003.
This graphic shows the relationship between the height of turbines and the collision threat to nocturnal migrants at the Chautauqua Windplant, NY, in the Spring of 2003. A companion graphic included in the NWW photo gallery depicts this threat to noctural migrants in the Fall of 2003.