Documents filed under Impact on Birds from New York
Clifford Schneider, a biologist and former Lake Ontario unit leader for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, submitted this memo to the New York State siting board outlining the process he followed when informing the State of at least one active bald eagle nest within the proposed Galloo Island Wind project site. Until this letter, neither the State nor Apex, the project proponent, reported eagles in the area. Mr. Schneider raises concerns regarding the response to his report of eagles by the applicant, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Environmental Conservation. An excerpt of his memo is provided below. The full memo can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This letter by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, was submitted to the State of New York in reference to a pending proposal to build a wind turbine project in the very sensitive land area on and around Galloo Island. The letter can be accessed by clicking on the links included on this page. The letter was submitted by Clifford P. Schneider with an accompanying letter by Mr. Schneider explaining the federal agency's concerns with the project application.
These guidelines, prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, set forth recommendations to commercial wind energy developers on how to characterize bird and bat resources at on-shore wind energy sites, and how to estimate and document impacts resulting from the construction and operation of wind energy projects. By issuing these guidelines, DEC intends to provide a consistent and predictable methodology for developers to assist them in the planning and development process.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has released for public review proposed Guidelines for Conducting Bird and Bat Studies at Commercial Wind Energy Projects. These guidelines inform potential wind developers of the information DEC needs about wind farm sites to assess impacts to birds and bats. The guidelines were developed through a stakeholder process sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority which included industry representatives as well as bird and bat biologists from government agencies, academia and non-governmental environmental groups. Comments will be received until March 7, 2008 via mail to Brianna Gary, NYSDEC Bureau of Habitat, 625 Broadway 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4756 or via email.
The following report describes the research design, initiation and completion of the first year of postconstruction study (fall migration only) of avian and bat collision fatalities at the 120 turbine Maple Ridge Wind Power Project in Lewis County, New York. The work was conducted in accordance with the “Proposed Scope of Work for a Postconstruction Avian and Bat Fatality Study at the Maple Ridge Wind Power Project, Lewis County, New York” dated March 14, 2006, and agreed upon in mid-May 2006, after several revisions. People/agencies who reviewed the proposed scope of work included staffers from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), Environmental Design and Research (EDR), NYS DEC staffers, developers (PPM and Horizon), and others. Representatives from some or all of these groups have been included in a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which has the responsibility of reviewing and commenting on progress reports, annual reports, and other updates from this project.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reviewed the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) for PPM's Horse Creek wind facility proposed for the New York towns of Clayton and Orleans, Jefferson County. The project consists of approximately 62 wind turbines (130 MW) with 54 turbines in the Town of Clayton and 8 turbines in the Town of Orleans. The project scope also includes construction of two permanent meteorological (met) towers, an operations and maintenance facility, approximately 16 miles of gravel access roads and approximately 28 miles of buried electric collection lines, and an interconnection substation adjacent to the existing electric transmission line.
This document includes studies in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
Because time seems to be running out on fossil fuels and the lure of non-polluting windpower is so seductive, some people are now promoting windpower initiatives at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history......Throughout my experience, I could not substantiate a single claim developers made for industrial wind energy, including the one justifying its existence: that massive wind installations would meaningfully reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. When you understand this, you realize the wind business is not really that complex. But there are a lot of complicated issues swirling around it that obscure and distract from this main point, issues such as global warming, property values, the nature of wind leases, local revenues and taxes, wildlife, natural views, and a host of others. So how does one know the truth of it all? How does one go about separating the reality from spin?
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 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.