Library filed under Impact on Birds from Ohio
Birders said Tuesday they are seeking people from all walks of life who share their concerns about the proper siting of wind turbines in the ecologically fragile western Lake Erie region. ...the group will be stepping up its campaign for a three-mile buffer zone along the shoreline in Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie counties.
"Our study data suggest that $20 million was spent in this area during the months of April and May, and, in addition to concerns about large-scale mortality of birds and bats, the potential loss of significant birding-based tourism dollars must be considered as well." The Black Swamp Bird Observatory is calling for a three-year moratorium on any additional wind turbines within three miles of the Lake Erie shore.
People who express concern about bird mortality at wind turbines are usually treated with condescension at best (with phrases like "Bird-lovers are all a-flutter at the thought that Tweetie Bird might get hurt"). I've seen a dozen wind industry fact sheets pointing out, rather patronizingly, that wild birds are killed by many things, including window strikes, automobiles, and roaming cats. This is true. But the birds most often killed by cars and house cats are the birds that live around roads and houses - abundant, widespread species, with populations large enough to sustain the losses. If ten million House Sparrows are hit by cars every year, it won't make a dent in their total population. But when you place hazards around stopover habitats for migratory birds, you are turning this equation upside down.
State and federal wildlife investigators are wrapping up their year-long investigation into the deaths of bald eagles who apparently came into contact with a transmission line strung across Conneaut Creek, officials said last week.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is gathering information for a review under the National Environmental Policy Act of the proposed Buckeye Wind power project in Champaign County, Ohio, and of a proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) developed by EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc., to "conserve" the endangered Indiana bat.
From a developer's standpoint, it makes sense to put up turbines out in the lake near Toledo. From a bird's perspective, it doesn't. Western Lake Erie sits in the path of two of North America's most important flyways. Here's a stat for you: One billion birds.
Building turbines in some of the best places to harvest wind in Ohio could put millions of birds and bats -- some protected by state and federal law -- at risk. That's why the state is asking companies to sign voluntary agreements to study the risk before and after wind farms are built. And if the companies follow the rules, neither Ohio nor the feds will shut down turbines, even if thousands of animals are killed. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently sent agreements to 10 developers, and hired a wildlife biologist last week to draft rules that the companies would have to follow to limit harm. ...The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said it expects to join in the state's voluntary agreement as well. "We would agree to work cooperatively with (companies) and not necessarily pursue court action if wildlife species are taken," said Megan Seymour, a wildlife biologist at the agency's Ohio field office.
A wildlife biologist whose area of expertise is bat and bird activity, has joined the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to study the effects of wind turbines on native and migrating wildlife, especially in the Lake Erie Basin. Keith DeWitt Lott will study the impact that the rotating blades of wind turbines have on the 300 species of birds and nine species of bats found in the state. "As Ohio moves into the realm of wind-based energy, it's important that we do so in a socially and environmentally responsible way," said ODNR Director Sean D. Logan in a news release.
More than $1 million could be spent in the coming months pursuing offshore wind power in Lake Erie, even though the region just lost out on a bid to have East Toledo host the nation's first testing laboratory for offshore wind turbine blades. A $250,000 wildlife study, funded by a grant the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority obtained from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), recently began along the western Lake Erie shoreline. The goal of that study is to get the region's clean energy and wildlife proponents on the same page over the risks posed to birds and bats. The next phase would involve putting two or three wind turbines along the western Lake Erie shoreline as early as the summer of 2008 to see just how lethal the devices might be. Sites have not been selected, but they likely would be between Toledo and Lorain, Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources opposes open lake wind turbines such as the ones that an energy task force has urged Cuyahoga County commissioners build on Lake Erie, a state wildlife biologist said. Mark Shieldcastle, who spoke to the Greater Akron Audubon Society on Tuesday night at the Sand Run Metro Park in Summit County, said it would be nearly impossible to monitor the mortality rates of migratory birds killed by open water turbines. “We’re trying to get land-based studies first,” said Shieldcastle, a wildlife biologist with the Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station between Sandusky and Toledo. “There are a lot more ramifications and challenges to look at the risks to birds in open water. I wouldn’t know where to start.”
HURON, Ohio - Lake Erie could become the "Saudi Arabia of wind" power, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said yesterday. But no more wind turbines should be built along the lake shoreline until all potential impacts on wildlife have been studied in depth, Miss Kaptur added. The same goes for entertaining any proposals to install them in the open waters of the Great Lakes, she added