Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Ohio
This is the first Lake Erie wind turbine project that has been recommended for approval by the OPSB. They have placed some “conditions” on their approval of the project, but if those conditions are met with studies that lack transparency, or are built on flimsy science, or by cherry-picking numbers and portions of studies that push a favorable breeze on this wind farm, we all lose.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is developing an environmental impact statement to evaluate the potential of issuing incidental take permits for protected bird and bat species if regional wind industry development grows. According to a news release by the service, the states within the plan are Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. It is called the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
The Lake Erie Business Park, which sits near Camp Perry and in the same lakeshore strip that holds numerous eagle nests, has been considering wind power projects for several years ...but there are much better places to locate the projects than the western Lake Erie shoreline, a magnet for migratory birds, waterfowl, and bald eagles. "You don't go to the worst site first," he said.
The turbine has not undergone the level of scrutiny required for a smaller proposed turbine that stirred up controversy on adjacent property at Camp Perry. That project, a proposed 198-foot high, 500 to 600-kilowatt, federally funded turbine, triggered reviews by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"This makes no sense," said Kim Kaufman, executive director at Black Swamp, whose "Biggest Week in American Birding" last spring attracted about 75,000 birders and gave the whole region an economic booster shot. "Putting a wind turbine here flies in the face of everything we have worked for to protect birds and to promote this area and birding."
A "preponderance of evidence" shows the proposed Camp Perry site is the wrong place to put a wind turbine. Ms. Kaufman has been working to gather opposition from other groups and plans to send a letter today protesting the project to the 200th Red Horse squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard. "It's just astounding that they are still considering it."
Oregon City Schools will have next spring to study bird migration patterns at Clay High School, Eisenhower Middle School, and Coy Elementary before midsize wind turbines are operating on those grounds. But the district last week did not agree to a three-year moratorium on operating six turbines that the Black Swamp Bird Observatory near Oak Harbor has been trying to secure.
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.
In Bowling Green, near the four current city wind turbines, researchers from the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University have begun a study to discern what type of impact these giant 300-foot turbines might be having on birds, especially the migratory birds that are active now as they journey from Canada to winter nesting places in the southern hemisphere.
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 whirling turbine blades at a wind farm planned in Champaign County would almost certainly kill endangered Indiana bats. The developer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources all agree on that. They'll spend the next several months figuring out how to reduce the number of bats killed and working out just how many deaths are acceptable.
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.
Opponents to a proposed electricity-generating turbine project in Champaign County questioned Thursday during state hearings whether the wind-turbines would harm an endangered species of bat, but a researcher who studied the issue said the windmills would not. ...UNU attorneys argued the study did not follow specific guidelines for net placement developed by the department of fish and wildlife. A follow-up study by wildlife officials, however, did find evidence of the Indiana bat in the area. Meinke said she had worked closely with officials from the department of fish and wildlife when she conducted the study, which was deemed adequate at the time.
The local Lake Erie marshes have long been recognized internationally as some of the best places to see a variety of birds, from migratory warblers to bald eagles. And more recently, developers have recognized the area as one of the best in the state for wind and view it as a prime spot to build turbines. ...Petrie encourages people to question wind projects in their area to make sure they are located in places that make the most sense.
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.
The presence of the federally-endangered Indiana bat may delay plans to install wind turbines in southern Logan County, but shouldn't have an impact on Champaign County, said a wind company representative Friday. "We are aware of the bat being found and we're working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources," said Michael Speerschneider with Everpower Renewables.
Contrary to comments made Monday by Councilman-at-large Jacob Chicatelli, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has not indicated wind turbines will be taboo on east side property. ...At Monday night's work session, while members were debating the merits of various wind farm proposals, Chicatelli said he was told by a member of the state Division of Wildlife that turbines will never be erected on city-owned land because of bird migratory patterns in the area. Recently, Chicatelli said he learned the comment was made by someone from a federal - not state - wildlife agency.
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.
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.”