Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife from Vermont
State biologists have raised questions about how a wind energy development planned for the Lowell mountain range in the Northeast Kingdom might affect wildlife in the region.
The Green Mountain National Forest will take comments from the public until Feb. 18 on a proposed 17-turbine, 34-megawatt, wind power facility in Searsburg and Readsboro. The project has been proposed by Deerfield Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables.
Waitsfield voters may be asked to make a decision about changing the Town Plan before Citizens' Energy has completed its environmental studies, and that would be wrong. The environmental studies for this project need to come first before any changes to the Town Plan are made.
Due to the recession, conservation and efficiency, and people using less to save money, there is lower demand and an oversupply of electrical generation. In March GMP and CVPS and Hydro Quebec announced agreement on new 26-year contracts to provide Vermont with clean renewable hydroelectric power.
A proposed wind farm in Ira could face opposition from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to a state official. In a letter dated Dec. 22, Fish and Wildlife community ecologist Eric Sorenson told Vermont Community Wind Farm that the company's plan to put up as many as 45 turbines in the area would have "an undue adverse effect" on the area.
The US Forest Service is one step closer to issuing a decision on the Deerfield Wind Project. The Manchester Ranger District of the Green Mountain National Forest has reviewed the Public Service Board's approval and the public comments it received regarding last year's Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Now the forest service is ready to release a supplemental report on their latest findings. But despite the new information, some state officials are urging the forest service take extra precautions before they make a final decision.
Sitting shoulder to shoulder in the portrait room at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, community members listened intently to panelists before engaging in a somewhat heated debate about windmills and nature. Lights were dimmed as images emerged of Don Quixote's jousting windmills and of dead bats to illustrate the wind-energy debate. The presentation, titled "Windmills: Viewed through the lens of art, science, and animal impact" included panelists Patrick Marold, Thomas Tailer and Scott Darling in this culminating event of a three-part series, "The Energy Project Vermont," a partnership between ECHO and Burlington City Arts with the support of University of Vermont.
Although the Public Service Board granted the Deerfield Wind Project a certificate of public good, there remains a lot of work ahead. Now the wind project must obtain approval from federal and state agencies, and officials say it may be another year before construction of the wind turbines can commence. ...According to U.S. Forest Service supervisor Meg Mitchell, the forest service is reviewing the PSB decision. Mitchell said the forest service is also looking at submitted comments from the draft environmental impact statement.
The Vermont Public Service Board has issued a certificate of public good for the Deerfield Wind Project, but the work must still be approved by the U.S. Forest Service. "They've cleared a major hurdle, but there's still a good bit of the race left to run," Meg Mitchell, supervisor of the Green Mountain National Forest, said Tuesday.
Massachusetts and Vermont wildlife officials are asking the public to help identify bats affected by a mysterious illness known as white nose syndrome. This time of year, bats are normally hibernating in caves and in abandoned mines across the Northeast. But researchers are getting reports of bats weakly flying around in broad daylight or dying on decks and in backyards.
The proposed Deerfield Wind project, an expansion of the state's only existing wind energy facility in Searsburg, could have a big effect on the bear population in the area. But exactly how big is a matter of dispute, with the U.S. Forest Service hedging its bets until the Vermont Public Service Board makes a decision on whether construction of the 17-turbine project would be in the "public good." The state technical hearings on the project, postponed from September, are due to start in early December. ...Forrest Hammond, a wildlife biologist and bear expert for the state of Vermont, said the bear habitat on the western ridge was so important to the regional bear population that the agency had gone on record against the western part of the project.
The health of black bears on two remote ridgelines in southern Vermont has emerged as a key issue in the decision on whether to permit 17 wind turbines in the Green Mountain National Forest. ..."The proposed project construction and other associated human activities represents a potentially huge adverse impact to the black bears and their habitat at a level far above any that ANR has ever allowed to be permitted," state wildlife biologist Forrest Hammond said in testimony filed with the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB).
The Green Mountain National Forest has postponed making a recommendation on whether Deerfield Wind LLC should get a special use permit to build wind turbines on national forest land. Meg Mitchell, the forest supervisor, said she decided to defer making a decision until the Vermont Public Service Board finishes reviewing the project and makes a decision. At the same time, officials issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed project, which would be the first on forest service property, raising concerns about its impact on bears.
A new mysterious and deadly illness of bats has struck New England's largest bat cave, a cavern in a Dorset mountain where 23,000 bats spend the winter, a state wildlife biologist confirmed today. Scott Darling saw the signs as he approached Aeolus cave Thursday. Carcasses of the tiny creatures lay in the snow. More bats flitted around the mouth of the cave, unnatural behavior for a frigid February day. "It was as though they were running out of energy and their last effort was to go outside in search of food," Darling, a biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said today.
Far from being "environmentally friendly," the proposed project would effectively destroy one of the largest, if not the largest, bear habitats in Vermont. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources stated in recent testimony that the project "would result in significant adverse impacts to black bear habitat" and would "cause long-term harm to the bear population in southern Vermont." The Vermont Natural Resources Council has stated that the wildlife habitat in the western project area could not be mitigated. In other words, once destroyed, that habitat cannot be repaired or replaced.
In response to information about a mysterious illness that has been associated with the deaths of more than 8,000 bats, conservation groups today asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to close all bat hibernation sites and withdraw all federal permits to “take” — that is, harm or kill — imperiled bats until the cause of the deaths is understood. One species of bat that is at risk is the endangered Indiana bat. While details are limited, scientists have given the name “white-nose syndrome” to describe a Fusarium mold that is exhibited around the dead bats’ noses. The syndrome is associated with the discovery of thousands of dead bats in at least two Albany, New York-area caves last winter. ...The Indiana bat is one of the most endangered terrestrial mammals in the world.
At least 200 Barton residents shouted a loud NO! to power generating towers in Barton and in Sheffield at a public meeting last week. The meeting was called to figure out a way to change Barton's Town Plan to remove any approving reference to wind tower generation in town. The theme of the meeting was that wind towers on Barton's and neighboring ridgelines would grossly disfigure the beauty of the town and of Crystal Lake. Liz Butterfield, owner of the Barton Village Corner Store said it all. "This petition basically reinforces that we don't want to look at the (towers) at the end of Crystal Lake, and we don't want the construction coming through. And in the future, we don't want wind development in the town of Barton. I think a 420-food wind tower at the end of a state park (Crystal Lake State Park) is a travesty."
Concerned citizens of the Deerfield Valley, and as far away as the Berkshires, have come together to form "Save Vermont Ridgelines." The current proposal before the public service board, to allow or deny construction of an industrial wind power plant on 80 acres of highly visible United States Forest Service- controlled ridgelines, has brought us together to consider the scope and consequences of these 17 410-feet tall machines, with flashing lights stretched across one of the area's most prominent ridgelines. ...The goal of our group is to inform the public of the full intent and consequences of this proposed wind experiment.
Residents upset about recent state approval for a wind power project in a neighboring town have launched a petition drive to change the town plan to prohibit commercial wind power development. “This petition basically reinforces that we don’t want to look at the ones at the end of Crystal Lake, and we don’t want the construction coming through,” said Liz Butterfield, owner of the Barton Village Corner Store. “And in the future, we don’t want wind development in the town of Barton.” ...“I think a 420-food wind tower at the end of a state park is a travesty,” Butterfield said.
The petition basically duplicates the concerns the USFWS raised two months ago. It says that studies at existing wind facilities "have shown high mortality rates for birds and, especially so, for bats. Not mentioned in the hearings nor in any developer studies is the fact that ducks, geese, and other water fowl migrate over these ridge lines and stop over in the wetlands in the Sheffield project area. Threatened species of interior forest birds come north to live here for the warmer months. We are very concerned that their habitat and nesting will be severely interrupted. "Given the political pressure in Vermont and New England to construct renewable electric generation developments, particularly industrial-scale wind plants, we are concerned that otherwise thoughtful biologists and wildlife experts are being compelled to ignore their best judgment," it says. "We encourage you and your colleagues in EPA and the Corps of Engineers to exercise your authorities to the fullest and hope that our state and federal officials will encourage you as well.