Library filed under Impact on Birds from Washington
The wide open spaces and natural terrain and wildlife of Southeastern Washington are fading, and some residents would like the encroaching effects of urbanization toned down, such as a proposed project that would place 35 to 50 turbines on Rattlesnake Mountain. More than 30 people showed up Saturday at the Richland Community Center for a meeting to oppose a proposed windmill farm at the base of the mountain. ...Rick Leaumont, chairman of the Audubon Society's conservation committee, agreed that urgency in protesting the project is necessary because about 238 bird species have been documented in the area, and would be effected by the windmills. "Wildlife needs some kind of solitude, a place that is theirs," Leaumont said. "Any location on the mountain would be a problem."
Debate over putting wind turbines on Rattlesnake Mountain appears to be maturing faster than plans for the project itself. ...Guettner said Rattlesnake Mountain may be an ideal spot for wind turbines, but not one the public is likely to accept. "I feel like there's a supermajority of people who feel the way I do," he said. "I think it's time we marshal these people." ...Rick Leaumont, Audubon's conservation committee chairman, said about 238 bird species have been documented in the area. He said they are regularly coming and going to and from the monument, often crossing the mountain. "Any location on the mountain would be a problem," he said. "It's like an airport."
By December 2007, more than 1,500 turbines will be churning out electricity in the Columbia River Gorge. Scientists are also concerned that since the turbines are nearing along the ridge of the gorge, canyons and shrub-covered rangeland, the natural habitats of the birds could be at risk. ...Wildlife biologists in Oregon and Washington state say the turbines are taking toll on raptors and other birds and it may limit expansion of clean wind energy.
While the Audubon Society supports wind power, the group understandingly is lobbying state and local governments to require regional environmental impact studies before permitting proposed wind energy projects. In addition, Audubon wants each state to do a statewide survey to identify potential wind farm sites and overlay those sites with migratory bird pathways and bird and bat habitats.
Currently, only one project is strongly opposed by Blue Mountain because of concerns for birds. It's called Windy Point, in Klickitat County in south-central Washington.