Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Washington
Then came onto the Whisky Dick came the 9,100-acre Wild Horse facility, owned by Puget Sound Energy, 127 wind turbines ...Some feared they might end the area's sage grouse future. And now that a grouse and a nest have been found there? "I think it's still too early to know," said Mike Schroeder, a state Department of Fish and Wildlife upland bird research biologist considered the state's foremost expert on sage grouse. "One, it's just one nest. I've had sage grouse nest in wheat fields where there was absolutely zero chance of success. You have birds that do strange things. ..."There are issues -- the blades killing birds, the blades killing bats," said Andy Stepniewski, author of "The Birds of Yakima County" and program chair of the Yakima Valley Audubon. "The bigger issue is the footprint, the habitat fragmentation. The footprint of each one is a lot bigger than one can imagine, because of the size of the machine, the size of the road; these are enormous trucks that bring these huge turbines in there. "The habitat is significantly impacted.
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.
SDS Lumber Co. plans to apply for a permit before year's end to build a wind farm in Skamania County that would produce up to 70 megawatts of power. The project would be on a north-south ridge at elevations of 2,000 to 2,200 feet between Underwood Mountain and Whistling Ridge. The remote property lies east of the old mill town of Willard and about a mile north of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area boundary. ...Dennis White, an environmental activist who lives in the Klickitat County community of Husum, said a regional discussion needs to take place about the cumulative effects of wind generation facilities in the Columbia Gorge. "Wherever there's a BPA line, we're going to have these wind farms just outside the scenic area, up and down the gorge," White said.
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.
This document [DEIS] has not provided any demonstrable public need for the insignificant amount of power this facility is capable of producing. No valid, compelling local (or even statewide) economic reasons were offered to potentially offset the overwhelming negative impacts that will result if built. This DEIS is abundant in quantity, but extremely lacking in quality of scientific analysis and entirely deficient in analysis in certain areas. Various mitigations offered are unacceptable or unworkable. The following are areas of analysis that were either deficient or not performed at all:............