Documents filed under Impact on Wildlife
These comments were submitted by Herbert S. Coussons, MD to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission The Commission is examining State guidelines for uniform siting of wind energy facilities.
The special nature of the place that we inhabit, including the importance of the habitat and flyway, when taken with the scale of the wind energy projects proposed, the lack of a process to assess cumulative review, and the initial indications of substantial impacts to birds and bats, all lead us to conclude that wind projects proposed for our area should not proceed further until the Wolfe Island Wind post-construction wildlife impact study is completed and a cumulative wildlife impact assessment involving the US and Canadian governments has occurred.
Notice of intent to sue was filed in reference to Constellation Green Energy LLC's installation and long-term operation of wind turbines in Garrett County, Maryland. The project will consist of 28 industrial scale wind towers along 8 miles of the ridge of Backbone Mountain. Available evidence demonstrates that the Constellation wind project will almost certainly result in unauthorized takes of Indiana bats and Virginia big-eared bats.
Concerned citizens and conservationists have joined with the Animal Welfare Institute and the public-interest law firm, Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal, to notify Highland New Wind Development, LLC and the Highland County Board of Supervisors of their intent to sue if HNWD proceeds with turbine construction in defiance of the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year HNWD "promised" the county supervisors that it would obtain the required Incidental Take Permit (ITP). The notice letter can be downloaded by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
The below letter, written by the Nor'Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee, requests the Ontario Ministers of Energy and Infrastructure and of the Environment to intervene and stop the approval of an industrial wind energy facility on the Nor'Wester Mountain Range and the Loch Lomond Watershed in the Thunder Bay Area.
This press document was released by the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game following winter surveys of bat populations in the State. According to bat expert Dr. Thomas Kunz, "the most severe threats facing bats in eastern United States are habitat loss, White Nose Syndrome, and proliferation of poorly sited industrial wind developments."
The Vermont Public Service Board completed hearings on the proposed Georgia Mountain wind energy facility. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), an intervenor in the proceedings, was highly critical of the project's potential impact on the natural environment including resident and migratory bats. The ANR submitted the document at the link below to the Public Service Board detailing its recommendation for findings to the Board. An excerpt from the document pertaining to bat mortality is provided below.
This 60-day notice of violations of the Endangered Species Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and other laws, was filed with the U.S. Department of the Interior in connection with the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind energy facility. The detailed notice and supporting appendices explain fundamental failures of the Minerals Management Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to adequately assess the risks to the natural environment and to protected and endangered species.
Growth in transportation networks, resource extraction, motorized recreation and urban development is responsible for chronic noise exposure in most terrestrial areas, including remote wilderness sites. Increased noise levels reduce the distance and area over which acoustic signals can be perceived by animals. Here, we review a broad range of findings that indicate the potential severity of this threat to diverse taxa, and recent studies that document substantial changes in foraging and anti-predator behavior, reproductive success, density and community structure in response to noise. Effective management of protected areas must include noise assessment, and research is needed to further quantify the ecological consequences of chronic noise exposure in terrestrial environments.
An agreement was reached among all parties involved in federal litigation under the Endangered Species Act concerning the Beech Ridge wind project in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, that will provide for additional protection of the endangered Indiana bat and other wildlife while allowing some elements of the project to move forward.
Wood Rogers PLC, the Roanoke law firm representing Highland Citizens, has advised the Highland County Board of Supervisors that allowing Highland New Wind Development to proceed without the Incidental Take Permit (ITP) required by the Endangered Species Act will place the county in legal jeopardy. The letter by Attorney James T. Rodier which details the supporting law can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
In his letter dated Dec. 22, 2009 Vermont Fish and Wildlife community ecologist Eric Sorenson details why the Vermont Community Wind Farm proposed for western Vermont would have "an undue adverse effect" on the area. The project could have as many as 45 wind turbines sited along several ridgelines.
In February, 2007, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission awarded Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) a Certificate Of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct a wind electric generation facility and associated electric facilities (Case # 6630-CE-294), to be located in Fond du Lac County. The Blue Sky Green Field facility, consisting of 88 Vestas V-80 (1.65 megawatt) towers and totaling 145 megawatts, began commercial operation in May 2008. As a condition of approval, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission required post-construction mortality studies be conducted. Combined mortality for birds and bats per year was found to be very high at 52.37 animals per turbine per year or over 4,600 deaths for the site. The results of the fatality study can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. The executive summary of the report is provide below.
Thousands of industrial-scale wind turbines are being built across the world each year to meet the growing demand for sustainable energy. Bats of certain species are dying at wind turbines in unprecedented numbers. Species of bats consistently affected by turbines tend to be those that rely on trees as roosts and most migrate long distances. Although considerable progress has been made in recent years toward better understanding the problem, the causes of bat fatalities at turbines remain unclear. In this synthesis, we review hypothesized causes of bat fatalities at turbines. Hypotheses of cause fall into 2 general categories—proximate and ultimate. Proximate causes explain the direct means by which bats die at turbines and include collision with towers and rotating blades, and barotrauma. Ultimate causes explain why bats come close to turbines and include 3 general types: random collisions, coincidental collisions, and collisions that result from attraction of bats to turbines. The random collision hypothesis posits that interactions between bats and turbines are random events and that fatalities are representative of the bats present at a site. Coincidental hypotheses posit that certain aspects of bat distribution or behavior put them at risk of collision and include aggregation during migration and seasonal increases in flight activity associated with feeding or mating. A surprising number of attraction hypotheses suggest that bats might be attracted to turbines out of curiosity, misperception, or as potential feeding, roosting, flocking, and mating opportunities. Identifying, prioritizing, and testing hypothesized causes of bat collisions with wind turbines are vital steps toward developing practical solutions to the problem.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wet Virginia field office, issued these comments regarding the Pinnacle wind power project proposed for ridgelines in Mineral County, WV. The comments pertain to the Habitat Characterization and Assessment of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species for the Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009a); the Avian Risk Assessment for the Pinnacle Wind Power Project (Kerlinger 2009); and the Bat Risk Assessment: Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009b). Excerpts of the letter are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
As imperiled bird populations continue to increase, new challenges arise from the effects of growing numbers of communication towers, power lines, commercial wind facilities, and buildings. This paper briefly reviews steps the USFWS is taking to seriously address structural impacts to migratory birds. New findings will be briefly reviewed that address lighting impacts, new challenges facing birds from tower radiation, and collision and habitat fragmentation effects on avifauna.
The Animal Welfare Institute, Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, and others submitted this pretrial brief and supporting reply briefs in their law suit opposing the Beech Ridge wind energy facility to be located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. These briefs show that the developer, Beech Ridge Energy LLC, discovered the presence of the federally endangered Indiana Bat at the project site but withheld this information from federal and state authorities. With this information hidden from public inspection, the project was granted a siting certificate from the West Virginia Public Service Commission to construct up to 124 wind turbines, each 390 feet tall, along a twenty-three mile stretch of land on forested Allegheny Mountain ridgelines. Construction commence in early 2009 but a subsequent injunction request was filed by the plaintiffs and granted pending the outcome of this law suit. The pre-trial brief and reply briefs by renown bat experts Drs. Lynn Robbins, Michael Gannon and Thomas Kunz can be accessed by clicking on the links below. The introduction to the reply brief is also posted below. The trial is scheduled from October 21 before the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
This important report, which appeared in the Wildlife Society's Journal of Wildlife Management, details the effect on raptor and bird mortality following repowering a portion of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California (USA). Repowering involves removing older generation towers and replacing them with higher capacity -- and potentially better sited -- units. The abstract to this report appears below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This report appeared in this month's edition of Advance for Audiologists, a trade magazine for professional audiologists.
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection scientists have opposed wind energy development in the Delaware Bay, which could cut down an Ocean County firm's plans for 106 wind turbines there. Delsea Energy continues to push for the project and has applied for the right to measure wind and other bay-related data that could lead to the turbines' construction there. However, DEP scientists and the Atlantic Flyway Council have raised concerns about the effect the project would have on wildlife. A DEP assistant commissioner wrote last month "that the Delaware Bay is not an appropriate area for development of wind energy." Scott Brubaker, the DEP's assistant commissioner for land use management, informed Delsea Energy in this Aug. 20 letter "that the Delaware Bay is not an appropriate area for development of wind energy." The full letter with attachments can be accessed by clicking on the link below. Follow-up e-mails between the wind developer and NJ DEP can also be accessed.