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DEP answers people's issues

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has released its answers to questions and concerns raised earlier this year about a proposed wind-power project in Roxbury. As part of its review process, the department convened its public meeting on Feb. 18 to gather information and questions people had about the Record Hill Wind project. It proposes to site 22 wind turbines on Roxbury ridges running from Partridge Peak to Record Hill on the west side of Route 17.

ROXBURY - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has released its answers to questions and concerns raised earlier this year about a proposed wind-power project in Roxbury.

As part of its review process, the department convened its public meeting on Feb. 18 to gather information and questions people had about the Record Hill Wind project. It proposes to site 22 wind turbines on Roxbury ridges running from Partridge Peak to Record Hill on the west side of Route 17.

For potential bird issues, the DEP relied on answers provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Of the bald eagle rookery on French Island in Roxbury Pond, Colleen Martineau wanted the DEP to require additional studies by Record Hill Wind. That will likely happen.

Inland Fisheries says it has monitored nesting bald eagles on the island since 1998 and believes that the proposed wind-power facility is a potential risk factor. Emerging policies under the federal Bald Eagle - Golden Eagle Act advise wind-power projects to examine national management guidelines and potential liability for prohibited "take" of eagles, according to Inland Fisheries. There is a sphere of concern within... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

ROXBURY - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has released its answers to questions and concerns raised earlier this year about a proposed wind-power project in Roxbury.

As part of its review process, the department convened its public meeting on Feb. 18 to gather information and questions people had about the Record Hill Wind project. It proposes to site 22 wind turbines on Roxbury ridges running from Partridge Peak to Record Hill on the west side of Route 17.

For potential bird issues, the DEP relied on answers provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Of the bald eagle rookery on French Island in Roxbury Pond, Colleen Martineau wanted the DEP to require additional studies by Record Hill Wind. That will likely happen.

Inland Fisheries says it has monitored nesting bald eagles on the island since 1998 and believes that the proposed wind-power facility is a potential risk factor. Emerging policies under the federal Bald Eagle - Golden Eagle Act advise wind-power projects to examine national management guidelines and potential liability for prohibited "take" of eagles, according to Inland Fisheries. There is a sphere of concern within a 3-mile area.

"Most bald eagle activity is along the shores of lakes, rivers, streams and coastal waters, although ridge lines like Record Hill do create updrafts favorable for soaring flights," the department says.

Record Hill Wind conducted routine monitoring of raptor activity, including eagles, during the fall and spring.

"Results from these studies showed relatively low (use) of the ridge line by bald eagles during the surveys," Inland Fisheries stated. "However, additional local eagle-specific behavior studies will likely be recommended for post-construction monitoring."

The department also stated that migratory birds are not likely to be affected by turbines because the birds typically migrate at much higher altitudes than rotor-swept turbine zones.

"The challenge of (Inland Fisheries) is to determine what level of avian mortality is expected, and more importantly, what level of mortality is acceptable."

Post-construction studies from other operating wind-power projects in Maine haven't shown high mortality rates for either birds or bats, the department stated.

However, it would require post-construction mortality studies to help answer the question and better guide mitigation strategy, if necessary.

The department also responded to a question about loon mortality since there are five or six loons that use Roxbury Pond.

Inland Fisheries believes that a potential exists for loons to collide with wind turbine blades, but believe the risk is low since most loon flights occur during daylight hours when loons can see the structures.

"Preconstruction studies done by the applicant for this project did not show loons using the ridge line at all. Similarly, none of the studies conducted at existing wind facilities in Maine have shown mortality events with loons."


Source: http://www.sunjournal.com/s...

JUN 18 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20690-dep-answers-people-s-issues
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