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DEC seeks more Galloo Island studies

The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to see more studies in the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm's draft environmental impact statement. Upstate NY Power Corp., backed by Pattern Energy Group LP, San Francisco, plans to build an 84-turbine wind farm on the island rated at 252 megawatts. Recently, Pattern bought out Babcock & Brown Ltd.

Agency calls turtle trapping survey inadequate, says additional bird reports needed

The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to see more studies in the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm's draft environmental impact statement.

Upstate NY Power Corp., backed by Pattern Energy Group LP, San Francisco, plans to build an 84-turbine wind farm on the island rated at 252 megawatts. Recently, Pattern bought out Babcock & Brown Ltd.

DEC, as lead agency for the environmental review, will develop a summary to address the input from the public and government agencies, which leads to a final environmental impact statement.

In its response dated Monday, DEC said more studies were needed for turtles and birds.

The statement said a turtle trapping survey was done July 21 to 24, 2008. DEC said, "Four days of turtle trapping is not adequate to determine the presence or absence of these species."

In a June 8 memo to Upstate NY Power, DEC said a more developed 2009 trapping study work plan would be sufficient.

On birds, the developer's breeding bird survey visited 176 points twice during the breeding season.

In its comments, DEC pointed to its Guidelines for Conducting Bird and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Agency calls turtle trapping survey inadequate, says additional bird reports needed

The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to see more studies in the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm's draft environmental impact statement.

Upstate NY Power Corp., backed by Pattern Energy Group LP, San Francisco, plans to build an 84-turbine wind farm on the island rated at 252 megawatts. Recently, Pattern bought out Babcock & Brown Ltd.

DEC, as lead agency for the environmental review, will develop a summary to address the input from the public and government agencies, which leads to a final environmental impact statement.

In its response dated Monday, DEC said more studies were needed for turtles and birds.

The statement said a turtle trapping survey was done July 21 to 24, 2008. DEC said, "Four days of turtle trapping is not adequate to determine the presence or absence of these species."

In a June 8 memo to Upstate NY Power, DEC said a more developed 2009 trapping study work plan would be sufficient.

On birds, the developer's breeding bird survey visited 176 points twice during the breeding season.

In its comments, DEC pointed to its Guidelines for Conducting Bird and Bat Studies at Commercial Wind Energy Projects, which call for point visits at least once a week in May, June and September.

"This deficiency should be addressed with additional breeding bird surveys," DEC said.

An additional study is planned for this year. The department agreed with Upstate NY Power's work plan for an additional breeding bird survey, diurnal bird movement study and winter bird survey, which should provide the necessary data.

DEC said the breeding bird survey report said there were a large number of snakes on the island, but that was not quantified.

"Further discussion should be included regarding the basis for this conclusion, including the species of snakes observed and the number of snakes observed," DEC said.

In the developer's avian risk assessment report, DEC said the surveys failed to report any short-eared owls on the island, but the species has been seen there in other reports and two evenings of surveys was inadequate.

The department also asked for more information on bald eagles.

"The findings note that, because of weather conditions, it wasn't possible to determine if their use is limited to feeding and perching on the island or if it is also an important winter night roost location for the birds as well," DEC said. "This is an important question which needs to be answered."

The assessment also included the possibility of reintroducing foxes and allowing coyotes to repopulate Galloo Island.

"Introducing fox and coyote to the island to control vole populations is not an option," DEC said. "What will keep these mammals from leaving the island? Even if they did target voles and not the ground nesting bird species, what happens when the vole numbers decrease?"

DEC expressed concern over the possibility of four smaller electrical cables being placed on the lake bed as opposed to a single, larger cable. The four cables were discussed during a conference call between DEC and Upstate NY Power.

"Placement of four cables would result in 4X the disturbance of sediment than a single cable route," DEC wrote. "This needs to be addressed further and associated impacts of multiple cable routes analyzed in greater detail."

DEC also:

■ Wanted a revised blasting plan that follows DEC guidelines.

■ Rebutted placement of a turbine, access road and electric lines on DEC land because the land would then revert to federal ownership as it would not be considered a conservation use.

■ Asked for more information about tanks, spill management plans and spill cleanup equipment to comply with DEC and U.S. Coast Guard requirements.

■ Requested that a measure be included to control pale swallowwort in the Invasive Species Control Plan.

■ Asked for a survey for the extent of pale swallowwort in the project area.

■ Told the developer that a preconstruction geological study should include identification of karst features. Karst "is a special type of landscape that is formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks, including limestone and dolomite," according to the Karst Water Institute.

■ Suggested to the town of Hounsfield that complete, not just surface, restoration of the island be evaluated as a possibility for decommissioning.

DEC said the 2009 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan continues to list Galloo Island as an important natural resource, the largest undeveloped island in Lake Ontario.

DEC said it would work with Upstate NY Power to promote goals in the open space plan, including invasive species control, grassland and forest management, and limited public access.


Source: http://www.watertowndailyti...

JUL 22 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21331-dec-seeks-more-galloo-island-studies
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