Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife from New York
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has sent a letter to to the developers of three wind farms in upstate New York strongly urging they consider other locations for their proposed projects. Biologists for the agency are concerned that the wind farms will further threaten imperiled bat populations suffering from an unprecedented die-off. One of the wind energy developers, Iberdrola Renewables has decided to hold off on moving forward with the Horse Creek project until the impacts of white nose syndrome on bat populations are better understood. But developers of the other two projects have yet to make similar moves.
Laury A. Zicari, deputy supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the service sent letters to all three northern Jefferson County wind developers "strongly urging them to look at other places." But, she said, the service isn't near the point of saying the developer couldn't install the project. "Studies are needed to know the impacts," Ms. Zicari said. "We've provided comments on the proposal to date." As part of the state environmental quality review and the federal permitting process, studies are done on the potential impacts of any development. As part of necessary permits, state and federal agencies may add requirements for lessening or paying for those impacts.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Wednesday released preliminary plans for the surveys and information required on the Galloo Island Wind Farm environmental impact statement. The 36-page draft scoping statement includes plans for studies on the effects of the wind project on the land, Lake Ontario, public safety, archaeological resources, wetlands and wildlife. The plan does not include the effects on public roads or from noise and shadow flicker from the turbines, because the site is remote, the plan said. Interested parties have more than a month to file comments with the department before the scope of the impact statement is finalized.
There are mornings when I step outside in my Greece housing tract and all is calm and tranquil. But when I arrive at Ontario Beach, the wind is literally howling in off the lake. And that, in a nutshell, is why many birders are uneasy, to say the least, about energy-generating wind turbines. The lakeshore is one of the very best places to look for birds because it is a key migration corridor for everything from geese to hawks to songbirds. But it is also one of the most promising places for wind turbines because of the unobstructed onshore breezes. And so the big question: If turbines are built along the lakeshore, how many of those migrating birds will collide with them and be killed?
Jack A. Nasca, chief of DEC's energy projects and management division of environmental projects, made a persuasive case for his agency taking the lead. He noted in a letter to his boss, Alexander B. "Pete" Grannis, that the "anticipated impacts" of the wind farm are "primarily of statewide and/or regional significance as opposed to local significance." The project will require installing an underwater transmission line along with other construction activity, which will mean heavy boat traffic to and from the island, and could disrupt fish spawning and bird populations with long-term ramifications ..."The impacts from the loss of a unique habitat of regional importance and the potential for impact to resident and migratory bird and bat species of statewide importance will remain for the operational life of the project," Mr. Nasca wrote. Terns on the state list of threatened species nest on the island, which is also near other important bird habitat.
Two Adirondack-based environmental groups have come out against the installation of windmills atop Gore Mountain. The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Council say their reasons for opposing the windmills range from aesthetic concerns to setting a poor precedent. ...David Gibson, executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, and John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council, said they are waiting for the Barton Group to submit a complete application to the Adirondack Park Agency before making more specific comments on the project. The Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks is also waiting to see specifics before taking a position, said Michael Washburn, the North Creek-based organization's executive director.
In response to information about a mysterious illness that has been associated with the deaths of more than 8,000 bats, conservation groups today asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to close all bat hibernation sites and withdraw all federal permits to “take” — that is, harm or kill — imperiled bats until the cause of the deaths is understood. One species of bat that is at risk is the endangered Indiana bat. While details are limited, scientists have given the name “white-nose syndrome” to describe a Fusarium mold that is exhibited around the dead bats’ noses. The syndrome is associated with the discovery of thousands of dead bats in at least two Albany, New York-area caves last winter. ...The Indiana bat is one of the most endangered terrestrial mammals in the world.
Guidelines meant to facilitate wind power development across New York state while minimizing the potential impacts to birds and bats were proposed Thursday by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, DEC. Currently, six wind farms are operating with a rated capacity of 423 megawatts from 263 turbines in Madison, Wyoming, Lewis and Erie counties. ...During the environmental review process, wind energy proposals must include assessments of the impacts the project could have on wildlife - especially birds and bats - and other natural resources. In the past, these assessments have been completed on a case-by-case basis. The draft guidelines suggest that before expending a lot of effort to site a wind energy project, developers should determine whether or not the location is within the habitat of a bird or bat species that is listed as threatened or endangered.
State environmental officials want wind energy developers to pay closer attention to how their projects will affect birds and bats. The Department of Environmental Conservation proposed a set of guidelines to promote wind power and minimize the danger to birds and bats. Developers have been required to analyze how wind projects would affect wildlife before they are allowed to build and the new guidelines will standardize that review.
Before everyone becomes too hyped up about the wind turbines, we need to take a serious look on how they will affect local wildlife. It is no secret that the spinning turbine blades have been responsible for killing birds and bats worldwide. Bats have been especially prone to colliding with the blades - thousands are believed to be killed annually in the U.S., with the majority being threatened species. It is believed by some experts that the wind turbines emit an ultrasonic frequency that confuses bats and predatory birds, possibly even attracting them to the turbines. More recently, bat biologists have reported that the turbines have been placed in migratory paths, further increasing bat kills. Studies have revealed that the deaths in question occurred only when the turbines were in operation.
The Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society is questioning the methods used by Invenergy LLC to conduct bird surveys at the proposed Moresville wind-farm site in Roxbury and Stamford. Invenergy officials say the studies were done correctly. The Audubon Society issued a letter in November expressing support for wind power as an alternative to fossil-fueled and nuclear energy, but added that the 2005 surveys of birds done at the project site are flawed. "Moresville has taken some serious shortcuts in their avian studies," Andy Mason, DOAS conservation chairman, said in a media release. "They carried out radar studies of nocturnal bird migration, but the radar location was 2-1/2 miles away and 1,000 feet lower than the ridge where the wind turbines would be located."
On Monday night, the Hamlin town board voted to extend a moratorium on wind development until June, unless leaders adopt a wind turbine law sooner. Some animal advocates say the town is a migration stop and wind turbines could have deadly consequences for birds and bats. ...Town leaders are requesting extra provisions in Hamlin’s upcoming wind turbine law that would require environmental experts conducting pre- and post- studies to follow protocols endorsed by the Audubon Society, New York state, and the US Department of the Interior.
The majority of the Gaines Wind Advisory Committee said at Wednesday's meeting that they don't believe wind energy is in the best interest of the Town of Gaines. ...Concerned Gaines residents filled the town hall to capacity Wednesday evening as they listened to prepared statements from each of the committee members listing worries about noise, costs, property values, vibration effects and the impact on wildlife. Of the eight-member board, two said they would be in favor of the 400-foot wind turbines. The remaining, including alternate Ted Swierznski sitting in for Royce Klatt, voiced opposition to the towers, while acknowledging their research is incomplete. "Federal and state subsidies are the only reason wind energy is taking a foothold in this country," said advisory member Marilynn Miller.
Each time I've visited the Maple Ridge Wind Farm I've become more depressed about wind energy development. I could never seem to reconcile the professed benefits of these projects with their obvious adverse impacts. But today I learned the most valuable reason to oppose this industry. The Maple Ridge project site is 12 miles long by 3 miles wide. Up and down the roads we went today and I viewed this industrial power facility once again. In viewing the entire expanse of impacted area I couldn't help but notice that there was no sense of a living community - no routine life. No people walking their dogs, no hikers, no bicyclers, no children laughing and playing (school was out), no clothes hanging out to dry, no school buses, no dogs barking, and very few birds, no one on their four wheelers on their own lands enjoying the open air. There were no roadside stands selling pumpkins. The serenity of rural community life that we all know and love here in northern Jefferson County was strangely absent. In its stead, we saw massive machines everywhere we looked, on both sides of the road. This was Bill Moore's world and PPM literally owned it all.
So I sit on my front porch wondering what this countryside will look like in the years to come. Will red lights that top off towers be across the horizon? Will there be a distinction at all between country and city? Will the stars forever disappear? Or will we all end up in darkness?
...All this, and the promise of quick money, effectively silences all voices of reason in the debate that will bring the most drastic change some communities will ever experience. Why? Because wind companies know that their shining green (dollars) exterior is simply a facade which quickly unravels upon critical examination.
Following a public hearing yesterday, the Cape Cod Commission voted to recommend a new adjudicatory process for Development of Regional Impact reviews of energy-related facilities under the jurisdiction of the state Energy Facilities Siting Board. Commission chair Bob Jones of Sandwich advised with a smile that he could save some "heartburn" for audience members by announcing that language making the changes applicable to the Cape Wind project would not be included. Actually, he probably just shifted the upset from backers of the project to its opponents. The latter had hoped Commission action would have established a process that would satisfy the EFSB's standards.
Jesse Ausubel, a professor of environmental science and director of the Human Environment programme at Rockefeller University in New York, found that enormous stretches of countryside would have to be converted into intensive farmland or developed with buildings and access roads for renewable energy plants to make a significant contribution to global energy demands.
Additionally, according to the National Wildlife Federation, wind-powered turbines could pose a threat to Indiana bats and other bat species, as well as birds. Some studies suggest the turbines might account for thousands of dead bats and birds yearly, the federation says.
More consideration and belief need to be given to the vast research that has been done regarding the impact of wind turbines on our environment before decisions are made again that will profit a few and harm many.