Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife from New York
Much of upstate New York, from north of Albany to Buffalo, from the Catskills to the Adirondacks, is in danger of being transformed beyond recognition by industrial wind parks. Some 50 of these wind parks are being planned and even built. All of this is being done in the name of clean energy and saving the planet. But it isn't clear that wind power is such a panacea in the battle against global warming that developers of these wind parks should be allowed to run roughshod over some of our loveliest land. What we need are statewide siting guidelines that take other environmental factors, including visual impacts, into consideration.
News of a recently released consultants' study that found 123 birds and 326 bats dead - during a five-month period last year beneath approximately 50 turbines on the Tug Hill Plateau - has him worried the impact may be even more severe on birds and bats than the study found. "It's not a good thing for avian life," Newhart said, adding he'd previously contacted Cornell University's ornithology department to check on impact turbines have. "I'm going to send this information out to Cornell to see if that engages them.
Wind energy is an important renewable energy source. However, it is important to have a comprehensive plan for siting these high-tech wind facilities across New York state, in order to avoid any negative impacts upon surrounding areas. I have recently introduced legislation, S.4608, which seeks to study the need for a statewide comprehensive plan for siting wind facilities. Additionally, this bill would place an 18 month moratorium on any new construction or issuing of new permits for the construction of wind energy facilities, to enable the task force to complete its study and make recommendations.
he Otsego County Board of Representatives recently endorsed a proposal by the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society to study the flight paths of golden eagles in the area. The Audubon Society wants to chart where these birds of prey fly to make sure that wind turbines are not erected in their paths, according to member Tom Salo, of Burlington. Federal money for this type of project has been sent to New York state, and the Audubon Society would like to apply for a state grant to do the work locally. More than 200 golden eagles, as well as many red-tail hawks, have been seen in the Franklin Mountain area, Salo said. "A significant portion of the golden eagle population migrates along the ridges,'' Salo said recently.
While daily bird kill may appear minimal, the cumulative effect over the next 20-25 years, the life span of towers, will be devastating to bird populations and their genetic pool.
Two Chautauqua County residents are the first dual recipients of the Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York’s ‘‘Conservationist of the Year Award.’’ The presentation to Leonard DeFrancisco of Falconer and Gil Randell of Mayville was made at the society’s annual banquet in recognition of their work in preventing construction of a wind energy project across a major North American bird migration route. The two men are principals in the Ripley Hawk Watch project that has gathered considerable information for more than 20 years regarding the northward migration of birds, bats and some insect species along the ridges bordering the Lake Erie shore.
The nation's first offshore wind farm is being proposed for the waters off Orient Point, in hopes of powering 4,000 homes with alternative energy. But while local officials applaud the benefits of this new technology, some worry about its proposed location in the path of endangered migratory birds.
"It's a difficult bird to study because it's distributed across a fragmented range of mountaintops which we sometimes refer to as 'sky islands.' We estimate the total population to be between 20,000 and 40,000 birds," Rimmer said. The bird's habitat faces potential threats from ski area development, communications tower construction, wind energy projects, acid rain, mercury and global warming.
But I was sitting at my kitchen table in North Buffalo, far from the wind farms of the Southern Tier, and such distance makes for simple, black-and-white comprehension. There are places in Western New York where wind energy isn’t so clear a choice. Places with names like Perry, Sheldon and Arkwright, rural towns perched atop the high glacial ridges to the east and south of the city, whose landscapes might soon be dominated by hundreds of towering, 400-foot windmills. As wind companies eye their windswept fields and make overtures to local town boards, divisions run deeper and deeper between citizens who disagree on the merits of wind farm development in their backyards. In such locales, the gray areas of wind development come into sharp focus.
There are issues with noise, vibration and shadow flicker all having detrimental effects on people and animals.
The state currently has no requirements for environmental studies of wind turbine sites. We need a law requiring wildlife surveys before and after the installation of wind turbines. Places with high populations of vulnerable wildlife should be avoided.
Wind power as the alternative source of power generation seems to be breaking through as everybody's darling. General Electric is investing heavily in it. President Bush, having lately discovered that America is addicted to oil, is supporting the admittedly clean energy that comes from wind turbines, and the environmental community loves windmills. Are we perhaps getting too far ahead of ourselves by uncritically embracing wind turbines?
Thousands of birds nest around, or migrate through, the Lake Erie shoreline near Buffalo. Just how many of them would be killed by spinning windmill blades was the dominant concern at a meeting Thursday night on the area's potential to generate wind energy.
What this basically means, he said, is that a final project application and plan cannot be submitted to the Adirondack Park Agency until the research is done and the company knows exactly where windmills would need to go and why.
This is where the Buffalo Harbor Development Commission, the Niagara Greenway Commission and Higgins' waterfront planning come into play. It is essential that the NRIBA designation is understood and addressed by all planning agencies and decisions. It is critical that the threats to the area are understood and addressed. Appropriate development that recognizes both the fragility of the area and the global conservation consequences related to its stewardship and development should become a baseline indicator from which all planning grows. Editor's Note: With at least five test towers already standing, wind developers in concert with local advocates are attempting to install hundreds of industrial wind turbines in the Niagara region. The threat to this fragile area is real. Both of the photos included in the text are available in the NWW photo library as Birdland on the Niagara 1 & 2.