Residents fight to protect endangered Blanding’s turtles as unwanted construction of industrial wind proceeds with the invasion of Amherst Island. Ontario meanwhile fails to enforce its own rules and ruling of the Environmental Review Tribunal.
 Additionally, the Tribunal finds that the mitigation measures incorporated as conditions of the REA have all but eliminated the potential for turtle mortality and have minimized the potential for indirect impacts to habitat during the construction phase. The construction window of November 1 to March 31 for those portions of the Project closest to the coastal wetlands, and the window of September 1 to March 31 for the remainder of the Project, will ensure that construction takes place outside the period during which turtles are active outside of their resident wetlands.
Spring has returned and with it turkey vultures ( Scientific name: Cathartes aurahave). These raptors soar long distances riding high on thermals of air with long outstretched wings. They hunt not by sight, but by an acute sense of smell searching for carrion to feast upon. Social, gregarious and highly intelligent they are often seen flying, feeding and roosting in communal groups.
One of their unique forms of protection against threats is the ability to projectile vomit acidic stomach contents at will. Difficult birds to launch from the ground they take running leaps to lift off and can jettison stomach contents to lighten their weight to aid becoming airborne. They are meticulous about their personal hygiene and serve an essential function as clean- up crews for the environment.
A kettle of turkey vultures seen thermalling in the blade sweep of an Enercon wind turbine part of Niagara wind project. (Video filmed April 2018)
Notice the wind turbine blade sweep movement results in driving a bird downwards out of a soaring climb.
Turbine blade sweep is part of increasing environmental habitat fragmentation and disruption created by wind facilities construction and operations. Mortality strikes (kills) occur in airspace directly disrupted by turbine blade sweeps. As increasing numbers of wind turbines are erected increased adverse environmental impacts are occurring for avian species. Habitat disrupted or avoidance= habitat loss.
Impacts are not only local but include those on a global scale. Flying the global flyways has become an even more dangerous journey with annual migrations spiked with increasing 1000s of wind turbines. Wind power is disrupting avian movements and prefered habitat use on a local and world-wide basis which begs the question: How sustaining and green is that?
By Other Voices
I am concerned about the proposed wind turbines in Lake Erie. The foreign company that wants to do this is intends to make money off our natural wind patterns by selling electricity to CPP. They do not care about the impact that this project has on us, or the local ecosystem. They just want profits.
Here are my concerns:
1. Placing these unsightly turbines in the lake would have an impact on fish. They could disrupt natural areas that support perch, steelhead, and walleye.
2. They could impact the migratory patterns of birds and local avian species such as bats and terns. They could have a negative effect on local birds like seagulls, barn swallows, and herons.
3. They have been banned in Canada.
4. They are ugly. Who wants to look at an awesome Lake Erie sunset with a wind turbine in it?
5. They create a huge navigational hazard to boaters. These turbines are proposed off a prime boating area NW of Cleveland. The 26,756 registered boaters of Cuyahoga county do not want to navigate around these obstructions during their relaxing day on the lake.
“Rising over the treeless, rolling prairie and ranch lands, 15 miles west of this vibrant Osage County town, drivers along U.S. Highway 60 notice the sudden appearance of 84 wind farm towers, reaching hundreds of feet into the blue sky.
Instead of the sounds of birds singing a summer’s song or a south breeze sweeping the bluestem grass, travelers will hear a slow, steady whirring noise, as the giant blades rotate in the relentless wind on the prairie, attached to turbines to generate electricity.
At night, the slow, steady red blinking lights attached to the top of the turbine towers can be seen from a 30-mile radius.
The massive wind farm is part of Osage Wind, a project of Tradewind Energy and its parent company, Enel North America.”
Knowing how birds use the airspace already helps drive ABC’s work to minimize the dangers posed by wind turbines and communications towers. Aeroecology can help researchers and conservationists understand what happens to those birds in the air and how easy or safe it is to move from one location to another, an idea sometimes called “habitat connectivity.”
For Birds, The Sky Isn’t Just Empty Airspace. It’s Habitat.
By Jennifer HowardNovember 13, 2017
Look up. All that empty space over our heads isn’t so empty. Many birds, bats, and insects spend a good part of their lives up in the air, foraging, mating, and migrating. Aerial insectivores such as swallows and swifts feed almost exclusively on the wing.
It doesn’t look like habitat, but for these animals, the airspace is home. It’s where they spend much of their lives. And as researchers are learning, what happens there carries life-or-death consequences.
Aeroecology, as it’s sometimes called, has come into its own as a field of research. This study of airspace as habitat is enabled by new technologies, by a rapidly expanding understanding of the complex ways animals interact with their environments, and by a growing interest in how human activities affect those environments. And it could have important implications for how conservation groups, including American Bird Conservancy (ABC), focus their work in coming years…..
 As described in greater detail below, the Approval Holder has proposed an amendment to the REA to include additional curtailment measures designed to reduce little brown myotis mortalities. The Tribunal finds that these additional measures, provided they are amended to require that they be implemented from sunset to sunrise, is likely to significantly reduce little brown myotis mortality over the life of the Project. However, as neither the Approval Holder nor the Director has proposed effective means to mitigate the serious harm to human health, as found by the Tribunal in its October 2016 Order, the Tribunal concludes that the decision of the Director should be revoked. As such, an amendment to the REA to address harm to little brown myotis via an amended mitigation plan is rendered unnecessary.
Bats are being killed at a rate by wind power plants that have experts raising the alarm about sustaining population levels (in blunt terms for some bat species- extinction level threat). In Ontario 3 of our 8 species of bats are considered critically endangered and are facing possible extinction. Kills by wind turbines add to existing pressures for their survival. Evidence mounts daily and it has the wind industry on the defensive. It is more than convenient that a recently study of a woodlot being steward by an Ontario landowner was reported not to have any bats detected. Bats which are so numerous that Theo Heuvelmans has had to hang a bamboo curtain over his home’s entrance to stop them from flying into his home. What other industry is allowed to kill, harm and harass endangered species? Wind power is allowed to not only self evaluated risks but once the projects are built they employ the clean- up crews to collect any found bodies and self report the deaths. Time for being polite and time to say it out loud- bull! It stinks.
Study says winged critters not detected in woodlot near where turbines to be erected
DRESDEN – To put it politely, Theo Heuvelmans doesn’t believe the results of a yet-to-be-seen study that says there are no bats in a 36-acre woodlot on his property near here.
As of Friday, Heuvelmans still hadn’t heard or received any information about what biologists found after they went through his woodlot several times last spring and summer ahead of the North Kent 1 industrial wind farm project which is about to be built nearby by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy.
However, he was astounded when The Chatham Daily News informed him on Friday that the newspaper had received a response that no bats were found in the area.
“They’re telling me there’s no bats here? I can’t believe it,” Heuvelmans said.
“The study found there were no bats detected on his property,” according to an e-mail The Daily News received from Pattern Energy’s media spokesperson.
The e-mail also noted the firm that completed the study will be reaching out to Heuvelmans to discuss their findings with him.
The Daily News has requested a copy of the study or to be able to speak with someone about it.
Heuvelmans recently contacted The Daily News after growing frustrated that repeated calls to try to get information about the study have not been returned.
For the past five years he has had to put up a bamboo curtain and a screen to the entrance of the alcove that is part of the entrance to his home, because it attracts so many bats.
“This is the only way I could keep them out,” Heuvelmans said.
He initially refused a request by the wind farm developers to have his woodlot be studied. However, he noted company officials with AECOM Canada, an engineering consulting firm hired by the wind developers to study his woodlot, persisted and told him if bats were present it could impact where the turbines are built.
Heuvelmans agreed, hoping the presence of the bats would result in the wind turbines being constructed further from his woodlot.
However, judging from roads recently built on nearby fields, it appears two turbines will each be constructed within 300-400 metres of the woodlot – one on the west side and another to the north.
Heuvelmans said he put up several bat houses in the woodlot and nearby meadow about a year ago, with the hopes of moving the bats away from his home. He also admits he hoped it would help ensure the turbines would be built farther from the woodlot.
Heuvelmans also said he was told if bats were found in the woodlot, the turbines could be shut down at night to accommodate that.
He is worried that the turbines will negatively impact the wildlife living there, noting great horned owls are regularly seen flying from the woodlot to another nearby bush.
Heuvelmans questions why the turbines can’t be built farther way from woodlots. He would also like to see the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, which is purchasing a 15 per cent stake in North Kent 1, take a more active role in protecting these kinds of areas.
However, the approvals for industrial wind farms are provided through the Green Energy Act, which is under the jurisdiction of the province of Ontario.