RESPONSIBLE WIND DEVELOPMENT THROUGH LEGISLATION
WILL BIRDS AND BATS BE GONE WITH THE WIND?
Currently no legislation exists in Ohio state government for siting and monitoring of wind turbines up to 50 MW (approximately 21-24) while mandates and incentives are being passed to provide electricity from these (SB 221) See http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=127_SB_221_EN
Ohio is developing voluntary guidelines for projects greater than 50 MW which will reward developers for signing a voluntary agreement by allowing them more latitude to harm wildlife without consequences. See http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/03/26/battered.ART_ART_03-26-08_A1_HF9OFQN.html?sid=101
The Great Lakes shorelines and lake bed are targeted including a proposed utility-scale project adjacent to Ohioís only NWR, within 2 mi of Lake Erie and marshes, with several eagles nests within boundaries, in a major migration stopping area.
See http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation/windpower/Meeting_Apr_23_24_2008/Seymour.pdf for more details.
Write your state and federal legislators and ask them to introduce and support legislation for mandatory siting and monitoring requirements, both short term and long term funded by wind developers and electricity providers and keep wind turbines out of ecologically sensitive areas. Donít leave the future of wildlife up to voluntary actions. Wind turbines have the potential to kill birds and bats, displace feeding and breeding wildlife while fragmenting and destroying habitat, vistas and views. Placing wind turbines along ridges, shorelines and in farm fields in the path of migrating and resident birds and bats is ecologically irresponsible. Birds and bats control insect and rodent populations and propagate plant species.
The US fish and Wildlife Service has developed interim guidelines which recommends 3 years of data as a standard for determining the presence and/or magnitude of bird and bat migration in areas of high seasonal concentrations using acoustic, radar and infrared detection equipment where risk is considered sufficiently high, and available data and/or local knowledge indicate that weather variations, changing flight paths, or variable timing of migration warrant it. These studies should be conducted in scientific manners by qualified individuals who have no relationships with monetary stakeholders.
According to a Nature Conservancy report, the Great Lakes coasts are critical to hundreds of millions of birds during migration. Magee Marsh is a critical migrant stopping point for birds for resting and feeding before they cross over Lake Erie or move along the shorelines east and west on their migratory route bi-annually. Ducks, gulls and shorebirds use the lake and shorelines for migration, breeding and wintering and move to open water according to the lake depth, wind direction and ice pack. For information on migration see http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/greatlakes/files/migratory_bird_fact_sheet.pdf
For the Fish and Wildlife Service Interim Guidelines see: http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation/wind_guidelines.pdf
A committee has been appointed by the Secretary of the Interior in an attempt to develop strategies to cause less harm to wildlife, particularly bats and birds. On April 24th Ohio presented the status of wind turbines in the state at the committee meeting. See http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation/windpower/wind_turbine_advisory_committee.html for all presentation information and committee details. The Federal Government wants to put wind turbines into National Forests and on potentially all land owned by the Secretary of the Interior. For information on a meeting of the Committee on Natural Resources see: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=32&extmode=view&extid=47
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May 13, 2009 posting to the Ohio birds e-mail listserv
Subject: Wind Farm Agreement
Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 18:26:52 -0400
I have attached the following link that summarizes an agreement that
ODNR has reached with the Wind Farm Development community to reduce
impact on wildlife. Within this summary is a link to the full (50-page)
I will leave it up to each individual reader to judge the agreement
according to your own views. One thing that is apparent is that data
collected during the OBBA II campaign will prove to be very important to
this process. You may want to keep that in mind this Summer.