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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

“I discovered that there has been considerable underestimation of fatalities reported to the public by the Wolfe Island wind project”

 By Danielle VandenBrink
Kingston Whig-Standard
Sunday, April 7, 2013

A proposed wind farm in southern Prince Edward County has the potential to have the highest bird mortality rate in North America, an expert in the field claims.
 A Bird's eye view of Wolfe Island
Bill Evans, an ornithologist based in Ithaca, N.Y., who has studied the impact of turbines on birds and bats, said the nine-turbine Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park — to be located on a peninsula on the south shore of Prince Edward County — could cause “serious and irreversible” harm to some species in the province.
Evans, who was hired by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists to study the potential impact of the project on bird mortality, gave his testimony to a tribunal in the county Friday.

“I discovered that there has been considerable underestimation of fatalities reported to the public by the Wolfe Island wind project,” Evans said.
“In my tribunal testimony, I noted a discrepancy between positions taken by (the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) and Environment Canada regarding the distance of carcasses (that) land from the base of a wind turbine.”

In the case of Wolfe Island, Evans said more than 50% of bird and bat carcasses fall within a 50 metre radius of the turbines. However, based on his analysis of bird mortality at Maple Ridge, 40% of small birds fall within the 50 to 80-metre radius of the turbine base.

Evans questioned why government researchers failed to include carcasses found beyond a 50-metre radius in the Wolfe Island study.
“This appears tantamount to a cover up, but I have no direct evidence,”  he said.
Evans argued bird mortality will also be impacted by the site of the proposed Ostrander Point project.
“The Ostrander wind project could have, by far, the highest bird mortality per megawatt in North America,” he said. “I base this on the fact that if the nearby Wolfe Island project’s 2010 fatality data is corrected for estimated fatalities out of 80 metres, it would have 8.9 bird fatalities per megawatt, which ... is the highest bird fatality in North America for any wind farm with more than three turbines. I pointed out to the tribunal that Wolfe Island, while it has notable concentration of birds, does not have the large concentrations of migratory land birds caused by the funnelling dynamics of the (Prince Edward County) peninsula.”
Evans said the estimated number of bird and bat deaths would not have a significant impact on global populations of any one species. However, for certain species experiencing declining populations, such as the purple martin, he said, the location of the Ostrander Point project could have a major impact.Continue reading via this link to  [The Whig]

Evans’ testimony will continue in Prince Edward County on Monday.

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