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Monthly Archives: June 2011

French naturalist blacklisted for whistle-blowing on bird mortality

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Mark Duchamp, a French naturalist living in Spain and the president of Save the Eagles International, (STEI) is finally vindicated for his allegations that bird deaths from industrial wind turbines are much higher than previously thought.

“This is what I have been claiming for 9 years,” says Duchamp, “but only this month (March 2011) did SEO (Spanish Ornithological Society) recognize the danger. During all that time I have been treated as a heretic, and was banned from ornithology forums where my whistle-blowing was causing discomfort in the profession.”

He praises the American Bird Conservancy, Birdlife Bulgaria, and SEO for their firm stand against improperly sited windfarms, but laments that it will take more years before the most prominent bird societies do likewise. Conflicts of interests are at the root of the problem, he says.

The STEI website goes on to say, “We cannot count on mainstream ornithologists and bird societies to save bird life from the windfarm threat. These derive much of their income from the windfarm business, and that creates a powerful conflict of interest that clouds their vision and corrupts their conscience.” Read the rest of this entry

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Support needed for south shore National Park

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Thank you to all who responded to EBR 011-3181 for a permit that would allow Gilead Power Corp. to kill, harm and harass Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s Turtle and damage and destroy their habitat. Through our combined efforts we can remain hopeful that these species at risk will remain protected.

Now that the deadline for public comment is over we ask that you forward your response to EBR 011-3181 to Daryl Kramp, MP Prince Edward-Hastings, along with a letter requesting that the Federal Government intervene to protect the wildlife that is under extreme threat at Ostrander Point. We believe that Mr. Kramp’s initiatives to promote a National Park along the south shore or similar measures would protect wildlife, flyways and migration routes and ask that you consider supporting that as well. We want to thank those of you who have already written to Mr. Kramp on that subject.

We want to get as many letters to Mr. Kramp as possible in the next few days before parliament adjourns for the summer so it is urgent that you write to him now. Your letter does not need to be long but it should be in your own words and signed. At this point, because of the postal strike, you may want to send your letter by fax (Mr. Kramp’s fax is 613-969-3803). Or you may drop off a letter at Mr. Kramp’s Picton Office in the Edward Building, 280 Main St., Ste 103, Picton. Mr. Kramp’s Constituency Assistant, Lindsay Gay is there to receive your letters on Mondays but letters can be left any weekday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the main reception desk.

If you cannot manage either a fax or a drop off of a letter Mr. Kramp’s email is krampd1@parl.gc.ca. Please include your full name and mailing address in your e-mail. By all means forward e-mail copies of your letter to any or all of the following. And to encourage friends and family members to respond as usual.

Leona Dombrowsky, MPP, Prince Edward-Hastings ldombrowsky.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources ljeffrey.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy bduguid.mpp@liberal.ola.org

John Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment jwilkinson.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Doris Dumais, Ministry of the Environment doris.dumais@ontario.ca

Shannon McNeill, Ministry of the Environment shannon.mcneill@ontario.ca

 Premier  McGuinty can only be e-mailed from his website.  The link below will take you to his email message box.  

 https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/feedback.aspx 

 An alternative is to send your letter by fax: 416-325-3745.

With much appreciation from the South Shore Conservancy Working Committee

Working together to conserve and protect the wildlife and natural heritage of Prince Edward County’s south shore.

Meet the Blanding’s Turtle

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The Blanding’s turtle is one of the endangered species that Gilead Power proposes to “kill, harm and harass”  with it’s industrial wind turbine development at Ostrander Point.

According to the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, this turtle is named after Dr. William Blanding, the Philadelphia naturalist who first observed this mid-sized species. Easily recognized by its bright yellow throat and jaw, the Blanding’s turtle appears to have a permanent “smile,” due to a notch in its upper jaw.

As one of the longest-lived turtles in the world, it is also one of the slowest to mature. It does not reach reproductive maturity until about 16 to 17 years of age.  The average lifespan is over 70 years.

Read more about the Blanding’s Turtle.

“Save the Blanding’s Turtle” WCO petition

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Hello Everyone,
 
There are less than 100 hours before the June 9th deadline to comment on the Government of Ontario’s plan to kill, harm and harass the Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will bird at Ostrander Point. This is an unconscionable plan and not something we can allow to happen without the government hearing a lot of outcry from around Ontario.
 
Students at a highschool in Etobicoke wrote me a few days ago very concerned about the plan to ‘kill, harm and harass’ the Blanding’s Turtle at Ostrander Point. To date, they’ve collected 470 signatures on a petition to stop this plan and are going to be sending their friends to the new Wind Concerns Ontario domain http://savetheblandingsturtle.ca to formally comment on the proposal.
 
I am pleading with each and every person who receives this email to please send it along to all of your contacts so that they too can stand up for the environment and prevent any permits being issued to Gilead Power Corporation to ‘kill, harm and harass’ any threatened species on Ostrander Point.
 
The last time we ran a campaign like this was the http://endwindwelfare.ca campaign and we had over 500 responses in the period of about a week.
 
Let’s aim to double that number in the next four days together. If you have not already taken the two minutes to visit http://savetheblandingsturtle.ca to file your opposition to the government of Ontario issuing a permit to ‘kill, harm and harass’ endangered species please do now and then forward this email along to your contacts so they have the opportunity to stand up for the Blanding’s turtle and whip-poor-will bird as well.
 
We are working hard to get media coverage on this proposal too so that there is as much pressure on the government of Ontario to do the right thing and back down on this, but it will only work with your help.
 
Please take the two minutes to visit http://savetheblandingsturtle.ca and then forward this to all of your contacts.
 
Thanks
 
John Laforet
President – Wind Concerns Ontario

South Shore IBA may become National Park

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The possibility of creating a national park on the south shore of Prince Edward County  has been discussed with Daryl Kramp, MP Prince Edward-Hastings.  We are heartened to learn that Mr. Kramp has already begun raising this possibility in his caucus before parliament adjourns for the summer.

A national park that encompasses the South Shore Important Bird Area would mean that federal protection was finally available for the wildlife and their habitat, for the rare alvar vegetation and for all of the flora and fauna that inhabit this fragile ecosystem on one of the longest undeveloped stretches of shoreline on the lower Great Lakes.  This would also afford much-needed protection for the hundreds of thousands of migratory birds that use the south shore as a stopover during spring and fall migrations. 

 We are very eager to pursue this and will update members as more information becomes available. 

 We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded to the EBR 011-3181 posting and remind those that have not that the closing date is June 9th.

Bats are worth $$$ billions to farmers

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White-nose syndrome (WNS) and the increased development of wind-power facilities are threatening populations of insectivorous bats in North America.  Bats are voracious predators of nocturnal insects, including many crop and forest pests.

An analysis by Justin Boyles, Paul Cryan, Gary McCracken and Thomas Kunz (see their impeccable credentials, below),  Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture,  suggests that the loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion/year.

In addition to being a major migratory flyway for migrating songbirds, waterfowl, hawks and owls and breeding territory for Species at Risk, including Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will, the South Shore IBA is a migration staging area for bats, Monarch butterflies and dragonflies.

Urgent efforts are needed to educate the public and policy-makers about the ecological and economic importance of insectivorous bats and to provide practical conservation solutions.

Science 1 April 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6025 pp. 41-42

Justin G. Boyles – Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
Paul M. Cryan – U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA.
Gary F. McCracken – Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.
Thomas H. Kunz – Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology, Department of Biology,BostonUniversity,Boston,MA02215,USA.

Download original document: “Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture”

Original Source:  National Wind Watch

Reminder to submit your EBR comments

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If you have not submitted a response and you still wish to do so, or if you would like to encourage others to do so, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) will be accepting comments from the public until June 9’11. 

The link at the bottom of this e-mail is a direct link to EBR 011-3181.  We encourage you to review this posting as the information it contains will assist you in preparing your response. 

Two points in responding to EBR 011-3181:

 1. Reply in YOUR OWN WORDS.   If you use a few of the ideas below that are most meaningful for you try to change the wording as much as possible. We are now learning that letters are more highly regarded than e-mails but it is our original responses that are the most effective.
 

2. Encourage family and friends to reply particularly from outside the County.  If they are emailing ask them to specify where they are writing from and why they would want to protect our South Shore IBA.  Ask them to follow the suggestions in 1. above.   

  • Here are some points to cover in your letters:
  • Nature Canada quote:  EBR posting is flawed as a consultation process in that it does not allow for meaningful public engagement
  • clean green energy act that allows such destruction is neither clean nor green
  • naturalists agree that Ostrander Point is worst possible place for industrial wind turbines
  • reasonable steps suggested make no sense in light of the destruction proposed
  • winter construction plans seen to suggest that turtles migrate as well,   unfortunately they remain dormant and will be destroyed in the process involved
  • a significant number of birds winter over in Ostrander Point, they will also be harassed and possibly killed, this is not an hospitable time of the year in which to damage and destroy habitat
  • Wolfe Island has been a lesson, no red tailed hawks, short eared owls dispersed, how can you proceed to destroy an even more significant habitat
  •  South Shore IBA is the last of a significant undeveloped shoreline on the southern shores of Lake Ontario
  • net loss to the species even if other habitat acquired
  • other habitat would be at similar risk of a permit being issued to allow its endangered species to be killed, harmed and habits damaged and destroyed
  • collecting and publishing data alone is of no benefit. Data must be taken into account and used to have any effect
  • data on bird deaths and the disappearance of Short-eared Owls on Wolfe Island is being ignored in planning the Ostrander Point facility
  • When it comes to species at risk, the only reasonable alternative is to find a site they do not inhabit, not to try to kill fewer rather than more
  • Reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects will not prevent death and destruction. The only reasonable step is to leave Ostrander Point intact
  • This is not a 6 month permit for the purposes of building a highway or a bridge.  This permit essentially waives all protections for both of these species for the next 25 years or more
  • Only two of Ontario’s at-risk species have been partially recovered in the last decade.  Thus MNR has a track record of failed mitigation efforts, in other words of allowing species to decline towards extinction  
  • Ostrander Point lies at the centre of the Important Bird Area, which was set aside as a refuge for several threatened and endangered species.  Other endangered species that use the IBA include  Least Bittern, King Rail, Loggerhead Shrike and Henslow’s Sparrow.  Is MNR positive that  these other endangered species are not going to be killed, harmed and harassed in any  significant way over the next 25 years on this site
  • Blanding’s Turtles late maturity date (age 25 approx) and low reproduction rates means a 1% mortality over natural rates can cause gradual extinction of the population. The mortality rate at Ostrander Point is expected to significantly exceed 1%
  • MNR is not doing the job it is supposed to be doing, which is protecting endangered species.  MNR is basing decisions on social and economic gain rather than ecological basis 

 PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

Paula Norlock
Agreement Specialist
MNR Policy Division
Species at Risk Branch
300 Water St., 2nd Floor
Robinson South Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 8M5
 
E-MAILS TO:

esa.permits.agreements@ontario.ca  quote EBR 011-3181 in subject line of e-mail
cc: Linda Jeffrey 
ljeffrey.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
cc: Leona Dombrowsky  ldombrowsky.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

LINK TO EBR 011-3181
http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTEyODc0&statusId=MTY5Mjg1&language=en