The Prince Edward County South Shore IBA has been designated a globally significant IBA under the congregatory species category and nationally significant under the threatened species category. This column questions the purpose of an IBA designation if that very designation can be unceremoniously and blithely ignored at a whim. If development – any development – is permitted to take place anywhere along the South Shore Important Bird Area, then the IBA has failed in its purported purpose, and we have failed miserably by allowing it to happen.
Terry Sprague, Picton Gazette
The turbines are not built yet. Once they are, no longer will this be Henslow’s Sparrow habitat, or Whip-poor-will habitat, or Blanding’s Turtle habitat, but it will be a serious risk to all birds, including the river of hawks, owls and songbirds that stream through Ostrander Point every fall.
Ted Cheskey blog on Nature Canada website
“This is one of the most important landfall sites in Ontario. Unique about this particular site is that birds are ascending and descending during migration, whereas normally they migrate over the landscape in a broad front above the typical height of wind turbines. Since birds on migration in this area can therefore be found at tower height, and are typically very tired and stressed when descending, they may be more at risk of collision with wind turbines.”
Denise Fell, Environmental Assessment Officer, Mar 4, 2008.
Given Ostrander Point’s significance for birds, we are at a loss to comprehend how an industrial wind farm proposal for this site could have made it to the final stages of approval. From our perspective this project is a most egregious example of a renewable energy project that is simply located in the wrong place.
Nature Canada / Ontario Nature
“In terms of overall quality, it [Ostrander Point] is one of the best areas for birds EC [Environment Canada] has seen in southern Ontario. EC agrees that this project merits a Level 4 Category of Concern….this area is well used (or well traversed) by birds during migration and possesses a rich and diverse breeding bird community.”
Ostrander possesses certain features (geographic location along the north shore of Lake Ontario, peninsula, shoreline habitat, natural vegetation) that, taken together, differentiate it from other sites. Avian dynamics may also be different at Ostrander (e.g. higher concentration of migrants; more low level flights by migrants that are ascending or descending as they cross the lake; and the presence of breeding species such as American Woodcock and Wilson’s Snipe that engage in high aerial flights that increase their risk of collision).
Environmental Protection Operations Division
” THE SENATE OF CANADA HAS NOW WEIGHED IN ON THIS UNANIMOUSLY.
THEY SHOULD STEP BACK AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THEY’RE DOING HERE.
HOPEFULLY COMMON SENSE WILL PREVAIL AND THEY’LL STOP THIS PROPOSAL IN ITS TRACKS”
Senator Bob Runicman, Dec 2011
The history and geography of Prince Edward County are unique in Ontario. This place is special, as well, to the birds and animals that share it with us. Prince Edward County, located here at the eastern end of Lake Ontario is the penultimate refueling refuge for birds migrating from South and Centra America on their way to and from the boreal forest. In the spring they can be seen on Doppler radar massing on the south shore of Lake Ontario waiting for an appropriate time to cross over to the closest land – which is Prince Edward County. When they arrive they are tired and very hungry.
Millions of birds use this flyway across Lake Ontario– the data of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory in the National Wildlife Area confirm this.
If the plans of the Ontario Government and Gilead Power are allowed to go forward, millions of birds will have to confront another obstacle when they arrive at their refuge. Nine turbines on the Ostrander Crown Land Block and a further 20 proposed turbines in the PEC South Shore Important Bird Area, part of the WPD proposal, will have to be negotiated by already exhausted and famished birds. There is no doubt that the mortality will be significant. . .
Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have responded under the Environmental Bill of Rights to say that the Ostrander Point Project should not proceed and that Gilead Power should not be given “care blanch” to destroy Ostrander Point. . .We as that the County of Prince Edward endorse our responses and encourage the Ministry of Natural Resources to deny permission to Gilead Power.
Deputation to Mayor and Council,Prince Edward County
By Myrna Wood and Cheryl Anderson on behalf of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists
In 2010 Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) completed a Natural Area Conservation Plan for the Eastern Lake Ontario Coast (Ecodistrict 6E-15) which includesPrinceEdwardCounty. Among the conservation values recognized by NCC in its plan is the importance of the area to migrating birds, bats, and insects. NCC has identified a number of priority lands within the area, in particular the coastline and near-shore environments of PEC, and especially the southern shore ofPrinceEdwardCounty. NCC’s focus on the Eastern Lake Ontario Coast as one of their priority areas speaks to the biological importance of this landscape.
Gary Bell, Nature ConservancyCanada
Wind turbines can have a possible impact upon wildlife if sited in the wrong place and as such should not be placed in important bird nesting grounds or within identified bird migration routes, such as RAMSAR sites. Site selection for a wind farm should avoid the need to clear a given High Value Habitat…
World Wildlife Fund Position on Wind Farms
Audubon is concerned about the potential cumulative effects of wind power on species populations if the wind industry expands dramatically. Significant development is being considered in areas that contain large numbers of species or are believed to be major migratory flyways, such as the Prairie Pothole region and the Texas Gulf Coast.
Wind energy facilities can have detrimental impacts on birds, bats, and other wildlife in four fundamental ways: Collision mortality; Loss or degradation of habitat; Disturbance and subsequent displacement from habitat; Disruption of ecological links
Development of wind power facilities results in destruction of habitat from support roads, storage and maintenance yards, turbine towers, and associated infrastructure. It may involve blasting and excavation to bury power lines. Such activity may cause contiguous blocks of habitat to become fragmented, leading to increased abundance of predators, parasites, and invasive species.
Testimony of Mike Daulton, Director of Conservation Policy, National Audubon Society before the Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on US Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans, 2007
Ducks Unlimited (DUC) continues to call on the Province to take a precautionary approach which includes the establishment of a moratorium in areas of continentally significant waterfowl habitat such as Prince Edward County.
Owen Steele, Ducks UnlimitedCanada
There should be precautionary avoidance of locating wind farms in statutorily designated or qualifying international (eg Natura 2000 – SPAs & SACs, ‘Ramsar sites’, Emerald Network and Important Bird Areas (IBAs)) or national sites for nature conservation, or other areas with large concentrations of birds, such as migration crossing points, or species identified as being of conservation concern. The favourable conservation status of habitats and species in these areas is a central tenet to their designation, requiring demonstration of compatibility with this aim by any proposed development. The weight of evidence to date indicates that locations with high bird use, especially by protected species, are not suitable for wind farm development.
CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION OF EUROPEAN WILDLIFE AND NATURAL HABITATS Report written by BirdLife International on behalf of the Bern Convention Strasbourg, 1-4 December 2003
The Great Lakes are large geographical barriers to migration, and migrating land birds may concentrate in near-shore terrestrial habitats until weather conditions and their own energetic preparedness allow birds to continue migrating. Food availability may be greater in riparian, wetland, and near-shore habitats, where flying insects that reproduce in water may be more abundant (Smith et al. 1998). Furthermore, landmarks such as rivers and large lakes may be used in orientation and navigation, leading birds to stop at sites close to water. Thus, we hypothesized that concentration areas are located in regions with a greater amount of water and water-edge habitat than in the surrounding landscape.
Preserving islands of natural habitat in developed and agricultural landscapes should be a priority for conservation plans addressing the stopover requirements of migratory land birds. The WSR-88D data can be useful for identifying such areas.
Characteristics of Important Stopover Locations for Migrating Birds: Remote Sensing with Radar in the Great Lakes Basin, 2008, Conservation Biology, Volume 23, No. 2, 440–448