Alberta aims to protect bats

[Editor’s Note:  Ontario has no mitigation plans in place and has refused to address this serious issue.]

By JENNA McMURRAY, Calgary Sun, www.calgarycsun.com

With the growth of the wind energy industry in Southern Alberta, the development of protocol to protect the province’s migratory bat population is now underway.

Lisa Wilkinson, a species at risk biologist with Alberta Fish and Wildlife and head of the Alberta Bat Action Team (ABAT), said Alberta was a North American pioneer in establishing pre-construction guidelines for wind farm operators.

Now, ABAT is working with the provincial government and representatives from the wind energy industry to create post-construction protocol in order to help protect bats, which suffer a high mortality rate near wind turbines.

Guidelines are currently being drawn up to help measure the impact on the bat population once new wind farms go into production.

The protocol may also provide information to wind farm operators about the possibility of putting operations on hold or slowing down production by changing turbine speeds if it’s shown too many bats are dying.

“(Wind farm operators) would know beforehand there would be certain mitigation steps required and they could evaluate the impact to their business if operations had to be slowed down,” said Wilkinson.

“We’d like to look at having agreements where they would agree to implement mitigation if required.”

Southern Alberta is an optimal location for wind farms due to the regular gusts that sweep through the area, however it is also a migration corridor for bats, said Wilkinson.

Colliding with turbines is one cause of death for the small flying mammals, however, the change in wind pressure created by the blades is believed to be another.

Wilkinson said producing green energy is very important for Alberta, so it is crucial that government and industry work together to find a solution that will both save bats and allow for maximum wind energy production.

ABAT is hoping to have the new protocol drafted by the end of the year.

4 thoughts on “Alberta aims to protect bats

  1. Thank goodness this is being studied! Bats are crucial to our Eco system. David Suzuki is very concerned about Bat mortality. Bats keep our insect populations under control. More insects can create a need for harsher chemical solutions for farmers crops! Not to mention the increase of West Nile as a threat to our health. Keep up the good work. We hope that bat mortality is taken seriously here in Ontario as we desperately need bats to control our abundant and prolific insects in our pine forests.
    Thank you Lisa Wilkinson and thank you wind industry for keeping an open mind. This could be a political time bomb and it is encouraging to see that you are taking precautionary action now before it is too late!

  2. David Suzuki isn’t concerned enough about this problem to ever criticize wind power. He will stand by and watch our bats and raptors all die off before he’ll take any action, as will the WWF and Sierra Club.

  3. David Suzuki is an eco-terrorist.

    This is what Suzuki really says: “Alternative energy sources are absolutely necessary. Global warming will kill birds and bats, as well as other species, in much greater numbers than wind power.”

    Global warming would in fact increase bird and bat populations!

    Suzuki obviously is ignoring the loss of eagles and hawks in various industrial turbine developments in California, Spain, Scotland and countless other wind turbine sites around the world.

    Want to guess who funds the Suzuki Foundation?

  4. I believe Suzuki’s days of making any type of statement that really matters is long gone…………as well as Al Gore or any rep from the WWF, Sierra Club along with any other group who has hung their hat on the Global warming Hitching Post!

    Now legal claims are starting to be leveled at these people for raising money on Lies and False Claims not to mention the massive damage done around the world with Political agendas that have affected people with poverty, land loss and destructive industrial practices all in the name of Global Warming.

    Wouldn’t be a complete list without including McGuinty and gang in this category! Too bad Smitherman has slunk away from his role in this or he would be on the hot seat too!

    Of course if he gets to be Mayor of Toronto he will be back on the front pages with his insane agendas and lack of respect for Torontonians!

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