Wolfe Island bird, bat mortality prompts call for moratorium

North Country Public Radio
Listen to full interview

An environmental group is calling for a three-year moratorium on building more wind turbines in the St Lawrence Valley. Save The River points to recently released data indicating the 86-turbine wind farm on Wolfe Island caused more than a 1800 bird and bat deaths in six months. The group’s assistant director Stephanie Weiss says that’s more than double the national average. “When we’re comparing these numbers, we’re talking about how many birds are dying in a 12-month period. The national average might be 2 or 3 or even as high as 4. But the numbers we’re seeing out of Wolfe Island are 8 birds per turbine, in a six-month period,” Weiss said.

Wolfe Island is Canadian territory. In Canada, the province decides where wind farms can be built. In New York State, it’s up to local town governments. Weiss says a moratorium would give them time to find out why avian mortality rates are so high on Wolfe Island. It’s the only wind farm on the St Lawrence River and it’s six months into a three-year study on bird and bat deaths caused by turbines.

“There are a lot of reasons why this could happen. Wolfe Island itself is an important bird area, designated by Nature Canada. It’s a part of the fly way, which is really important. We know there’s some really essential grassland habitat here. We know it’s incredibly important over-wintering raptor area,” said Weiss.

Weiss says once a wind farm is built, environmental damage is hard to undue. She says 400 wind turbines have been proposed in the Thousand Islands. And a thorough study at Wolfe Island will help local officials make the best decisions about if, and where, they should be built. “We can’t just guess at what kind of bird and bat mortality we would have. The three years are essential. I don’t think it’s too long. The wind will still be there,” Weiss said.

15 thoughts on “Wolfe Island bird, bat mortality prompts call for moratorium

  1. http://www.wbur.org/2010/08/03/bat-population

    As Bat Population Falls, Bug Infestations Could Rise

    (from article)

    “These one million bats, in one summer, eat up to their body weight a night in insects,” Kunz said. “If you extrapolate that over a million bats, that amounts to about 694 tons of insects.”

    end of quoting from article..


    Mosquito with West Nile found in Bolingbrook

    August 4, 2010

    From Staff Reports
    A mosquito carrying the West Nile virus has been found in Bolingbrook

    (end of quoting)

    I remember the last West Nile scare.. I remember all the crows that died..

    What are these people playing at with their industrial wind turbines? Don’t they understand that when you throw off the balance of nature.. big big problems occur..

  2. So true! Then use of pesticides has to increase.

    We should stop calling these machines IWTs and call them what they really are. Giant PIN WHEELS.

    Children used to make them in school for fun science projects.

    Purchase a toy one and take it to one of the wind meetings in your area. Let people know that you know that IWT’s really are PIN WHEELS.

  3. To make this whole scenario take on an even more disastrous outlook (as if we needed any more bad news), today I read today that “White Nose Disease” is running rampant amongst our Brown Bat Populations and threatens to wipe out 90% plus of all bats that now migrate through Eastern North America!

    These small idyllic creatures should be placed immediately on the Endangered Species List and treated as such. Shut down every single Wind Turbine that is spinning RIGHT NOW. STOP all further development of Wind Turbines Immediately and let’s see how we can help these remaining creatures make it through what is shaping up to the worst Environmental Disaster for Mankind ever to hit us squarely right between the eyes.

    If anyone thinks I’m overreacting just ask any scientist what would happen if we lost all our Bees and Bats? No pollination of plants, ergo…..no crops………..ergo, no FOOD!

    Think about people …we are up to our asses here in alligators and the alligators are our “Leaders”!

  4. In his movie “Capitalism: A Love Story” Michael Moore got me thinking about what kind of society we live in here in North America.. I always thought democracy..
    Moore said that we live in a capitalist society not a democracy.. (my interpretation of his words)

  5. Hey T3………..WE will not be the cause of our own demise…………OUR so called “leaders” will be!

    WE are caring, honest and the real caretakers of this planet, yet our “Leaders” are quite successfully labeling US as the “destroyers of OUR Planet’s environment” and now many of US now believe it!

    These ruthless greedy money managers are perverting the science, throwing blame where blame should stick to the “accusers” and all the while THEY are the cause of so much decimation that it is difficult to keep up with the acts of cruelty and utter disregard for OUR Environment.

    Let’s take back control of our lives, homes and health………..”kick the bums out!”

  6. Quixote; with regards to your comments and others looking for information in relation to this post:

    – Please refer:


    – Please refer: Section 9 and 10, ESA 2007

    – Please refer: Section 17, ESA 2007, please focus on Limitations, sub section (c), (i), (ii) and (iii).

    – with regards to your comments;

    “creatures should be placed immediately on the Endangered Species List and treated as such”

    I could not agree more, with what you have to say, however it is this section of the ESA 2007 that allows these developers/proponents of turbine farms to be operate;

    I have in my possession a copy of a letter dated July 20 2010 from LINDA JEFFREY MINISTER of NATURAL RESOURCES, who is ref:


    …, in this letter she states verbatim,

    “If the impacts cannot be eased, the activities may still be allowed if there is an overall benefit for the species at-risk. The developer or proponent has to provide a plan demonstrating ways the species would actually, either at the site or elsewhere in the province, as a result of the project going ahead. An overall benefit plan may involve a range of activities such as increasing the quality and extent of the species’ habitat or undertaking specific measures to reduce threats to the species.”

    If wind turbine farms were to be taken out of the equation then maybe I would agree in part with this legislation as any other activity i.e. solar, mining, hydro power plants, forestry or other, would be finite rather than infinite, then protection for this species could be afforded.

    I find Linda Jeffrey comments imperceptive, how can the slaughter of a particular species of Ontario’s wildlife be a benefit for the species, further how can the MNR justify the operation of and activity the bring more species not identified as endangered to become endangered.

    Prior to 2006 the MNR Ontario, relied upon the following study that recommended protective measures be in place as supported by the document itself;

    I would be hard pressed to believe that much had changed in 22 years that would be positive in to eliminate the concerns and purpose that were addressed in the 1984 HABITAT MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR BATS.


    With the introduction of wind turbines into Ontario, the MNR drafted up a new guidelines that only served purpose for the demise of Bats and Bat habitat. Since 2006 the MNR has chosen to rewrite these guidelines a number of times that are more to the benefit of the developers or proponents for wind farming in Ontario. With each document produced by the MNR the severity and importance with regards to Bats and Bat habitat has lessened with each document produced.


    Guidelines for Wind turbine companies, as of the May 2010 guidelines, are not required to conduct pre-construction monitoring, this in it self tells the true story of what has taken place over the last four years.

    The Ontario Government is in contravention of its own wildlife protection laws both the ESA and WFCA plain and simple and are doing everything in their power to justify their actions under the GEA 2009.

    The MNR used to protect Ontario’s wildlife now they are not, they have changed, one only has to ask, why, the answer is the GEA, it comes first. We, the government of Ontario will kill off Ontario’s flying wildlife in order to accomplish this.

    This Ministry’s office should be charged, for what it is doing. The long and short of it the ESA 2007 does not do and or mean anything under GEA when it comes to wind turbines?

  7. Many people in the Green Movement believe that the most important thing now is to save planet earth. So if birds and bats have to die so be it. This is just part of the price that has to be paid.

    Seems next to impossible to convince them how wrong they are.

    As the bird and bat population decline there will have to be an increased reliance on pesticides to protect humans and crops.

    The result of this will be the addition of more toxic materials to our environment. Thus more danger for humans and animals. It will be a vicious downward spiral.

  8. The green movment that believe industrial wind turbines are a step to save the earth do not understand the full operational limitations of industrial wind turbines when attached to the grid. To think we will get the technology developed to deal with the limitations is a unrealistic. Highly unlikely there is any technology, just more expensive gimics to mask how bad the turbines are at doing much other than costing us lots of money, kill birds, bats and destroy homes. Wolf Island should have the most recent technology to avoid kills and results do not support that statement. The promises are lies and put out there to buy time. No technology can bring birds and bats back to life and no technology can give those that are suffering back time lost. Time to start decommissioning turbines.

  9. Increased use of pesticides will also kill off beneficial insects such as the ones needed to pollinate fruit and vegetable crops.

    Bees are not the only insects that pollinate our food crops.

    Also one can only imagine how many mosquitios will have to be dealth with.

  10. If anywhere near the proposed number of wind turbines are installed in North America then a large portion of the bird and bat population could be decimated.

    Then it will become a war of man versus insects.

    Birds and bats are our first line of defence against insects.

  11. Basically these “Green Eco Religious Zealots” are all under the same UN Banner that has a real problem with Human Populations and how to reduce the numbers!

    One fellow back in the 30’s raised his ugly wee head and attempted to be the creator of the Master Race!.

    These current people who don’t give a damn about Wildlife let alone Human suffering are no better.

    Just because their “words” are sugar coated and make absolutely no sense except to their fellow “investors” and “Green Gang” doesn’t make them any less guilty than that wee little Dictator!

    Too Strong?..maybe…..but not far off the mark!

    We all know what happened to that little “$#^&!”

  12. “How do we justify the loss of wildlife to create our own electricity? The bottom line is that if we don’t take real action to embrace alternative energy then the results of unchecked climate change will be far more detrimental to wildlife than any single turbine can ever be.”

    This statement is garbage. It is a general statement that assumes “alternative energy” can check climate change and that a single turbine makes a difference, both positions not proven. We cannot justify the loss of waters, wildlife and forests as that is an ecological disaster in which we have spent a great deal of money and effort in the past trying to stop. Some industrial corporations don’t care about protecting private lands, waters, wilderness areas and wildlife and are looking for opportunities to remove existing restrictions meant to protect our values. If protection measures are destroyed with leases, roads, concrete, transmission lines and towering turbines how can additional developments be denied?

  13. For additional information on bird population decline see:
    U.S. Cong.Subcommitte on Fisheries,Wildlife & Oceans: An Assessment of the Global Decline in Bird Populations Subcommittee hearing July 10,2008.

    PDF of the testimony is available through http://www.windaction.org. Filed under documents & impact on birds.

    Even Congressional testimony about bird loses is
    being ignored. More information about bird & bat loses is available thru Wind Action.

  14. The Liberal Government should be charged in a court of Law and be given long sentences in a federal prison for what they have done to our environment.

Comments are closed.