Birds and Bird Habitats: MNR Guidelines for Wind Power Projects

Submit your comment here    Deadline:  December 20, 2010
MNR is developing “guidelines” for bird mortality and wind turbines. Let them know the wind industry MUST be held accountable!

The Green Energy Act 2009 (GEA) places a priority on expanding Ontario’s use of clean and renewable sources of energy, including wind power. A key element of the GEA is a new integrated approval process that establishes clear up-front requirements for most renewable energy projects. These requirements are outlined under the Ministry of the Environment’s (MOE) Renewable Energy Approval (REA) regulation (O.Reg. 359/09) and the Ministry of Natural Resource’s (MNR) Approval and Permitting Requirements Document (APRD).

The REA regulation describes the requirements for wind power projects related to significant natural features, including significant wildlife habitat. Birds are an important part of Ontario’s biodiversity. To provide further clarity and certainty on the renewable energy approval requirements for wind power, MNR has prepared updated Guidelines for application to both Crown and private lands.

The Guidelines address the new requirements of the REA regulation, incorporate new North American science and information and provide guidance on identifying and addressing potential negative effects on birds and bird habitats during the planning, construction and operation of wind power projects by:

  • focusing pre-construction monitoring on identification and evaluation of bird habitats to consider potential impacts of wind power development on birds and bird habitats; 
  • identifying methods for evaluating the significance of candidate bird significant wildlife habitat and adopting a habitat setback approach, with assessment and monitoring based on proximity to significant habitat; 
  • establishing of post construction bird mortality monitoring requirements for all onshore wind power projects, via an environmental effects monitoring plan; and 
  • establishing a requirement for an additional two years of scoped monitoring when a threshold of bird mortality exceeds:
    • 18 birds/ turbine/year;
    • 0.2 raptors/turbine/year (all raptors);
    • 0.1 raptors/turbine/year (raptors of provincial conservation concern); or
    • 2 raptors/windpower project (<10 turbines).

Purpose of Policy:

To give notice of and invite comment on MNR’s proposed Birds and Bird Habitats: Guidelines for Wind Power Projects (2010).

Other Information:

The Guidelines support implementation of the REA regulation by establishing provincial guidance on identifying and addressing potential negative effects on birds and bird habitats during the planning, construction and operation of onshore wind power projects.

MNR’s Guideline to Assist in the Review of Wind Power Proposals: Potential Impacts to Birds and Bird Habitats (August, 2007) no longer applies to wind power projects being reviewed under the Renewable Energy Approval regulation (O.Reg. 359/09). As interim direction until final Guidelines are approved, the criteria and procedures identified in these Guidelines will be deemed to be acceptable by MNR for wind power projects reviewed under the REA regulation (O.Reg. 359/09).

The following weblinks provide supporting information about this notice:

Birds and Bird Habitats: Guidelines for Wind Power Projects 
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@renewable/documents/document/stdprod_071273.pdf 

Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide (Ministry of Natural Resources)
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/FW/Publication/MNR_E001285P.html

Additional information related to the approval process for renewable energy projects is available at:

Approval and Permitting Requirements Document (Ministry of Natural Resources)
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@renewable/documents/document/277097.pdf

Renewable Energy Approval regulation (Ministry of the Environment)
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/business/green-energy/docs/O.%20Reg%20359-09.pdf

Additional background information on the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, is available at the following websites:

Green Energy Act website:
http://www.mei.gov.on.ca/en/energy/gea/

Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure website:
http://www.mei.gov.on.ca/index.php

Ministry of the Environment website:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/

18 thoughts on “Birds and Bird Habitats: MNR Guidelines for Wind Power Projects

  1. T3, I am planning to write an article on treatment considerations for Wind Turbine Syndrome.

    Can you elaborate on what is happening with your health?

  2. T3, I thank you very much for sharing this information. I have been a Registered Massage Therapist for almost twenty years. Our Scope of Practice is broad and, as Regulated Health Care Professionals, we may incorporate many holistic modalities in our work.

    I am associated with no “government” ministry (beyond being regulated in Ontario), or any corporation.

    Touch is the modality of choice for problems which manifest due to sympathetic nervous system overload – ie “fight or flight” response.

    I cannot say that Massage Therapy and related modalities will “make it all better”; but I can say that hands-on treatment can be immeasureably beneficial. If you have an extended health care plan which covers Massage Therapy, do make use of it.

    I go to hands-on treatment as a first step for everything, because there is nothing that can settle the sympathetic nervous system as effectively as human touch. And as I have said in earlier posts, it is sympathetic nervous system overload which underlies all health problems.

    I would not be commenting here if I thought you were “making it up”. I completely believe you.

    It is imperative that you engage every bit of self-care that is available. Do everything you can to turn down the volume on your “fight or flight” response.

    The calmer you are, the more empowered you are.

  3. “…numerous white spots…This is something doctors are finding with people who live amongst turbines.”

    This makes sense to me, T3. Do you know of a study or source for this?

  4. T3, “Low frequencies penetrate and break down tissue and bone.”

    Same request for a source for this statement.
    I absolutely believe this is true.

  5. At one point, I think it was on this website, I read about whales dying in the vicinity of off-shore turbines. I would like to make reference to this, but am not finding it.

    Can anyone guide me to it?

  6. This may sound kind of odd but has anyone tried wearing a motorcycle helmet to protect from the infrasound?

    Would be difficult to try and sleep with one of these helmets on.

    Just thinking the thickness of the helmet might offer some protection form the infrasound.

    Anyone have thoughts about this that they would care to share?

  7. Interesting possibility, Barbara. There are white noise machines and noise-cancelling headphones for “regular” noise. I have a white noise machine which is extremely effective, but I doubt it would do much to neutralize infrasound.

    It is becoming clearer that infrasound is the really serious and life-threatening issue.

    T3, do you live near any Massage Therapists?
    I am considering traveling to treat people with Wind Turbine Syndrome. I would need to have a few clients in one area.

    T3, you mentioned having a report about “white spots”. I would like to read this report.

    You say you are not sure how to handle the “fight or flight” response. May I suggest that you purchase a double CD set by Dr. Andrew Weil, entitled simply “Breathing”. Perhaps you know of him. He is quite brilliant in helping with serious stress. He is a medical doctor who is way outside the box. He says that if he could offer only one remedy to any patient, no matter what they are going through, it would be to teach them conscious breathing.

    I will check, but I think you can order the CDs online.

    If you already are conscious about living and eating healthfully, you are well on your way to self-healing.

  8. T3, the Andrew Weil cds I mentioned are available from amazon.com. The full title is “Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing.”

    A very worthwhile investment.

  9. T3 & Claire, I think the whole head needs to be protected from infrasound waves.

    This is why ear plugs don’t work as they only keep sound from entering the ear canal.

    Of course this won’t protect the rest of the body but might do some good.

    Don’t think affected people should wait. They need to take some kind of protective action now before further damage is done.

    There are helmets that people use/wear to protect their heads from uncontrolled falls. However,I don’t know if something like that would be of help in this situation.

    You would need something can block infrasound waves.

  10. Back on Topic:

    This updated MNR document is yet another example of how the office of the MNR has set aside the true purpose for which it’s ministry was intended, in part, to protect Ontario’s wildlife.

    It is plain and simple that this new bird document along with the bat document posted on the EBR in March was totally designed to expedite the process for wind energy companies.

    There are three Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Services documents to be used by proponents. For proponents the guidance documents are intended for learning purposes only and are not to be regarded as being exhaustive or restrictive as they serve as the starting point for the discussions to be had with both MNR and or EC-CWS staff respectively with regards to a proponent’s project proposal. The following EC-CWS documents are to be utilized by all wind facility projects in Canada but the Ontario Government does not want anyone to know what they are really all about. They try and play the Federal and Provincial card issue when questioned.

    – 2005 – Wind Turbines and Birds: A background Review for Environmental Assessment.
    – 2006 – Wind Turbines and Birds: A Guidance for Environmental Assessment.
    – 2007 – Recommended Protocols for Monitoring Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds.

    The MNR makes mention of these documents within their up-dated guidance document, however the particular emphasis as mentioned in the two previous 2006/2007 MNR guidance documents has been removed. Upon review of these EC-CWS documents it is easily understood that it would cost proponents a lot of money to comply with specific requirements imposed by the EC-CWS documentations and additionally it would take a lot of time to complete. To make a long story short, these documents deals with the activity itself as a whole. All wind turbines no matter the type make or model, as they have an adverse effect on flying wildlife. Because these documents are so restrictive the MNR ignores them to assist proponents’ best interest.

    Within this up-dated MNR’s document the following statement is made, “Birds are important to Ontario’s biodiversity, and their habitats are identified as significant wildlife habitat (SWH) under MNR’s Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide.

    http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Biodiversity/index.html

    MNR web site on Biodiversity in Ontario, “PROTECTING WHAT SUSTAINS US”

    What is Biodiversity?

    Biodiversity is a scientific word for the incredible variety of life on Earth, from the tiniest insect to a vast northern forest.

    Why is Biodiversity Important?

    Biodiversity is about being connected. All species, including humans, depend on each other to survive. The bottom line here folks is that Ontario’s Biodiversity is only pretend, very soon to be understood and known to be “ONTARIO’s PRETEND BIODIVERSITY.” Do not be fooled.

    With regards to the wildlife protection laws that were put in place to protect wildlife from man, The Ontario Endangered Species Act 2007 allows for permits to be issued under Section 17 of the Act which will allow for the following to take place under the new guideline;

    • 18 birds/ turbine/year;
• 0.2 raptors/turbine/year (all raptors);
• 0.1 raptors/turbine/year (raptors of provincial conservation concern); or
• 2 raptors/windpower project (<10 turbines).

    However, Section 2 of the Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act states, “If a provision of this Act and a provision of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 conflict with respect to an animal, invertebrate or fish, the provision that gives the animal, invertebrate or fish the most protection prevails.”

    If there is anything that you takeaway from this read it is to remember that permits have always been given to activities, however, the issuance of the same was done so on a finite basis. Out of all the renewable energy sources presently considered by statute, wind power is the only activity that will have an infinite impact on flying wildlife and subsequently that of their habitat. Existing legislation that was enacted to protect Canada’s wildlife from human activity with the use of wind to generate electricity via wind turbines will historically preempt all other activities for whatever the purpose as required by statute as a perfect example for the purpose and rationale behind wildlife protection legislation. Why are guidelines being imposed and or implemented upon to circumvent the wild life protection laws?

    This Ontario Liberal government has detached themselves from all species including humans for the sake of Big Business. The Ontario Liberal Government as we are all aware, does not care nor are they interested in the health of humans under their jurisdiction they sure as hell do not care about Ontario’s wildlife. Presently there is no legislation to protect us from the ills of wind turbines. That is what a lot of us are fighting for, however, there are laws in place to protect Ontario’s wildlife that are not being enforced. If our wildlife protection laws were to be enforced then as humans we as well would, subsequently be protected.

    The Federal Government makes a big deal about the number of ducks that are being killed in the tar sands but makes no issue with the number of migratory birds being killed by wind turbines. These are some of the questions that need to be addressed.

    Will your comments mean anything on the EBR, regarding the up-dated guidence document, the answer is no, as stated in the EBR notice 011-0112

    MNR’s Guideline to Assist in the Review of Wind Power Proposals: Potential Impacts to Birds and Bird Habitats (August, 2007) no longer applies to wind power projects being reviewed under the Renewable Energy Approval regulation (O.Reg. 359/09). As interim direction until final Guidelines are approved, the criteria and procedures identified in these Guidelines will be deemed to be acceptable by MNR for wind power projects reviewed under the REA regulation (O.Reg. 359/09).

  11. Big Green Businesses along with greenie NGOs are the ones pushing this agenda inorder to make planet earth sustainable.

    Many other businesses are not involved in this affair at all.

    These are parasitic “groupies” bent on killing Ontario jobs and making a lot of money at the same time.

  12. MR Alias said “how the office of the MNR has set aside the true purpose for which it’s ministry was intended, in part, to protect Ontario’s wildlife.” (see above).

    None of the groups fighting big wind is trying to organize the youth in Prince Edward County (PEC). Students have nothing to lose. Rob Gardner (PEC teacher), myself and others are waiting to help PEC students organize, but I have no students’ email addresses to use.

    Students follow the tried and true non-violent tactics of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – marches, demonstrations and actions, but the businessmen in charge told me they disagree with Gandhi & King.
    “Come to the edge, He said. They said, We are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them… and they flew.” … Apollinaire, Guillaume

    Call me now to help you organize some students
    John Gilbert godhas4legs@gmail.com

  13. John Gilbert

    I would like to be able to help organize however I am quite away from PEC and I am very busy in trying to make people see the Ontario Liberals for what they are.

    Students getting together good concept, (FACE BOOK. TWITTER, TEXTING and much more).

    At best what time that I can afford is very limited to say the least.

    However I have plenty of documentation collected that I could send your way that you might be interested in reading. I am heading north for a week in the bush so has to speak, I will leave myself a note and try and touch base with you when I get back.

    If you could get the students online that are involved in environmental groups not to except Pretend Biodiversity then BIG BUSINESS would be get the a message.

  14. Mr Alias,
    thanks for your info and suggestions.
    I will return to Toronto Nov 20ish, then back to PEC late April 2011, will be trying to organize via the web (an almost impossible challenge).

    Basically – more for others who are posting (listening) – than yourself, you hit the nail on the head when you said: “get the students online that are involved in environmental groups […]”.

    Therefore, my message, appeal to everyone: Please gather and mail me the email addresses
    of those students who are “involved in environmental groups.” If not, then please send me the web addresses for several online forums where involved environmental students will be found. I will with your help try to gather those students. Our number of members of students in our our new movement will then increase:

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.

    Thus armed by the generous online responses, we will move forward as an attack force team of creative thinkers, (not tinkerers).

    Please do not put off your reply because we are on a roll.

    … John – godhas4legs@gmail.com

  15. MNR has other sections in their organization that are in direct conflict with their Renewable Energy Section. Where are they? Monitoring is not a strategy to reduce mortality, just a delay technique. There is no strength in the guidelines. There is no ability to close an IWT down if too much mortality. Look at Wolf Island. More monitoring. IWT developments are occurring close to bat hibernacula even though guidelines say “avoid development near bat hibernacula”. Notice the words “avoid”, “may” “consider” in the guideline documents, which in turn means “can” or “don’t have to”. Guidelines are ok if there are no issues but when there are issues they are a bit of a joke as they have no legal strength. Visit the MNR site. The governments (Fed. and Prov.) have commitments to maintain biodiversity, which right now seems to mean “if convenient maintain biodiversity”. The bs about destroying habitats to save us all from global warming is so past it is a show of ignorance in the real science. Someone reads too much readers’ digest media to continue to believe IWTs can provide any measure to alter changes in global climates. The Provincial government have an Endangered Species Act the Federal government have the Species at Risk Act and there is more legislation that says it is not ok to kill wild animals without just cause. There is no just cause to allow IWT to continue to operate in Ontario with the habitat destruction alone. The intermittent production of power from IWTs is difficult to incorporate into the grid without putting on-demand generation into action. This occurs mainly when there is little or no demand and the on-demand generation would not have been operating if it was not for trying to get the IWT generation on grid. That kind of effort alone (not including transmission lines and other infrastructure) removes any illusion the IWTs provide us anything more than less local spending money (necessary for our economic recovery), lost habitats (including humans), less wildlife, unhealthy people, and the list goes on. The IWTs provide no useful power to Ontario and never will.

  16. I Have sent my claim of right to the MOE that my home being invaded by infra-sounds which violates my right to live in my home in peace.We have this right I have explain to the MOE that my rights are being violated and they therefore are responsible for any accidents I may in-counter due to lack of sleep and other symptoms that are caused from these infra-sounds. Truck drivers are not allowed on our roads without having so many hours of sleep which should apply to us too. They are endangering other victims on the road and ourselves and our family which is outrageous to allow all this and they think of wildlife as first priority.What a brainless bunch of idiots.

  17. For the proposed Mcleans Mtn project by Northland Power on Manitoulin Island of an initial 60 MGW. That is 33 one point eight MGW turbines. So total mortality allowed is, 594 birds, 6.6 of all raptors, 3.3 raptors of provincial concern.

    Thats 603.9 birds for this project not including the carcasses that aren’t recovered or the offspring that starve in their nests due to adult mortality. Lower numbers on carcass count means fewer signifigant raptors, birds and other. The 100% bat mortality is cummulative also.

    The MNR and MOE have the studies on Wolfe Island and worldwide and yet allow this to happen to push the green agenda. Clean Energy as Brad Duguid says.

    When projects apply for expansion in 10 MGW increments, which mortality count applies? The overall project, or the less than 10 turbine allownces. NP has applied for four 10 MGW FIT contracts awaiting approval.

    Their ads on TV or their mission statements on biodiversity and ecosytems preservation is a ruse to the public and our future generations.

  18. Don’t forget that any feedback regarding the “Birds and Bird Habitats” needs to be submitted by December 21–a week today!

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