Ducks Unlimited Canada Newsletter EASTERN REGION (Ontario) Volume 31,Number 4, 2010
Impacts of wind turbines on waterfowl
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is in support of environmentally sustainable sources of energy that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. DUC recognizes, however, that all forms of power generation entail environmental trade-offs, and that there are drawbacks to alternatives including wind turbine developments. Our organization is concerned about our sustainability of such developments and that they are implemented in geographic locations and in a manner that does not negatively impact waterfowl populations and the wetland and upland habitats on which they depend.
DUC has significant concerns with the means by which, and the rate at which, renewable energy projects are being implemented in and adjacent to critical, continentally significant staging habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds. Research has shown that direct impacts on waterfowl (mortality from flying into wind turbines) is generally minimal, but there is a lack of science investigating both the indirect impacts (disturbance, habitat fragmentation, etc.) and the cumulative impacts of multiple wind farms on the waterfowl and their habitat.
DUC has encouraged the Province of Ontario to address this uncertainty by conducting the necessary sound science that will concentrate on these issue. Understanding when and where wind developments are planned can be a challenge. As a result, DUC also recommends that the Province enhance the transparency of the regulatory process including the development of an improved method of engaging the public in consultations and being more responsive to the comments expressed.
DUC strongly believes that the approval process and scientific monitoring associated with wind turbine developments must be enhanced and as such, DUC will continue to promote and partner in relevant research initiatives to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of the impacts of wind turbines on waterfowl. However, until the impacts on waterfowl are better understood, DUC is calling on the Province to establish a moratorium on all wind turbines and renewable energy projects in areas providing continentally significant staging habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds.