MNR issues bobolink vs wind turbine decision

Environmental Registry – Read full decision

Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. has applied for and has been issued an overall benefit permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 with respect to Bobolink in order to construct and operate nine (9) wind turbines in the Township of East Luther Grand Valley

Decision:
On November 9, 2011 the Minister of Natural Resources issued an overall benefit permit to Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA), with respect to Bobolink, in order to construct and operate nine wind turbines in the Township of East Luther Grand Valley. Reasonable alternatives to the proposal were considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species. Alternatives considered included not installing the turbines in Bobolink habitat, selecting access road routes that minimize habitat disturbance, and timing windows for construction activities. The best alternative, which was adopted, consists of:

• minimizing the width of access road, crane turning radii, and crane pads;
• routing access roads through lower quality habitat (along hedgerows/fencerows) wherever possible;
• conducting construction activities outside of the breeding bird season;
• restoring areas of short term disturbance immediately following construction;
• restoring access roads, turbine bases, and other areas of long term disturbance following decommissioning of the project;
• implementing additional mitigation measures (which may include turbine operation changes, and/or providing additional habitat for Bobolink) if post-construction monitoring finds significant Bobolink mortality associated with the operation of the wind turbines; and
• creating 12.5 ha of high quality Bobolink habitat and maintaining it as such until the decommissioning of the project.

The permit requires Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. to undertake a number of measures to minimize adverse effects on individual members of Bobolink, including:
• restricting all construction and habitat restoration activities to between August 1 and May 15 (outside of the Bobolink breeding period);
• restoring areas temporarily disturbed by initial construction activities to their original state;
• minimizing the width of access roads, crane turning radii and size of crane pads (to minimize the amount of habitat damaged or destroyed);
• routing all access roads along existing hedgerows/ fencerows and lower quality habitat wherever possible;
• following existing MNR guidelines to conduct a minimum of five (5) years of bird mortality monitoring; and
• implementing a contingency plan (which may include turbine operation changes, and/or providing additional habitat for Bobolink) and additional years of mortality monitoring if monitoring shows that mortality thresholds are being exceeded.

The permit requires Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. to undertake a number of actions to achieve an overall benefit to Bobolink, within a reasonable time, including:
• providing and managing 12.5 ha of high quality Bobolink habitat in the Township of East Luther Grand Valley on land owned by Grand Valley Wind Farms, including 4 ha of hayfield, 4 ha of planted native prairie, and 4 ha of fallow field with woody vegetation management. Managing the lands intentionally to protect Bobolink nests and their young is an improvement over managing solely for hay or livestock purposes;
• monitoring habitat use by Bobolink in the managed habitat for 5 years to provide scientific data on best practices for creating and managing habitat for Bobolink; and
• conducting post-construction research to obtain scientific data on the impact of wind turbines on Bobolink nesting behaviour.

In addition, the permit requires Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. to:
• monitor and report on the vegetation characteristics at the turbine sites and in the managed habitat annually for five years; and,
• restore areas of long term disturbance following decommissioning of the project.

Public Consultation on the proposal for this ESA permit was provided for 32 days, from August 18, 2011 to September 19, 2011. A total of 89 comments were received in response to this Environmental Registry notice. Forty-eight responses were form letters which objected to allowing a private developer to harm species at risk and questioned how such authorizations can be justified under the ESA. The individual comments expressed concern that the focus was on business interests rather than protection of species at risk and urged consideration of alternatives which would not have a negative impact on Bobolink (five responses were duplicates). MNR Guelph District staff reviewed the comments received and determined that the permit conditions adequately addressed those concerns and that no changes were required. Provisions of the ESA allow for issuance of these permits as long as the legal tests are met and an overall benefit for the species will be achieved.

Individuals who wish to view additional information about overall benefit permits may visit MNR’s Species at Risk website: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/2ColumnSubPage/244440.html

9 thoughts on “MNR issues bobolink vs wind turbine decision

  1. Am I correct in noting that, in the future, IWT companies will no longer have to satisfy MNR requirements and restrictions under the Endangered Species Act, since Bill 55 (the recently-passed “Budget Bill”) exempts them from having to comply?

  2. Can anyone tell me where to go to find the location of these turbines? are they the ones already up or is this a new bunch going in? Is there a central registry showing proposed/applied for wind farms or is on a case by case? Does the application have to be filed with the town so all can access it or is it with some other agency?

  3. Quote” This notice was first published on the Environmental Registry on August 18, 2011. It was republished on April 30, 2012 to give notice of the decision”
    And the inks hardly even dry on the Budget yet. Let the carnage begin. Thanks for nothing NDP

  4. You really didn’t think the government was going to do anything about this, .. Did you..?? And the beat goes on,, total annihilation of rural Ontario as we know it..Sickening..

  5. Unfortunately, it was / is, all too predictable. There was never any Question as to whether they`d get their KILL Permit. McGuinty is no better than a cold blooded murderer himself, and the NDP are now 100% complicit, in the ongoing crimes against the Environment.
    Who would have beleived, not long ago, that the Provincial, as well as the Federal, Conservative Parties, are the real and actually only, protectors of our environment, as well as our democracy.
    Now thanks to Elizabeth Witmer taking McGuintys Bribe of running WCB, people of Windsor will vote in a byelection, and proove to the ROO (Rest Of Ontario) just how intelligent they are or at least how politically informed they are. Keep your fingers and toes crossed !
    And if you know anyone in that area that`s voting, you may want to talk some sense into them, if needed. Just a thought.

  6. I sure hope the Bobolinks don’t fly down to Haldimand County they will not be safe here either but instead of nine turbines, they will have to contend with almost 200. What right do we humans have to harm and destroy the habitats of other species that we share this planet with? It seems the only justification is to make billionaires out of a select few.

    Most of us are too young to remember our countries being invaded during the first or second world wars but what is happening in Ontario is on par with that. Waves of foreign armies are moving into our province, our homes and our lives and destroying everything in their paths, everything we hold dear, destroying the countryside, eliminating the wildlife, decimating our world as we know it – all in the name of the new Green God.

    The most horrendous aspect is that not only is our government allowing this to happen they are actually helping these invaders every step of the way. The latest obscenity was Bill 55 (the recently-passed “Budget Bill”) which in the tradition of sleazy American politics had a hidden agenda, this one Amending the Endangered Species act, to allow without our public knowledge projects including renewable energy (INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES) to kill, harm or harass any endangered species, to destroy or remove their habitat.

  7. Well said, Summerhaven Summerhell. Really appreciate your thoughts and comments. We have NO RIGHT to disturb other earthlings, let alone maim and kill them – no right whatsoever. God, we are paying a horrific price for harming them.

    As long as they are relegated to the status of “resource” rather than being fully recognized as the sentient and highly evolved beings that they truly are, they will be sacrificed, relegated to the category of collateral damage.

    Dear God, how will our species be viewed in the future? As stuck in criminal narcissistic psychopathology, I reckon. Still, there are many of us who truly and deeply value, embody and live inter-species empathy.

    Mercy.

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