Comment by July 16, 2012
Northland Power Incorporated, Permit for activities with conditions to achieve overall benefit to the species – ESA s.17(2)(c)
The proposal to construct and operate a wind farm has the potential to adversely affect Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark and their habitat. The proposed permit conditions would provide benefits that exceed the adverse effects on Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.
Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark are listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List, in Ontario Regulation 230/08 of the ESA, as threatened.
Subsection 9(1) of the ESA provides for the protection of endangered, threatened (and extirpated) species on the SARO List.
Habitat protection under the ESA applies to Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark (subsection 10(1)).
The ESA allows some activities to proceed under a clause 17(2)(c) permit with specific conditions if: avoidance and reasonable alternatives have been considered; adverse effects will be minimized; and an overall benefit will be achieved for the species in Ontario. Providing an overall benefit to a protected species under the ESA involves undertaking actions to improve circumstances for the species in Ontario. Overall benefit is more than “no net loss” or an exchange of “like for like”. Overall benefit is grounded in the protection and recovery of the species at risk and must include more than mitigation measures or “replacing” what is lost.