By Paul Schliesmann, Kingston Whig-Standard
KINGSTON – An estimated 12 million migratory birds will be put at risk if two large offshore wind turbine projects are built in Lake Ontario, according to a report released this week by the Kingston Field Naturalists. Three members of the volunteer organization who conducted a year-long, unpaid study are particularly concerned about two offshore projects that would see the a total of 268 turbines planted to the north and south of Main Duck Island, a natural stopping off point for hundreds of species.
“We think 12 million is low because it’s based on birds being studied at Prince Edward Point. The ones which don’t stop at Prince Edward Point aren’t being included yet,” said Chris Hargreaves, who worked on the report with Erwin Batalla and Barrie Gilbert.
The section of Lake Ontario from Prince Edward County to Wolfe Island is an acknowledged migratory flyway for 300 species of birds heading to U.S. wintering grounds and returning to Canada in the spring to nest.
The naturalists are especially concerned about the array of existing and proposed turbine projects that, if all completed, would create a deadly obstacle course of more than 1,000 turbines stretching from New York state to eastern Ontario. They want to see more in-depth studies completed before further work goes ahead.
“Why would we go ahead with the industrialization of the Great Lakes without studies?” said Gilbert, a retired biology professor and lead researcher who has returned to Kingston after years of teaching in the U.S. “These are not windmills. This is not a wind farm. They’re industrial wind turbines.” read more