Ostrander Point GP 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 Blanding’s Turtle, Eastern Whip-poor-will and Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat, for the purpose of the construction and maintenance of Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park in the Township of South Marysburgh.
Both Whip-poor-will (Caprimlugus vociferous) and Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), are listed as threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario List in Ontario Regulation 230/08 (O. Reg. 230/08) of the ESA. Clause 9 (1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as extirpated, endangered or threatened.
Whip-poor-will currently has general habitat protection under the ESA. Clause 10(1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall damage or destroy the habitat of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario list as an endangered or threatened species.
The Minister of Natural Resources may issue a permit to an applicant under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA that authorizes the person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 or 10 of the ESA if the Minister is of the opinion that the main purpose of the activity authorized by the permit is not to assist in the protection or recovery of the species specified in the permit, but,
- (i) the Minister is of the opinion that an overall benefit to the species will be achieved within a reasonable time through requirements imposed by conditions of the permit, and,
- (ii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species, and the best alternative has been adopted, and,
- (iii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects on individual members of the species are required by conditions of the permit.
An overall benefit to both species would be achieved through the following activities:
- Proponent to acquire and manage a property outside the project area (that meets appropriate criteria as defined by the Ministry of Natural Resources) for the habitat preservation, rehabilitation and/or improvement of both Blanding’s turtle and Whip-poor-will.
- Publication of Whip-poor-will survey methodology and the results of pre-construction monitoring
- Financial support to fund graduate research related to Whip-poor-will for one of the following subjects of interest: variation in nesting success rates with proximity to turbines, variation in fledging dates with proximity to turbines, variation in territory size with proximity to turbines, foraging behaviour differences in response to turbines, and site fidelity. This research would be peer-reviewed and published.
- Beyond standard species monitoring, a benefit to the species will be achieved through value added monitoring for multiple years on both the newly acquired property, as well as the windpower site, to gather new information and knowledge about Blanding’s Turtles and how they use their habitat. Value added monitoring being considered includes; successful techniques and methods to restore damaged Blanding’s Turtle habitat, movement patterns between life-cycle sub-habitats such as hibernation and nesting. Other value added monitoring efforts are being considered by Gilead and will be agreed upon with the MNR district. Reports summarizing monitoring results will be submitted to MNR annually.