Petition to Premier Wynne from the Friends of Tundra Swans – Please Sign Now and share!
The Tundra Swans are currently passing through on their annual spring migration. The idea is to create a photo diary to illustrate this amazing journey of these birds as they rest and forage on the shores of Lake Erie before moving onto their summer nesting grounds in the high Arctic.CTV News
Several large wind projects are also currently under construction along the shores of Lake Erie in 2013. Cumulative environmental impacts and complete information about the Tundra Swans was noted to be lacking in the Natural Heritage reports of the wind projects at recent Environmental Review Tribunals.
Written Observations from Residents in Wind Turbine areas:
Haldimand cty ON: NRWC Haldimand project – On March 10 to Thursday March 14 the number of swans were in the hundreds to approx. thousands. They came in every morning and stayed until close to dusk. They filled the empty fields behind my home and they were beautiful. On Tuesday March 19 when I came home from coffee break there were about 75-100 again, but they were closer to Comfort road. Yesterday on my way home on Hutchinson road between #3 highway and Marshagan Road again I saw between 50-100 swans in an empty field. This is within close proximity to where they will be putting these 3mw industrial turbines. These swans have been coming thru here since I moved here in 2010 and probably for many years before. Now what will they do??
Blue Point, ON – March 23 – There are approximately 70 tundra swans settled in Blue Point Bay today. In past years there were regularly 100+ swans off Blue Point but I can’t get round there to make a count this afternoon. Our area is a summer home for large owls, blue herons, and at least one eagle.
Back in 2008, Ken Bell made a video of the tundra swans migrating (it is pretty good, except for the part where he says the turbines could go offshore or farther inland!!!). I asked him what he was seeing now that the turbines are up (but not yet functional… I think the turning turbines will have a bigger impact than when they are stationary )… he replied…
“I noted this year the absence of tundra swan roosting in the field from my video. Like in 2008, the field was sown with winter wheat, which the swans nibble on when roosting. So the basic conditions, an average winter, winter wheat on the fields and iceing of Rondeau Bay were all similar, except for the presence of turbines.”
IPC/Suez International Power
Erieau/Blenheim Wind Project
towers are up, but not yet functional
Wainfleet, ON: I work in Wainfleet on Sugarloaf st. and a few flocks flew over the school today. Then on my way home there were hundreds of them, mixed with Egrets, Mallards and Canada Geese who had landed in a field at the corner of Burkett (Side Rd 30) and Concession 1. (Long Beach area) If someone goes out there in the morning they could get probably get photos. Then driving along the feeder canal, on Canal banks road in Dunnville, we saw a flock flying overhead with all those, Low Banks Windmills behind them. (Dang, wish I had my Camera!).
-Just got home and a flock of them flew over our house, We live on the Grand River Midway between Dunnville and Cayuga, 10 mins away from Lake Erie.
Hagersville, ON:- Observed 15 Tundra Swans, flying in formation, at 12:15pm today (Mar. 11/13) heading in a northwesterly direction from Rainham Twnshp into South Cayuga Twnshp between Sutor and Wilson Roads toward Hwy #20. No time to run & get a camera. Flight path would take them within meters of Samsung IWT #17!
-25-30 Tundra Swans fly over my house in South Cayuga at 11:30am today March 11, 2013. Flew from Lake Erie direction (south-west) to north-east direction over Haldimand Rd 50.
–Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera out with me this morning on my trip to Hagersville from South Cayuga area (approx. 10:30am). I was traveling west on Indian Line(Hwy#20) – just past Kohler Rd. when I saw two separate flocks of tundra swans fly overhead, heading south towards Lake Erie. One small group was 4 and only about 50 feet from the other flock which was approx. 12-16. Once my trip to Hagersville was over I headed back to South Cayuga(east), around 11:30am, I saw two other separate flocks flying overhead again in the same area. Each of these two groups were within a few minutes of each other while I traveled east on Indian Line (Hwy#20) and consisted of approx. 15-25 swans.
Ridgetown, ON: The first large wave of migrating Tundra Swans went through the Talbot Wind project (43 turbines, 100 MW) owned by Enbridge/RES on the morning of March 7, 2013. Between 9 AM and noon approximately 300 swans flew past the northern most tier of turbines in this project (three large flocks of 60 to 100 birds, and then several smaller flocks). They were heading north into a north wind. Glad to see that these made it through the project. I worry about the ones I hear flying at night and in the fog.
Lambton Shores, ON: March 11, 2013 – We witnessed hundreds of them this afternoon on the bog land south of Greenway Rd; just off hwy#21. Proposed Nextera Jericho project (92 turbines).
Kerwood, ON: March 11, 2013 4:00pm – 140 tundra swans overhead flying north west. Proposed Nextera Adelaide project (38 turbines), wpd Napier Project (2 turbines), Suncor Adelaide project (22 turbines).
Port Ryerse, ON: Sunday March 10, 2013 between 7:00 am and 9:00 am, on the Radical Road which is just north of the Port Ryerse proposed wind turbine project. During this time hundreds of the Tundra Swans and other geese were flying over traveling north from the Port Ryerse area.
Parkhill/Grand Bend, ON
On January 22, 2013 I spotted an eagle cruising over the Parkhill dam. Not in the Bornish project but are in the area. On March 5, 2013 I watched another eagle on 21 highway north of Grand Bend. This one was in the Northland Power project area.
March 9th, fifty or so tundra swans flew over my house. Turbine 23 of the Bornish Nextera wind project would be directly in their flight path.
Nanticoke, ON: As of note Tuesday the 5th of March 2013 where 24 Tundra Swans on the lake just off the docks’ as well on our way along the South Coast Rd and Brooklin Rd we spotted 17 Tundra Swans. The last location also noted that a number of Swans were at that location on Jan.5 2013 as recorded on the Fisherville Cristmas bird count.
Haldimand, ON: In the last 3 weeks our bay has had 50-70 at a time. Now (March 4th) only 3. If I see more I will take pics.We will be in front of Turbine 48-50 (you know, where the eagles nest used to be). Nexterror are the idiots in this location.
Lowbanks, ON (near the corner of Hutchinson Road and Northshore Drive)
Today my 2 year old daughter and I were lucky to be able to witness the magnificent Tundra Swans migrating through Lake Erie. We are lucky to live along the lake and there was a very large flock of them in the water. We live in an area where more than 12 IWT’s will be installed along the Lakeshore within 2km of the coast. The Turbines being proposed for this area are the largest EVER built in North America. It makes me sad to think that as my daughter grows, she will not be able to witness this beautiful bird in our area.
Time of Day: 2:30pm – 4pm
Date: March 4, 2013
-Today I took my 2 year old daughter towards a large area where the Tundra Swans were sighted. It was amazing, there was too many of them to count. Unfortunately the area where they were sighted will be invaded by Turbines if the NRWC project gets approved. I honestly don’t see how they will even be able to come back to this area at all if the turbines go in….it is very sad.
Location: Past Hwy 3 on Hutchinson Road – Haldimand Ontario
Turbine Project: NRWC
Turbines to be in proximity (2km): #82, 19, 91, 11, 12, 13, 41, 72
Harrow, ON: Saw the tundra swans for the first time on March 3. A few dozen landed at the far north end of the field they normally forage from. The number of birds is distinctly down in number from the usual flock that forages in this area. They appear to be keeping their distance from the turbines to the south of this field.
Project Name: AIM Harrow Wind Farm
Project Developer: IPC/GDF Suez
Turbine number or site: 24
Date & Time of day: March 3, 1:oo pm
Port Dover ON (East Quarter Line Road): March 03, 2013 I’ve witnessed the Tundra/Whistler Swans using this location for decades. In previous years they could be observed much closer to the road but I’m sure the current construction has pushed them far back to the tree line. Tundra swans are a large finicky bird that require this location for resting and feeding before continuing their long migration north. What a shame that this location has to be used for these monstrous wind turbines. What a shame local taxpayers and council have no input in this matter. Is Ontario ruled by a dictatorship? Is this what it has come down to? Shame on Dalton McGuinty and his ruling liberal party for forcing this upon all those who oppose, especially considering they are the majority. So much for majority rules!
Jarvis, ON: Saw my fist flock of swans this year on Feb 28 about 3:30. They fly right over our farm in Haldimand. There was about 10 – 15 of them. We are across the road from a turbine from Nextera Summer Haven project.
Nextera – Turbine 14 ( not up yet) on Concession 6 in Jarvis
Yesterday (March 17th) we saw a very large flock of Tundra Swans (well over 100 birds) while we were driving on Hwy 3. More specifically the birds were in two separate but close fields on the north side of Highway 3 west of Jarvis (actually just west of the intersection of the road to Townsend). The birds were there at 3pm and again at about 7:20pm.
Unfortunately, and I sincerely mean unfortunately, there is a large industrial complex of wind turbines being constructed on the south side of Hwy 3 between Cayuga and Jarvis.
A second interesting observation is that although there are many wind turbines fully erected, there are no functioning lights on any of them which, in my opinion, is a serious danger to any small aircraft operating in that area particularly during darkness when the wind turbines are virtually invisible.
Clear Creek, ON: Since the 18 1.65 MW Vestas in the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore IWT ZONE started generating, mid 2008, there have been 0, NO, Tundra Swans roosting in the Big Creek Marsh and feeding in the corn or soybean fields either fall or spring migration where ONCE there were 10 000s of them. Some people may still report that they see “some” Tundra Swans, but a half dozen swans doesn’t represent the huge migrating flocks that once were.
Please help to illustrate this timeless wonder of nature as the birds pass through using globally significant migratory pathways as they cross the Great Lakes. It is time to document where, when and how many you see. Please submit any photos or other items of interest about the spring migration for 2013 here: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Project Name
– Project Developer
– Turbine number or site
– Infrastructure location
– Date & Time of day
Photos documenting other wildlife and their interactions with the wind projects and those under construction will also be reviewed for posting and are welcomed.
Let us show the Ministry of the Environment what was missed in the documents for the Renewable Energy Approvals already granted. Our snow birds, the Tundra Swans are a treasure for all and for the generations yet to be.
 The Tribunal finds that Mr. Slaman has raised a number of significant concerns with respect to baseline studies and ongoing monitoring requirements of the Project’s impact on tundra swans and their habitat. The Tribunal therefore makes recommendations for the consideration of the Director and the Approval Holder on these points. (page 4, 1st paragraph 1)
 The Tribunal adopts the finding in Erickson v. Director (Ministry of the Environment),  O.E.R.T.D. No. 29 that the evidence must meet the civil standard of proof, in that “will cause” should be proven to the standard of “more likely than not”. (page 23; paragraph 6)
 In addressing the grounds of Mr. Slaman’s appeal, the Tribunal first notes that the test the Appellants must satisfy under s. 145.2.1(2) of the EPA is not whether there are inadequacies in the surveys and assessments submitted by the Approval Holder in support of its application for the REA. The test is whether engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will result in serious and irreversible harm. However, inadequacies in surveys and assessments may be a relevant consideration in evaluating whether the test has been met. (page 25; paragraph 2)
 The Tribunal is compelled to note that it nonetheless has outstanding concerns in this case as a result of the unique migration characteristics of the tundra swan, and the REA’s restricted mortality monitoring window. The REA requires three years of post-construction collision mortality monitoring between May 1 and October 31 only, thus outside the period when tundra swans are present during spring migration. Tundra swan deaths, should there be any during the spring migration, will not be observed, and the species will therefore not benefit from the mortality thresholds outlined in the Bird Guideline……(page 28; paragraph 4)
 Dr. Petrie further stated that, if only a few turbines were constructed along the north shore of Lake Erie, then he would certainly agree that all the other fields would be available for foraging. However, he asserted that, in the area from Port Dover to the Grand River, there are a lot of fields closely associated with wetlands that will have wind turbines. He also asserted that, although he could not state there would be major cumulative effects, no one could state that there would not be. In response to a further question posed by Ms. Harris, Dr. Petrie agreed that he did not know what percentage of fields are being used for wind turbines for other wind farm projects in the area, but he noted that this information could be obtained. (page 31,32; paragraph last and 1st)
 Dr. Petrie also expressed concern regarding the barrier effect of placing what he described as a gauntlet of wind turbines between the tundra swans’ roosting and foraging areas. In this regard, the Tribunal notes that behavioural studies, recommended in the Environment Canada-Canadian Wildlife Service (“EC-CWS”) guidance document for Monitoring Protocols, were not conducted in this case. Section 8.2 of the Environment Canada EA Guide, entitled “Additional information required to deal with particular factors of concern”, requires a behavioural study to be undertaken. This is relevant to the Tribunal’s analysis of Capital Power’s EIS with respect to tundra swans. Section 8.2 notes:
(I)f large concentrations of birds occur nearby, either staging or on migration, then surveys should be undertaken to understand the behaviour of the birds, and whether they are likely to be put at risk by the turbines. Such studies need to be undertaken at the appropriate time of year when the bird concentrations are present. These studies should determine how many birds move through the proposed sites of the turbines (e.g., between breeding and feeding locations) and how frequently. Are the birds likely to fly through the site if they are disturbed? At what height are the birds moving through? How close are the proposed turbine sites to important feeding or staging locations, and are these likely to be disrupted by construction?
 Behavioural studies would appear to be relevant in the case of the tundra swan, which roosts on Lake Erie, and flies inland to agricultural fields to forage. An article entitled “Poor evidence-base for assessment of windfarm impacts on birds” published on-line February 14, 2007, by G. Stewart, A. Pullin, and C. Coles, notes, at p. 9, that “there is potential for long turbine strings to disrupt ecological links by displacing birds moving between feeding, breeding and roosting areas (page 32)
 However, as the Tribunal has already noted, the test the Appellants must satisfy under s. 145.2.1(2) of the EPA is not whether there are inadequacies in the surveys and assessments submitted by the Approval Holder in support of its application for the REA. The test is whether engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will result in serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. In proceeding with its analysis in light of the above described evidentiary limitations and scientific uncertainty, the Tribunal adopts an approach that agricultural fields located in the Project area that provide foraging habitat can be important habitat for tundra swans, irrespective of whether they qualify as SWH under the Guides. It should be noted that
the statutory test is not confined to harm to SWH. Rather, it covers serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. Therefore, the Tribunal will consider whether impacts to such foraging habitat will cause serious and irreversible harm to tundra swans (i.e., animal life) or the natural environment. (page 37,38; last and 1st paragraph)
 In weighing this contradictory evidence, the Tribunal acknowledges Dr. Petrie’s concerns that avoidance of foraging habitat due to wind turbine disturbance, and related cumulative impacts, may occur. Further research is needed to evaluate whether these concerns are well-founded. However, these concerns must be considered in the context that tundra swans are adept and adaptable foragers.
(page 39; paragraph 2)
 Tundra swans spend 52% of their life cycle in staging areas. In Migration chronology of Eastern tundra swans, cited above, the authors note at p.869 that “conservation of staging habitats is critical, as EP tundra swans spend half of their life migrating between Atlantic-coast wintering areas and Arctic breeding are (page 8; paragraph 4)
 In Dr. Petrie’s testimony, he referred to a scientific study in Denmark involving Bewick’s swans, which were feeding in agricultural fields in great numbers. Researchers found that, when turbines were placed in those fields, the swans’ use of the fields dropped to almost zero. Dr. Petrie stated that this was tantamount to habitat loss. The study led to the following recommendations (the “Danish recommendations”):
i. Do not place turbines within 1 km of significant staging or roosting wetlands,
ii. Do not place turbines in important migration corridors, and
iii. Do not place turbines in fields used by foraging waterfowl. (page 9,10; paragraph last and first)
 In this case, Dr. Petrie testified that Capital Power is proposing to build turbines adjacent to continentally significant habitat, which Canada has an international obligation to protect under the International Migratory Bird Treaty.
(page 10; paragraph 4)
 Dr. Petrie also expressed his view that the NHA is severely lacking in scientific rigour, was not based on biological principles, and did not use the best available science or data in Canada or Europe.
(page 10; last paragraph)
 Ms. Kopysh testified that, from existing data for operating facilities, bird mortality from the Project is expected to be low. The monitoring results are submitted to the MNR annually, unless there is a species-at-risk (“SAR”) fatality, or the number of birds or bats that die from collisions exceeds the mortality thresholds set out in the Bird Guideline. In either of those cases, the results are reported to the MNR immediately. She asserts that the larger concern is in respect of effects on habitat, which are generally avoided through the siting of the Project, e.g. siting the Project in agricultural fields to avoid habitat fragmentation (page 14; second last paragraph)
 With respect to the qualifications of the individuals who conducted the bird counts, Ms. Kopysh testified they are all qualified, based on what Stantec considers to be the appropriate level of qualification. She stated that there are no certification standards in effect. (page 16; second paragraph)
 Ms. Kopysh acknowledged that the flight height for tundra swans is 25-80 m, which is turbine blade height. (page 16; 4th paragraph)
 Mr. Pelletier testified that, while there will be some mortality of resident and migratory species of birds as a result of this Project, he does not believe it will rise to the level of serious and irreversible harm to bird populations. Mr. Pelletier stated that bird mortality as a result of wind energy must be considered in the context of a broader perspective, and that it pales in comparison to other causes of mortality, such as collisions with buildings and predation by domestic cats. His witness statement notes that wind turbine mortality is estimated to contribute less than 0.01% of the annual estimated anthropogenic avian mortality. He testified that studies show that wind projects, when compared to other forms of energy production, are the least harmful to wildlife, including birds.
(page 17; paragraph 4)
 Although the risk to individual species is low, Mr. Pelletier agreed that the cumulative effect of all the proposed projects along the Lake Erie shoreline “bears monitoring”. The basis for post-construction monitoring, he stated, is to understand if there is a significant level of mortality. He stated that the May 1 – October 31 monitoring required in Ontario may be appropriate to broaden, as more is learned over time. He also noted that it is important that post-construction monitoring use the same methods and metrics as researchers. (page 18; paragraph 4)
 Ms. Riddell agreed with Mr. Slaman that the Eco-region criteria note that the local population should be consulted about the presence of species. Ms. Riddell noted, however, that the MNR reviews only the NHA/EIS. (page 19; last paragpragh)
 Ms. McGuiness notes that “to date, there has been no recorded tundra swan mortality at any Ontario or Canadian wind power project.” Ms. McGuiness testified that, according to the research she has done, pre-construction bird activity monitoring is not successful in predicting post-construction mortality. Rather, site-specific factors are more critical than bird activity. (page 21; paragraph 3)
Ms. McGuiness also referred to European studies which involved radar monitoring, and show that geese avoided offshore wind farms. (page 21; paragraph 4)
 Ms. McGuiness testified that indirect effects in the Bird Guideline include habitat disturbance and avoidance. Section 1.1 of the Bird Guideline focuses on habitat. Ms. McGuiness acknowledges that some key knowledge gaps remain (page 22; paragraph 3)
 Ms. McGuiness testified that the regulatory approval process allows the government to predict cumulative effects. She also stated that the MNR is looking at cumulative effects through information provided to the Database. She explained the intent of the Database is to enable a study of cumulative effects across the landscape, noting that broader information from multiple projects is required to understand what the cumulative effects will be. She expressed her opinion that, based on Environment Canada information and extrapolating current mortality numbers into the future, there will be no serious and irreversible harm to bird populations, as the result of cumulative effects of wind turbine operations. (page 22,23; last and 1st paragraphs)