I spy with my little eye something that will NEVER AGAIN be removed by a wind developer in Ontario. An eagle nest. Over my dead body, NexTerror.
When the community labels Nextera “NexTerror” and “NextError”, it isn’t for just any old reason. Perhaps parody is ingrained in Canadians, and this is why Nextera has earned itself yet another new name: NESTerror. We watched the take down of the eagle’s nest in Haldimand, and literally vowed never again.
So this weekend some pictures of a bald eagle and it’s nest were sent to me by a local resident. This nest is in the Nextera Bornish Wind Project (@ Kerwood Rd & Elginfield Rd), close to wind turbines (634m), and very close (187m) to the massive switchyard for the Bornish, Adelaide, Jericho and Cedar Point Wind Projects— a total of 221 turbines for Middlesex and Lambton counties. The Bornish and Adelaide projects are scheduled to be approved by the MOE this month.
The Haldimand nest destruction was not a ‘one-off’, I’m sure of that, even though Nextera rep Tom Bird told us, “I absolutely don’t want to do that again.” Not even a month after they took down the nest in Haldimand county, they were eying up one in Middlesex county.
Looking through Nextera’s website I came across these recent addendums from February, 2013:
“As a result of new information obtained relating to the potential for significant wildlife habitat within the project area, this Addendum has been prepared to address the presence of a potential bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nest site, and the appropriate objectives and any necessary mitigation measures or contingency plans associated with the documentation of this nest.“
The MNR letter also states: “If pre-construction assessment(s) indicate Turbines 2 and 3 are located in Significant Wildlife Habitat for Bald Eagle Nesting, Foraging and Perching Habitat, MNR does not support construction of these turbines.”
Although I can’t find it anywhere in the document, I know there is another mitigation measure that involves just plain well removing the nest and letting the project ‘proceed as planned’. There is no trust/faith in the MNR or Nextera left out here. I’ve had people tell me, “I know where there are eagle nests, but I’m not telling the MNR!”. If they did, it would be like ratting out the eagles so that the wind developers can come and get them, displace them, remove their home. It’s kind of like we are hiding them from authorities…whether that is a good thing or not I’m not sure.
Two turbines are within 800m or the nest, and that apparently is reason for concern (although not for Haldimand…?). I’m pretty sure eagles fly further than 800m from their nest, and if they fly south into this project….good luck with survival because there are 45 turbines to make their way through.
From the new addendeum document, some notable and problematic distances from the nest to Nextera’s infrastructure (that will involve a lot of construction noise and disruption):
Turbine 3: 634m
Turbine 2: 741m
- Project layout will be constructed so that all construction activities will occur at least 200m from the nest location, and outside of both the primary and secondary habitat zones, ·
- Project layout will be designed so that all infrastructure, except for the transmission line, will be set back from the nest a minimum of 400m · (where does the substation go…it’s 187m away?)
- Overhead lines (and poles) that are located greater than 400m but within 800m of the nest will be less than 30m in height, ·
- Construction within the tertiary zone (as determined by sitespecific surveys) will not occur from March 1st to May 15th , ·
- During construction, monitoring of the eagle nest will follow the methods for the Behavioural Study (see pre-construction surveys) and occur for the duration that construction activities occur within the tertiary zone of the nest within the period of February 15th to August 15th, exclusive of March 1st to May 15th when no construction will be permitted within the tertiary zone of the active nest.
- No turbines will be constructed within the tertiary zone (as determined by sitespecific surveys) (turbines 2 &3 would be taken out)
- Deterrents to prevent perching and roosting on the transmission line, as well as bird collisions with the transmission line (including power lines, static lines, guy wires, etc.) will be installed on all transmission line infrastructure within 800m of the nest, if active.
- The final project layout and development of Turbines 2 and 3 will be determined upon completion of preconstruction surveys for feature BAL-001. The following scenarios and development decisions will result:
- Scenario 1: If the Activity Assessment confirms the nest to be active and the Behavioural Study is not conducted, the candidate Bald Eagle habitat feature BAL-001 and an 800m radius around the nest (see Figure 1) will be considered Significant Wildlife Habitat. As such, Turbines 2 and 3 will not be built and the alternate project layout presented in Appendix I will apply.
- Scenario 2: If the Activity Assessment confirms the nest to be active and the Behavioural Study is conducted, the candidate Bald Eagle habitat feature BAL-001 and the refined habitat zone based on information collected during the Behavioural Study will be considered Significant Wildlife Habitat. If Turbines 2 and 3 are not proposed within this refined habitat, then they can be constructed and appropriate construction and operational mitigation outlined in this Table of the EIS (Table 4) will be applied.
- Scenario 3: If BAL-001 is deemed not to be significant based on the results of the Activity Assessment, then Turbines 2 and 3 will be constructed and no mitigation or postconstruction monitoring (avoidance/disturbance) is required. Results of preconstruction surveys and final habitat boundary delineations will be provided to MNR prior to any of the three scenarios being acted upon.
Perhaps this is why Nextera sent me a cease and desist letter, telling me to remove the Haldimand nest take down video, and the interview of the wind company afterwards. It’s a good way to squash citizen reporting and keep the record clean for them.
They must know that if they go near this nest with the intention of destroying it, they are waging out and out war with the residents in Middlesex and Lambton, and probably across the province.