New Rules for wind developments threaten endangered species

Ontario.ca
Wind farms and endangered or threatened species
The rules for operating a wind facility (a wind farm or turbine) that may affect a species or habitat protected by law. —- Effective July 1, 2013.

The law
Ontario’s Endangered Species Act protects endangered and threatened species — animals and plants in decline and at risk of disappearing from the province. You need to follow certain rules if you operate a wind facility that could affect a protected species or habitat. Different rules apply if you want to build a new wind facility.

Source law
You can find a complete set of provincial rules related to this activity in:

  • Endangered Species Act, 2007
  • Ontario Regulation 242/08 (general)

The rules
You must:

  • register the activity and the affected species with the Ministry of Natural Resources (before work begins)
  • take immediate steps to minimize the effects to the species and habitat
  • create and implement a mitigation plan for each species
  • report sightings of rare species (and update registration documentation, if needed)
  • use an expert to monitor the effects of operations on a species and how effective your steps have been to minimize the impact on it
  • report on species and activities

Report a species
If you see or encounter a species, you must inform the Natural Heritage Information Centre — within 3 months of a sighting or encounter.
To report a sighting:

  • fill out a Rare Species Reporting form online
  • complete each section in the report
  • hit the submit button to send in the report

Report a species

Contact the Natural Heritage Information Centre

How to register
To register:

  1. download a Notice of Activity form (PDF)
  2. list the activity as: Wind Facilities – Operations
  3. complete and save the form
  4. email the form to: MNR.registry@ontario.ca

Cost of registration = free

Notice of Activity registration form

Notice of Activity user guide

Processing your registration
You’ll get an email to let you know we’ve received your form.

We’ll send you an official Confirmation of Registration, once a registration is processed. The registration takes effect once you get this confirmation.

Keep a copy of the confirmation as proof of registration.

Applications will only be processed on regular business days.

Minimize effects on a species
By law, you must:

  • operate in a way that is unlikely to harm the habitat
  • adjust techniques to minimize the impact on a species

You must also take reasonable steps to:

  • avoid killing, harming or harassing a species (e.g., shut down turbines at certain times; adjust cut-in speed)
  • create or enhance habitat (e.g., create a nesting habitat in another place)

Mitigation plans
Mitigation plans should include the best available information on a species.

You can get this information from:

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Aboriginal traditional knowledge
  • community knowledge (e.g., local nature clubs)

A plan must:

  • be prepared by an expert on the species
  • be updated every 5 years
  • describe the location of the wind facility
  • say how you will minimize effects on species

Deadlines for plans
In most cases, you must have a plan prepared before the work you do affects a species or its habitat.

You have 3 years to complete the plan:

  • from the date the species first appeared on the site or
  • from January 24, 2013 (if the species was added to the list on this day)

You must keep plans:

  • while you are operating and
  • for 5 years after you stop operating

You need to give a copy to the Ministry of Natural Resources, if asked.

Special requirements for new facilities
Before you can operate a new wind facility:

  • prepare and submit a mitigation plan to the Ministry of Natural Resources before you apply for Renewable Energy Approval to the Ministry of the Environment
  • if you’ve already applied: submit a mitigation plan before your renewable energy application is approved

The Ministry of Natural Resources must approve a mitigation plan before operations begin.

Reporting process
You must prepare a report that includes:

  • information on how an operation affects a species and habitat
  • how you minimized effects on a species and how effective they were
  • any observations/sightings of a species

When to prepare reports
After you register:

  • each year for the first 3 years
  • every 5 years after that

When extended timelines apply (you have an extra 3 years to complete a mitigation plan)
After you register:

  • each year for the first 6 years
  • every 5 years after that

You must keep reports for 5 years — and give a copy to the Ministry of Natural Resources, if asked.

When you need a permit
You could still need a permit if:

  • you are building a new wind farm or turbine
  • operations will affect the Golden Eagle

To apply for a permit, you need to contact a local Ministry of Natural Resources office.

Find an MNR district office

New or proposed wind farms
You could need a permit to build a new wind facility.  If the project is in the final stages of approval, you may not need a permit.

More information on new wind facilities

Identify a species at risk
If you are unsure about a certain species – and would like help identifying or confirming what it is – you can see photos and get more information on the Endangered Species website.

Get more details about a species

Updated: June 28, 2013

11 thoughts on “New Rules for wind developments threaten endangered species

  1. Went through the list of species at risk again and there are now so many species not seen in southern Ontario that it’s a shame that IWTs are even allowed to be installed.
    What possible reasons can be given for installing IWTs here? None of the reasons given for installing IWTs here can even “hold water”

    .

    • But of course urban “greenies” know very little or nothing about the animals and plants of Ontario to begin with so why should they even be concerned?

      • Urbanites level of knowledge about Ontario animals is limited to rats, squirrels, roaches, ants, bedbugs and a few city birds.
        Plant life knowledge consists of knowing about the weeds that grow in the cement cracks and vaccant lots.
        Same goes for urban MPPs.
        Waste of time for rural Ontarians to discuss species at risk issues with urbanites.

      • Which is why we expect to depend on our government’s experts in the various ministries, including MNR, MOE, … The gov’t is there to protect all living things, whether urbanites know or care about them. Right??

      • If the so called experts in the Ministries are overruled then this is no protection at all.

      • What proof is there that Ministry employees are experts in their areas?

  2. “cost of regisration=free”

    Cost to ontario= priceless

    Spit, another way to rewrite our province
    To suit them.

  3. We need to handle this abuse of wildlife and animals more like it is handled in the USA. We need to license the wind turbine operators (a real license like your drivers license) to have any involvement with animals — walking, hopping or flying.

    Let’s face it — if the USA can have Rabbit Police — why can’t we have Bird Police. Read this story and think of the possibilities:
    http://bobmccarty.com/2011/05/25/usda-rabbit-police-stalking-magicians/

    What happens when your photo is taken for the newspaper with your fluffy little bunny rabbit? Great publicity, right? Well, not if a U.S Department of Agriculture agent buys a copy of that paper! Enter the Rabbit Police!

    Yes, you read correctly, the RABBIT POLICE, and the above story is how my buddy Gary Maurer in Hilton Head Island, S.C., was “busted” in the summer of 2006!

    Gary is a full-time performer working heavily during the tourist season at numerous resort areas and tourist attractions on the island. One day, the local newspaper showed up at the show and took some photos to accompany a short blurb about the tourist area. The photo that ran included one of Gary’s beautiful Angora Rabbits.

    Imagine Gary’s surprise when, a couple of weeks later, a field inspector from the USDA contacted him explaining that he needed to have a license to use the rabbits in his show. He was so surprised, in fact, that he though it was a joke! He was quickly informed it was indeed no joke

    Now, people may think this is just a funny story. However, politicians change, times change and political administrations change. When it comes time to shut down the wind industry — maybe we need look no further than the Rabbit Police for a model. Think about it…

    Enjoy the funny parts of the story — but also think about how people who have a very simple business got tangled up by the legislation and the “Police”. What regulations could you dream up to grind the turbines to a halt and chain the blades to the tower?

    Think on this — our time is coming.

  4. Suspect the rule changes were made so as to harmonize with the U.S. rules and get around the terms of the Migratory Bird Treaty.

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