Subscribers to the list may be interested in the letter Karen and I sent to Suzanne Edwards of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Use as you may wish.
John Confer To: Susanne Edwards, Ontario Ministry of the Environment cc to above email addresses. I am a strong proponent of wind energy. As a faculty member at Ithaca College, NY I wrote a successful grant proposal with administrative support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fund installation of a wind anemometer to assess the potential wind power on our campus property. The test, unfortunately, documented unsatisfactory winds for our location. I have been on the Conservation Committee of the New York State Ornithological Association for many years and compiled the wind power resolution adopted by NYSOA. Excerpts from this resolution are copied below and show strong support for wind power in general, but not in locations such as Amherst Island with famous concentrations of raptors. As Coordinator (now retired) for the Environmental Studies and Science Programs at Ithaca College and instructor for related courses, I often lectured on the advantages of wind power. These include the renewable supply, the very limited production of greenhouse gasses, limited environmental degradation, and limited cultural loss when cited at appropriate locations. Wind power is desirable because it can help meet our energy needs without the downside associated with fossil fuels, when cited appropriately. My professional focus is on birds and I have more than 30 publications and a dozen research grants in this area, and sole authorship and co-authorship on monographs of two warbler species in The Birds of North America series. Amherst Island is known internationally for its concentration of winter raptors. Amherst Island and the similar, nearby Wolfe Island provided a habitat that supported concentrations of winter raptors perhaps unexceeded in eastern North America. My interest in birds and this unique birding opportunity led me to take a half-dozen birding trips to Amherst Island over several decades with my wife, with friends, and as trip leader with other birders. The proposed wind power farm on Amherst Island is the perfect example of the implementation of a generally good concept in exactly the wrong place. Certainly wind power can be environmentally beneficial, but not when it threatens the habitat recognized for its global significance as a location with globally special concentrations of wintering raptors including uncommon species such as Short-eared Owls and other species rarely seen this far south such as Hawk Owls, Boreal Owls and Snowy Owls sometimes even in abundance. Wind power can provide energy for human activities without the indirect consequences of global climate change. But in this case, the construction and operation of a wind farm would destroy the environment enjoyed by many and would threaten a life style and culture deeply rooted in the values of island families and maintained even for centuries. What may be gained by a minimal impact on global climate change is more than offset by the degradation of a globally significant environment and industrialization of a rural culture. Bird surveys on Wolfe Island show that post-construction density of winter raptors is lower than on the mainland. Yet for decades birders have visited Wolfe and Amherst because concentrations of raptors on the islands were phenomenally high. Abrupt mortality due to impact with the blades may occasionally occur, but the abandonment of rare habitat due to disturbance can cause far more birds to disperse to areas where starvation and highway mortality are more common than on the islands. Wind power on the right site is environmentally beneficial in comparison to fossil fuels. But this generality should not be accepted as a rational to locate a wind farm in a site where there is every expectation that the direct environmental and cultural loss will be highly significant on the local, national, and global scale. Respectfully submitted by Dr. John L. Confer, retired Coordinator for Environmental Studies at Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY con...@ithaca.edu <mailto:con...@ithaca.edu> <mailto:con...@ithaca.edu> <mailto:con...@ithaca.edu>, 607-539-6308 <tel:607-539-6308> 651 Hammond Hill Rd. Brooktondale, NY 14817 > /Please sign the attached petition. We all know the importance of this island > to > migrating raptors and passerines as well as wintering owls. Wolf Island next > door is > the home of a wind farm and had been documented as one of the most > devastating to > birds with so many raptors killed there. We can't allow Amherst to go down as > well. > Our friends to the north thank you. > John > / > http://www.protectamherstisland.ca/save-amherst-island-letter/ > -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --