Great letter, John.
Would you mind if people use some of your wording when adding comments to the website? Mostly 
from the final paragraph.
Thanks for sharing.

Laura Stenzler

[] On Behalf Of John Confer
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 2:04 PM
To: John and Sue Gregoire
Cc: CAYUGABIRDS-L; Northern_NY_Birds
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Amherst Island needs help

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<> 
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 

birds with so many raptors killed there. We can't allow Amherst to go down as 

Our friends to the north thank you.


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