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DEC letters to Towns of Cape Vincent and Clayton re: endangered/threatened species  

Author:  | New York, Regulations, Wildlife

From the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Bureau of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources, January 27, 2009

To: Town of Cape Vincent
Re: State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), proposed wind power project, St. Lawrence Windpower

This letter is intended to follow up on comments that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) provided in their letters dated March 9 and June 15, 2007, with regard to their review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) prepared for the above-referenced project. In that letter, DEC pointed out that additional data would be needed before potential impacts to birds and bats could be meaningfully critiqued. Further review of the proposed project with regard to wildlife impacts has led the DEC to conclude that the operation of this wind power project, as proposed, may result in a “take” of one or more endangered or threatened wildlife species or their habitat, as defined by the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). “Take” of a fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened is prohibited without a permit from NYSDEC issued pursuant to Article 11 Section 0535 of the ECL.

… Take or Taking means the pursuing, shooting, hunting, killing, capturing, trapping, snaring, and netting of any species listed as endangered or threatened and all lesser acts such as distrubing, harrying, or worrying. Lesser acts also include harassing, harming, maiming, wounding, collecting any species listed as endangered or threatened, any act which is likelyi to cause the death of or injury to any individual member(s) of a species listed as endangered or threatened, any adverse modification, degradation, destruction of occupied habitat of any species listed as endangered or threatened, and any interference with or impairment of essential behaviors of a listed species. …

Specific to this project, the occurrence of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) and Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) on or adjacent to proposed project locations has been documented. The Short-eared owl is listed as an endangered species and the Norther Harrier is listed as threatened in New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations Part 182. The Department is concerned that take of these species may occur from the loss and fragmentation of habitat utilized by listed species due to the clearing, grading, ad construction activities. There is also a potential for take to occur from the operation of the facility throught the collision of listed species with wind towers ad blades and displacement of listed species due to disturbance caused by the operation and maintenance of the turbines.

In addition, the take of other listed bird species whose occurrences have not necessarily been documented within or adjacent to proposed project locations may result from this project by virture of the project’s location within the St. Lawrence Plain Grassland Focus Area. This focus area supports key habitat for grassland bird species such as Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) (NYSDEC Threatened) and Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) (NYSDEC Threatened). …

Finally, two non-bird listed wildlife species have also been associated with the project area – Blandings turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) (NYSDEC Threatened) and Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (Federal and NYSDEC Endangered). …

To: Town of Clayton
Re: State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), proposed wind power project, Horse Creek – PPM Energy

… Specific to this project, the occurrence of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), and Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) on or adjacent to proposed project locations has been documented. The Short-eared owl is listed as an endangered species and the Northern Harrier and Henslow’s Sparrow are listed as threatened in New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations Part 182. …

In addition, the take of other listed bird species may result from this project by virtue of the project’s location within the St. Lawrence Plain Grassland Focus Area and the Perch River Important Bird Area. These areas provide key habitat for the above-mentioned and other grassland bird species, such as Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) (NYSDEC Threatened) and Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) (NYSDEC Threatened). …

Finally, two non-bird listed wildlife species have also been associated with the project area – Blandings turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) (NYSDEC Threatened) and Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (Federal and NYSDEC Endangered). …

Download original document: “DEC letters to Towns of Cape Vincent and Clayton re: endangered/threatened species

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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