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VVC windmill could pose threat to birds  

VICTORVILLE – As the Victor Valley College board of trustees gears up to consider erecting a 314-foot wind turbine, the project may face some unlikely opponents: birds and bats living in the nearby Mojave River bottom.

Protected burrowing owls, red-tailed hawks, migratory birds and bats live along the wooded banks of the river, which abuts the lower campus. Bald eagles also are known to nest in the nearby Mojave Narrows. Some of the local species are protected to the extent that killing even a single member is illegal.

Birds of prey are especially vulnerable to turbine blades because they hunt mice and squirrels nesting at the base of wind turbines.

A new study on a northern California wind farm at Altamont Pass shows that efforts have failed to protect birds from wind turbine blades which some environmentalists have dubbed “bird blenders,” according to Environment & Climate News.

While the national Audibon society supports wind power, the group says wind turbines should be located away from endangered birds, especially raptors.

College President Robert Silverman is set to discuss the wind turbine proposal at the Feb. 26 meeting of the Spring Valley Lake Association.

The college board is expected to consider the wind project in the spring.

Victorville Daily Press

18 February 2008

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