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Avian study needed prior to wind project

Goodhue County has great nesting grounds for bald eagles, golden eagles, raptors, and many threatened species of birds including the Loggerhead Shrike.

Recently, many new bald eagle nests with adults and baby eaglets have been found within the AWA Goodhue Wind Project in Goodhue County. AWA Goodhue has proposed industrial wind turbines very near (less than two miles) from bald eagles’ nests and areas eagles forage, roost, perch, hunt, and nest.

AWA Goodhue’s Loggerhead Shrike Habitat and Pre-Construction Spring Migration Survey states: “No eagles’ nests exist within the project area. No eagle flight paths were observed through the project area, and the project area contains little riparian habitat suitable for bald eagles.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found improved numbers of bald eagles in our county. Why would we want to allow wind developers a “free pass” to set up improper siting of wind turbines that could slaughter the eagles and deter the increased numbers in our county?

From the recent findings of bald eagles and suggested golden eagle activity seen from public roads in Goodhue County, it appears the desktop study done by Westwood Professionals for AWA Goodhue is not sufficient. AWA Goodhue Wind now knows about the eagle activity in Goodhue County. Therefore, it is imperative that a thorough and complete avian study be completed prior to the permitting of this wind project.

Barbara A. Stussy