Invenergy LLC is planning to construct a wind farm in the town of Orangeville. Of the 59 planned wind turbines 11 are located within the Attica Reservoir watershed or between bald eagle flyways.
In 2010 the NYSDEC wrote to the Stony Creek Wind Farm lead agency:
The Bald Eagle listed as threatened in NY, has been reported numerous times at the Attica Reservoir located one-half mile away from project components. Adult pairs and juvenile sightings have been recorded indicating a breeding population. It is probable that Bald Eagles observed at the Reservoir also utilize nearby Bantam Swamp located to the southeast. Proposed wind turbines T-07, T-08 and T-20 through T-28 located north of Buffalo Rd can pose collision risk to Bald eagles utilizing that area or flying to adjacent Bantam Swamp.
In 2010 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service wrote to the Stony Creek Wind Farm lead agency:
Several studies were completed in the project area including a breeding bird survey and raptor surveys. In addition a one day survey was completed near the Attica Reservoir to locate Bald Eagle nest due to regular sightings of this species. The Bald Eagle is protected under the BGEPA. Data from the Audubon Society reveal the presence of 16 raptors as well as eagles within the project area. We (USFWS) have strong concerns about the adequacy of the winter surveys and we believe that a one day survey on the Attica Reservoir is insufficient to determine the presence of these species and its use patterns of the project area. Without this information, it is difficult to adequately determine the potential impact on these species. Therefore, we recommend additional surveys be completed. The USFWS also noted that citizens living in the project area (i.e. Clear Skies over Orangeville) have monitored wildlife activity over the past few years. They have provided data to both NYSDEC and USFWS and we recommend that this information be considered alongside any data collected by consultants for this project.
In 2010 the project sponsor contracted with Shoener Environmental to complete an additional survey that amounted to 24 hours of study between April and June 2010. The Shoener study confirmed the data (eagle sightings) that CSOO provided to the state and federal agencies.
On Aug. 1, 2011 the USFWS sent a letter to Invenergy stating that we (USFWS) believe that the Stony Creek Project poses a moderate risk for bald eagle take due to the presence of a significant water body, suitable eagle habitat, the proximity of turbines proposed near this habitat, and the position of the turbines between a feeding area and suspected breeding area. In addition, a large number of bald eagle sightings reveal regular activity and that the project area contains suitable habitat for this species.
The Village of Attica is extremely concerned about protecting their water supply in addition to protecting the Bald Eagles. The Attica Reservoir supplies potable (drinking) water for the Village of Attica, Village of Alexander and the Attica State Prison. The Attica Mayor and Village Board met with and sent letters to the lead agency (Town of Orangeville) regarding their concerns. In May 2010 the Village of Attica wrote to DEC, USACE and the Town of Orangeville that the best case scenario would be to eliminate all scheduled turbines from our watershed. The only significant outcome of the meetings and correspondence to the Lead Agency (Town Of Orangeville) was Invenergy moved turbines closer to the Attica reservoir. This is documented in the Final Environmental Impact Statement that the Orangeville Town Board just approved.
The relocation of turbines to protect the Bald Eagles would also protect the Attica Reservoir. As a side note the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors have established committees to study and make recommendations regarding Wyoming County water supplies and hydro-fracking as Wyoming County is a targeted location.
Silver Lake and the Attica Reservoir are the two primary sources of potable water (other than wells) in Wyoming County. Silver Lake is located on the East side and the Attica reservoir is on the West side of Wyoming County. Java Lake is also located in Wyoming County but due to the lack of a public sewage system utilization for potable water would be difficult. Will the Wyoming County Supervisors take any action to protect the Attica Reservoir? Will Assemblyman Burling take any action to help Attica?
Steven Moultrup lives in Orangeville.
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