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Wolfe Island turbine site has highest avian mortality in the province; Trees downed at proposed WPD turbine site

The December 2011 issue of Ontario Birds, (the journal of Ontario Field Naturalists, Volume 29, Number 3) includes an article by Lyle Friesen of the Canadian Wildlife Service with avian mortality data from 10 wind turbines sites in Ontario. Not surprisingly, the Wolfe Island industrial wind factory has the highest avian mortality in the province. In his conclusions, Dr. Friesen notes “Not every area need be developed for wind energy, particularly those encompassing uncommon or unique habitats, or that have unusually high concentrations of wildlife including species at risk.”

The eastern end of Lake Ontario is well known as an area of high migratory activity. As we have mentioned before, data from Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory confirms that millions of land birds, raptors and waterfowl pass over Prince Edward County every spring and fall during migration. This makes the County a unique habitat – and a disastrous place for industrial wind turbines.

The Gilead project at Ostrander Point will place 9 huge turbines directly in the path of migrating birds, monarch butterflies and bats. The White Pines project will add a further 12 turbines in the Important Bird Area and 8 immediately to the north along Army Reserve Rd. Habitat destruction to wetlands and woodlands will be significant, with access roads, turbines pads and trenches for buried cables. The Black Creek wetland Area of Natural and Scientific Interest will be seriously impacted by 5 turbines planned between Royal Rd and Bond Rd.

For the next 20-50 years the entire South Shore of Prince Edward County could be a fatal trap for the millions of birds, bats and monarch butterflies that migrate through in spring and fall. As they fly in, tired, hungry and stressed they will be faced with a barrier of 40-storey structures with killer blades moving at very high speeds. Extensive areas of the habitat they need for resting and feeding will have been destroyed. We must not allow this to happen.

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Prince Edward County Field Naturalists report a recent tour of the proposed site for the White Pines Project industrial wind turbines shows road work already under way.

“This premature road construction before any public consultation has taken place is abhorrent,” says Cheryl Anderson, of PECFN. “Does WPD think that the citizens of Prince Edward County are just going to sit idly by while the South Shore IBA is attacked in this fashion?”

The 29-turbine site is to be developed in South Marysburgh and Athol by WPD Canada. Company officials will set up display panels and answer questions Thursday, March 22 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute.