It’s called the Fort Drum Joint Land Use Study. It’s intended as a guide for the military and civilian communities to co-exist in the north country, exploring ways they can work together where both sides win, keeping in mind the future of the military post and its potential growth.
One topic discussed in the study: wind turbines.
The study says wind turbines that are near weather radar in Lewis County have an impact on it, causing inaccuracies.
Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Fort Drum relies on that radar.
Right now, the Maple Ridge Wind Farm is the only wind farm close enough to the Lewis County radar, but there are five other wind projects proposed which could have an effect.
Fort Drum has software that can “screen out” those wind turbines so it doesn’t confuse the radar. The problem? It causes blind spots.
“When you start to overlay those with more and more turbines because of more and more projects, it increases the black out area,” said Jim Wright, executive director of the Development Authority of the North Country.
He says what this study speaks to is how you try to minimize the less than favorable effects of wind turbines.
“It may entail changing the configuration, it may entail downsizing them, it may entail not even proceeding,” he said.
The Development Authority will have two open house events to discuss the study.
The first will be held November 13 from 6-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Lowville Academy Elementary School. The second event will take place November 14 from 6-8 p.m. in the Watertown High School cafeteria.
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