How have other projects handled the wildlife issues?
|Each project has its unique natural habitat/environment. Developers use pre and post-construction studies to understand any threat to wildlife. One advantage of Icebreaker is that it has a smaller footprint and can aid in better understanding before developing larger projects. In effect, a small project thus creates a laboratory for study. A Danish offshore wind farm published a comprehensive study regarding nearly every aspect of the wildlife issues associated with offshore wind energy. Source: http://bit.ly/qqGtJL
Have you met with specific wildlife groups? Who? Are they supportive?
|Yes. To date, LEEDCo has met with representatives from: Sierra Club, Audubon, Ohio Environmental Council, National Wildlife Federation, and National Resources Defense Council. No formal partnerships with or endorsements by wildlife groups exist, but have expressed support for Icebreaker provided the proper studies are conducted. As environmental studies are completed, the dialog with wildlife groups will be more substantive.|
Will the project negatively impact aquatic species during/after construction?
One of the reasons LEEDCo is constructing a small initial project is to minimize concerns by doing pre- and post-construction studies. All evidence to date (since 1994) shows that the installation and operation of offshore wind turbines improves the marine environment rather than polluting it. Fishing improves due to the artificial reef effect, as fish congregate around the turbine foundations. Although there are not porpoises in the Great Lakes, here is an example of how wildlife can thrive and coexist with offshore turbines. Source: http://bit.ly/n9Jt88
Are migratory bird paths affected by the project’s position?
|It is anticipated that the project will not materially affect bird migration, since the primary migratory paths for waterfowl veer to the western and eastern edges of Lake Erie. To confirm this hypothesis, LEEDCo launched a pre-construction bird and bat study in the Fall & Spring 2010 and the analysis is still underway. A post-construction study may also take place to ensure best practices are developed.
How will the project affect avian and bird life?
The data gathered so far indicates that birds will tend to avoid offshore wind turbines (source). Even more recently (August 2012), a study from the U.K. government has concluded its pink-footed geese are avoiding offshore wind projects. The species is reportedly able to identify the turbines as a threat and steer a new flight course. The findings have been published in Journal of Applied Ecology.
While the geographic context for each project is important, other manmade structures pose far greater risks to avian species. The American Bird Conservancy has a report: Source: http://bit.ly/eQzRaV
Wind turbines pose far less risk to birds than do housecats. A recent New York Times article indicates that cats are responsible for killing 1,000 times more birds than wind turbines. Source: http://nyti.ms/emIUXb