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Threats from industrial wind turbines to Ontario’s wildlife and biodiversity

by Keith Stelling, MA, MNIMH, Dip. Phyt., MCPP and Scott Petrie, PhD

The dwindling areas of wetland and other specialized ecosystems which provide habitat for threatened and endangered species are especially vulnerable to disturbance and degradation from this form of rural industrialization.

Migratory avian species including raptors, waterfowl, waterbirds, passerines and bats are particularly vulnerable to displacement from critical habitats and collision mortality. Government and developers have downplayed the negative environmental footprint of wind turbines.

However, as developments proliferate, post construction monitoring points to unforeseen cumulative effects and many looming environmental concerns. Ontario’s Green Energy Act with its inadequate regulations and guidelines governing the siting of renewable energy installations is urgently in need of revision.

Better information on the effects of industrial wind turbines must be obtained through rigorous study and the precautionary principle of the Bergen Agreement adhered to before further construction proceeds and incalculable irreversible damage is done to Ontario’s natural heritage.

Adverse environmental effects from industrial wind turbines

Industrial wind turbines do not have a benign environmental foot print as has been claimed.

  •  Biologists are observing habitat fragmentation and habitat loss, wildlife disturbance and life history disruption when turbines are placed in natural habitats.
  •  Bird and bat abundance declines at wind turbine sites and this can become more pronounced with time. 
  •  Disruption of ecological links results in habitat abandonment by some species.
  •  The loss of population vigour and overall density resulting from reduced survival or reduced breeding productivity is a particular concern for declining populations.
  •  The cumulative effects of multiple on- and off-shore wind developments have not been considered.
  •  Collision mortality resulting from turbines and new transmission lines is increased during adverse weather conditions and migratory seasons. Especially vulnerable are raptors, passerines (songbirds), monarch butterflies, and bats. The consequential cost to agriculture from loss of pollination and natural insect control is a concern.
  •  In addition there are serious concerns that turbine noise impacts within- and between-species communications, including predator defence

entire article:  Threats to Ontario’s wildlife

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One Comment on “Threats from industrial wind turbines to Ontario’s wildlife and biodiversity”

  1. Clyde February 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Back in Oct/11, Syncrude agreed to a fine of $3 million for the deaths of approx 1600 ducks landing in a tailings pond in April of 2008 in Northern Alberta at the oil sands development. That works out to $1875.00/ duck .

    1600 ducks,
    I mean, that’s a wing night at Fort McMurray.

    What preventitive measures are in place for windmills, so that the wind companies and the land owners that have turbines on them, don’t face the same punitive fines that Syncrude agreed to?

    I’ll wait…….

    Clyde

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