How have other projects handled the wildlife issues?
Each project has its unique natural habitat/environment. Developers use pre and post-construction data 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. 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, National Audubon Society, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Citizen Action, Blue Green Alliance, Alliance for Water Future, National Wildlife Federation, National Resources Defense Council, Earth Day Coalition, Environment Ohio, Mom's Clean Air Force, Interfaith Power and Light, and others.
Environmental groups are our natural allies because they recognize having wind turbines in Lake Erie directly helps to improve the environment. Project 'Icebreaker' will be a significant local source of clean renewable electricy reducing demand for our oldest dirtiest coal fired power plants. In fact, several environmental groups have officially endorsed our project. LEEDCo will continue to collaborate with environmental groups as more wildlife assessments are completed.
Will the project negatively impact aquatic species during/after construction?
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 Furthermore, LEEDCo is currently conducting a thorough pre-construction risk evaluation based on all available data. We expect that the Icebreaker pilot project will help demonstrate that offshore wind turbines have a net positive impact on the environment.
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 hired internationally recognized wildlife expert, Paul Kerlinger, to perform a bird & bat risk assessment. This assessment concludes that Icebreaker will have no significant impact on the birds and bats present in the area. LEEDCo is currently designing a post-construction monitoring plan to ensure best practices are developed.
How will the project affect avian and bat life?
Internationally recognized wildlife expert, Paul Kerlinger, concluded in a recent report that "Icebreaker" will have no significant impact on the birds and bats that frequent the area.
The data gathered 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