|Bobolink by Kelly Colgan Azar|
So, when Windlectric Inc. proposed to build a wind energy plant in an area well-known for its importance to birds, we decided to write a letter to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources alongside Nature Ontario to cite our concerns for Amherst Island’s threatened species and habitat. In our letter, we encouraged the Ministry to reject a permit sought by Windlectric Inc. to build a wind energy plant on Amherst Island due to the fact that it is a globally recognized Important Bird Area and home to species like the Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will. The permit Windeletric was seeking would have greatly damaged the habitat that these birds — already in decline in Canada — need in order to survive.
According to the most recent State of Canada’s Birds Report, grassland birds like the Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark have declined by over seventy percent in the past forty years. A wind energy plant would only further exacerbate the decline of these species.
Our organizations believe that climate change poses one of the greatest risks to biodiversity. We support the Government of Ontario’s intention to expand the use of clean and renewable sources through the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009. However, in responding to climate change, we must also remember the importance of protecting wildlife and intact ecosystems to enhance landscape resilience.
It is unacceptable to both our organizations — and we believe to the broader public — to be building wind energy projects in areas of high conservation value, such as Important Bird Areas.
In our letter, which you can read in full here, we argued that Windlectric Inc. did not adequately demonstrate an overall benefit to Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will, a necessary step in obtaining a permit to proceed with proposed wind energy plant on Amherst Island.
In addition, populations of other species that are commonly found on the island and would be affected by a wind energy plant were not considered in Windlectric Inc.’s assessment of environmental impacts.
We’d like to see the expanded use of clean and renewable energy sources in Ontario — but not at the expense of wildlife, especially imperiled and endangered wildlife.
Let’s put good things in good places!