The proposal to construct a 30 megawatt wind farm has the potential to adversely affect Bobolink habitat. The proposed permit conditions would provide benefits that exceed the adverse effects on Bobolink.
Bobolink is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List, in Ontario Regulation 230/08 of the ESA, as Threatened.
Habitat protection under the ESA applies to Bobolink (subsection 10(1)).
The ESA allows some activities to proceed under a clause 17(2)(c) permit with specific conditions if: avoidance and reasonable alternatives have been considered; adverse effects will be minimized; and an overall benefit will be achieved for the species in Ontario. Providing an overall benefit to a protected species under the ESA involves undertaking actions to improve circumstances for the species in Ontario. Overall benefit is more than “no net loss” or an exchange of “like for like”. Overall benefit is grounded in the protection and recovery of the species at risk and must include more than mitigation measures or “replacing” what is lost.
The Minister may issue a permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA that authorizes a person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 or 10 of the ESA if the Minister is of the opinion that:
(i) an overall benefit to the species will be achieved within a reasonable time through the conditions of the permit;
(ii) reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not negatively affect the species, and the best alternative has been adopted; and,
(iii) reasonable steps to minimize negative effects on individual members of the species are required by conditions of the permit.
Approximately 7 hectares of agricultural field habitat for Bobolink has been identified within the project location and would be impacted by the development. EDP Renewables has applied for an overall benefit permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) to remove the 7 hectares of Bobolink habitat for the purpose of developing the site into a wind farm to produce renewable energy.
Reasonable alternatives are being considered, including ones that would not adversely affect the species, such as:
- Conducting the activity in an alternative location;
- Relocating access roads and turbines that occur within Bobolink habitat.
Potential approaches to minimize adverse effects on individual members of Bobolink may include:
- Conducting vegetation removal and construction activities outside the breeding bird season when Bobolink would not be present on the site,
- Minimizing the width of access roads, turning radii and construction areas within Bobolink habitat
- Clearly delineating the boundaries of work areas to ensure habitat destruction beyond the site does not occur
Potential approaches to achieve an overall benefit for Bobolink may include:
- Securing, creating and actively managing a minimum of 7 hectares of good quality Bobolink habitat, in a location approved by MNR, to be managed as such for the duration of the project
- Conducting annual monitoring of the replacement habitat for an appropriate number of years to assess use by Bobolink.
Please note that the posting of this proposal on the Environmental Registry does not imply that a permit will be approved; a permit may only be issued where the legal requirements set out in clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA have been satisfied.
The web links on the right side of this notice provide additional information.
MNR’s Species at Risk website
Endangered Species Act, 2007
Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List, Ontario Regulation 230/08
General regulations and species-specific habitat regulations under the ESA, Ontario Regulation 242/08
Individuals who wish to view additional information on this overall benefit permit may visit MNR’s ESA Authorization Tracker website, where information about this permit may be updated periodically.