The proposal to construct a 23-megawatt wind power facility has the potential to adversely affect Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark habitat. The proposed permit conditions would provide benefits that exceed the adverse effects on Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark habitat.
Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark are 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 and Eastern Meadowlark (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.
East Durham Wind Inc. is proposing to construct up to a 23-megawatt wind power facility on privately owned land in the Municipality of West Grey, Grey County, for the purpose of generating electricity. The wind power facility is proposed to be located within Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark habitat. East Durham Wind Inc. has applied for an overall benefit permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA for the purpose of developing a wind power facility that will affect the habitats of Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.
Reasonable alternatives are being considered, including ones that would not adversely affect the species, such as:
- Conducting the activity in an alternative location;
- Using alternate methods, equipment, designs, etc. for carrying out the proposed activity; and
- Relocating turbines and access roads to areas outside of Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark habitat
Potential approaches to minimize adverse effects on individual members of Bobolink, and Eastern Meadowlark may include:
- Conducting vegetation removal and construction activities outside of the breeding bird season when Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark would not be present on the site (i.e. August 15th to April 1st)
- Training and educating contractors and staff on identification and appropriate action to take if encountering Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark
- Clearly delineating the boundaries of work areas to ensure habitat destruction beyond the intended site does not occur
- Restoring areas of short term disturbance (i.e. electrical trenching, lay-down areas) immediately following construction
Potential approaches to achieve an overall benefit for Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark include:
- Securing and actively managing an area(s) to create or enhance, and maintain high quality Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark habitat, at least equivalent in size to the area adversely effected by the activity, for the duration of the project.
- Conducting annual monitoring of the replacement habitat to assess use by Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark
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 following web-links 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.