The proposal to construct a 75-megawatt wind power facility has the potential to adversely affect Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat. The proposed permit conditions would provide benefits that exceed the adverse effects on Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat.
Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will 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, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will (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.
Windlectric Inc. is proposing to construct up to a 75-megawatt wind power facility on privately owned land on Amherst Island, in Loyalist Township, County of Lennox & Addington, for the purpose of generating electricity. The wind power facility is proposed to be located within Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat. Windlectric 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, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will.
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
- Adjusting timelines to avoid species specific sensitivities (e.g. active periods for the species).
Potential approaches to minimize adverse effects on individual members of Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will may include:
- Conducting vegetation removal and construction activities outside of the breeding bird seasons, when Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will would not be present on the site (i.e. August 15th to April 1st); and
- Training and educating contractors and staff on identification and appropriate action to take if encountering Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will
Potential approaches to achieve an overall benefit for Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will may include:
- Partnering with an accredited post-secondary institution to conduct research and fill knowledge gaps for Eastern Whip-poor-will;
- Conducting pre and post-construction monitoring for Eastern Whip-poor-will to assess use of the habitat by Eastern Whip-poor-will at a wind power facility;
- Securing and actively managing an area(s) to create and maintain suitable habitat for Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will, at least equivalent in size to the area adversely effected by the activity, for the duration of the project;
- Conducting annual monitoring of the created and/or enhanced habitat for an appropriate number of years to assess use by Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will.
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
Windlectric Inc. website: