Saturday, January 23, 2016

Eagles Win: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Gives Up Fight for 30-Year Take Permits

“The eagle-killing rule was a bad idea from the day it was proposed”

In Victory for Eagles, USFWS Gives Up Fight for 30-Year Take Permits:
Graphic from Ontario Wind Resistance page
Eagles just scored a big victory in the courts. This week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped an appeal it was pursuing in support of 30-year “take” permits that allow wind farms and other industries to disturb and kill Bald and Golden Eagles, as long as they take steps to protect the raptors. The appeal was part of a legal battle over the agency’s 2013 move to extend the length of these take permits’ validity by 25 years. 
The 2013 rule extended five-year take permits, administered under 2009’s Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, to a maximum length of 30 years with periodic check-ins. But in 2015 a federal judge sent the rule back to the drawing board, saying that the agency had not assessed the possible environmental impacts of extending the permit length as required by law. 
The government initially appealed this court decision, but now has dropped its appeal. While USFWS did not provide a reason why they were dropping the appeal, the extended permit period has been met with substantial criticism. When it was first introduced, the proposal was criticized for allowing companies to self-report deaths and giving too much leeway to harm birds.
Read the entire article at 

Somewhat related, I saw many accolades for a wonderful graphic developed at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

https://www.allabouMesmerizing Migration: Watch 118 Bird Species Migrate Across A Map Of The Western Hemisphere
For the first time, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have documented migratory movements of bird populations spanning the entire year for 118 species throughout the Western Hemisphere. The study finds broad similarity in the routes used by specific groups of species—vividly demonstrated by animated maps showing patterns of movement across the annual cycle...

The Cornell Lab posted a version of the graphic with numbers identifying the species at Mesmerizing Migration Map: Which Species Is Which?

If you are from Ontario and following the industrial wind turbine follies, you'll recognize the migration patterns overlap a number of wind sites already.

An important bird area - although not readily identifiable as such in the above graphic - is currently threatened with a number of projects. From a Nature Canada news release:
September 1, 2015 – Owls and eagles, swallows and bats will soon run a deadly gauntlet of wind turbines along eastern Lake Ontario if the Amherst Island, White Pines and Ostrander projects go ahead as proposed say Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, the Kingston Field Naturalists, and American Bird Conservancy. 
“Ontario’s decision last week to approve Windlectric’s 26-turbine project on Amherst Island—one of the province’s crown jewels of nature—is another in a string of ‘tough on nature’ decisions to build wind energy projects in Important Bird Areas...
Opponents continuing the fight against the industrial wind projects in Prince Edward County have recently taken to youtube, posting a number of videos to The County Speaks Out. I'll end the post with Myrna Wood - if you wish to support those opposed to the projects, visit Save the Southshore and/or CCSAGE sites to donate to the substantial legal fund.

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