View topic - cutting down Bald Eagles nest for wind farm

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PostPosted: January 13th, 2013, 12:14 pm 
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I'm sorry, I am not sufficiently up on the coffee situation to draw comparisons with forest certificaion. I have my own significant concerns about forest certification and the associated political pressures involved. Much of it was driven for all the wrong reasons (e.g. to satisfy Greenpeace threats rather than causing any significant change on the ground). Being certified does not actually do that anyway IMHO. But a web search would probably answer your question about % of products being certified. To be honest I get confused with all the chain of command tracking and reconciling area-based certification (forests being certified) versus mill-based certification (products certification).


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PostPosted: January 13th, 2013, 12:15 pm 
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JF wrote:
Well you will likely never agree with my view that forests are a renewable resource, for the most part being managed sustainably (not plundered).


Just the opposite....... I agree completely! I would be a hypocrite and so would everyone else that uses wood for one thing or another. My self I live in a log home built out of white pine from northern Quebec.

That said...... "Its to bad people worry about rocking the boat in rough water, they then stop rowing, that way we will never get a head."
Truman.

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PostPosted: January 15th, 2013, 12:30 pm 
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The London Free Press has put a full page article out about this issue. Although the damage is done a Western University waterfowl biologist has commented, given the low numbers of Bald Eagles in Southern Ontario.....The long and the short of it.....he's calling it a sad mistake that shouldn't of happened.

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PostPosted: January 15th, 2013, 2:19 pm 
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Alan Greve wrote:
The London Free Press has put a full page article out about this issue.

Moving one bird nest hardly seems like "playing God with nature."

I'm thinking the MNR spokesperson has the more reasonable perspective on this one. They chose the least disruptive time of year to remove the tree. The birds will likely find a new nest before the breeding season begins in the Spring, or at worst, lose one breeding season. According to MNR spokesperson: "after discussions with experts, we believe the action taken was absolutely in the best interests of the eagles and would significantly reduce the risk of harm coming to them.”

Wind energy opponents in the area seem to be citing the professional opinion of a local biologist. But he's really just a nature educator who works for a non-profit that organizes bird counts (and holds a bachelor's degree in Outdoor Recreation and Science). Those are very fine degrees, don't get me wrong, but it seems opponents could have better organized their efforts and addressed the issue during the approval and planning stages of the proposal (and not with the Press after the fact thinking publicity would be the better and more effective approach to take). Do you think there was really nobody at MNR who took their call, or who didn't respond to their concerns in an appropriate or reasonable fashion?

The birds are not threatened, and they timed the tree removal to assure there would be little (to zero) impact on the breeding behavior of the birds. Do we know that tree removal wasn't part of the mitigation strategy detailed in the development proposal in the first place. What more can a reasonable person expect?

=========

Update:

"Local biologist" gives a tough recommendation to the Ministry, but the scientific justification he provides (in his own words) appears to be rather flimsy to non existent.

https://www.facebook.com/birdscanada/po ... 7706359252

"It’s likely that the pair will build a new nest. It is difficult to say whether the pair will re-nest nearby, or will establish a new territory elsewhere. We would like to hope that they still have time to build a new nest for this breeding season, but it’s impossible to say whether it’s already too late for 2013."


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 7:22 am 
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It's a social justice issue, a skirmish in a larger war...it gets pretty deep...

(note that the pejorative tone is to help make a point, not to provoke or offend the good Mr. Erhard :D )

Erhard wrote:
It's good to hear they are trying. But the dice are already loaded: short-range because less and less public money is spent on their behalf. And long-term: research is getting the short shrift, especially on the federal level...
... if we accept the demands of commerce, we are well justified to make rules that the commercial activity must supply the funds. And that cost would end up in the price of the products, and no producer is burdened more that the other....


Spending more public money is a euphemism for increasing taxes. Add to that an increase in prices.... Those well above the poverty line can presumably afford it, hope that the long-term "investment" will be a rewarding one, and feel self-rightous to boot.
Those that were on the edge and would now be pushed below the poverty-line by increased taxes and prices would take a different view.

We could make some estimates and do some math and come up with a number - how many thousands of families are you willing to kick down below the poverty-line to try to accompish your particular take on what's important?

Quote:
If there was no commercial use of the land...
Then there would be no jobs, more poverty. More estimates and more math and we could come up with another number for families held back in poverty.


Quote:
If there was no commercial use of the land little money would be necessary to achieve environmental protection in the North....
....This would result in funds being available for protection
If I'm reading this right, then this logic is suspect. The money spent on protection comes from taxes. Nothing to tax = no funds available?

Anyway, as a side-note (and even further off-topic) it seems to me that we are all for spending more on our pet concerns of the day, but implicit in that is the idea that someone else will actually do the paying. Let's say Joe thinks we should shut down the tarsands. That will decrease tax revenue, push up unemployment and welfare etc. making all Canadians poorer, on average by, say 5% (?). Expressed that way, how's Joe going to vote at the end of the day?


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 8:37 am 
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I took part in the Simcoe Reformer's Poll about the nest removal. After my vote it showed the results.
8% said to the removal 148 votes.
71% said no to the removal 1332 votes
21% said relocate the turbines 401 votes

The way I read that 1723 wanted the nest to stay 148 wanted it removed. You be judge?

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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 9:23 am 
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Alan Greve wrote:
The way I read that 1723 wanted the nest to stay 148 wanted it removed. You be judge?

Ipsos Ried - 9 of 10 respondents in Ontario "support wind energy for its economic and environmental benefits." This is the latest poll I was able to find (I'm sure support has declined some with all the hullabaloo coming from opponents).

http://www.ewea.org/blog/2010/08/wind-p ... f-ontario/

Perhaps it was something about how the poll was worded, or that a straw poll of people reading the story isn't particularly random? If biologists opposing the removal say the eagle pair are going to relocate (is there a reason why we shouldn't take them at their word)?

You can take the straw poll at the bottom of the page here.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 9:33 am 
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Alan Greve wrote:
The way I read that 1723 wanted the nest to stay 148 wanted it removed. You be judge?

Do we want to do the same poll in this thread?


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 10:10 am 
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It comes down to professional opinion from biologist...... On one side you have Ministry paid staffer's that all to often have concern's of their lively hood and employment progression within the Ministry. On the other side we have two outside biologist, Jody Allair who heads the Southern Ontario Bald Eagle monitoring program and Scott Petrie of Western University that both say it was not the correct thing to do.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say......I think the outside parties are viewing their comments from more of a science based conclusion rather than their own personal growth with their employer, while their boss looks over their shoulder.

Poll..... I'm going to guess this poll was largely voted by local people that read the Simcoe Reformer. Would there be a bias from a provincial perspective ......I'm thinking so????? But surly those people in that area or region should have a greater say in the decisions that effect them directly.

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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 11:23 am 
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I'm with Alan on this. It wasn't a question of building the wind farm or not, it was the location of a single wind turbine that hadn't even been built yet vs the location of a Bald Eagle nest that was probably several years old.

I'm also disagreeing with Krusty - this wasn't about tax dollars, it is a commercial development and changing the planned location of that 1 wind turbine would be part of the commercial investment. Since the location could be adjusted before ever being built, the cost would be minimal and would likely affect the commercial ROI by 1/100 of a percentage point or less.

If relocating or even skipping a single wind turbine is enough to prevent this project from passing a financial margin gate, then I would have to question its fundamental financial viability.

Idylwyld - I'm surprised at the $ numbers you are throwing out. From the information I have seen the location of a single wind turbine is in question, not the whole development. You're numbers were looking at the ROI of the whole development when I'm used to seeing you much more focused.

As JF said early on, in the end there will be trade offs, but I'm still not seeing the justification of the chosen trade off in this instance.

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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 11:56 am 
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Alan Greve wrote:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say......I think the outside parties are viewing their comments from more of a science based conclusion rather than their own personal growth with their employer, while their boss looks over their shoulder.

Exactly (I agree). Could someone please re-state what they have provided as their "science based conclusion." Because I haven't seen one yet.

I provided the quote from Jody Allair that stated this is a new breeding pair, the nest was established last year (and contained no eggs or young), and the birds are likely to find a new nest (which isn't located 25 m from a rotor blade). No birds have been harmed here, and the worst mitigation alternative is that two birds have been delayed in breeding by one year. Is nature itself any likely to be more kind (this tree looks rather exposed to me, and hasn't Ontario seen some rather serious wind storms over the last several years)?


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 1:16 pm 
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idylwyld wrote:
...(this tree looks rather exposed to me, ...


Eagle nests tend to be quite exposed. These are big birds and physically can't nest in dense cover.

I do agree that *IF* this mitigation step was needed, it was done at the right time of year. I'm just not convinced that it was needed or justified under the circumstances.

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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 6:45 pm 
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Splake wrote:
I'm just not convinced that it was needed or justified under the circumstances.

Again ... does anybody have any scientific evidence that mitigation wasn't going to work in this instance (or even enhance the breeding prospects for these birds)?

"A Bald Eagle can build a new nest in 4 days" (American Bald Eagle Foundation).

"An “active” nest is one that eagles have laid eggs in" (American Bald Eagle Foundation). Technically speaking, this nest was "inactive."

And whose to say that building another nest wouldn't further re-enforce the pair bond between the mating pair, result in more optimal foraging and water availability, minimize territorial conflicts with other birds, and overall enhance the success of this mating pair (when the numbers are against them with only 10% of eaglets surviving to maturity). And considering that no eggs have ever been laid in this nest, perhaps it was already abandoned (and no birds were going to return to it this year). Speaking purely from an aesthetic perspective (I would add), I also have a few issues with the house located less than a stone's throw from the nest. Noise, idling cars, wood smoke, TV glare, gawkers ... the neighborhood was low rent to begin with. Perhaps the nest was constructed when the owners were away in late winter, and abandoned when they returned for a short stay in the spring? Do you think we should remove the house, as well, and further conserve the area around this "inactive" nest to improve and enhance the probability that these two migratory birds may actually use it for the first time?

I understand where certain short cuts may have been made in this decision. But if there's little scientific merit that removal of the nest wasn't going to work, I really don't see what all of the hullabaloo is about (other than opposing wind farm development as a general principle). No birds have been harmed in the making of this story. This, it should be pointed out, still remains to be a fact.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2013, 7:45 pm 
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I have personally witnessed the destruction of three eagle's nest. The first one suffered a four year battle with beavers. There were two major beaver lodges within 300 yards of the nest. The nest was on the top of a very large poplar. The beavers must have figured out which tree it was, because over two years they chewed the bottom out and the tree fell over. That was about three kilometres from my house.

The second nest was on Ara Lake. It was a huge nest that had been there for a long time, but one of the blowdowns took the tree down, along with most trees in the area.

The third nest was on the little lake between Steel and Cairngorm Lake. A forest fire went through. The tree was still standing, everything around it was burnt up, but the nest was inactive, and has been every time since then that I have gone through.

There was an amazing Blue Heron Rookery on Dickison Lake, about 60 k from my house. I first saw it in 1999. It had been there for a very long time. When I went back two years later, the rookery was finished. The birds had completely killed every tree on the little island, and nests were no longer viable.

I'm all for preservation of nature. However, the strident tones of some people, who in my mind probably view nature as a Walt Disney flick, often do more damage to the real cause of preserving things. People polarized on both sides of the issue tend to over inflate their "facts" and claims, and then they start shouting at each other. Then suddenly a new conspiracy theory shows up on the inter-web, like "MNR is trying to destroy all eagles", and the real story never surfaces again, and if it does, no-one believes it.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2013, 8:50 am 
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We and along with the professionals can make all the assumptions we want, would they should they, could they..... No one will really understand why certain things happen and why certain things don't happen in nature. Why didn't the pair lay eggs last year? Was there to much surveying and pre-construction activating in the area.....we can only guess? But it really doesn't matter! These aren't Robin's, Black Birds or Sparrows that if their nest was to be destroyed life goes on. The fact still remains! These birds and their numbers here in Southern Ontario are just starting to get a foot hold on their once historical range. There is less then a ten nest sites here in South Western Ontario and if anyone......Ministry or other wise thinks that's a lot they're smoking something other than cigarettes?? But on the other hand...... how simple would it have been to push the development a km away in either direction, North, South, East or West?????

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