Open Wind Turbine Mortality Reports

$660 of $625 goal

Raised by 12 people in 25 months
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Thank- you!!! Our goal has been reached through so many generous donations today - yes in one day!

I called the FOI office and they will start gathering the reports now.

Bird and bat deaths from wind turbines are a well kept secret in Ontario. This needs to stop.

In an effort to force some accountability on the wind industry I filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) on August 8, 2016 for:

"All final, annual post-construction mortality monitoring reports for birds and bats (or last available draft, if there is no final) for the wind power projects in Ontario."  

(I filed a list of over 110 wind projects in Ontario that we are seeking bird and bat death reports for.)

I have requested, as well:

"Records related to the MNRF permit granted to destroy a bald eagle's nest within the NextEra Summerhaven Wind Project."

(On January 5th, 2013 wind developer NextEra Energy destroyed an active  bald eagle nest in Haldimand County. The MNRF gave the corporation a permit to destroy the nest . We want to know how and why.)

Unfortunately neither the government nor the wind companies will release this information for free, as they should, if they are as open and transparent as they claim to be.  Hence there is no way we can hold these corporations accountable for what they have killed so long as we are not permitted to see these reports.

Realizing that both the government and the wind industry had no intention of ever posting these documents online for everyone to see, I decided to do it the grassroots way. Over 40 of the documents that I have gathered in the last few months from the handful of wind projects that used to make them available, as well as some from other provinces, are all now available on a public Google Drive. My intention is to post all of the bird and bat mortality documents retrieved
through the FOI so that everyone in this province and around the world has access to them
. This means the people who live in these communities and no longer see the purple martins, or the red-tailed hawk — they will know why. This means that researchers and media  can access this info without having to go through the lengthy FOI process. Knowledge is power, and we need this information out there! 

Unfortunately there is a cost. what they can, I'm confident we can meet the challenge.

The FOI office sent an estimate for releasing the approximately 28,000 pages digitally.  Could you help me to fundraise to cover these costs?

Search Time:                   $495.00
Record Preparation:   $120.00
CD-ROM:                         $10.00

Total:                                    $625.00

Once the documents are received, I will process them into individual files and post them online as I have with the reports we've already gathered.

Note, the wind developers have the option of objecting to the release of these documets. NextEra faked that they were going to appeal my first attempt at retrieving
documents, but then didn't in the end. It was a stalling tactic. The FOI office has assured me that they will separately release the documents that aren't appealed if any appeals are filed. That way we aren't waiting for eternity for the info because one company appealed the release.
Some Background

From the little information released to date, we know that bird and bat populations have been negatively affected by the ruthless introduction of wind turbines into their habitats and flyways.

Frustrated by the lack of reports available, I asked wind developer NextEra Energy for these documents, but of course was denied access . The reports must be submitted to the MNRF, as per regulations, and therefore should be available to the public. They, too, refused to release the mortality reports unless a
Freedom of Information (FOI) request was filed. This was definitely going to drag the process out.

As a test, I filed a FOI this spring for three NextEra wind development mortality reports (Bornish, Adelaide and Summerhaven). These reports revealed that NextEra was not telling the full story in the two-page “summaries" they were feeding to the public. Here's an example:

In the "summary," the public was told 2 raptors were killed in 6 months at the Adelaide wind project.

But when we read through the full report, retrieved with the FOI, it was apparent that in fact 9 raptors were killed in this time!  5 red-tailed hawks and 4 turkey vulture carcasses were found in just 5 month’s time.
How could they get away with not reporting to the public that they actually collected 9 carcasses, not 2? Well, they claim that they weren't collected during their normal collection days, or the bodies fell outside of the 50m radius from the wind turbine base, plus other excuses that allow them to hide the real numbers from the public! 

From the 2016 Bird Studies Canada report we know that Ontario avian mortality rates from wind turbines have skyrocketed for both bats and birds in recent years. 

Here's what the BSC has calculated for the years between 2007-2014:

40,833 bat deaths. 

14,144 bird deaths. 

462 raptor deaths.

But these numbers are only a fraction of the story. BSC states that if the search area was simply extended to a much more reasonable 85m radius from the turbine base, instead of the currently inadequate 50m, the numbers would be 51.8% higher!

These numbers are slightly more realistic, although still underestimate deaths in comparison to this article .

61,984 bat deaths.

21,470 bird deaths.

701 raptor deaths.

Still, we don't know the specific details and therefore the public can't hold the wind developers or government accountable for their continuous slaughter of birds and bats. 

Wind developers are required to collect the carcasses of the bats and birds and file a yearly report with the MNRF for three years after the project starts operation.  But after the third year is up - nobody is counting anymore.

Consider the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus, that is already decimated by White-Nose Syndrome.  Now it’s strugging to survive around wind turbines, with little success.

"The little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), which was listed as Endangered in 2014 under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), accounted for 13% of all [bat]mortalities from wind turbines, with most of the mortality (87%) occurring in Ontario." Zimmerling and Francis, 2016 

Bat kill averages grossly exceed the MNRF's allowable limit of 10/turbine. On average, they are killing more than double the bats permitted in Ontario:  24.5 bats/ wind turbine! This recent research article summarizes that, "around 70,000 bats are being killed in Canada per year."

As for birds, the Threatened barn swallow is one of the Top 15 Birds killed by wind turbines in Ontario.

And the red-tailed hawk is the 6th most likely bird to be killed in Ontario by a wind turbine. Studies on the cumulative impact seem non-existent. The MNRF said they don't have any studies in the works on what the overall negative impact wind turbines have on the avian populations. 

So far the wind industry is getting off scot-free.

Where is the government oversight?

Where are the cumulative impact studies?

Where are the investigations?  Environment Canada investigated and fined LNG $750,000 under the Migratory Birds Convention Act earlier this year for killing far less birds and Species at Risk than the wind turbines have.

Can the government be consistent on how they penalize different corporations that violate the Act? 

No doubt you understand and know most of this already and are asking the same questions. We can't stand by and let this happen year after year; we need to put a stop to the rampant killing of wildlife in rural Ontario.

We can do this - let's raise that $625 and get these hidden numbers released!

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We got them! 170+ documents arrived and I've posted the bird and bat mortality reports up on the public google drive for all to see.

There are also documents and correspondence that I have to assemble on how and why the active bald eagle nest in Haldimand Coutny was destroyed by NextEra. I'll let you know when I get them up.

Thank you all so much for helping make this happen.

Think about it - the last report like this that was voluntarily released by the wind company was 3 years ago! Then the wind developers and government must have decided that wasn't good PR, so they kept them hidden.

YOU helped make these public so that journalists, researches and the resident that lives amongst these turbines can see what it going on and, most importantly, hold them accountable!
Mohawk Point wind project bat kill
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!! That was quick! Thanks a million you guys - raised the funds needed in just half a day!!

Now a phone call to the FOI office, and let get these records rolling (-:
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Does anyone know how amazing it is to wake up in the morning and find that this is already two thirds funded? You are the true environmentalists of Ontario. This makes me so proud to know you, and stand with you.
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$660 of $625 goal

Raised by 12 people in 25 months
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Created October 2, 2016
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Debbie Hughes
25 months ago

What the heck - they'll probably charge you international rates to send your CD! Miss you! Best, Debbie

Virginia Stewart Love
25 months ago

Thank you Esther for your endless commitment to ending the atrocities perpetrated against the environment and all that includes, in rural Ontario and around the world. The rise of corporate power and the hijacking of our governments and politicians cannot go unchallenged . We must stand united and make our governments accountable to the people as it was always intended to do. This summer was the first year since the Plateau Wind Project went online that our bird houses were empty of swallows. We have been noticing the decline in their numbers each year and miss the retual bathing of the birds in our pond that we so enjoyed everyday around 4o'clock in the afternoon. As farmers we know how intrictly connected we are to all of nature. What sort of world will our grandchildren and generations beyond be living in? That thought scares me everyday.

Marcelle Brooks
25 months ago

Thank you for doing this work on behalf of all Ontarians Esther! I am honoured to be able to help expose these atrocities against nature.

Douglas Moran
25 months ago

Thank you so much Esther, for your tireless work & dedication to this most urgent matter. You are a true environmentalist, saviour of the planet & all it's awesome creatures/lifeforms.

Shellie Correia
25 months ago

Awesome work, as usual, Esther! Happy to be able to help! Shellie Correia,

Maureen Anderson
25 months ago

Keep up the good work, Esther!

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