Displaying items by tag: Wildlife

Delcianna Winders

Assistant Clinical Professor & Director, Animal Law Litigation Clinic

  • Delcianna Winders
    Nina Johnson

Delcianna (Delci) Winders is a clinical professor of law at Lewis & Clark Law School, where she directs the Animal Law Litigation Clinic (ALLC)—the nation’s only clinic focused exclusively on animal law litigation.

Professor Winders’ animal law and administrative law scholarship has appeared in the Denver Law ReviewFlorida State Law ReviewOhio State Law JournalNYU Law Review, and Animal Law Review. She has also published extensively in the popular press, including The HillNational GeographicNewsweekNew York Daily NewsSalon, and U.S.A. Today.

Prior to joining the Lewis & Clark faculty, Winders was vice president and deputy general counsel for the PETA Foundation, the first academic fellow of the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program, and a visiting scholar at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

Winders received her BA in Legal Studies with highest honors from the University California at Santa Cruz, and her JD from NYU School of Law.

Following law school, Winders clerked for the Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and practiced animal law in a variety of settings. She has also taught animal law at Tulane University School of Law and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. 

Winders has been interviewed by numerous major news outlets, gives frequent presentations, and was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as one of “Six Women Who Dare.”

Specialty Areas & Course Descriptions

Specialty Areas & Course Descriptions

Academic Credentials

  • JD, 2006, New York University School of Law
  • BA, 2001, University of California, Santa Cruz

Bibliography

Scholarship

Captive Wildlife Under the Endangered Species Act, in Endangered Species Act (Donald C. Baur & Ya-Wei Li eds., 3d ed. forthcoming 2019) (with Jared Goodman and Heather Rally).

The Animal Welfare Act at Fifty, 24 Animal L. 155 (2019).

Animal Welfare Act Enforcement, 24 Animal L. 249 (2019).

Animal Welfare Act Interaction with Other Laws, 24 Animal L. 185 (2019).

Administrative License Renewal and Due Process—A Case Study, 45 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 539 (2018).

Administrative Law Enforcement, Warnings, and Transparency
, 79 Ohio St. L. J. 451 (2018).

Fulfilling the Promise of EFOIA’s Proactive Disclosure Mandate
, 95 Denver L. Rev. 909 (2018). 

Captive Wildlife at a Crossroads—Sanctuaries, Accreditation, and Humane-Washing, 6 Animal Stud. J. 161 (2017).

Confronting Barriers to the Courtroom for Animal Advocates, 13 Animal L. Rev. 1 (2006).

Note, Combining Reflexive Law and False Advertising Law to Standardize “Cruelty-Free” Labeling of Cosmetics, 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 454 (2006).

Selected Other Writings

It’s Official—The Feds Are Protecting Animal Exploiters, Daily Caller (Apr. 26, 2019).

Costly USDA Proposal Would Spend More Tax Dollars and Help Animal Abusers, Daily Caller (Mar. 29, 2019).

Why Is It So Hard for President Trump to Flatly Forbid Trophy Hunting Imports?, N.Y. Daily News (Mar. 9, 2018).


Self-Policing Animal Research: Another Bad Idea from USDA, Law360 (May 25, 2018).

Year After Blackout, Public Still in the Dark about Animal Welfare Enforcement
, The Hill (Feb. 9, 2018).

Animal Welfare Act Could Protect Animals and Taxpayers — If It’s Enforced, U.S.A. Today (Dec. 26, 2017).


The Fish and Wildlife Service Must Atone for Tiger’s Death, Nat’l Geographic (Sept. 11, 2017).


Why Is the State of Wisconsin Propping Up a Cruel and Dying Industry?, AlterNet (Aug. 29, 2017).


USDA Blackout: Scrutinizing the Deletion of Thousands of Animal Welfare Act-Related Records, Am. Bar Ass’n Animal L. Comm. Newsletter (Summer 2017).

Wild Animal Acts Are Becoming a Thing of the Past, but Some Circuses Insist on Continuing Their Cruel Ways, AlterNet (June 26, 2017).


Ringling’s Big Cats Need New Homes—and They Could Be Headed for a Circus Overseas, Salon (June 11, 2017).

Ringling Is Dead, but Other Abusive Circuses Live, N.Y. Daily News (May 25, 2017).

Freedom of Information in Peril: What Transparency Looks Like in Trump’s Government, Salon (May 14, 2017).

Why I Sued the USDA, The Hill (Feb. 16, 2017).

Talkin' Pets News

August 22, 2020

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Gino Sassani - Lost World Reptiles

Producer - Lexi Lapp Adams

Reporter - Dan Adams

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media / Consultant - Bob Page

Special Guest - Author of "Unlikely Friendships", Jennifer S. Holland will join Jon & Talkin' Pets 8/22/20 at 5pm ET to discuss and give away her new book

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE__________________________________________________________________________

Praise for UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS® “Irresistible . . . heart-stopping in more than one sense.” —The New York Times Book Review “The feel-good book of the summer—maybe the year.” —USA Today ““With aww-inducing photographs, the book highlights the most improbable animal connections.” —National Geographic With aww-inducing photographs, the book highlights the most improbable animal connections.” —NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC " width="758" height="164" />

 

Who doesn’t love a dog? And who does a dog not love in return? Almost no one—or no creature—it turns out. UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS®: DOGS: 37 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage (Workman; August 2016), by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer S. Holland, is an irresistible reminder of the affection and bravery of all breeds great and small. Bringing together 28 new stories of canine kindness, plus a handful of classic tales involving dogs from Unlikely Friendships, Unlikely Loves, and Unlikely Heroes, these heartwarming true stories will have you falling in love with man’s best friend all over again.

 

Meet Rex, a German shepherd who learned to love and trust again through the improbable friendship of a goose. Popeye the Mastiff, who ran into a burning stable and saved 17 terrified horses by nibbling at their hooves. And a temperamental husky named Lilo, who saved a kitten from near death. These are just some of the remarkable stories you’ll find in UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS: DOGS.

       Photo Credit: TheDobieTeam

>Jennifer S. Holland’s devotion to all species sent her on a journey to discover everything she could about the animal world. As a writer for National Geographic, she became increasingly interested in animal relationships, searching the globe for unusual animal connections—first in the form of friendships, then loves, then heroes. And now, for the first time, Jennifer is bringing together her favorite stories about one of the most beloved animals: the dog.

Filled with beautiful full-color photographs, the true stories of camaraderie, affection, and remarkable bravery found in UNLIKELY FREINDSHIPS: DOGS are more than a lovely tribute;   they are proof that the dog is every creature’s best friend.                                                      Photo Credit: The Bui sisters/IMP FEATURES          

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer S. Holland is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Unlikely Friendships®: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom, Unlikely Loves®: 43 Heartwarming True Stories from the Animal Kingdom, and Unlikely Heroes: 37 Inspiring Stories of Courage and Heart from the Animal Kingdom. She has written for, among others, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, NPR, and The New York Times, specializing in science and natural history. She lives with her husband, three dogs, and dozens of snakes and geckos, and divides her time between Silver Spring, Maryland, and a cabin in the woods near Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

                   Photo Credit: Scott Cromwell                        Photo Credit: David Silverman/Getty Images      Photo Credit: Alicia Williams             Photo Credit: Barcroft/Getty Images

                                                                                      

 

 

UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS®: DOGS

37 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage

Workman Publishing | Paperback with flaps| August 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8728-8 | $13.95 U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL TOUR DATES

UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS®: DOGS

37 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage

By New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer S. Holland

Jennifer S. Holland will be traveling across the nation for school and in-store events!

Monday, September 19

Park Road Books, Charlotte

Tuesday, September 20

Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill

Wednesday, September 21

Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh

Thursday, September 22

Parnassus Books, Nashville

Friday, September 30

Schuler Books & Music, Lansing

Monday, October 3

The Book Stall, Chicago

Tuesday, October 4

The Bookworm, Omaha

Wednesday, October 5

Tattered Cover, Denver

Thursday, October 6

The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City

Monday, October 17

Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs

Tuesday, October 18

Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Wednesday, October 19

WORD, New York

Wednesday, November 2

Politics & Prose, Washington DC

Thursday, November 10

Howard County Conservancy, Woodstock, MD

Monday, November 14

Blue Willow, Houston

Tuesday, November 15

Changing Hands, Phoenix

Wednesday, November 16

Third Place Books, Seattle

Friday, November 18

The Reading Bug, San Francisco

Sunday, December 4-5

Books & Books, Miami

Tuesday, December 6

Inkwood Books, Tampa

For more information, please contact Chloe Puton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(Washington, D.C., May 22, 2020)

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approved the Icebreaker Wind Energy Project yesterday, with conditions, moving the country’s first freshwater wind development closer to construction. Stipulations have been made to protect birds in this critical area for migratory species, including turning off the turbines at night for eight months of the year, but conservationists are concerned that these measures are changeable and may not hold long-term.

“The developers and their supporters have been determined to build this project regardless of the overwhelming evidence that for migratory birds, this is among the worst places in North America to place wind turbines,” said Kimberly Kaufman, Executive Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). “The proponents of Icebreaker have consistently demonstrated a callous disregard for science, and the project, whose financial basis is experimental at best, may mostly be remembered as a monument of death for birds.” 

“The decision requires that the original Avian and Bat Memorandum of Understanding and Stipulations to the Application remain in effect, including turning the turbines off at night for eight months of the year,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy at American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “It’s positive that these have been upheld and must be complied with before construction can begin. However, we’re concerned that the stipulations can be reversed in the future.”

It is currently unclear whether the stipulations made by the OPSB will prove to be sufficient to cause the developer to withdraw the project. In addition, a lawsuit brought by BSBO and ABC against the Department of Justice and Army Corps of Engineers, for failing to adhere to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act when awarding a $40M grant to Icebreaker Wind, could still halt the project.

Icebreaker would be a precedent-setting wind energy facility in Lake Erie, offshore of Cleveland, Ohio. Turbines in the proposed project site would pose substantial collision risks to the enormous numbers of birds that use the area throughout the year, including large concentrations of migrating songbirds, as well as Common Loons, globally significant populations of Red-breasted Mergansers, and other waterfowl. Further, construction and increased vessel traffic associated with the project could pollute the waters used by these species.

“Icebreaker is a demonstration project,” said Kaufman. “Its review and approval will be considered the benchmark for hundreds, possibly thousands, of additional turbines expected to be proposed for the Great Lakes over the coming decades.”

Radar studies conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have recorded large numbers of migratory birds and bats near Great Lakes shorelines, including Lake Erie's south shore. Many were flying at altitudes that would be within the rotor-swept area of wind turbines, making these birds susceptible to collision-related deaths, injuries, and disturbance.

“We need renewable energy development to combat the effects of climate change, but it needs to be done right and there are better alternatives such as distributed solar right in Cleveland,” said Holmer. “We must ensure that we're not creating new problems in the process by building turbines in high-risk areas for birds.”

American Bird Conservancy and Black Swamp Bird Observatory are being represented in the lawsuit referred to above by the public interest environmental law firm Eubanks & Associates, LLC.

ABC thanks the Leon Levy Foundation for its support of ABC's Bird-Smart Wind Energy Program.

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American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).   

Black Swamp Bird Observatory is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit whose mission is to inspire the appreciation, enjoyment, and conservation of birds and their habitats through research, education, and outreach.

NEW BOOK ‘ANIMALKIND’ EXPLORES AWE-INSPIRING FACTS ABOUT ANIMALS’ EMOTIONAL LIVES AND REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAYS TO SHOW COMPASSION

 

PETA Founder Ingrid Newkirk discusses her latest book and the remarkable advancements in our society’s awareness about animals over the years

 

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW:

INGRID NEWKIRK, author and PETA founder

BACKGROUND:

Since Ingrid Newkirk founded PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) 40 years ago, it has become an unstoppable force and the largest animal rights organization in the world. Now, Ingrid has published, along with bestselling author Gene Stone, ANIMALKIND, an exploration of the richness of animal lives, their talents, emotions, and intelligence, and the many exciting ways all of us can act to prevent harm to animals. This latest book highlights some of the wonders of animal life and offers tools for living kindly toward our neighbors on our shared planet.

Ingrid Newkirk  discusses in her latest book, share fun animal facts, and explore exciting new tools that allow humans to create a better world for animals—such as substituting apple or grape leather for animal hide, synthetic frog models to replace the real ones used for years in school classrooms, advances in meat and dairy tastes-a-likes and plant-base nutrition, and virtual reality animal tours that replace circus shows.

 

DID YOU KNOW THESE FUN ANIMAL FACTS?

●       Birds have been found to be far more devoted to their romantic partners than humans. While the divorce rate in the U.S. is around 40 to 45 percent, swans, for instance, have a 95 percent rate of staying together for a lifetime.

●       Oinks, grunts, and squeals aren’t just arbitrary noises made by pigs. More than twenty of these sounds have been identified with specific circumstances, from wooing mates to expressing distress and joy.

●       Cows communicate with each other using subtle changes in facial expression; rhinos use a breath language; and frogs have learned to combat street noise by using drain pipes to amplify their calls.

●       Chickens form complex pecking orders in which each bird not only understands her ranking, but can recall the faces and ranks of more than one hundred other birds.   

For more information please visit: www.PETA.org

 

More About Ingrid Newkirk:

Ingrid Newkirk is the founder of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the acclaimed author of Save the Animals! 101 Things You Can Do, Kids Can Save the Animals, and The Compassionate Cook. She currently resides in Washington, DC.

Produced for: PETA

(Washington, D.C., May 11, 2020) When the New York State Legislature finalized the state budget, it included the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. The Act seeks to streamline the approval process for wind and solar energy projects as part of the State’s approach to achieving its renewable energy goals. While it does have some positive elements for wildlife, such as seeking to site projects on degraded lands and creating a bird impact mitigation fund, the Act also fast-tracks facets of renewable energy planning and development, and changes in this process raise red flags with some conservation groups.

“We have concerns about how this will be implemented,” says Joel Merriman, ABC’s Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign Director. “A combination of aggressive timelines and the potential for automatic approvals at key steps in the process leaves the door open for wind energy facility plans to inadequately address risks to birds.”

Wind energy development is an important element of fighting climate change, but it does not come without environmental costs. ABC estimates that more than 500,000 birds are killed annually from collisions with wind turbines in the U.S. Given projected industry build-out, that figure is expected to increase to more than 1.4 million annually by 2030. Birds are also killed by powerlines installed to connect wind facilities to the energy grid, and yet others are displaced by facility development. Some species, such as Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles, are more vulnerable to turbine collisions, and due to slow reproductive rates, these birds have less capacity to recover from losses.

The Act creates a new Office of Renewable Energy Siting, which will work with other agencies to review and set conditions for proposed renewable energy projects. The input of wildlife management agencies will be crucial to ensure that birds receive adequate protection, but under the new law, these agencies are given short time windows to participate. Insufficient staffing, busy seasons, and many other factors could prevent meaningful review and input, potentially leaving birds largely out of the discussion.

Further, under the new law, local community input is substantially reduced and comes later in the planning process. This may prevent those with first-hand knowledge of local bird populations from influencing critical project elements that are determined early in the process, including facility and turbine siting.  

“A lot hinges on development of strong standards and conditions for project siting and planning,” says Merriman. “These must ensure that local bird populations are thoroughly assessed, and that turbines are not sited in high-risk areas.”

For example, in an application filed for the Heritage Wind project in western New York in mid-March, the developer proposes placing wind turbines in close proximity to a large wetland complex that includes a National Wildlife Refuge and two state Wildlife Management Areas. Important to both breeding and migratory birds, this block of habitat supports many species of conservation concern and is also considered an Important Bird Area. During the planning process, two local bird conservation organizations raised concerns about the planned facility’s proximity to these sensitive areas, but these points have not been addressed by the developer.

“The bird-related conflict that poorly sited wind facilities create is largely avoidable if good siting practices are required,” says Merriman. “The State can greatly reduce this kind of conflict by establishing no-go zones and other commonsense standards to keep turbines out of high-risk areas.”

Merriman offers some broader advice on meeting renewable energy goals: “Renewable energy development is just one piece of the climate change solution puzzle,” he says. “We encourage the State to be equally aggressive in implementing energy efficiency measures and installing distributed solar energy. Put solar panels on commercial, municipal, and residential buildings, over parking lots…anywhere they can be supported. Birds and people win when energy production is sited where it’s used, away from valuable bird habitat.”

Merriman continues, “In other arenas, New York has done great things for birds. The State can maintain this commitment by making some adjustments to the Act, such as eliminating automatic approvals and setting a positive precedent in the development of standards and conditions for wind energy projects. A recent study by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, ABC, and others shows that the United States and Canada lost nearly 3 billion birds — almost 30 percent of the total population — since 1970. It’s critical that we balance the need for renewable energy development with protecting our vulnerable bird populations.”

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American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.orgFacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

Talkin' Pets News

May 2, 2020

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jasmine the Dog Trainer - Tampa Bay, Florida

Producer - Zach Budin

Producer in training - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guest - Jerry Grymek - NYC Hotel Penn Doggie Concierge - Toronto, CN

 

oxoplasma gondii: a risk for people and wildlife

American Bird Conservancy.jpg  
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Keeping cats indoors is safer for cats, people, and wildlife. ABC has numerous resources to help pet owners transition their cats to full-time indoor living, including enrichment activities, literature, and more. Photo by Nikita Starichenko/Shutterstock

(Washington, D.C., April 14, 2020) As the COVID-19 pandemic tragically continues to threaten the lives and livelihoods of people across the globe, evidence is mounting that domestic cats and other felines may also be at risk of contracting the disease. Professional organizations and new research suggest keeping pet cats indoors to manage infection risks.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) this week recommended that people who are self-isolating or have COVID-19 symptoms keep their cats indoors. According to BVA, it is possible that outdoor cats may carry the virus on their fur, just as the virus can live on other surfaces.

The American Veterinary Medical Association's standing policy is that pet cats be kept indoors. Their policy states that “keeping owned cats confined, such as housing them in an enriched indoor environment, in an outdoor enclosure, or exercising leash-acclimated cats, can minimize the risks to the cats, wildlife, humans, and the environment.”

For people wanting to respond to these concerns by transitioning their cats from the outdoors to indoors, whether temporarily or permanently, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) offers a range of helpful solutions on its website that were developed over years of consultation with veterinarians and pet owners.

New studies from researchers in China, where the virus was first identified, evaluated SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, to determine host susceptibilities and to better understand how the virus may move through the environment. These studies (Luan et al. 2020Shi et al. 2020Sun et al. preprintZhang et al. preprint), taken together, concluded that domestic cats are susceptible to infection, that infections have occurred both in experimental trials and outside the laboratory, and that infected domestic cats may transmit the virus to uninfected domestic cats.

Domestic cat infections have also been recently reported in Belgium and Hong Kong. Two Malayan Tigers, two Amur Tigers, and three Lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York have also shown symptoms of infection, and the only tiger to be tested came back positive for COVID-19. It's suspected that people exposed these felines to the virus. So far, the disease does not appear to be fatal to cats, and there is no evidence that the disease has passed from cats to people.

“Keeping pet cats safely contained indoors, on a leash, or in a catio is always a great choice to protect cats, birds, and people,” said Grant Sizemore, Director of Invasive Species Programs at ABC. “At this point, it appears that keeping pet cats indoors is also the safer alternative to ensure the virus isn't accidentally picked up or transferred by the cat.”

As well as being at risk from diseases, cars, and other threats, outdoor cats kill an estimated 2.4 billion wild birds each year in the U.S. alone.

Since 1997, ABC's Cats Indoors program has supported responsible cat ownership that not only protects birds and other wildlife but also supports long, healthy lives for pet cats. Cat owners interested in bringing their cats indoors, or providing safe outdoor time for their pets, can find resources on the Cats Indoors website.

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American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.orgFacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

The first Nebraska mountain lion to be trophy hunted in 2020 was killed on January 2, 2020. The hunter killed the 1½ year old male just south of Chadron and posed, smiling while holding the dead animal on social media. 

Nebraska is home to an estimated 40 independent-age mountain lions (59 including kittens who are not legally trophy hunted). In 2019 and 2020 the annual quota is eight lions total. In other words, Nebraska Game and Parks allows 20% of this population to be killed by trophy hunters. The agency began allowing trophy hunting of mountain lions in 2019. 

Jocelyn Nickerson, Nebraska State Director for the Humane Society of the United States just released this statement:

 

“The Humane Society of the United States is committed to ending the unnecessary killing of mountain lions. Each year, thousands of these beautiful animals are hunted for trophies in the U.S. including in Nebraska and South Dakota where their populations are exceedingly diminishing. The loss of one mountain lion has an enormous, devastating ripple effect throughout their sensitive communities as well as their ecosystems.

Nebraska is home to a small population of these rare and iconic native animals. The trophy hunting of mountain lions is inhumane and losing just one here can be harmful to their long-term survival in our state. It can also result in greater conflicts among themselves as well as with humans, pets and livestock. These animals must be protected from trophy hunting so that they may continue to re-establish themselves in Nebraska and provide countless benefits to other wildlife and our state’s beautiful wild spaces.”

Since 2014, Senator Ernie Chambers has introduced bills to prohibit the trophy hunting of mountain lions. That year, the bill was approved by the legislature but vetoed by then Gov. Dave Heineman. Since then, Senator Chambers’ legislation has not passed committee.

 

Project could receive green light as soon as November 14, putting threatened species such as Marbled Murrelet and other wildlife at risk

American Bird Conservancy.jpg

 

Marbled Murrelet inNest_Thomas Hamer_HamerEnviornmental LP_Press Release.png
If the Humboldt project goes forward, Marbled Murrelets would face a gauntlet of turbines between foraging grounds at sea and nesting sites on land. The species is listed under the Endangered Species Act. Photo by Thomas Hamer

(Washington, D.C., November 13, 2019) The Humboldt Wind Energy Project proposes to place 47 wind turbines on Bear River and Monument Ridges in Humboldt County, California. This proposed project poses substantial risks to federally Threatened species, such as Marbled Murrelet and Spotted Owl, as well as other species of conservation concern such as Bald and Golden Eagle, all of which reproduce slowly and are vulnerable to loss of individuals to collisions with turbines. Other concerns have also been raised by experts, including questionable calculations of the numbers of Threatened birds likely to be killed by the turbines; inadequate proposed measures to compensate for mortality of birds and other wildlife; and insufficient accountability for long-term monitoring and protection of wildlife. Despite this, the proposal has moved forward quickly over the last 18 months and may be approved as early as Thursday, November 14.

“It’s hard to conceive of a worse place to put wind turbines,” said Joel Merriman, Director of the Bird-Smart Wind Energy Program at American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “ABC supports wind energy projects that provide adequate protections for birds. The Humboldt Wind Energy Project doesn’t come close. In its 37-page comment letter, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife indicated that ‘all or portions of the wind turbine facilities fall into Category 4, Project Sites Inappropriate for Wind Development.’ We couldn’t agree more.”

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the Humboldt project was released in April 2019 and received many comments and suggestions from local experts that would have reduced impacts to birds and other wildlife. These have largely gone unheeded in the Final EIR (FEIR). Despite this, the Humboldt County Planning Commission held a public hearing on November 7 and will hold a second on November 14, with a possible vote for project approval on the 14th. The project has been put on a fast track: Stakeholders had only four business days to review the FEIR before the first hearing and will have only nine days before the hearing where the proposal may be approved. Reviewing the FEIR is no small task, since the combined documents amount to hundreds of pages.

“The Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC), along with many concerned citizens, participated in commenting on the Terra-Gen Humboldt Wind Energy Project DEIR,” said Larry Glass, President and Executive Director of the NEC. “Whether you support this project or you have serious questions about it, the developer’s response to public comments printed in the FEIR is completely inadequate. Many of the issues of concern to the NEC and others were dismissed or not sufficiently responded to. This document should be withdrawn until adequate responses can be provided.”

“This proposed project site overlaps the National Audubon Society-designated Cape Mendocino Grasslands Important Bird Area,” said Merriman. “It’s also a hotspot for hawks and eagles. It’s close to Marbled Murrelet critical habitat. Marbled Murrelets and Spotted Owls are known to be present in the area. The list of concerns goes on and on.”

“Because of the high likely impacts given the sensitive area, the public rightly demands that all feasible technology to avoid and minimize impacts be implemented before considering approval,” said Tom Wheeler, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). “But too many proven measures have been left on the table — things that have been adopted, often voluntarily, at other wind projects. We expect better here in Humboldt.”

In contrast, the Skookumchuck Wind Energy Project in western Washington State is the only approved wind energy project in the Marbled Murrelet’s breeding range. This project was required to curtail (turn off) turbines during high activity periods in the Marbled Murrelet breeding season. The Humboldt project, on the other hand, dismissed the idea of curtailment entirely, ignoring best practices and industry precedent despite posing a significant risk for a multitude of species.

ABC, EPIC, and the NEC support thoughtfully planned wind energy projects that incorporate adequate protections for birds. These organizations acknowledge the role of wind energy in combating climate change, but maintain that wind energy must be developed in a way that does not cause new environmental problems.

“This proposed project does not provide enough information, proposes inadequate mitigation, and ignores precedent and best practices. This puts too many rare and iconic bird and other wildlife species at unnecessary risk,” said Merriman. “We urge the Humboldt County Planning Commission to please send this project back to the drawing board until an acceptable proposal can be developed.” 

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American Bird Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.orgFacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) advocates for the protection and restoration of Northwest California’s forests, using an integrated, science-based approach, combining public education, citizen advocacy, and strategic litigation.

The Northcoast Environmental Center has engaged in conservation and environmental protection in northwestern California for over 47 years. Our mission includes educating agencies and the public about environmental concerns that may have an effect on our local resources and citizens.

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