To fulfill the requirements of a federal environmental assessment, the proponent of a wind-powered generating station (whether a large wind farm or a single turbine), may be required to gather baseline information on the birds that use and move through the area to be developed, and to provide follow-up information on the actual impact of the installation on the birds of the area (for more details see Environment Canada's Wind Turbines and Birds: a Guidance Document for Environmental Assessment).
The current document has been developed to provide proponents with information on the types of protocols likely to be useful for baseline studies and follow-up monitoring at proposed wind turbine sites to evaluate impacts of wind turbines on birds.
However, proponents should not use this document on its own without consulting biologists from the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada (CWS). The most appropriate protocols for a project depend on the particular location and the risk factors at that location. Only some of the protocols in this document are likely to be required at any given site; conversely, some circumstances (e.g., offshore installations) may require protocols not covered in this document.
Pre-assessment monitoring typically can be completed in one year, except in areas with particularly high uncertainty such as offshore installations. However, at any site, additional monitoring may be required if inappropriate protocols are used and inadequate data are collected in the first year. This could cause delays in approval. CWS biologists, if consulted in the early planning stages of a project, can help determine which protocols are most appropriate for a particular installation, and the appropriate level of effort to invest in each, thus greatly reducing the risk that data will not be adequate for the assessment.
While only those species of birds specified in the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) are under federal jurisdiction, this guide suggests study methods that are suitable for gathering information on all bird species. Some protocols, particularly post-construction mortality monitoring studies, may also be appropriate for monitoring impacts to bats. Bats have been found to be particularly vulnerable to wind farm developments in some areas. However, this document does not specifically address monitoring requirements for bats, and in particular does not address pre-construction monitoring for bats. Proponents are reminded that bats and all non-MBCA bird species are under provincial or territorial jurisdiction; the protocols suggested in this document are not meant to replace information provided by provincial or territorial authorities. Proponents are urged to contact the relevant provincial or territorial authorities to determine what requirements or expectations they may have with respect to bat monitoring pre- or post-construction.