MOTHER EARTH RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT by qjc19528

VIEWS: 670 PAGES: 157

									MAIN CONTRIBUTORS TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT


Helimax Energy Inc.
                           Environmental Economist, Senior         Environmental Assessment
Patrick Henn, M.Sc.
                           Advisor                                 Manager
Karl-Éric Martel, Eng.
                           Senior Environmental Specialist         Physical environment
M.Sc.,
François Tremblay,         Land Planner and Landscapes             Visual effects, land use
M.Urb., Ph.D.,             Specialist                              planning
Francis Pelletier, Eng.,                                           Noise impact assessment,
                           Noise Specialist
M.Sc.                                                              technical project components
Jean-David Lacasse,        Communications Interference
                                                                   Communication systems
Eng., M.Sc.                Specialist
Elizabeth Fennell, Eng.
                           Environmental Specialist                Technical aspects, O&M
Jr.
                                                                   Editing and socio-economic
David Soares               Technical Editor
                                                                   studies
Natural Resource Solutions Inc.
David Stephenson           Senior Biologist
                                                                   Aquatics, vegetation, avian
Caroline Walmsley          Biologist                               fauna, bats, terrestrial fauna
                                                                   studies
Jessica Greeley            Biologist
M’Chigeeng First Nation
Chief Joe Hare             Proponent                               Chairman of the Board
Grant Taibossigai          Proponent                               MERE Project Manager
                                                                   Medicinal plants, traditional
Falcon Migwans             Traditional Harvester
                                                                   harvest
3G Energy
                                                                   Operations Manager, project
Graham Findlay, Eng.       Project Engineer
                                                                   engineering
Scarlett Janusas Heritage and Archaeology Consulting and Education
                                                          Archaeology and heritage
Scarlett Janusas         Archaeologist
                                                          studies
Halliday Surveying inc.
Bob Halliday               Surveyor                                Land use




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page i
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREAMBLE ..................................................................................................................................... 1

1     INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................... 1

    1.1                 PROJECT TITLE ........................................................................................................ 1
    1.2                 PROJECT PROPONENT ............................................................................................. 1
    1.3                 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT TEAM ....................................................................... 2
    1.4                 PROJECT RATIONALE ............................................................................................... 2

      1.4.1             Global and Canadian Wind Energy Contexts........................................................ 2
      1.4.2             Ontario Wind Policy ............................................................................................... 3
    1.5                 BRIEF PROJECT DESCRIPTION .................................................................................. 4
    1.6                 REGULATORY SETTING ............................................................................................ 5

      1.6.1             Federal and Provincial........................................................................................... 5
      1.6.2             Local Authorities .................................................................................................... 6
    1.7                 REPORT STRUCTURE ............................................................................................... 6

2     TECHNICAL PROJECT DESCRIPTION ................................................................................. 7

    2.1                 PROJECT LOCATION ................................................................................................. 7
    2.2                 OPTIMIZATION PROCESS AND PROJECT LAYOUT ........................................................ 8

      2.2.1             Constraints Analysis .............................................................................................. 8
      2.2.2             Resulting Project Layout........................................................................................ 9
    2.3                 PROJECT COMPONENTS ........................................................................................... 9

      2.3.1             Wind Turbines ..................................................................................................... 10
      2.3.2             Access Roads and Crane Pads .......................................................................... 14
      2.3.3             Collector System and Switching Station.............................................................. 14
      2.3.4             Off-site Operations and Maintenance Building.................................................... 15
    2.4                 PROJECT ACTIVITIES .............................................................................................. 15

      2.4.1             Construction Phase ............................................................................................. 15
      2.4.2             Operations ........................................................................................................... 20
      2.4.3             Decommissioning Phase ..................................................................................... 22
      2.4.4             Total Project Footprint ......................................................................................... 23
      2.4.5             Schedule.............................................................................................................. 24
3     ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL SETTING......................................................................... 25

    3.1                 AIR AND CLIMATE ................................................................................................... 25

      3.1.1             Freezing Rain ...................................................................................................... 25
      3.1.2             Wind Characteristics............................................................................................ 25
      3.1.3             Fog....................................................................................................................... 26
      3.1.4             Air Quality ............................................................................................................ 26
    3.2                 TERRAIN, SOILS AND GROUND WATER .................................................................... 26

      3.2.1             Geology and Topography .................................................................................... 26
      3.2.2             Surface Deposits and Drainage .......................................................................... 27

             Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page ii
     3.2.3           Ground Water ...................................................................................................... 28
    3.3              AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS .......................................................................................... 29
    3.4              VEGETATION .......................................................................................................... 29

     3.4.1           Study Area........................................................................................................... 29
     3.4.2           Study Methodology.............................................................................................. 29
     3.4.3           Results................................................................................................................. 29
    3.5              AVIAN FAUNA......................................................................................................... 33

     3.5.1           General Station Reference .................................................................................. 33
     3.5.2           Daytime Bird Migration ........................................................................................ 33
     3.5.3           Day-Time Soaring................................................................................................ 37
     3.5.4           Breeding Birds ..................................................................................................... 39
     3.5.5           Significant Bird Species....................................................................................... 41
     3.5.6           Significant Bird Areas .......................................................................................... 41
     3.5.7           Birds Species with Aerial Flight Displays ............................................................ 42
    3.6              BATS ..................................................................................................................... 43

     3.6.1           Background Review............................................................................................. 43
     3.6.2           Acoustic Bat Monitoring....................................................................................... 43
     3.6.3           Bat Radar Monitoring........................................................................................... 47
     3.6.4           Summary of Findings........................................................................................... 47
    3.7              TERRESTRIAL FAUNA ............................................................................................. 48

     3.7.1           Mammals ............................................................................................................. 48
     3.7.2           Reptiles and Amphibians..................................................................................... 48
    3.8              ARCHAEOLOGY AND HERITAGE ............................................................................... 50

     3.8.1           Archaeological Potential ...................................................................................... 50
    3.9              ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY SETTING .................................................................... 52

     3.9.1           Demographics ..................................................................................................... 52
     3.9.2           Socio-economic Overview ................................................................................... 53
     3.9.3           Economic Sectors................................................................................................ 53
    3.10             PUBLIC SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE ............................................................... 55

     3.10.1          Health Care ......................................................................................................... 55
     3.10.2          Police and Fire Corps .......................................................................................... 55
     3.10.3          Education............................................................................................................. 55
     3.10.4          Transportation ..................................................................................................... 55
     3.10.5          Communication Systems..................................................................................... 56
    3.11             LAND USE ............................................................................................................. 58

     3.11.1          Land Use in the Project Area............................................................................... 58
    3.12             ACOUSTIC ENVIRONMENT ....................................................................................... 60
    3.13             LANDSCAPES ......................................................................................................... 61

     3.13.1          Landscape Units.................................................................................................. 61
     3.13.2          Viewpoints ........................................................................................................... 61
4    CONSULTATION ................................................................................................................... 64


           Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                         Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page iii
    4.1            PUBLIC AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES CONSULTATION ................................................... 64

     4.1.1         Identification of Stakeholders .............................................................................. 64
     4.1.2         Consultation Activities ......................................................................................... 64
     4.1.3         Issues Scoping .................................................................................................... 64
    4.2            FIRST NATIONS CONSULTATION .............................................................................. 66

     4.2.1         Identification of stakeholders ............................................................................... 66
     4.2.2         Consultation Activities ......................................................................................... 66
     4.2.3         Issues Scoping .................................................................................................... 66
    4.3            REGULATORY AGENCY CONSULTATION ................................................................... 66

     4.3.1         Identification of stakeholders ............................................................................... 66
     4.3.2         Consultation Activities ......................................................................................... 67
     4.3.3         Issues Scoping .................................................................................................... 67
     4.3.4         Agency Comments on the Draft Screening Report and Responses................... 68
5    ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTS, MITIGATION AND MONITORING ....................................... 86

    5.1            ASSESSMENT APPROACH ....................................................................................... 86

     5.1.1         Project-Specific Effects........................................................................................ 86
     5.1.2         Cumulative Effects Assessment.......................................................................... 86
    5.2            SCREENING CRITERIA CHECKLIST ........................................................................... 87
    5.3            EFFECTS ASSESSMENT, MITIGATION AND MONITORING............................................ 90

     5.3.1         Air and Climate .................................................................................................... 90
     5.3.2         Terrain, Soils and Ground Water......................................................................... 93
     5.3.3         Vegetation ........................................................................................................... 96
     5.3.4         Avian Fauna ...................................................................................................... 102
     5.3.5         Bats.................................................................................................................... 109
     5.3.6         Terrestrial Fauna ............................................................................................... 113
     5.3.7         Economic and Community Setting .................................................................... 118
     5.3.8         Land Use ........................................................................................................... 121
     5.3.9         Archaeology and Heritage ................................................................................. 123
     5.3.10        Acoustic Environment........................................................................................ 124
     5.3.11        Landscapes ....................................................................................................... 126
     5.3.12        Accidents and Malfunctions............................................................................... 128
     5.3.13        Cumulative Effects Assessment........................................................................ 133
6    EFFECTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT ON THE PROJECT .................................................. 134

    6.1            METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS ........................................................................... 134

     6.1.1         Extreme Winds .................................................................................................. 134
     6.1.2         Ice ...................................................................................................................... 134
     6.1.3         Extreme Temperature........................................................................................ 134
     6.1.4         Climate Change................................................................................................. 134
    6.2            OTHER PHENOMENA ............................................................................................ 135

     6.2.1         Fire..................................................................................................................... 135
     6.2.2         Lightning ............................................................................................................ 135
     6.2.3         Seismic Hazard ................................................................................................. 135
7    SUMMARY OF COMMITMENTS......................................................................................... 136

           Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                        Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page iv
8     CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................................... 138

9     REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................... 139

APPENDIX 1             MAPS................................................................................................................. 144

APPENDIX 2             ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISATION REPORT ..................................... 145

APPENDIX 3             ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT REPORT ............................................... 146

APPENDIX 4             NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT AND NOTICE OF COMPLETION ................ 147

APPENDIX 5             OPEN HOUSE AD AND COMMENT FORMS .................................................. 148

APPENDIX 6             NOISE IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT (COFA-AIR APPLICATION) ......... 149

APPENDIX 7             VISUAL SIMULATIONS .................................................................................... 150

APPENDIX 8             LETTERS FROM REGULATORY AGENCIES ................................................. 151



LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 2.1-1: View of the MERE Project Location ........................................................................... 7
Figure 2.1-2: View of Wind Monitoring Tower on Site ..................................................................... 8
Figure 2.3-1: Dimensions of a GE 1.5 MW sle Wind Turbine ....................................................... 10
Figure 2.3-2: Nacelle Components................................................................................................ 12
Figure 2.3-3: Step-up Transformer ................................................................................................ 13
Figure 2.4-1: Preparation of a Concrete Foundation..................................................................... 17
Figure 2.4-2: Nacelle Lift ............................................................................................................... 18
Figure 2.4-3: Rotor Lift................................................................................................................... 19
Figure 3.2-1: Manitoulin Island and Area Geology ........................................................................ 27
Figure 3.2-2 Surface Deposits of Study Area................................................................................ 28
Figure 3.4-1: Vegetation Communities.......................................................................................... 31
Figure 3.5-1: Migration Monitoring Stations .................................................................................. 34
Figure 3.5-2: Bird Group Composition during Point Count Surveys.............................................. 35
Figure 3.5-3: Avian Flight Directions and Percentages ................................................................. 36
Figure 3.5-4: Species Distribution of the Six Most Abundant Species at the Central Monitoring
    Station (HWK-001) ................................................................................................................. 38
Figure 3.5-5: Bird Group Distribution at the Central Monitoring Station (HWK-001)..................... 38
Figure 3.5-6: Species Distribution of the Six Most Abundant Species at the Western Ridge
    Monitoring Station (HWK-002) ............................................................................................... 38
Figure 3.5-7: Bird Group Distribution at the Western Ridge Station (HWK-002) .......................... 38
Figure 3.5-8: Breeding Bird Monitoring Stations 2006 .................................................................. 40
Figure 3.6-1: Bat Monitoring Stations ............................................................................................ 44
Figure 3.6-2: Species Composition ............................................................................................... 46
Figure 3.6-3: Bat Passage Rate (passes/hr) by Month of the Year .............................................. 46
Figure 3.9-1: Age Distribution in M’Chigeeng and Manitoulin Island ............................................ 52
Figure 3.11-1: Photos of Site......................................................................................................... 59
Figure 3.13-1: Photos from Selected Viewpoints .......................................................................... 63




             Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page v
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1.6-1: Government Agency Involvement ............................................................................... 5
Table 2.2-1: Constraints Considered in the Development of the Project Layout ............................ 9
Table 2.3-1: Specifications for the GE 1.5sle ................................................................................ 14
Table 2.4-1: Transportation Requirements during Construction ................................................... 16
Table 2.4-2: Project Activities during the Operations Phase......................................................... 21
Table 2.4-3: Project Activities during the Decommissioning Phase .............................................. 22
Table 2.4-4: Calculated Lengths, Dimensions and Footprint Specifications................................. 24
Table 3.1-1: Meteorological Conditions at Gore Bay and in the Project Area............................... 25
Table 3.5-1: Station Location Names ............................................................................................ 33
Table 3.9-1: Income Population Profile ......................................................................................... 53
Table 3.10-1: Television and Radio Broadcasting Stations on Manitoulin Island ......................... 57
Table 3.13-1: Selected Viewpoints for the Visual Effects Assessment ......................................... 62
Table 4.1-1: Comment Form Comments....................................................................................... 65
Table 5.1-1: Levels of Residual Effects......................................................................................... 86
Table 5.2-1: Screening Criteria Checklist...................................................................................... 87
Table 5.3-1: Effects Assessment Summary - Air and Climate ...................................................... 92
Table 5.3-2: Effects Assessment Summary - Terrain, Soils and Ground Water........................... 94
Table 5.3-3: Effects Assessment Summary - Vegetation............................................................ 101
Table 5.3-4: Effects Assessment Summary - Migratory Birds..................................................... 108
Table 5.3-5: Effects Assessment Summary - Bats...................................................................... 112
Table 5.3-6: Effects Assessment Summary - Terrestrial Fauna ................................................. 117
Table 5.3-7: Effects Assessment Summary - Economic and Community Setting ...................... 120
Table 5.3-8: Effects Assessment Summary - Land Use ............................................................. 122
Table 5.3-9: Effects Assessment Summary - Acoustic Environment .......................................... 125
Table 5.3-10: Effects Assessment Summary - Landscapes ....................................................... 126
Table 6.2-1: Summary of Commitments per Project Phase........................................................ 136




            Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                        Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page vi
PREAMBLE
It is important to note that this revised and final version has been amended to include
responses to comments provided by the provincial and federal agencies on the draft
Environmental Screening Report, submitted in May 2007. All responses are provided in
section 4.3.4.


1        INTRODUCTION

The M’Chigeeng First Nation is proposing to develop a 9-MW wind energy project located in the
northeastern part of Manitoulin Island, Ontario.


1.1      Project Title
The name of the project is the Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project (hereafter referred to as
the “MERE Project” or the “Project”).


1.2      Project Proponent
The Proponent of the Project is the M’Chigeeng First Nation (“Proponent”) which established the
M’Chigeeng Nodin Cooperative as the managing body of the Project for the purpose of
overseeing project development on the M’Chigeeng First Nation Reserve and privately-held
township land near West Bay, Manitoulin Island. The MNC has since been wound up as an
operating entity and control and ownership of the Project has reverted back to the M’Chigeeng
First Nation as a community development project.

The Proponent is currently involved in wind testing, consultation and impact assessment activities
to determine the feasibility and most beneficial methods of developing a wind energy project at
the MERE site. The Proponent fully subscribes to sustainable development principles and aims to
develop an environmentally-friendly wind energy project with high social acceptance. The
proponent is further committed to complying with federal, provincial and local regulations and best
practices in order to develop the Project with minimal environmental impacts and maximum social
and economic benefits.

The contact information is as follows:

Mr. Grant Taibossigai
Department Manager
M'Chigeeng First Nation
Box 333
15 Highway 551
M'Chigeeng, Ontario P0P 1G0
(705) 377-7311 ext. 221
ecdevgt@amtelecom.net

The Proponent has retained the services of 3G Energy Corp. as an advisor. 3G is also the
designated operator of the MERE Project. The contact information as follows:

Mr. Graham Findlay
3G Energy Corp.


         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 1
Suite 101, 70 Iona Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 3L8
(613) 233-9463 ext. 228
gfindlay@3g-energy.com


1.3      Environmental Assessment Team
Helimax Energy Inc. (“Hélimax”), a wind energy consultant, has been retained to lead the
environmental assessment effort for this Project. The contact information is as follows:



Mr. Patrick Henn
Helimax Energy Inc.
4100, Molson Street, suite 100
Montréal, Quebec H1Y 3L1
Tel: 514-272-2175 / Fax: 514-272-0410
hennp@helimax.com


1.4      Project Rationale
The proponent is aiming to develop the MERE Project as part of the M’Chigeeng First Nation
community’s Economic Advancement strategy. In fact, the Project is just one of five initiatives
currently being researched with a focus on stable business development, expanding opportunities
and long-term employment and training for the M’Chigeeng First Nation (M’Chigeeng First Nation,
2006).

Through this Project, the proponent intends to supply clean energy to the Ontario energy system
using state-of-the-art wind energy technology. The Project is being proposed in the context of
Ontario’s Standard Offer Program for small renewable energy projects (see Section 1.4.2). The
MERE Project can also provide a regional platform for promoting the renewable energy sector
throughout Ontario.

Lastly, wind projects must be sited in appropriate locations to be economically viable. Data
collected on site since September 2004 suggest that the MERE Project location has a very good
wind resource. The location is also in close proximity to Hydro One’s 44-kV distribution network
which will facilitate interconnection.


1.4.1    Global and Canadian Wind Energy Contexts
The MERE Project is part of the world’s fastest growing energy sector. Globally, installed wind
capacity reached 73,904 MW at the end of 2006 (WWEA, 2007), the product of approximately
over 92,000 wind turbines installed in over 60 countries. According to the World Wind Energy
Association (WWEA), growth in 2006 stood at 25%, after 24% in 2005. Based on current and
projected rates of installation, global capacity is expected to reach 160,000 by 2010. Today, wind
energy delivers worldwide around 1% of global electricity generation, with some countries and
regions reaching 20% and more (WWEA, 2007).

Germany, Spain and the United States are currently the three leading “wind energy” nations of
the world, with installed capacities (as of 31 December 2005) of over 18,428 MW, 10,027 MW
and 9,149 MW, respectively (WWEA, 2007). India as of the same date was operating 4430 MW
and Denmark, 3128 MW. Canada, on the other hand, accounts for 1492 MW of wind (CanWEA,

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 2
2007), but this figure is expected to grow rapidly in the next decade: most provinces, led by
Ontario and Quebec, have launched calls and adopted policies to increase wind energy capacity.
According to Hélimax (2005), Canadian wind capacity will reach approximately 11,225 MW by
2014.

Wind energy’s popularity is attributable to two main factors, namely technological advancements
and growing interest in clean renewable power. Indeed, wind energy production costs have
decreased rapidly in the last years, enabling the sector to compete, under certain conditions, with
conventional power sources. Growing concerns for climate change and air pollution, and
associated initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol and clean air standards, have made
governments promote wind energy as a viable and ecological solution. Many countries now have
ambitious wind energy objectives to respond to these concerns.


1.4.2    Ontario Wind Policy
Ontario is currently facing significant energy challenges. Over the next 20 years, approximately
25,000 MW of generation will have to be built or refurbished (OPA, 2006a). According to the
OPA’s 20-year supply mix plan, the province’s remaining coal plants are due to be phased out
and several nuclear reactors will be built or revamped. Renewable energy capacity is expected to
reach 15,700 MW by 2025 (CanWEA, 2006b).

Studies conducted for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) by Hélimax have
identified a significant provincial wind energy resource.

Another study was recently completed by GE on behalf of the OPA, the Independent Electricity
System Operator (IESO), and CanWEA to assess the implications of large-scale wind integration
into the Ontario power system. The study revealed that there were minimal system operation
impacts for levels of wind capacity up to 5000 MW (OPA, 2006b).

Wind energy is compliant with the government’s clean energy objectives. Ontario currently has
415 MW of utility-scale wind projects (CanWEA, 2007). In June 2004, the Ontario Ministry of
Energy issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for approximately 300 MW of new, renewable
electricity capacity for Ontario. The ten winning projects were announced in November 2004,
totalling 395 MW of new renewable supply (OPA, 2006c).

Two additional Renewables RFPs were announced by the government in April 2005. The first,
Renewables II, called for up to 1000 MW of new renewable energy supply from generation
facilities between 20 MW and 200 MW. The other RFP, Renewables III, initially sought up to 200
MW of new renewable energy supply from generation facilities with contract capacities less than
20 MW. However, this RFP was later cancelled when the OPA, directed by the Ontario Ministry of
Energy, adopted in March 2006 the Standard Offer Program (SOP). Under the SOP, electricity
generated by any wind energy project under 10 MW will be bought at a pre-determined rate
(OPA, 2006d).

The MERE project is being developed under the Standard Offer Program.

The goal of the SOP is to help Ontario meet its renewable energy supply targets by providing a
standard pricing regime and simplified eligibility and contracting for small renewable energy
electricity generating projects.

Projects must meet the following characteristics to be eligible for the SOP:
        Energy sources: wind, solar photovoltaic, thermal electric solar, renewable biomass,
        biogas, biofuel, landfill gas, water power.
        Installed capacity of 10 MW or less.

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 3
       Connection to an electricity distribution system in Ontario at a voltage of no more than 50
       kV.
       Contracts with the OPA for a term of 20 years.



1.5      Brief Project Description
With a layout comprising six 1.5-MW wind turbine generators (WTG), the proposed MERE Project
will have a nominal capacity of 9 MW. The proposed project would be installed on First Nation
land and private lots in the Township of Billings.

The MERE Project, currently estimated at $26M, is designed to operate under the Standard Offer
Contract program to provide reliable clean energy to Ontarians, as well as create specialized
high-quality regional employment opportunities. It is expected that the Project will create
approximately 10 person-years of work activity during the preparation and construction phase and
4 long-term skilled jobs during the operations phase.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 4
1.6       Regulatory Setting
1.6.1     Federal and Provincial
The Project is subject to the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA), Electricity Projects
Regulation, #116/01 and is expected to be subject of the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Act (CEAA). The CEAA will be triggered by the request for funding under the EcoENERGY
program (application forthcoming) and the application for a permit to use federal lands
(M’Chigeeng Reserve land) under the Indian Act.

Pursuant to these acts, this screening level environmental assessment was prepared following
the Ontario Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects and the
Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines for Screenings of Inland Wind Farms under the
CEAA.

The following table presents the federal and provincial agencies which were given the opportunity
to comment on the Project, as well as associated environmental approvals required, when
applicable. Additional information on regulatory agency consultation is available in Section 3 of
this report.


                             Table 1.6-1: Government Agency Involvement
Agency Involved                                    Environmental Approval Required
Federal
Natural Resources Canada (RA)                      Decision on the Environmental Assessment
                                                   Decision on the Environmental Assessment
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (RA)            Permit or licence under Indian Act subsection
                                                   28 (2)
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
                                                   Coordination
Health Canada (FA)                                 No approval required. Provision of expert
Environment Canada (FA)                            advice.
Transport Canada                                   Aeronautical Obstruction Clearance
NAV CANADA                                         Aviation Safety Approval
                                                   No approval required. No watercourses or
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
                                                   waterbodies are found in the Project area.
                                                   No approval required. No navigable waters are
Transport Canada (Navigable Waters)
                                                   found in the Project area.
Provincial
Ministry of Environment                            Environmental Screening decision
Ministry of Environment                            Certificate of Air (Noise)
Ministry of Natural Resources                      None required
                                                   Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment Approval
Ministry of Culture                                and Stage 2 Archaeological Assessment
                                                   Approval
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing          None required
                                                   Permit to install structures near provincial roads
Ministry of Transportation
                                                   (Highway 540) and to construct new entrances.
RA: regulatory agency
FA: federal agency




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 5
1.6.2     Local Authorities
An Official Plan Amendment is not required by the Manitoulin Planning Area Official Plan. Sub-
section 1.4.2 of the said Plan states that “all existing electric power facilities and the development
of any new (M-2) electric power facilities, including all works as defined by the Power Corporation
Act, shall be permitted in all parts of the Planning Area, provided that such development satisfies
the provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act, including regulations made under the Act
and any other relevant studies.”

The Township of Billings approved on July 3, 2007 By-Laws 2007-09 and 2007-10 to amend By-
law No. 80-11, to permit the installation and location of wind turbines on the two private lots
located in the Township of Billings and targeted by the Project.

1.7       Report Structure
This Environmental Screening Report for the MERE Project is being submitted to the Ontario
Ministry of the Environment and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in hopes of
fulfilling all requirements with respect to applicable provincial and federal environmental
assessment certifications. This Environmental Screening Report is based on the Project as
described in the Project Description Document (Hélimax et al., 2006) and the Notice of
Commencement which were filed with the federal and provincial agencies in May 2006.

This Environmental Screening Report is structured as follows:
        Section 1 : Introduction and regulatory setting
        Section 2: Detailed description of the Project’s location, optimization process, equipment,
        activities and schedule;
        Section 3: Detailed characterization of the natural and socio-economic environments;
        Section 4: Description of the regulatory agency, public and First Nations consultation
        activities and programs; this section namely includes the responses to comments
        from various regulatory agencies (Ontario MNR, Ontario MoE, Environment Canada
        (CWS), Health Canada) on the draft Environmental Screening Report.
        Section 5: Presentation of the assessment of effects on the natural and socio-economic
        components presented in Section 3, as well as cumulative effects and an Accidents and
        Malfunctions Plan;
        Section 6: Effects of the environment on the Project;
        Section 7: Summary of mitigation, impact management and monitoring commitments;
        Section 8: Environmental assessment summary: overview of environmental advantages
        and disadvantages.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 6
2        TECHNICAL PROJECT DESCRIPTION

2.1      Project Location
The Project is located in the northeastern part of Manitoulin Island. More specifically, the Project
is located just east of the West Bay shoreline, partly on the M’Chigeeng First Nation Reserve and
partly on private lots in the Township of Billings. The general Project area where the turbines will
be sited measures less than 1 km2. Turbines will be placed on four lots. Two of these lots (which
will host two turbines) are located on M’Chigeeng First Nation land, while the other two lots
(which will host the remaining four turbines) are privately owned and lie within the boundaries of
Billings Township. A fifth lot is also affected by the Project to host the power line and a segment
of the access road. The owners of these three private lots are M’Chigeeng First Nation band
members. A general location map and a site plan of the Project are provided in Appendix 1 (Maps
2.1-1 and Map 2.1-2).

 The Project area is situated on a plateau, which lies at an elevation of approximately 315 m. West of
the plateau, i.e. between the Project area and West Bay, is a rather rugged escarpment. The plateau is
 forested with trees averaging 15-20 metres; one access road (bush trail) coming up from Route 540
    leads to the plateau and the wind monitoring tower. The area is relatively uninhabited, with the
exception of a few dwellings on Route 540 and the M’Chigeeng community approximately 1 km to the
                     west. Figure 2.1-1 shows a view of the plateau from Route 540;
Figure 2.1-2 shows the wind monitoring tower on site.




                          Figure 2.1-1: View of the MERE Project Location




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 7
                         Figure 2.1-2: View of Wind Monitoring Tower on Site



2.2      Optimization Process and Project Layout
A 50-m wind monitoring tower installed on the Project site has been collecting wind data since
September 2004. Direct observations have been taken by instruments mounted on the tower at
various heights, including temperature, wind speed, and wind direction. Based on the data
collected, the MERE Project is considered to have a very good wind resource and could generate
enough energy to supply approximately 2400 households. The wind monitoring program has
revealed that the prevailing winds come from the west.


2.2.1    Constraints Analysis
The proposed MERE Project has been configured to maximize the energy yield while taking into
consideration a number of biophysical- and human-related constraints to ensure the Project is
developed in a sustainable manner. These constraints stem from regulations, existing land uses,
consultations with the M’Chigeeng First Nation (including the Chief and Council) and the public at
large, and expert analysis of the site’s sensitivity. Field surveys were also conducted by the
biophysical and archaeological/traditional land use teams to identify and reference any site or
area that should be avoided. Overall, very few social or environmental constraints were identified.

Installation of the four turbines sited on Township land has been approved by the Township on
July 3, 2007, through By-laws 2007-09 and 2007-10 which amend By-law 80-11. These by-laws
specify that the two turbines on Lot 5, CON 7 will need to be located at least 85m from all lot lines
and that two turbines on lot 4, CON 8 will need to be located at least 61m from all lot lines.

Table 2.2-1 provides a list of all constraints and setbacks that were taken into account to site the
turbines, based on by-laws, regulatory requirements and/or best practices.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 8
            Table 2.2-1: Constraints Considered in the Development of the Project Layout
            Feature                    Applied Setback       Setback Reference
            Biophysical
            Watercourses,
                                       N/A           (none
            waterbodies, marshes,
                                       identified)
            wetlands
            Surveyed rare
                                       N/A           (none
            ecosystems, protected
                                       identified)
            areas
            Slopes > 15% (for
                                       Avoided               Best practice - Helimax
            turbine positions)
            Human/Built
                                       61 or 85 m on the
            Site boundary (lot line)                         Billings Township
                                       Billings lots
                                                             Best practice – common
                                       250 m, whichever
            On-site residential use                          setback in other Ontario
                                       is greater
                                                             jurisdictions
                                                             Best practice – common
            Off-site dwelling or
                                       300 m                 setback in other Ontario
            institutional building
                                                             jurisdictions
            Highway 540                250 m                 Best practice - Helimax
            Private bush trail         50 m                  Best practice - Helimax
            M’Chigeeng Walking
                                       100 m                 Best practice - Helimax
            Trail
            Traditional land use
                                       None identified
            site (medicinal plants)
            Microwave link
                                       Avoided               RABC/CanWEA guideline
            pathway and buffer


The MERE Project was also designed to be compliant with Health Canada noise guidelines and
the Ontario noise guidelines. A Certificate of Approval (Air and Noise) application will be
submitted to the Ministry of the Environment at a later stage.


2.2.2    Resulting Project Layout
After taking into consideration the results of the constraints analysis, turbines were adequately
spaced to reduce wake effects and associated productivity losses. Individual turbines were sited
on the plateau approximately 400 m from one another in a single line which lies roughly on a
south-southwest / north-northeast axis. This spacing – equivalent to over 5 rotor diameters – is
consistent with industry standards.

The site plan is presented in Map 2.1-2.


2.3      Project Components
The MERE Project will be made up of the following four major components:
        Wind turbines (including foundations, towers, blades, nacelles, transformers);
        Access roads and crane pad;
        Collector system and power line;

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 9
        Off-site operations and maintenance building.



2.3.1    Wind Turbines
Modern utility-scale wind turbines consist of a generator which is housed in a nacelle, which in
turn is positioned on top of a tubular steel tower and powered by a three-bladed rotor (Figure
2.3-1). Each turbine will be mounted on a concrete foundation and equipped with a transformer at
its base.

Six 1.5-MW turbines will be installed, for a total installed capacity of 9 MW. For the purposes of
this environmental assessment, this Environmental Screening Report is based on technical
specifications and requirements for the installation and operation of the GE 1.5sle turbine (1.5
MW). The GE 1.5sle is equipped with yaw drive and blade pitch systems (Figure 2.3-2).




                                                         Blade 37.5 m



                                 Rotor 77 m
                                                         Hub height 80 m




                     Figure 2.3-1: Dimensions of a GE 1.5 MW sle Wind Turbine

The tower of the wind turbine is made of steel and is composed of 3 sections, totalling 80 m in
height. The top section has a “gutter system” capable of retaining all oil or grease from the
nacelle, in the event of an accidental spill.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 10
Each of the three blades measure 37.5 m in length and are joined at a hub connected to the
nacelle. The rotor has a diameter of 77 m and its swept area totals 4600 m2. The blades are
equipped with a variable pitch system that turns the blade’s angle to optimize energy output. To
ensure protection against lighting, each blade is equipped with a copper wire running from its tip
to the hub and nacelle and then down the tower to a ground grid in the tower’s foundation.

The turbine’s nacelle includes all of the electrical and mechanical components enabling the
production of electricity (Figure 2.3-2). The main components of the nacelle include the electrical
generator, the control panel, the gearbox, the hub and the nose cone. The nacelle is insulated to
minimize noise emissions and equipped with an anemometer and a wind vane. The nacelle is
topped by a lightning rod, connected to a ground grid in the tower’s foundation. A yaw drive
enables the orientation of the turbine to face the wind at any given time during operations.
Technical      specifications       of     the     GE     1.5      sle     is     provided       in




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 11
Table 2.3-1.

Each turbine will be equipped with a step-up transformer at its base that will elevate the voltage
from 500-690 V (turbine output) to the wind farm collecting network voltage (44 kV). The
transformer will occupy a footprint of approximately 9 m2. An example of a step-up transformer is
shown in Figure 2.3-3.

The MERE Project will need to comply with Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Regulation 621.19
(Section 12: Marking and Lighting of Wind Turbines and Wind Parks) with respect to lighting. The
general requirements for a wind energy project are as follows:
        Red flashing CL-864 or white flashing CL-865 lights shall be installed to identify the area
        of the wind park;
        Lit towers shall have a spacing of at least 3 km;
        The dominant wind turbine, which is of a greater height than other wind turbines of the
        farm, shall also be lighted, if it is not included among the turbines lighted in accordance
        with Article 1.
        All lighting provided for a wind park shall flash simultaneously.
        Because of the variation in configuration of wind parks, the provision of lighting shall also
        be subject to a technical assessment in writing taking into account such factors as the
        general profile of the group and the type of lighting to be applied.

Based on these guidelines, it is assumed that two turbines of the MERE Project will be lit.

Each turbine will be mounted on a concrete foundation. The type of foundation will be determined
based on subsurface conditions evaluated during the geotechnical assessment. Generally, two
types of concrete foundations would be considered: a gravity type footing and a rock-anchor
footing. For the purposes of this assessment, it is assumed that a gravity type foundation, 15 m in
diameter, will be used. This “worst-case scenario” will require the use of approximately 265 m3 of
concrete per turbine.




                                  Figure 2.3-2: Nacelle Components




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 12
                        Figure 2.3-3: Step-up Transformer




Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 13
                             Table 2.3-1: Specifications for the GE 1.5sle


              Model                            GE 1.5sle (1.5 MW)
              Hub height                       80 m
              Tower                            Steel, tubular shape, white
                                               Hollow structure mostly made of
              Blades                           fibreglass, length 37.5 m, approx. 7 t
                                               each, white
              Rotor diameter                   77 m
              Rotor swept area                 4600 m2
              Rotation speed                   11 – 20 rpm
              Cut-in/Cut-out speeds            3.5 m/s – 25 m/s
                                               Equivalent to a 104 dB(A) point
              Maximum noise level              source at hub; will attenuate to 55 dB
                                               within 100 m of the turbine
              Estimated total weight of
                                               200 tonnes
              turbine
              Foundation dimensions            15 m diam. x 1.5 m deep
              Foundation volume                265 m3


2.3.2     Access Roads and Crane Pads
Access roads will be needed to reach each wind turbine site. Transportation of machinery, turbine
components and other equipment will be done from the east via the existing Tower Road which
originates at Rockville Road. It is expected that this road will be extended to the west on the
same axis, i.e. along the municipal right-of-way (width = approximately 20 m (65 feet)) between
Concessions 6 and 7 until it reaches M’Chigeeng Reserve land, close to Turbine #1. From that
point the road will run northeast parallel to the line of turbines, which as previously mentioned will
be located in a single line on the plateau, perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction. The road
layout can be seen in Map 2.1-2.

Typically, access roads for wind projects need to be approximately 10 m wide (rolling surface)
with slopes of less than 15%. The total access road right-of-way (RoW), including required tree
clearing on each side, is estimated at 20 m. The roads will be compliant with Ontario regulations
and be built to support the weight of the equipment and machinery required to build the Project
will be more or less consistent with loads of roads used by heavy machinery for the transport of
timber and other forest products. It is estimated that the Project will require the construction of
approximately 4 km of new access roads (see Table 2.4-4).

At each wind turbine the access road will end at a crane pad. The crane pad will measure
approximately 15 m × 30 m (450 m2) and be made of the same material as the access roads.


2.3.3     Collector System and Switching Station
The electricity produced from each wind turbine will be collected in a low-voltage electrical
collecting system that will run to Hydro One’s 44-kV distribution line located approximately 250 m
northwest of the string of turbines, along Highway 540. One 44-kV line runs along Route 540, and
thus parallel to the proposed turbine locations, approximately 250 m to the northwest. Since each
WTG’s transformer will elevate the voltage to that of the distribution line (44 kV), no sub-station
will be needed. The electrical network will comprise underground cables in close proximity to
each turbine (length of 20 m at each turbine), while the remainder will be overhead. In either
case, it is expected that the network will follow the access road (approximately 2.5 km) and will

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 14
not require additional clearing than the proposed RoW for this access road, with the exception of
the line segment that will run down the bluff to connect with the existing network. This segment of
approximately 1 km will require a 10-m RoW.

The 44-kV line will be supported by single wooden pole structures approximately 15 m in height.

There will be one pole-mounted circuit breaker on the main 44-kV collector line, located along
Highway 540.

Preliminary analysis suggests that interconnection to Hydro One’s 44-kV distribution line will be
located close to Route 540. This proposed interconnection scenario will be further investigated by
the proponent, in collaboration with relevant governmental and transmission authorities. This
interconnection will be directly on the Hydro One pole without the need for a sub-station. The
required system protection, meeting Hydro One and IESO requirements, will be provided.
Revenue metering will meet IESO standards.


2.3.4    Off-site Operations and Maintenance Building
An off-site maintenance building will be built for use by employees and as a storage facility for
maintenance materials and products, tools, various equipments and vehicles. It is expected that
the maintenance building will be located on the M’Chigeeng First Nation Reserve.


2.4      Project Activities
The wind energy project includes three main phases: (1) site preparation and construction, (2)
operation, and (3) decommissioning. This section presents an overview of each phase’s activities.


2.4.1    Construction Phase
This phase of the Project includes all activities from initial work planning to testing of the wind
energy project before commissioning. The main elements during this phase include site
prospecting, transport, tree cutting and grubbing where required, new road building, installation of
wind turbines including concrete foundations, and installation of the electrical network.

All project components will be built or activities will be undertaken according to current guidelines
provided by governmental agencies, local authorities, Hydro One and the turbine manufacturer.
These will include governmental standards for tree cutting and road building, Hydro One electrical
standards, and the turbine manufacturer’s standards with respect to transportation of turbine
parts, turbine assembly and concrete foundations.

Commencement of the construction phase will be dependent on a PPA from Hydro One under
the Standard Offer Contract Program. Construction is expected to be completed in less than six
months.


2.4.1.1 Transport

This activity includes all transportation related to the project, such as project components, heavy
machinery, and concrete (Table 2.4-1).

Wind turbine component transportation will be undertaken with convoys specially permitted for
oversized and overweight loads. Cranes will also be transported with specialized convoys.

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 15
Convoys transporting machinery and turbine components will arrive to the Project site via Route
6, which enters Manitoulin Island at Little Current via the Little Current Swing Bridge. Preliminary
investigations indicate that transportation of turbine components will be in conformity with
allowable weight and dimension limits of the Swing Bridge.

From Little Current, convoys will follow Highway 540 south to Bidwell Road, then run south on
Rockville Road. Convoys will then head west on Tower Road which ends approximately 2 km
from the project site. Convoys will then proceed on the newly built road – within the municipal
RoW between Concessions 6 and 7 – to access the site. The proponent is also investigating the
possibility of accessing the island via South Baymouth, with the Chichimaun ferry which departs
at Tobermory.

It is anticipated that concrete will be supplied by the Lafarge plant located on the M’Chigeeng
                                    3
Reserve. Concrete trucks of 8 m capacity will be used to haul the concrete to turbine sites.
These trucks use the same access point as the other convoys, so will need to run north on
Highway 540 and go around the site along Bidwell Road, in order to reach Rockville Road and
Tower Road.

Transportation crews will be trained and equipped to respond to accidental spills. All project
vehicles will carry an emergency spill response kit.

                    Table 2.4-1: Transportation Requirements during Construction
   Component          Number of            Number of             Total           Traffic Density
                       Trucks               Convoys        Trucks/Convoys           Indicator
                      Required                                for Project       [trucks/working
                                                                                      day]*
                         One per          1 convoy for 6      18 trucks, 3
  Turbine Blades                                                                          <1
                          blade               blades           convoys
                         One per
      Towers         tower section
                        (3 trucks)
                                         One convoy for       30 trucks, 6
                     One for each                                                         <1
     Nacelles                            these 5 trucks        convoys
                         nacelle
  Hubs and nose          One per
     cones              hub/cone
                          33 per
     Concrete                                    --               198                     N/A
                       foundation
        *See Section 2.4.5 for construction schedule.


2.4.1.2 Tree Cutting, Grubbing and Clearing

Tree cutting, grubbing (removal of stumps) and clearing of all vegetation will be required on all
new access road locations, turbine sites and rotor assembly areas. The power line RoW will only
require clearing. Commercially usable timber will be set aside and transferred to the legal holders
of the land. Tree and brush waste will be burnt on site in spring, when risk of fire is low. Top soil
and subsoil will be removed and salvaged for use during site reclamation.


2.4.1.3 Access Roads and Crane Pad Building

This activity generally involves planning of roadway surfacing and road limits, stabilizing of
backfill, excavated material and stripped soil. When possible, new road construction and



         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 16
upgrades will use existing material on site, such as excavated material from turbine sites. Existing
gravel pits will supply additional gravel if needed.


2.4.1.4 Pouring of Concrete Foundations and Turbine Assembly

This activity includes excavation of material at turbine sites, including blasting if necessary,
preparation of cavity and installation of steel rods, and pouring of concrete foundations. Concrete
foundations will cure for 2-3 weeks. Excavated rock will be spread onto crane pad and adjacent
access roads (Figure 2.4-1). All concrete will be hauled from local concrete production plants.




                                                          Source: Helimax
                         Figure 2.4-1: Preparation of a Concrete Foundation



Each turbine will require a temporary rotor assembly area, where the three blades will be
assembled to the hub on the ground. At most, a 100 m x 100 m area (1 ha) will need to be
cleared of trees, brushed and grubbed to facilitate crane and truck passage. Depending on the
vegetation types and terrain, a smaller area may need to be cleared. Given the uncertainty in the
amount of clearing that may be required, a maximum clearing area of 1 ha per assembly area
has been assumed for the purpose of the impact assessment (i.e., a conservative assumption
relative to effects on the environment). This assembly includes the permanent turbine and crane
pad footprint: thus at the end of construction, 0.925 ha (1 ha minus 750 m2) per assembly area

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 17
will be restored as per the site reclamation plan. An erosion control system will be placed at the
boundary of the rotor assembly area.

Installation of turbines consist of lifting and fixing the 3 tower sections, lifting and fixing the nacelle
to the top tower section, lifting and fixing the generator, assembling the rotor on the ground and
lifting and fixing the rotor to the nacelle (total of 5 lifts/turbine). For illustrative purposes, turbine
installation would likely require the use of a 400-tonne crane and a 90-tonne crane (Figure 2.4-2
and Figure 2.4-3).




                                                                                         Source: Hélimax
                                         Figure 2.4-2: Nacelle Lift




          Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 18
                                                                                Source: Hélimax
                                       Figure 2.4-3: Rotor Lift

2.4.1.5 Installation of Electrical Network

Overhead cables will be attached to single wooden poles. It is assumed that overhead cabling will
generally follow access roads, except for the segment that will link the Project to the Hydro One
line along Highway 540.

Underground cabling will be placed in conduits underneath the concrete tower foundations. It is
assumed that the underground cables will only be used in the immediate vicinity (i.e., < 20 m from
each turbine step-up transformer) to connect the turbine with the overhead network.


2.4.1.6 Site Reclamation

Site reclamation is planned for the turbine and rotor assembly areas, as well as alongside access
roads. Salvaged subsoil will be replaced and capped with topsoil and salvaged organic material,
including woody debris. If required, an erosion control seed mix, consisting of fast-growing
agronomic species will be applied as required in areas of erosion risk, such as steeper slopes.


2.4.1.7 Hazardous Material

The main hazardous substance that will be hauled on site during construction is diesel fuel. Fuel
will be hauled to the Project site to supply heavy machinery, namely the cranes. Hauling of fuel
and its presence on site create the possibility of spills on access roads and at turbine sites,
potentially affecting vegetation and watercourses. The risk of such spills will be minimized by
ensuring that all fuel trucks are inspected and compliant to industry standards. Refuelling will

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 19
follow accepted industry practices. All refuelling will occur at the crane pad, away from potential
sensitive receptors. Emergency response spill kits will be maintained on site to contain any spill of
hazardous fluids.

All hazardous material, including fuel, oils, and grease will not be stored on site, but rather in a
designated maintenance building.


2.4.2    Operations
Turbines generate electricity whenever the wind is blowing between cut-in and cut-out speed (see




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 20
Table 2.3-1), which typically is about 65-75% of the time.

Each turbine is connected to a control system which monitors a large number of meteorological
and mechanical parameters in real time. If this system detects any condition outside of normal
turbine operating conditions (i.e. high wind speeds, overheating of the generator, etc.), the turbine
will be immediately stopped.

The operations phase’s activities mainly relate to regular maintenance runs and checking of the
Project’s infrastructure. On average, two visits are planned per year per turbine for routine
maintenance tasks (see Table 2.4-2).

The operations phase’s duration will coincide with the power purchase agreement, and should be
at least 20 years. For the purpose of this assessment, it is assumed that the MERE Project will be
in operation for 20 years. The exact period of operations will be specified in a power purchase
agreement (PPA) to be negotiated with Hydro One at a later date. The Project could be available
for an extended PPA, provided that some mechanical upgrades and replacements are
undertaken after approximately 20 years.

The Project’s operations phase is not typically resource intensive. The regular activities pertain to
computer-controlled operation of turbines and maintenance (Table 2.4-2).

                       Table 2.4-2: Project Activities during the Operations Phase
Activity               Description
                       The MERE Project will have a full-time operation staff and will be controlled
                       by use of a computer, SCADA software, and a fibre optic communication
                       system linking each wind turbine generator installation, allowing personnel
                       to monitor operation continuously. The SCADA system can be accessed
Operation of
                       remotely and allows for remote reset of minor fault conditions, access to
turbines
                       data for fault analysis and the operational adjustment of each turbine. With
                       additional software, it is possible to control the Project’s output to meet the
                       needs of the utility with respect to planned curtailment or total shutdown if
                       necessary.


                       Wind generation projects require little maintenance relative to fossil fuel
                       plants. Wind turbines are typically serviced twice a year to reduce
                       mechanical or electrical problems. Scheduled maintenance will be carried
                       out, when possible, during periods of low wind.


                       The half-year service generally takes 1 to 2 days and consists of greasing,
Maintenance            hydraulic filter changes where applicable, visual inspection and some
                       diagnostic testing, including a rotor over-speed test. The annual service
                       generally takes 2 to 4 days and consists of all the 6-month items, plus full
                       system tests, 10% bolt torquing, and gear oil filter changes. Usually, every
                       third year the gear oil and hydraulic oil, where applicable, are flushed and
                       renewed to maintain optimum lubrication.

                       Maintenance crews will be trained and equipped to respond to accidental
                       spills. All Project vehicles will carry an emergency spill response kit.




           Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 21
                      Regular maintenance services or site check-ups will only require minimal
                      use of trucks, ATVs or snowmobiles. Access roads are permanent but will
                      not be ploughed, unless an unplanned event or malfunction requires the
Transportation        immediate intervention of heavy machinery or trucks (use of crane, blade
and traffic           replacement, etc.).

                      Transportation crews will be trained and equipped to respond to accidental
                      spills. All Project vehicles will carry an emergency spill response kit.


                      Manual brush clearing will be undertaken approximately every ten years on
                      road right-of-ways, and along the collector system rights-of-way. No brush
Brush clearing
                      clearing will be required around turbine sites. Brush will be piled for burning
                      in early spring, when risk of forest fires is low.




2.4.3    Decommissioning Phase
According to laws and regulations in effect, the decommissioning of the Project may require the
dismantling of its components, such as the turbines, their concrete foundations and the overhead
electrical network. However, the Project more likely will be refurbished in the future with updated
technology, and will thereby continue to produce clean energy for Ontario.

Table 2.4-3 below presents the most important activities that would take place in the event the
Project is decommissioned.


                   Table 2.4-3: Project Activities during the Decommissioning Phase
    Activity              Description

                          After 20 years or more in operation, it is expected that tree cutting,
    Tree cutting          clearing and brushing will be required to prepare the rotor assembly
                          areas for dismantling of the rotors.


                          According to regulations in effect, Project components such as the
                          turbines and overhead cabling might need to be dismantled and
                          properly disposed of. The top part of the concrete pads will be
                          removed to enable filling with sub-soil and topsoil.
    Dismantling of
    Project               Components will be sold on the market (steel towers, electrical
    components            components, blades), recycled (blades) or disposed of in designated
                          landfill sites. Oils and greases from the gearbox, other nacelle
                          components and the transformers will be flushed and sent to
                          designated treatment facilities.

                          Includes all transportation associated with dismantling, including
    Transportation
                          Project components, heavy machinery, and broken up concrete.
    and traffic
                          Some haulage of reclamation materials may also be required.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 22
                          Site reclamation might be required and should have the objective of
                          returning the affected areas to their initial use. Reclamation could
                          include the following actions: replacement of sub-soil, capping with
    Site reclamation
                          topsoil, salvaged material or woody debris, application of erosion
                          control seed mixes in areas of erosion risk, and reforestation in
                          previously forested areas.



2.4.4     Total Project Footprint
Table 2.4-4 presents a summary of the Project’s characteristics, as well as an estimation of its
footprint. The table demonstrates the footprint differences during the construction phase
(temporary) compared to those during the operations phase of the Project. In all, approximately
15 ha will need to be cleared at the construction phase, but the Project footprint for the duration of
the Project will be approximately 9 ha.

At the end of the construction phase, the soil that has been disturbed will be restored to its
original state through the proponent’s site reclamation strategy. Also, it should be noted that the
Project’s life expectancy is 20 years under the Standard Offer Program.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 23
                  Table 2.4-4: Calculated Lengths, Dimensions and Footprint Specifications
Specification                       M’Chigeeng            Private        Municipal           Total for 9-
                                   Reserve Land            Land           (Billings          MW MERE
                                    (2 turbines)       (4 turbines)      Township)            Project
                                                                            Land
Access Roads*
Rolling surface                         10 m               10 m              10 m                 --
Total right-of-way                      20 m               20 m              20 m                 --
Total length                          0.91 km             1.5 km            1.5 km            3.91 km
Footprint
                                      1.82 ha             3.0 ha            3.0 ha             7.82 ha
(considering 20-m RoW)
Turbine Sites (incl. Crane
Pad)
Footprint                             0.15 ha            0.30 ha              --               0.45 ha
Temporary rotor
                                      1.85 ha             3.7 ha              --               5.55 ha
assembly area
Power Line
RoW                                       --               10 m               --                  --
Length                                    --              1.0 km              --               1.0 km
Footprint                                 --              1.0 ha              --               1.0 ha
Total Footprint during
                                        4.9               7.0 ha        3.0 ha          14.9 ha
Construction
Total Footprint during
                                      2.0 ha              4.3 ha        3.0 ha           9.3 ha
Operations
      • the electrical collector system will follow access roads on approximately 3.5 km, i.e. only
         the road portions that are linking the turbines.


 2.4.5      Schedule
 If successful in obtaining a PPA, it is expected that the MERE Project could be built to capacity
 size (9 MW) during the third and fourth quarter of 2010, and commissioned in the first quarter of
 2011. However, there is a possibility that the project construction will bev phased over a 3-year
 period commencing in 2010, starting with the installation of the two turbines located on Reserve
 Land. The opportunity to develop the Project is based on receiving a power sale agreement from
 Hydro One within the context of the Standard Offer Contract program.




            Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                 Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 24
3         ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL SETTING

3.1       Air and Climate
The greatest single influence on weather across the region is the presence of the Great Lakes.
The climate of Manitoulin Island is characterized by hot, dry summers with cool offshore breezes,
and cold snowy winters.

Situated along one of the major storm tracks of North America, the region experiences the
passage of high and low pressure systems which produce wide variations in day-to-day weather.
Weather systems generally cross through the region every two to five days, such that spells of
dry or wet, hot or cold weather are seldom long.

The nearest Environment Canada meteorological station, Gore Bay A (6092925), receives 809
mm of precipitation a year. The warmer water temperatures of the North Channel support more
intense convection and thunderstorms are as a result more common here than over the cold
waters of the central sections of Lake Huron (NAV CANADA, 2006).

Meteorological conditions for Gore Bay and the Project area are presented in Table 3.1-1.


              Table 3.1-1: Meteorological Conditions at Gore Bay and in the Project Area
               Atmospheric Characteristic                             Condition
               Gore Bay
               Daily average annual temperature                         5.2°C
               Daily July average temperature                           19.1°C
               Daily January average temperature                       -10.0°C
               Average annual rainfall                                 625 mm
               Average annual snowfall                                267.3 cm
               Total annual precipitation                             808.9 mm
               Average wind speed                                     16.2 km/h
               Predominant wind direction                                 W
               Project Area
               Daily average annual temperature                         7.7°C 1
                                                          Source: Environment Canada (2006a)



3.1.1     Freezing Rain
In the Manitoulin region, patchy freezing rain or drizzle occurs on occasion during the winter
months. Freezing rain in this region is less abundant than farther east (i.e. North Bay region).
According to Environment Canada (2006b), about nine days of freezing rain occur per year in the
region.


3.1.2     Wind Characteristics
The North Channel and Manitoulin Island are subject to prevailing westerly winds. Average wind
speeds registered by EC’s Gore Bay A station are in the order of 16.2 km/h. The wind monitoring
tower at the MERE site records favourable wind speeds at 50 m, while wind speeds extrapolated
to 80 m are substantially higher. The wind resource in the Project area is considered of very good

1 Based on data collected since September 2004.

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 25
quality, with winds blowing predominantly from the west, with important components from the
southwest, northwest, and north.


3.1.3        Fog
According to Environment Canada, the Gore Bay region experiences about 162.9 hours of fog 2
per year occurring on 32 days (Environment Canada, 2006a and 2006c). Though fog is generally
more frequent along the coast because of the difference between water and land temperature,
fog is less extensive over the North Channel than over northern Lake Huron, throughout the
spring and summer, due to warmer water temperatures (NAV CANADA, 2006).


3.1.4        Air Quality
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MoE) collects continuous ambient air quality data at 37
Air Quality Index (AQI) monitoring sites across the province, none of which are located on
Manitoulin Island. However, in July 2000 and July 2001, a measuring program was carried out at
three sites around the Georgian Bay (Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island; Still River; and Bruce
Peninsula National Park) with a mobile AQI unit to establish a correlation with the permanent
MoE monitoring sites. The following pollutants were monitored:
           Ozone (O3);
           Fine particulate matter (PM2.5);
           Nitrogen dioxide (NO2);
           Carbon monoxide (CO);
           Sulphur dioxide (SO2); and
           Mercury.

Generally speaking, air quality is good on Manitoulin Island. However, though the region lacks
any major emission sources and the air quality is typically better than monitoring stations farther
south (Long Point, Grand Bend), there are occasions when levels can be higher in the Georgian
Bay area than the traditional areas to the south, for example, when the polluted air enters the
region directly from upper Michigan and crosses Lake Huron. In fact, the three Georgian Bay
sites studied were similar in that they were strongly affected by the trans-boundary flow of ozone
and its precursors from the US Midwest (notably Michigan).


3.2          Terrain, Soils and Ground Water
3.2.1        Geology and Topography
With an area of 2765 km2, Manitoulin Island is reputed to be the world’s largest freshwater island.
The elevation of the island varies from 170 m to 350 m above sea level. The Island is located at
the edge of the Precambrian Shield and is formed by the extension of the Niagara Escarpment
provided by the Silurian and Ordovician period (Figure 3.2-1). The geology of these formations is
mostly limestone and dolomite, with many flat pans and escarpment ridges. Some granite
boulders can be observed on limestone shelves, which is dropped by retreating glaciers at the
end of the last ice age, 10 000 years ago.


2
    Defined as visibility being reduced to under 1 km.

             Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                   Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 26
Lockport formation and Manitoulin formation bedrock underlies the study area. The area between
Manitou Lake and West Bay are examples of perpendicular bluffs of the Niagara Escarpment. At
West Bay, the bluffs are over 150 m above the level of Lake Huron (Chapman and Putnam,
1984). The crest of High Hill is believed to have been above the elevation of prehistoric Lake
Algonquin. The topography of the study area is characterized predominantly of the escarpment
bluffs. On the west and north faces of the bluff is a steep talus slope. At the top of the bluff, the
tablelands are generally level, although there are areas that are gently sloping on a limestone
plain. The Project area sits on the plateau at an elevation of approximately 315 m (Janusas,
2006).




                                         Source: Geology on Manitoulin Island, Andy Fyon (2006)
                          Figure 3.2-1: Manitoulin Island and Area Geology



3.2.2    Surface Deposits and Drainage
Surface deposits on the Project area are largely lacustrine silt loam and three types of soil can be
found: Farmington loam, Donnybrook sandy loam, and Howland loam.

The Farmington soils are shallow and consist of a till that is derived from limestone and is less
than 30 cm deep (Hoffman et al., 1959). Areas of Farmington loam, located on the plateau, have
good drainage, level topography and the surface stoniness is considered moderately to slightly
stony. Areas of Howland loam, down close to West Bay, have imperfect drainage, a smooth
gently sloping topography and are very stony to moderately stony. Areas of Donnybrook sandy
loam, located near or on the escarpment buffs, have good drainage, have an irregular steeply
sloping topography and are very stony (Janusas, 2006).

Areas of Farmington loam and Donnybrook sandy loam have good drainage while areas of
Howland loam have imperfect drainage. Also, Farmington areas have topography and surfaces
moderately to slightly stony. Donnybrook sandy loam has an irregular steeply sloping topography

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 27
(Janusas, 2006). Surface deposit depth is very shallow and lies over large areas of flat limestone
bedrock, much of it exposed.




                       Approx. location of
                       study area




                                                           Fl: Farmington loam
                                                           Hxl: Howland loam
                                                           Dbs: Donnybrook sandy loam

                                                  Source: Hoffman and al., 1959
                             Figure 3.2-2 Surface Deposits of Study Area


3.2.3    Ground Water
Given the good drainage of the soils in the project area, the topography and the absence of
surface water, the ground water table is expected to be found at the bedrock level most of the
year, fluctuating seasonally, rising in the soil layer in the wetter periods of spring, summer and
fall. Ground water depth will be assessed prior construction during the geotechnical investigation.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 28
3.3       Aquatic Ecosystems
Detailed topographic and air photo mapping were reviewed and on-site surveys were conducted
by aquatic biologists. There are no water sources, lakes or springs, within the study area and the
closest water body is located more than 500 m away. West Bay lies over 1 km west of the Project
area. No aquatic features are found within the Project area.


3.4       Vegetation
3.4.1     Study Area
The study area is located near the town of M’Chigeeng, 1 km east of West Bay within the
headland between Manitou Lake and West Bay. The area is approximately 300 m above sea
level. The western edge of the Project area borders a steep ridge that is a continuation of the
Niagara Escarpment. This is one of the highest points on Manitoulin Island (Chapman and
Putnam, 1984). The landscape in this area is smooth-and-level to smooth-and–moderately-
sloping. The Project area is composed of shallow well drained calcareous loam soils. Stoniness
within the area ranges from slightly to moderately stony (Hoffman and Wickland, 1959).

The detailed report on vegetation is found in Appendix 2.



3.4.2     Study Methodology
Collection and review of background information on biological features in the vicinity of the study
area commenced in April 2006 and has continued up to the date of this report. The review of
background information included frequent review of Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC)
sources, liaison with knowledgeable local naturalists, and agency staff.

Initial vegetation mapping was based on air photo interpretation. Vegetation field surveys were
specifically undertaken on April 19, 20, 21; May 3, 16, 17; June 20, 21, 22; and October 19, 2006.
Field surveys were undertaken in order to map broad-scale vegetation communities to the ecosite
level based on the Forest Ecosystems of Central Ontario (FEC) (Chambers et al., 1997).

Detailed vascular flora species lists were completed at the proposed turbine locations, along the
access road and proposed power line. All vegetation species documented during the field studies
were compared to a list of vegetation found within the Manitoulin area by Morton and Venn (2000)
to see if any regionally rare plants grow within the Project area.

At the request of the First Nations and following a comment during a community meeting in
August 2006, a medicinal plant survey was conducted on the MERE project by Mr. Falcon J.W.
Migwans, a traditional harvester from the M’Chigeeng First Nations on 31 August 2006.


3.4.3     Results

3.4.3.1 Natural Areas

The natural area search includes Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), Provincially
Significant Wetlands (PSW), and Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA). There are four natural
areas found within the vicinity of the study area. The study area does not overlap with any
designated natural areas, as designated by Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC 2005a).



          Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 29
The Cup and Saucer Trail ANSI is found approximately 2 km northeast of the study area
(NHIC2005a). This natural area represents the highest point on Manitoulin Island, and is a regular
stop for island tourists. This natural area is not included in the Niagara Escarpment, which
extends from Queenston north to islands off the coast of Tobermory, and is therefore not included
in the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) (Niagara Escarpment Commission 2005).

The Cup and Saucer Trail Escarpment represents a 301 ha International Biological Program site,
designated by NHIC (2006a), and also represents an Escarpment Biosphere Reserve (Barnett,
2001). This natural area is an extension of the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario, and has
been found to have at least 10 rare species and 8 rare vegetation communities (Barnett, 2001).
Composed predominantly of dolostone rockland, this escarpment has cliffs reaching 60 m high,
and has been impacted very little by humans (NHIC, 2005a).


3.4.3.2 Vascular Flora

A total of 105 vascular plant species were identified on site during the field surveys.
Approximately 20% of these species are non-native. The majority of these non-native species
were found around road access points, which is typical for these types of species.


3.4.3.3 Federally and Provincially Rare Species

No federally listed plant species are known from the area.
According to the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC, 2005b) there are 10 provincially rare
plant species from the vicinity of the study area: 2 extremely rare (Cephaloziella rubella var. bifida
and Hypnum recurvatum ); 6 very rare (Gymnocarpium robertianum, Cystopteris laurentiana,
Asplenium rutamuraria, Pseudoleskeella tectorum, Pterospora andromedea and Frullania
bolanderi) and 2 rare to uncommon (Pellaea atropurpurea and Poa interior) from the vicinity of
the study area.

All habitats on-site were systematically searched during the 2006 field surveys. No rare species
during the field surveys were observed.


3.4.3.4 Regionally Significant Species

Based on status lists in Morton and Venn (2000), two regionally rare plant species were observed
within the study area: Ground-pine (Lycopodium obscurum) and squawroot (Conopholis
americana).

3.4.3.5 Medicinal Plants

Mr. Migwans observed no important medicinal plan species within the MERE study area.


3.4.3.6 Vegetation Communities

The study area has chiefly been used for forestry and is largely composed of forest and disturbed
plots associated with logging activity. A total of three vegetation communities are found within the
study area: Sugar Maple-Basswood, Sugar Maple-White Birch-Poplar-White Pine, and Disturbed
Areas. These communities are described in more detail in Appendix 2 and represented in Figure
3.4-1.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 30
                      Figure 3.4-1: Vegetation Communities

Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 31
3.4.3.7 Description of Proposed Turbine Areas

Below is a brief summary of the dominant vegetation present at each of the 6 proposed turbine
locations.

       Turbine #1 is located in a mixed forest, dominated by large-tooth aspen, balsam fir, white
       spruce, and eastern white cedar.

       Turbine #2 is located in a mid-aged deciduous forest. The forested area is predominantly
       composed of large-tooth aspen, sugar maple, red maple, and eastern white cedar, with
       occasional balsam fir and white pine found in the understorey.

       Turbine #3 is found in mixed forest, dominated by white cedar, balsam fir, trembling
       aspen, and sugar maple.

       Turbine #4 is dominated by a sugar maple and white ash deciduous forest.

       Turbine #5 is found within very dense regeneration. Regenerating sugar maple, white
       birch, and red oak are present and range from 1-2 m in height.

       Turbine #6 is largely composed of regenerating trees (1-2 m in height), a few mature
       sugar maple and red oak, more than 25 cm dbh are present.




        Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                            Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 32
3.5        Avian Fauna
3.5.1      General Station Reference
The majority of the 2006 field surveys were conducted at the same monitoring station locations.
Table 3.5-1 indicates the station names with the corresponding 6-digit code.


                                   Table 3.5-1: Station Location Names
Station Name                        Map Reference                    Description
                                    BMM-001, BAT-001, HWK-           Located 50 m northeast of
Central
                                    001, RAD-001                     Turbine #3
                                                                     Located approximately 50 m
Northern                            BMM-002, BAT-002
                                                                     southeast of Turbine #5
                                                                     Located approximately 100 m
Southern                            BMM-003, BAT-003,
                                                                     southeast of Turbine #1
                                                                     Located approximately 50 m
Western Ridge                       HWK-002
                                                                     west of Turbine # 2
Eastern Communication                                                Located approximately 1 km
                                    RAD-002, BAT-005
Tower                                                                east of study area
                                                                     Located 50 m northeast of
Meteorological Tower                BAT-004
                                                                     Turbine # 1
          BMM = Bird Migration Monitoring RAD – Radar Monitoring Station
          BAT = Bat Monitoring Station HWK = Daytime Soaring Monitoring Station

The detailed report on avian fauna is found in Appendix 2.



3.5.2      Daytime Bird Migration

3.5.2.1 Methodology

Bird migration monitoring was conducted in April and May 2006 at three stations. Station
locations were selected to correspond to the northern, central and southern portion of the study
area at approximate turbine locations (see Figure 3.5-1). Fall 2006 bird migration monitoring was
not conducted, based on comments received from Environment Canada (June 2006f) that fall
migration monitoring was not required.

At each of the monitoring stations, a variety of information was recorded for each bird
observation. A copy of the data sheet used to record bird observations during the migration
monitoring studies has been appended to the detailed report in Appendix 2. In addition to the data
recorded, additional comments and incidental observations of plants and other wildlife observed
at the point counts were also recorded.




           Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 33
                    Figure 3.5-1: Migration Monitoring Stations



Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 34
3.5.2.2 Results

Flight directions and the numbers of birds (expressed as percent of total individuals observed)
that were observed flying during the morning and evening monitoring sessions are summarized in
Figure 3.5-3. Morning flight directions at the three monitoring stations were characteristic of
spring migration, with a large proportion of birds observed to be flying in a northeasterly direction.
Evening flight directions recorded at the central station were also characteristic of spring
migration, though at the northern and southern stations flight directions were more indicative of
the movements of resident birds flying between feeding areas.

Over the course of the spring 2006 monitoring period, a total of 552 individuals, consisting of 59
species were recorded within 200 m of the BMM stations.

The most abundant species observed during the study period was the Hermit Thrush (Catharus
guttatus) accounting for 25% of all bird observations. Sandhill Cranes (16%, represented by the
single flock of 10 plus additional observations of single individuals) and passerine sp. (16%) were
the next most abundant group observed during the study period.

The most abundant bird group by number of observations was landbirds representing 86% of all
individuals observed (see Figure 3.5-2). Waterbirds accounted for 9% of all individuals. Raptors
accounted for 3%, while waterfowl, shorebirds and owls had relatively low representations,
accounting for only 0.4%, 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively.



                                Waterfowl Shorebirds Owls
                                  0.4%      0.4%     0.2%   Unknown
                              Raptors                         2%
                                3%

                         Waterbirds
                           9%


                                                                      Landbirds
                                                                        86%




                  Figure 3.5-2: Bird Group Composition during Point Count Surveys



The overall average utilization rates for the spring 2006 migration monitoring period was 0.260
birds/ha/min respectively, which is average when compared to other studies across Ontario. Most
of the birds seen (83%) were landbirds. By far most of the birds were seen in Height Zone C
(70.8%), well below the blade sphere. Only 10.5% of the birds were noted within or at the height
of the proposed turbine blades. No large concentrations of birds or migratory flyways were
recorded during migration monitoring, and so it does not appear that the study area falls within a
heavily trafficked migratory route. It is expected that little impact on migratory bird populations will
occur as a result of the wind project.



          Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 35
              Figure 3.5-3: Avian Flight Directions and Percentages



Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 36
3.5.3    Day-Time Soaring

3.5.3.1 Methodology

Monitoring occurred at the central station (HWK-001) and the western ridge (HWK-002) a total of
20 days between 09:00 - 12:00. During this time, all raptors, soaring birds and other bird sightings
were recorded. The 2006 daytime behaviour monitoring focused on raptors. Soaring bird
monitoring was conducted from April-October.

3.5.3.2 Results

During the 2006 daytime monitoring period (over the course of 25 days), a total of 1846 individual
birds were observed, consisting of 72 species.

More non-soaring species than soaring species were recorded during daytime soaring monitoring
at the point counts. The overall average utilization rate from daytime soaring monitoring was
0.032 birds/ha/min. Soaring birds were seen predominantly within the height of the proposed
turbine blades. The diurnal raptors recorded within the study area were American Kestrel, Bald
Eagle, Broad-winged Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned
Hawk, and Turkey Vulture. The most common soaring species recorded, however, were Canada
Geese. Small numbers (75 in total) of waterfowl (Common Mergansers) and waterbirds (Double-
crested Cormorant and Common Loon) were observed flying between Lake Manitou and West
Bay.

Central Station (HWK 001)

A total of 864 individual birds were observed at this open area in the forested community. The
most abundant species observed at this station was Canada Goose, accounting for 144
individuals and 16% of all birds observed (see Figure 3.5-4). This was largely due to two large
flocks of migrating geese observed on 20 September 2006. The next most abundant species
were Black-capped Chickadee and Blue Jay, which accounted for 10% and 9%, respectively, of
all individuals observed at this station.

The most abundant bird group at this station was landbirds, which represented over 74% of all
individuals (see Figure 3.5-5). The next most abundant group was waterfowl, representing 17% of
all observations. Waterbirds made up 5% and raptors accounted for 4% of all observations. There
were no observations of shorebirds or owls during any of the monitoring periods at this station.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 37
                                 Canada
                                 Goose                                                  Raptors
                                                                        W aterbirds
                                  16%                                                     4%
                                                                            5%


                                           Black-capped        W aterfowl
                                            Chickadee            17%
        Other                                  10%
        49%
                                           Blue Jay
                                              9%

                                           Golden-
                                           crowned
                                                                                                     Landbirds
                                            Kinglet
                                                                                                       74%
                                              6%
                          Red-breasted
                 Common
                            Nuthatch
                  Raven
                              5%
                   5%




    Figure 3.5-4: Species Distribution of the Six          Figure 3.5-5: Bird Group Distribution at the
       Most Abundant Species at the Central                   Central Monitoring Station (HWK-001)
           Monitoring Station (HWK-001)

Northern Station (HWK-002)

A total of 992 birds were observed at this monitoring station, which is located along a steep cliff.
The most abundant of these observations was Blue Jay, Canada goose, and gull species, which
each represented 10% of all observations at this station. Turkey Vultures and Common Raven
were also fairly abundant at this station, accounting for 8% and 7% respectively.

Figure 3.5-6 and Figure 3.5-7 show the distribution, according to species and bird group,
respectively, of the individuals observed at this monitoring station. The most abundant bird group
was landbirds, which represented 58% of all observations at this station. Waterfowl (16%),
waterbirds (14%), and raptors (11%) were the next most abundant bird groups. The least
abundant bird group, shorebirds, accounted for only 6 individuals (1% of total observations) at
this station. There were no observations of owls at this monitoring station.



                                                                                        Shorebirds
                              Blue Jay                                        Raptors
                                                                                           1%
                                10%                                            11%
                                         Canada
                                         Goose
                                          10%                  W aterbirds
                                                                  14%

         Other
                                            Gull species
         50%
                                                10%
                                                                                                         Landbirds
                                                                                                           58%
                                                                 W aterfowl
                                         Turkey Vulture
                                                                   16%
                                              8%
                                 Common
                   American       Raven
                    Crow           7%
                     5%




    Figure 3.5-6: Species Distribution of the Six            Figure 3.5-7: Bird Group Distribution at the
   Most Abundant Species at the Western Ridge                    Western Ridge Station (HWK-002)
           Monitoring Station (HWK-002)


         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                 Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 38
3.5.4    Breeding Birds

3.5.4.1 Methodology

Breeding bird monitoring locations were set up independently of the migration monitoring sites.
The number of point counts and locations used in 2006 were selected based on comments
received from Environment Canada (June 2006). Stations were monitored at turbine locations
with additional point counts being conducted along the power line and access road,
approximately 250 m apart. A total of 20 breeding bird point count stations were monitored – in
two forest habitats – to determine breeding evidence in the study area (see Figure 3.5-8 for point
count station locations). It was deemed that, given the area of the proposed project, 20 stations
provided an excellent coverage of the area.


3.5.4.2 Results

During the June 2006 breeding bird surveys, a total of 290 individuals, representing 40 different
species, were observed. Forty species were recorded within the study area with some form of
breeding evidence. The highest average utilization rate by station of 0.350 birds/ha/min was
recorded at breeding bird monitoring point count stations. This station is located in vegetation
community ES26.1.

During the area searches, a total of 206 individuals were counted, 83% of which were observed in
the southern portion of the study area which is mixed forest dominated by sugar maple, white
birch, poplar and white pine (vegetation community ES26.1). Only 17% of bird observations were
observed in the northern portion of the project, which is deciduous hardwood forest dominated
mostly by sugar maple (vegetation community ES27.1). Breeding birds are typically not disturbed
by wind turbines. However, they do face a larger threat during the construction phase of a wind
power project. It is recommended that construction not overlap with the peak of the breeding bird
season. The Migratory Birds Convention Act must be followed.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 39
               Figure 3.5-8: Breeding Bird Monitoring Stations 2006


Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 40
3.5.5    Significant Bird Species

3.5.5.1 Species at Risk

Two species, the Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) (Threatened) and the Loggerhead Shrike
(Lanius ludovicianus) (Endangered) are listed at risk by the Species at Risk Act (Environment
Canada, 2006), and are known to have ranges that cover the study area. These species were not
observed during the monitoring period in the study area.


3.5.5.2 Provincially and Nationally Rare Species

Four provincially and/or nationally rare bird species have been recorded within the Township of
Billings (NHIC, 2005c) (Least Bittern, Black Tern, Loggerhead Shrike and Bald Eagle). The Bald
Eagle has been documented by the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (2005) as “observed” in the area
and the NHIC (2005) has also documented it within the study area. Likewise, the Bald Eagle was
the only provincially and/or nationally rare bird species observed during the 2006 field surveys
and was documented on eight occasions.


3.5.6    Significant Bird Areas
No Important Bird Areas (IBA) overlap with the project area but four are found in the vicinity of the
study area:

Manitoulin Island North Shore IBA

This IBA follows the Manitoulin Island shoreline from Cole Bay to West Bay. This is the closest
IBA to the study area, found approximately 2 km west of the study area. Between September and
December large concentrations of moulting red-necked grebes are found in the North Channel
(Bird Studies Canada, 2006). Moulting locations are typically between 100 to 2000 m offshore in
the lee of islands or in large bays.

Owen Channel IBA

This important bird area is a body of water that is found between the southeastern tip of
Manitoulin Island and Fitzwilliam Island. Small concentrations of red-necked grebes are found at
Owen Channel IBA, which is approximately 40 km southeast of the study area.

Spring Bay IBA

This area is found in south-central of Manitoulin Island, approximately 15 km southwest of the
study area. This area is mostly used for agricultural, ranging from grain crops to pastureland. This
important bird area holds a significant number of sandhill cranes, between 2 to 3% of the eastern
sandhill crane population are known to use this area in the fall as a roosting site.

Lake Huron / Quarry Bay

This important bird area is a small bay that is located on the south shore of Manitoulin Island,
which is approximately 83 km from the study area. This area is known to have significant
numbers of red-necked grebes in the fall early winter (Bird Studies Canada, 2006).




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 41
3.5.7    Birds Species with Aerial Flight Displays
Several species are known to perform aerial flight displays, which may put them at risk of collision
with turbine blades. These species are American Woodcock, Bobolink, Horned Lark, Vesper
Sparrow, and Wilson’s Snipe. All of these perform these displays in courtship. These species,
save Bobolink, also perform aerial displays within the sphere of turbine blades. Bobolinks perform
their flight songs up to 40 m in height, which is just below the blades. No studies have been
undertaken to determine the impact of turbines on these flight displays. No known significant
negative impacts have been recorded on these species from wind power facilities, other than
Horned Larks in Washington.

During the spring 2006 monitoring period two American Woodcocks were observed. Both were
observed foraging, within Height Zone C, which is well below the blade sphere.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 42
3.6      Bats
3.6.1    Background Review
A total of eight species of bats occur in Ontario. Of these, five are year-round residents that
hibernate during the winter months. These include big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), little brown
bat (Myotis lucifugus), small-footed bat (Myotis leibii), northern long-eared bat (Myotis
septentrionalis), and eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus). The remaining three species,
silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans), red bat (Lasiurus borealis), and hoary bat (Lasiurus
cinerus), migrate south in autumn. Little is known of these migratory species as they are solitary,
tree-dwelling species that are rarely observed (Gerson 1984). None of these species are
endangered, threatened, or vulnerable. The eastern pipistrelle and the northern long-eared bat,
however, have a provincial S-Rank of S3, and the small-footed bat has a provincial rank of S2S3,
meaning it may be uncommon in Ontario.

The detailed report on bats is found in Appendix 2.


3.6.2    Acoustic Bat Monitoring

3.6.2.1 Methodology

Based on input from the MNR (Selinger, 2006), a total of 5 bat monitoring locations were selected
(see Figure 3.6-1). These stations were chosen based on proximity to proposed turbines and
reasonable visibility, as well as areas where bats may be found in greater numbers. Most of the
bat monitoring stations coincided with bird migration monitoring stations (BMM-001, BMM-002
and BMM-003), with the exception of stations BAT-004, which was at the meteorological tower
and station BAT-005, which was monitored for one night at the old Police Communication Tower
(approximately 1.5 km east of the proposed turbines).




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 43
                       Figure 3.6-1: Bat Monitoring Stations


Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 44
A total of 22 nights of acoustic bat monitoring was conducted over the course of the monitoring
period. The BatBox III units were rotated between the central (BAT-001), northern (BAT-002) and
southern (BAT-003) stations. The team of biologists also conducted 10-minute point counts every
hour, starting 30 minutes after sunset until 22:30. Each point count involved two staff members
and two ultrasonic bat detectors. Once echolocation calls were detected, attempts were made to
visually confirm bat behaviour, location, and height zone.

Following discussions with staff of the MNR on 21 June 2006 the number of stations required to
be monitored was decreased from five to two stations. Pettersson D 240X bat detectors were also
incorporated into the bat monitoring surveys. Bat stations BAT-001 and BAT-004 (located at the
meteorological tower) were monitored. Each station was monitored for a total of 13 nights from 24
July to 5 October 2006. All data were recorded in laptop computers and later analyzed.


3.6.2.2 Results

Seven of the eight species known to Ontario were recorded during the monitoring period:
        Little brown bat (Myotis lucifuga);
        Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus);
        Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans);
        Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis);
        Red bat (Lasiurus borealis);
        Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus);
        Eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus).

Throughout the monitoring period, little brown bats were clearly the dominant species, accounting
for almost half of all of the recorded calls (Figure 3.6-2). Big brown bats were the next abundant
species, accounting for 23% of all bat passes. Silver-haired bats (11%) and northern long-eared
bats (9%) were also fairly abundant during the monitoring period. The least abundant species
based on number of identified calls were red bat (4%), hoary bat (3%), and eastern pipistrelle
(1%). The low proportions of red bat and hoary bat are unexpected, as they are both fairly
common Ontario species and have preferred habitat in the study area.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 45
                                                                            Hoary Bat    Eas tern
                                                                              3%        Pipis trelle
                                                                  Red Bat
                                                                                           1%
                                                                    4%

                                                          Northern Long-
                                                            eared Bat
                                                               9%
                                                                                                       Little Brown
                                                           Silver-haired
                                                                                                             Bat
                                                                Bat
                                                                                                            49%
                                                               11%




                                                                Big Brown Bat
                                                                     23%




                                                               Figure 3.6-2: Species Composition

Bat passes and monitoring time were sorted by month to determine the peak months for bat
activity. July and June were found to be the two most active periods, respectively (Figure 3.6-3).
These two months correspond to a period when bat species are known to be present and active
within Ontario.



                              120


                                                                                          99.4
                              100
   Passage Rate [passes/hr]




                               80



                               60

                                                                           42.0
                               40
                                         30.0

                               20
                                                        12.0                                                11.9

                                                                                                                         1.0       0.0
                                0
                                        April           May                June           July             August     September   October
                                                                                        Month


                                                Figure 3.6-3: Bat Passage Rate (passes/hr) by Month of the Year




                                    Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 46
3.6.3    Bat Radar Monitoring

3.6.3.1 Methodology

Radar monitoring was conducted a total of 13 nights, at the central station (BAT-001). Data were
collected hourly over an eight-hour period from 21:00 – 06:00 to correspond with peak activity.
Radar observations were documented each hour for a period of 15 minutes. The mobile radar lab
was housed in a truck camper, mounted on the back of a pick-up truck. The radar unit consists of
a Furuno marine radar (Model 1954C) with a 3-foot Parabolic Antenna mounted at a constant
angle. The NRSI radar system provides data on flight altitude, direction and speed while at the
same time minimizing potential ground interference.


3.6.3.2 Results

A number of flight characteristics were recorded during radar monitoring. It was not feasible to
identify the bat targets to species. Monitoring results were divided by time period when monitoring
was conducted. Monitoring from July through mid-August is expected to characterize summer
behavioural patterns, while data collected from mid-August through October will correspond to the
anticipated period of bat migration through the study area.

During the summer monitoring period, the estimated passage rate proportions indicated that 58%
of the passes/hr/m3 were outside of the projected blade sphere, including all passes below 40 m
and above 120 m in altitude. The remaining 41% were found within the blade sphere (40-120 m
above ground level).The highest density-corrected passage rate was recorded between 40-60 m
above ground level, with progressively lower rates recorded in the middle and upper portions of
the blade sphere. The data have been further analyzed to show density corrected passage rates
between the five difference height zones.
                                                                       3
During the fall monitoring period, approximately 39% of the passes/hr/m were found to be within
the proposed blade sphere, while 31% were found below and the other 30% were recorded
above the blade sphere. Similarly, during summer monitoring 41% of all passes were recorded
within the height of the blade sphere, while 35% and 23% were recorded below and above this
height, respectively. Distribution of passage rates within the proposed blade sphere was more
uniform with high densities of bat passes recorded in the lower and middle portions of the
proposed blade sphere. More passes/hr/m3 were found at higher altitudes during the fall
migration period, compared to the summer monitoring period, accounting for the increased
percentage of bats found to be outside of the blade sphere.

3.6.4    Summary of Findings
During the 2006 field surveys a total of seven species of bats were observed. Three of these
species are known to migrate: Red, Hoary and Silver-haired bats. High populations of roosting or
migrating bats have not been found in the study area. Based on typical habitat preferences, it is
anticipated bats are found in low numbers throughout the study area. There are no known
hibernacula in the study area, although it is assumed that the ridge (an extension of the Niagara
Escarpment) provides good bat habitat and may provide roosts for bats.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 47
3.7       Terrestrial Fauna
3.7.1     Mammals
Observations of mammals were recorded while conducting all field surveys. In addition to visual
observations, signs of mammal presence was documented and used in creating a representation
of local fauna. Some distinctive signs used in mammal identification include nests, burrows, scat,
tracks, and dams.

Twenty-seven mammal species are known from the study area based on information from the
Mammal Atlas of Ontario (Dobbyn, 1994). Thirteen mammal species (including bats) were
recorded in the project site during the 2006 field surveys including white-tailed deer, coyote and
fisher. The study area has mainly been used for forestry and is largely composed of forest and
disturbed plots associated with logging activities. Mammals such as white-tailed deer, black bear,
grey wolf, red fox, and coyote likely use the cut areas and logging roads as movement corridors.

The detailed report on vegetation is found in Appendix 2.

3.7.1.1 Species at Risk

The eastern timber wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) is listed at risk by the Species at Risk Act (SARA,
2006a), and is known to have range maps that cover the study area, but it has not been observed
during field surveys.

3.7.1.2 Provincially and Nationally Rare Species

Four significant mammal species have been recorded in Algoma County (small-footed bat,
northern long-eared bat, eastern pipstrelle and the eastern timber wolf) all of which are known
from the study area-the Eastern Wolf (Environment Canada 2006 and NHIC 2005b).

Significant mammal habitat includes areas such as winter deer yards, fawning/calving sties,
denning sites, staging areas, mineral licks, bat hibernacula, and mammal movement corridors.
None of these features were noted in the study area.


3.7.2     Reptiles and Amphibians
During the field studies in 2006, all observations of reptiles and amphibians were recorded and
compiled into a master list of herpetofauna known to exist within the study area. These surveys
occurred within all habitats found within the MERE study area.

Seventeen species of reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as herpetofauna) are known
from the study area based on information from the Ontario Herpetofaunal Summary Atlas
(Oldham and Weller, 2000), five of which were recorded in the study area during the 2006 field
studies.

3.7.2.1 Species at Risk

Two species, the Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) and the eastern milksnake
(Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum), are listed at risk by the Species at Risk Act (SARA, 2006b),
and are known to have range maps that cover the study area. They were not observed during
field surveys.




          Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 48
3.7.2.2 Provincially and Nationally Rare Species

The Ontario Herpetofaunal Summary Atlas (Oldham and Weller 2000) lists two species that are
significant within Algoma County, Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) and the Eastern
Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum). No rare reptiles or amphibians were recorded
during the 2006 field studies.

Given their habitat preferences, it is considered that suitable habitat for these species is not found
within the study area.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 49
3.8     Archaeology and Heritage
A Stage 1 archaeological resource assessment was conducted by Scarlett Janusas
Archaeological and Heritage Consulting and Education (SJAHCE) for the proposed wind farm
located on Lot 6, Concession 6 on M’Chigeeng First Nation land, and on Lots 4 and 5,
Concession 8, and Lot 5 and part of Lot 6, Concession 7, in the Township of Billings, in the
District of Manitoulin, as part of the required environmental assessment. The complete Stage 1
archaeological assessment can be consulted in Appendix 3; it was conducted under licence P027
(Scarlett Janusas, CIF #P027-0142-2006) on 16 October 2006. The assessment was conducted
as required by provincial standards under the Environmental Assessment Act and the Ontario
Heritage Act.

The Stage 1 results will be consulted in the final planning stages for location of wind turbines,
access roads and electric collector system.

The study area is limited to the lots affected by the Project, totalling approximately 180 ha in area.
The actual property to be impacted either indirectly or directly from the construction of the six
proposed wind turbines and access road is significantly smaller than the total lot sizes. The entire
lots were reviewed to provide the archaeological potential of the area and relate it to the proposed
construction zones. The property is composed of escarpment face, steep talus slope and, above
the escarpment, a tableland of mixed woodlot. There are no springs or other water sources on the
study property.

Background research indicated that there is one registered archaeological site within 1 km of the
study area. No known findspots were reported for the area. Consultation with M’Chigeeng First
Nation Band personnel indicated that there were no “sacred or spiritual” locations within the study
area. Historic research indicates that the earliest recorded occupant of the study area was circa
1894 (land registry records). Land patents were not registered prior to 1882 for the area.

Two lots (Lot 6, Concession 6 and Lot 6, Concession 7), lie entirely within the boundaries of the
M`Chigeeng Reserve Lands; the remaining areas, although located outside the reserve
boundaries and in Billings Township, are also owned by First Nations. The Manitoulin Treaty,
signed in 1862, set aside a reserve for the Michigiwadinong (now known as M`Chigeeng).

Based upon the background research of past and present conditions, the following has been
determined:
        Manitoulin Island was settled quite late compared to southern Ontario, suggesting that
        sites dating to the mid-to-late 1800s have archaeological potential for this area;
        The study area and its immediate vicinity have very little development disturbance, and
        this is in the form of existing logging and snowmobile/ATV trails, and hunting blinds;
        There are no registered archaeological sites on the subject property; one site lies within 1
        km, in a developed part of the town of West Bay;
        There are registered sites located in a similar environmental setting, above the scarp
        face, north of Lake Manitou (well outside the area of archaeological investigation);
        The study area has no springs or other water sources either on or within 400 m of the
        study area.



3.8.1     Archaeological Potential
The study area which encompasses talus is considered to exhibit low archaeological potential for
the recovery of prehistoric and/or historic sites.


         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 50
In consultation with Ministry of Culture Archaeological Review Officer, Andrew Hinshelwood, and
in accordance with the draft Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists (2004:26), it
was determined that areas within 200 m of the scarp face (which includes the proposed locations
of the six wind turbines) are considered to exhibit archaeological potential. It is thus
recommended that prior to any impact development, those areas of the study area that lie within
the 200-m setback from the edge of the scarp be subject to a Stage 2 archaeological field
assessment.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 51
3.9               Economic and Community Setting
3.9.1             Demographics
The Manitoulin Island district has a population of approximately 12,700 inhabitants. The
M’Chigeeng First Nation has a population of 864 on reserve and a total population of 2,245
(Lands and Estates Office, 2007).

In terms of age distribution, the 25-44 year old category dominates in M’Chigeeng, whereas 45-
65 year olds are the largest age group in Manitoulin Island as a whole. M’Chigeeng’s population
as a whole is younger than that of the Island. The median age in M’Chigeeng is 29.1 years,
compared to 40.3 years for Manitoulin Island (Statistics Canada, 2001). For Manitoulin Island,
79% of the inhabitants are over 15 years old, compared to 70.5% for M’Chigeeng.


                35.0%
                30.0%
                25.0%
   Percentage




                20.0%                                                                       M'Chigeeng
                15.0%
                                                                                            Manitoulin
                10.0%                                                                       Island
                5.0%
                0.0%
                          0-14        15-24        25-44       45-64        65+
                                               Age Range


                         Figure 3.9-1: Age Distribution in M’Chigeeng and Manitoulin Island

With only 2.7 inhabitants per km2, Manitoulin Island is not densely populated, though the
population is growing (Statistics Canada, 2001). Indeed, the population has grown at a rate of
7.9% since 1996, which is superior to the province-wide average of 6.1%. According to the
Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce, this growth is related to a small influx of retirees (2006a).

3.9.1.1 First Nations

Aboriginal people represent approximately 37% of the Manitoulin Island population (Statistics
Canada, 2001). There are six reserves on Manitoulin: M'Chigeeng, Sheguiandah,
Sheshegwaning, Aundeck-Omni-Kaning, Wikwemikong and Zhiibaahaasing (Wikipedia, 2006a).

As indicated above, the MERE Project is an initiative led by the M’Chigeeng community. The
southwest of the Project area overlaps with the M’Chigeeng First Nation Reserve, formerly known
as the West Bay First Nation Reserve (M’Chigeeng, 2006). It is the second largest reserve on
Manitoulin and was settled in the middle of the 19th century.

The other five First Nation reserves on Manitoulin Island are located as follows:
                Aundeck-Omni-Kaning First Nation, located approximately 20 km northeast of the Project;
                Sheguiandah First Nation, located approximately 20 km northeast of the Project;
                Sheshegwaning First Nation, located approximately 55 km west of the Project;
                Wikwemikong First Nation, located approximately 30 km east of the Project; and

                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 52
        Zhibaahaasing First Nation, located approximately 60 km west of the Project.



3.9.2     Socio-economic Overview
2001 data (Table 3.9-1) indicate that the median family income on Manitoulin Island ($38,835) is
significantly less than the province-wide average ($61,024). The median family income of the
M’Chigeeng ($19,904) is half that of the Island, and less than 1/3 of the provincial average. It can
also be seen that the unemployment rates at the M’Chigeeng Reserve are three times the Ontario
average.


                                 Table 3.9-1: Income Population Profile
          Income Statistics                M’Chigeeng        Manitoulin Island             Ontario
                                            Reserve
Median total income [$] 3                     8424                  16 412                 24 816
Median family income [$]                     19 904                 38 835                 61 024
Median household income [$]                  15 787                 32 238                 53 626
Average earnings [$] 4                       17 385                 22 020                 35 185
Earnings [% of income]                        66.0                   63.8                   78.7
Government transfers [% of income]            31.7                   22.2                    9.8
Employment rate 5                             53.0                   52.6                   63.2
Unemployment rate 6                           18.2                   10.5                    6.1
                                                                       *Source: Statistics Canada, 2001
                                                              census



3.9.3     Economic Sectors
Major economic activities on Manitoulin Island are tourism and agriculture. The unemployment
rate is around 10.5%.

The Island has a history of logging and commercial fishing, particularly for whitefish and trout.
Both these industries have declined, however, and are no longer an economic mainstay. A few
limestone quarries are present on the Island.

Generally speaking, sales and services occupations are most important for Manitoulin Island as a
whole, while the social science, education, and government service sectors are also particularly
important for the M’Chigeeng First Nation (Statistics Canada, 2001).


3.9.3.1 Tourism

Tourism is the largest and also the fastest growing industry in the Manitoulin District. There are
many seasonal businesses, such as resorts and recreation facilities, which in turn support local
retail stores. During the summer months the Island’s population grows by more than a quarter of
3
  A median income refers to the median total income of persons 15 years of age and over reported for
  persons with income.
4
  All persons with earnings.
5
  Refers to the number of persons employed in the week prior to census day, expressed as a percentage of
  the total population 15 years of age and more.
6
  Refers to the number of persons unemployed in the week prior to census day, expressed as a percentage
  of the labour force in the week .

          Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 53
its usual size due to the popularity of boating, fishing, hiking and other activities available to
tourists (Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce, 2006b).

In order to promote a year-round economy, winter tourism activities are also being developed on
the Island such as snowmobiling, ice fishing, cross-country skiing and skating (Manitoulin
Chamber of Commerce, 2006b).

In terms of cultural attractions, Manitoulin Island is home to a number of museums, artists’ studios
and galleries, as well as First Nations activities such as the Wikwemikong Pow Wow, held
annually in August (Wikwemikong Heritage Organization, 2006).


3.9.3.2 Agriculture

Though the Island is fertile only in spots, farming has always been a major economic activity,
although not as important as it once was. A number of dairy and cattle farms contribute to the
local economy (Township of Central Manitoulin, 2006). Turkey production and sheep-rearing are
also components of the agricultural sector (Historica Canadian Encyclopedia, 2006).




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 54
3.10      Public Services and Infrastructure
3.10.1 Health Care
Manitoulin Island is home to two hospitals, two emergency wards, and several community clinics.
The Island’s hospital, the Manitoulin Health Centre, has facilities in Little Current and Mindemoya
with emergency medical staff. There are also doctor’s clinics in Little Current, Gore Bay,
Manitowaning, and Mindemoya. Manitoulin Island boasts the most doctors per capita in Ontario
(Manitoulin Living, 2006).

The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) provides transportation service to health care
appointments. Ambulance service is available (via 911) to either Island hospital, including
emergency helicopter transfers to Sudbury or Toronto when necessary.


3.10.2 Police and Fire Corps
Manitoulin Island’s policing needs are met by the Ontario Provincial Police. In addition to the
OPP, Manitoulin’s First Nation population is serviced by the UCCM (United Chiefs & Councils of
Manitoulin) and Wikwemikong Police Services.

All of Manitoulin has fire protection; each municipality has its own volunteer fire services.


3.10.3 Education
Manitoulin Island’s has five primary and secondary schools and are part of the Rainbow District
School Board.

A satellite campus of Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology in Little Current offers
courses in a number of disciplines. Additionally, the Kenjgewin Teg Institute also offers a variety
of secondary and postsecondary courses, including native language and history and outdoor
recreation.


3.10.4 Transportation

3.10.4.1 Road Network

Manitoulin Island is accessible by car via Highway 6 south from Espanola. Espanola lies on
Highway 17, 70 km west of Sudbury, and 240 km east of Sault Ste. Marie. Little Current, the first
town on the island, is approximately 60 km south of Espanola.

The Island is mainly served by two provincial highways: Route 540, which begins in Little Current
and runs west to Meldrum Bay, and Route 6, which runs south from Little Current to South
Baymouth. Several smaller roads also criss-cross the island.


Little Current Swing Bridge

A unique feature of the Island’s road network is the Little Current Swing Bridge, the only bridge to
the island, which links Manitoulin Island to the mainland via Goat and Great Cloche Islands. The
Swing Bridge carries Highway 6 across a narrow channel separating Manitoulin Island from the
much smaller Goat Island. It consists of two 21.3-m deck plate girder approaches on the north


         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 55
end (Goat Island) and a single 18.3-m deck plate girder approach on the south end (Manitoulin
Island), with a 112-m through swing bridge span. The swing bridge sits 5.3 m above mean water
level, and provides a 48.8-m opening on either side of the central pier for water passage
(Wikipedia, 2006b).

The bridge now strongly favours highway traffic, staying in the closed (motor vehicles can pass)
position at all times, except for the first fifteen minutes of each daylight hour during the summer,
when it opens to permit boating traffic. At night and when the shipping channel is closed during
the winter, the bridge stays in the closed position at all times. The bridge now serves vehicle
traffic only.

As one of the only swing bridges in Canada, the Little Current Swing Bridge has been designated
an Ontario Heritage site.


3.10.4.2 Water

In the summer months (May to October), Manitoulin Island is connected to the Bruce Peninsula
by the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry which operates between Tobermory and South Baymouth.


3.10.4.3 Air

The nearest commercial airport is the Greater Sudbury Airport near Sudbury, on the Ontario
mainland; it is located approximately 160 km northeast of the Project location. Two municipal
airports exist on Manitoulin Island: the; the Manitoulin East Municipal Airport, located midway
between Little Current and Manitowaning (approximately 20 km east of the Project), and the Gore
Bay-Manitoulin Airport near Gore Bay (approximately 40 km west-northwest of the Project).


3.10.4.4 Rail

Manitoulin Island has not been served by rail since the 1980s.


3.10.5 Communication Systems
A few communication systems and associated towers are located on Manitoulin Island, for radio
and television broadcast, as well as for mobile governmental services. Table 3.10-1 presents the
various TV and radio systems, provided by Industry Canada's Assignment and Licensing System
(ALS) database. As per the locations of these stations, none are in the vicinity of the Project area.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 56
           Table 3.10-1: Television and Radio Broadcasting Stations on Manitoulin Island
                    Frequency Tx [MHz]      Station Name          Location

                      Television (VHF)
                           83.25               CBCE-DT          Little Current
                      Television (UHF)
                           483.24             CBCE-TV           Little Current
                           531.25            CICE-TV-23             Kaboni
                           555.25            CHLF-TV-15             Kaboni
                           555.25            CICA-TV-21           Gore Bay
                           561.25            CICO-TV-15           West Bay
                           585.25            CICA-TV-22         Little Current
                           591.25            CICA-TV-16          Kagawong
                           603.25            CJOL-TV-39             Kaboni
                           627.25            CICA-TV-44         Manitowaning
                           639.25            CICA-TV-54          Mindemoya
                           663.25            CICA-TV-23          Spring Bay
                           675.25            CICO-TV-26        Providence Bay
                           681.25            CICO-TV-11         Tehkummah
                         FM Radio
                           89.9               CHEI-FM         South Baymouth
                           97.5               CBCE-FM          Little Current
                          100.7              CFRM-FM(1)        Little Current
                          101.1               CFRM-FM          Little Current
                          102.1               CURRENT          Little Current
                          103.1              ONTFM-219        Manitoulin Island
                          106.9              ONTFM-218        Manitoulin Island


As required under this environmental assessment process, the Government Mobile
Communications Office (GMCO), responsible for coordinating the review of wind turbine projects
with respect to mobile communications, has been consulted to identify any microwave links that
might traverse the Project area. These links, if any, are not listed in Industry Canada’s database.
The GMCO project provides mobile communications for OPP, ambulance, snowplough
operations, and several other provincial users. Consultation with the GMCO has indicated that a
link traverses the Project area, linking the “West Bay” tower located approximately 1 km east (see
map of Project in Appendix 1) of the Project to the “Silverwater” tower. As indicated in Section 2
of this report, this microwave link was taken into consideration when producing the Project layout
scenario presented in this EA. This issue is further discussed in Section 5.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 57
3.11     Land Use
As described above in the Economic and Social Setting section, land use on the island mainly
consists of recreational activities (hiking, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, boating) agriculture and
some industrial activities (quarries, concrete production). One feature worth noting is the Cup and
Saucer hiking trail, located approximately 3 km northeast of the Project area.


3.11.1 Land Use in the Project Area
The area directly affected by the Project, however, is located on forested private lots and is not
intensely used for any of the activities mentioned above. Activities on site are limited to some
logging and hunting by the lot owners. Access to the Project area is provided by a private “bush
trail” that comes up the bluff from Highway 540. The M’Chigeeng hiking trail, opened during the
summer period, also runs along the bluff, on one lot affected by the Project and other adjacent
lots. Of the five lots affected by the Project, only two have dwellings: one residence is found
alongside Highway 540, on Reserve Land and Con 6 lot 6, and one cottage is found on Con 8 lot
4, also alongside Highway 540.

Photos of the site are presented in Figure 3.11-1.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 58
                           Figure 3.11-1: Photos of Site




Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 59
3.12      Acoustic Environment
According to the Ministry of Environment (2004) guidelines (“Interpretation for Applying MOE
NPC Technical Publications to Wind Turbine Generators”) the Project area is considered to be
Class 3 (rural), defined as a rural area with an acoustical environment that is dominated by
natural sounds having little or no road traffic, such as the following:
        A small community with a population of less than 1000;
        Agricultural area;
        A rural recreational area such as a cottage or a resort area; or a wilderness area.

Indeed, ambient sound levels within the MERE Project area and on adjacent lands are typical of
rural-agricultural Ontario, with sounds originating from residential activities, agricultural activities
(tractors and other machinery), vehicle traffic, and ambient noise induced by wind.

The Project area is on a forested plateau and is frequented mostly by the occasional hunter or
individual gathering firewood, though it should be emphasized that there is relatively little human
activity in the Project area. There are no residents on the plateau where the turbines are located;
the nearest dwellings – those along Highway 540– are at least 350 m from the proposed turbine
locations.

Ambient noise levels on the site are estimated to be very low, due to the complete absence of
industrial activity and relative absence of human activity. Some noise can, however, be generated
from road traffic on Route 540 or other nearby secondary roads. It should be noted, however, that
ambient noise levels can increase rapidly when the wind accelerates and hits the trees, branches
and foliage (Décibel Consultants, 2004), sometimes exceeding levels of 50 or 60 dB(A); as a
comparison, the noise level of a car traveling 65 km/h is 55 dB(A) 100 m away.




          Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 60
3.13     Landscapes
3.13.1 Landscape Units
The Project area and its vicinity are composed of various types of landscapes resulting from the
different land uses, namely residential, recreational and natural areas (forested plateaus, lakes).

The study area can be divided into four different landscape units, which will serve to discuss
visual effects in Section 5. These landscape units are as follows:
        A “Town” Unit represented by the M’Chigeeng First Nation Reserve at West Bay, which
        comprises residential, institutional, commercial and industrial uses. This community is
        directly adjacent to the Project area and is more inhabited compared to other areas in the
        vicinity of the Project. Views from the M’Chigeeng reserve are mostly closed, due to the
        presence of built structures and forested patches; however, the bay offers open views
        towards the north for residents located on the shore or close by. Views towards the
        Project area are mostly possible from Highway 540 and 551, when no screening is
        provided by trees or built structures.
        “Lake” Units represented by Whitefish Lake and Lake Manitou, where residences and
        cottages are located. Open views across the lakes are possible from different viewpoints
        along the shores. The northern part of Whitefish Lake is located approximately 1 km from
        the nearest turbine. The western shoreline of Lake Manitou is 3-6 km away from the
        MERE Project area.
        The “West Bay Shoreline” unit is directly west of the Project area, on the low elevation
        areas along Highway 540 and at the bottom of the bluff. This area hosts few residences
        and cottages, as well as few commercial buildings. These are located alongside Highway
        540, while a few cottages are present on the shoreline. In the summer months, Highway
        540 is used by cottagers and tourists. Looking west while travelling on Route 540, dense
        vegetation found alongside this highway often screens the view of West Bay. Views to the
        east are mostly blocked by dense vegetation and the bluff which elevates to
        approximately 300 m in close proximity to the highway.
        The “Plateau” unit is represented by an elevated area where the Project is located. This
        plateau at 300 m above see level covers a large area delimited to the west by the bluff, to
        the south by Whitefish Lake, to the north by the Cup and Saucer Scenic Lookout and the
        escarpment, and to the east by a ridge that runs parallel to Lake Manitou. Activities on
        this unit are limited to some logging and hunting, as well as hiking. Access to the plateau
        is provided by a private “bush trail” that comes up the bluff from Highway 540.
        This unit includes the Cup and Saucer hiking trail and lookout, approximately 3 km
        northeast of the Project area. The Cup and Saucer offers 14 km of trails that offer open
        views and a scenic lookout. The M’Chigeeng hiking trail offers two trails opened during
        the summer period, one along the bottom of the bluff and the other going to the top. This
        trail runs close to the Project area.


3.13.2 Viewpoints
Based on this identification of landscape units, a number of pictures were taken during the Fall of
2006 from sensitive viewpoints, in order to assess the potential visual effects of the Project. The
selected sensitive viewpoints are found in Table 3.13-1 (see also Figure 3.13-1). The visual
effects assessment is presented in Section 5 of this report.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 61
                     Table 3.13-1: Selected Viewpoints for the Visual Effects Assessment

            Landscape Unit                           Viewpoint                             Comment

         M’Chigeeng Community                        Route 540                            Looking east
                                           Route 551 (intersection of Route
         M’Chigeeng Community                                                             Looking east
                                                         540)
          West Bay Shoreline               Along Route 540 adjacent to site               Looking east
                Plateau                    Cup and Saucer Scenic Lookout               Looking southwest
             Whitefish Lake                   Southern tip of lake shore            Looking north, across lake
                                                                                    Area adjacent to cluster of
                                            Intersection of Rockville Road
              Lake Manitou                                                         residences/cottages on west
                                                   and Tower Road
                                                                                 shoreline of lake. Looking west
              Lake Manitou                   Residence on east shoreline                  Looking west




Highway 540 in M’Chigeeng Community                                 Highway 551 in M’Chigeeng Community




         Along 540 Close to Project Site                                     Cup and Saucer Scenic Lookout




             Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                   Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 62
Southern Tip of Whitefish Lake Shore                    Rockville Road and Tower Road Intersection




East Shoreline of Lake Manitou                         View from Bluff of Highway 540 and West Bay
                        Figure 3.13-1: Photos from Selected Viewpoints




      Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                            Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 63
4        CONSULTATION
The consultation program for the MERE project involved identifying stakeholders, and holding
meetings, public events and discussions with local authorities and the public, First Nations and
regulatory agencies. These activities generally aimed at informing the different stakeholders of
the Project and at giving the opportunity to raise issues and concerns. Stakeholders, consultation
activities and issues raised are detailed in the following sections.


4.1      Public and Local Authorities Consultation
4.1.1    Identification of Stakeholders
Public stakeholders for this project include the lot owners affected by the Project, adjacent lot
owners, residents of Billings Township and adjacent communities on Manitoulin Island. Two
associations were also identified as potential stakeholders for this Project: the Manitoulin
Snowdusters, a snowmobiling club, and the Niagara Escarpment Foundation, which manages the
Cup and Saucer Trail.

Local authorities identified as stakeholders were the Billings Township, the Northeastern
Manitoulin and the Islands (NEMI) Township and the Manitoulin Planning Board.


4.1.2    Consultation Activities
The following consultation activities were undertaken during the fall of 2006:
        Filing and mailing of the Notice of Commencement of a screening (see Appendix 4) to all
        stakeholders mentioned above, as well as posting in the Manitoulin Expositor (October
        edition);
        Meeting with the Manitoulin Planning Board in August, as well as phone conversations
        and email exchanges;
        Meeting with the Billings Township personnel in August, as well as phone conversations
        and email exchanges;
        Phone conversations and email exchanges with the NEMI Township;
        Mailing of an invitation to an open house event to all stakeholders mentioned above, as
        well as posting in the Manitoulin Expositor (October edition);
        Open House event, held on 8 November 2006, at the Kagawong Center in Billings
        Township. Visual material such as maps, visual simulations and construction pictures
        were presented. Three members of the EA project team and a representative from the
        proponent were present to answer questions. Approximately 20 individuals attended the
        event and were invited to fill out a comment form;
        Filing and Mailing of the Notice of Completion of the Environmental Screening Report
        (see Appendix 4) to all stakeholders mentioned above, other interested parties and it was
        posted in the Manitoulin Expositor (January 2009).


4.1.3    Issues Scoping
A total of 9 comment forms were filled out and handed to the proponent for review. The
comments and issues raised are presented in Table 4.1-1.



         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 64
                               Table 4.1-1: Comment Form Comments

 Comment      Support        Positive Aspects                       Comments/Concerns
   Form        Level

                           clear resource, visually
              Strong                                   initial costs; environmental studies should be much
                           attractive compared to
     1        support                                 longer; there should be a limit to how many turbines
                             other hydro sources
                                                                       that will be on the island

                         clean energy – economical
              Strong
                           as compared to nuclear
     2        support
                                   option


              Modest
     3        support                                         impacts on the Dark Skies initiative


              Neutral
              support                                    control during and after project; monopoly of
     4
                                                                           business

              Modest        makes the island les
     5        support       dependant on power
                         brought over from mainland

              Modest
                                clean power              future management, what are plans if project
     6        support
                                                                doesn’t last more than 10 years

              Modest
     7
              support
              Modest
     8
              support
              Strong
              support       helps local economic,
     9
                          produces power naturally



Comment forms completed by attendees of the open house are presented in Appendix 5. Other
comments during the open house meeting related to the visibility of turbines from various
viewpoints, obstruction lighting required by Transport Canada for aviation safety, noise emitted
from turbines and general questions on wind energy technology, technical aspects and the MERE
Project.

Local authorities have also indicated that an application for a zoning amendment (to add wind
turbines as a permitted use on the affected lots) and an easement (for access roads and collector
network) will be required to enable the project on Billings Township land. According to
discussions with the Manitoulin Planning Board, Billings Township and NEMI Township, no
construction or building permits are required. Billings and NEMI have asked that they be notified
of the access road construction details and schedule, namely on the municipal right-of-way
between Concessions 6 and 7.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 65
4.2      First Nations Consultation
4.2.1    Identification of stakeholders
The following First Nations groups, all located on Manitoulin Island, were identified as potential
stakeholders for this project: M'Chigeeng, Sheguiandah, Sheshegwaning, Aundeck-Omni-Kaning,
Wikwemikong and Zhiibaahaasing. These were also indicated by the OSAA and INAC.

4.2.2    Consultation Activities
The following consultation activities were undertaken during the summer and fall of 2006:
        Mailing of the Notice of Commencement of a screening to all First Nations groups
        mentioned above;
        Community meeting with the M’Chigeeng First Nation, August 14; Hélimax and 3G
        Energy gave PowerPoint presentations on wind energy technology, the environmental
        assessment process and the status of the environmental assessment for the Project;
        Mailing of an invitation to an open house event to all First Nations groups mentioned
        above, as well as posting in the Manitoulin Expositor (October edition);
        Open House event, held on 8 November 2006, at the Kagawong Centre in Billings. Visual
        material such as maps, visual simulations and construction pictures were presented.
        Three members of the EA project team and a representative from the proponent were
        present to answer questions. A total of 20 individuals attended the event and were invited
        to fill out a comment form.
        Mailing of the Notice of Completion of an Environmental Screening Report to all First
        Nations groups mentioned above in January 2009.



4.2.3    Issues Scoping
The M’Chigeeng First Nations members that attended the community meeting did raise several
issues and inquired about technical and economic aspects of the Project. One concern was
raised in relation to the potential presence of medicinal plants in the Project area. This issue was
taken into consideration and is discussed in Section 3.4 on vegetation.

No other issues were raised and communicated by the other First Nations groups on the island.


4.3      Regulatory Agency Consultation
4.3.1    Identification of stakeholders
The following federal and provincial agencies were identified as potential stakeholders in the
Project:

Provincial:
        Ministry of Environment;
        Ministry of Natural Resources;
        Ministry of Culture;



         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 66
        Ministry of Transportation;
        Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing;
        Secretariat of Aboriginal Affairs;

Federal:
        Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA);
        Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS);
        Natural Resources Canada;
        Indian and Northern Affairs Canada;
        Health Canada.



4.3.2      Consultation Activities
The following consultation activities were undertaken during the spring, summer and fall of 2006:
        Filing and mailing of the Project Description Document and the Notice of Commencement
        of a screening to the provincial agencies mentioned above, CWS and CEAA;
        Several email exchanges and phone discussions with the various agencies mentioned
        above;
        Filing and mailing of the Notice of Completion of an Environmental Screening Report to
        the provincial agencies mentioned above, as well as federal agencies (CWS, CEAA,
        INAC, NRCan) in January 2009.



4.3.3      Issues Scoping
Agencies responded to the PDD and NoC posting with the following comments, issues and
requirements for the environmental assessment:
        Requirement to undertake a screening level environmental assessment as per the
        Ontario Environmental Assessment Act;
        Requirement to undertake a screening level environmental assessment as per the
        Canadian Environmental Assessment Act;
        Requirement for a pre-construction bird and bat monitoring program;
        Requirement to consult with the GMCO for communication systems;
        Requirement to undertake a Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment;
        Requirement to apply for a Certificate of Air (noise);
        Requirement to apply for an Obstruction Clearance for aviation safety;
        Requirement to apply for a permit with the Ministry of Transport prior to installing
        structures near Highway 540 or constructing a new entrance; requirement to apply a
        setback from the highway RoW equal to the height of the turbine plus length of the blade;
        comment that MOT’s preference would be that the turbines be placed where they are not
        visible from the highway.
        Requirement to consult with First Nations on the Island.



           Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 67
4.3.4    Agency Comments on the Draft Screening Report and Responses
A draft version of the present Environmental Screening Report (ESR) was submitted to all
abovementioned regulatory agencies and First Nations in early May 2007, giving them an
opportunity to provide comments. In an effort to have this report comply with all comments and
concerns raised by the various stakeholders before issuing the Notice of Completion and
commencing the official 30-day public review period, modifications were integrated to this final
version of the ESR. The following agencies provided comments:

        Environment Canada – letter dated June 8 2007
        Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (Jeff Brinsmead) – comments table sent on June 8
        2007
        Health Canada – letter dated June 14 2007
        Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (Wayne Sellinger) – letter dated July 9 2007
        Ministry of the Environment – letter dated July 13, 2007

The following sub-sections provide answers to each comment formulated by the agencies.

4.3.4.1 Ontario Ministry of the Environment Comments and Responses

Groundwater

The EA Report identifies a potential need for blasting during excavation at the turbine
sites. There is a potential for blasting during construction to affect bedrock wells. We
recommend well monitoring where blasting or extensive dewatering is required. Our
standard recommendations regarding well monitoring are discussed below.

   •    Monitoring of wells within 100 metres of the construction should be carried out.
        Static water levels and depths for wells that are accessible for measurement
        should be recorded. Well construction details should also be recorded.
   •    Water samples should be collected from the wells after a suitable period of flow.
        The water should be analyzed for the following parameters: Calcium, magnesium,
        sodium, chloride, sulphates, hydrogen sulphide, iron, conductivity, total dissolved
        solids, turbidity, colour, total organic carbon, organic nitrogen, BOD, nitrate,
        nitrite, ammonia, bacteriological parameters and any other site-specific relevant
        parameters.
   •    Statements should be obtained from homeowners on the adequacy of their supply.
        The accessibility of the well is the responsibility of the owner. If the owner does
        not agree to the testing and interviewing the owner’s refusal should be recorded.

The Proponent will apply these measures if blasting is needed or if extensive dewatering is
required, and if water wells are found within 100 m of construction sites.


Surface Water

If the construction involves any taking, dewatering, storage or diversion of water in excess
of 50,000 litres per day a Permit to Take Water is required. This could include: dewatering
during excavation of tower bases and trenches for underground cables; taking of water for
mixing concrete and dust suppression; dewatering or diversion of creek flow to allow road
construction and culvert installation in the dry.

Dewatering is not expected to be this significant, however in the event that the amounts would
exceed 50,000 litres a day the Proponent will apply for the permit.


         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 68
Terrestrial Environment

If vegetation control includes the use of pesticides, pesticide handling, use and storage
must be in accordance with the requirements of the Pesticides Act and Regulation 914.

No pesticides will be used for vegetation control.

Waste Materials and Spills

If areas of contaminated soil are encountered during construction, the contaminated soil
must be managed in accordance with MOE guidelines. The Guideline for Use at
contaminated sites in Ontario provides direction on assessment, restoration and MOE soil
criteria.

In the unlikely event that contaminated soil is found during construction on site, these will be
managed in accordance with MOE guidelines.

The EA Report indicates that there is a potential for spill to occur. The Ministry would like
a spills contingency plan developed for the site. A detailed plan should be submitted for
review prior to construction. It should include particulars about the potential types of
spills that could occur, the potential effects associated with the spills, and how clean-up
will be initiated and conducted. Hydraulic fluids or fuels should be stored in a bermed
area to ensure containment in the event of an accidental spill. Spill cleanup equipment
should be retained on site at all times in the event of an accidental spill, and staff should
be trained in the use of this equipment. The contractor should be made aware of all spills
that could potentially cause a damage to the environment should be reported to the Spills
Action Centre of the Ministry of the Environment at 1-800-268-6060.

A spill contingency plan will be submitted by the Proponent and/or its contractor to the MOE
before construction.

Noise

A Noise Impact Assessment for the Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project was
submitted with the EA Report. However, as there are no receptors within 1 km of the
turbine locations, the Ministry will review the Noise Impact Assessment at the Notice of
Completion Stage in the EA process.

This comment is noted.


4.3.4.2 Ontario MNR Comments and Responses

Section 3.6.3.2 Results – Bat Radar Monitoring
Discrepancy: Bottom Page 42 reports 79% of passes during summer period within blade
sphere. Top Page 43 reports 39% of passes during fall period within blade sphere & 41% of
passes during summer period within blade sphere.

After reviewing the data, the first sentence of the second paragraph should have read:

“During the summer monitoring period, the estimated passage rate proportions indicated that
58% of the passes/hr/m3 were outside of the projected blade sphere, including all passes below
40 m and above 120 m in altitude. The remaining 41% were found within the blade sphere (40-
120 m above ground level).”




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 69
Section 3.6.4, Page 43
“High populations of roosting or migratory bats were not found in the study area”.
Relative to what? Section 5.3.5.1 identifies forested ridge sites like MERE being of special
concern. If the study results are indeed lower than for other sites, should provide the
references for comparison in order to validate the statement (i.e. ranges of activity
documented at other sites including the Prince wind-farm as the closest site for
comparison).

The above statement “High populations of roosting or migratory bats were not found in the study
area” is no longer a valid a statement and should be removed. Based on recent results from
similar wind farm studies, a higher density of bats was observed on the MERE Wind Farm
project.

Radar monitoring was conducted at several northern Ontario wind farms, all of which exhibit
similar habitat and topography, and thus can be compared to the MERE study results. In order to
compare between these sites, radar data has been standardized to account for monitoring effort
                                                                  3
and radar settings, and is provided as flight density (passes/hr/m ). To account for variation in
radar settings, only those bats observed at or below 200m in height have been included. In
NRSI’s experience, a 200m height ceiling accounts for the significant majority of bats, with few
bats observed at greater heights.

Based on comparison of radar data between these sites, the MERE study area was found to have
a relatively higher level of bat activity (8.4 x10-6 passes/hr/m3) throughout the July – October
monitoring period.

At the Prince Wind Farm, located approximately 200km northwest of the MERE study area, the
flight density during the spring monitoring period (3.3 x10-6 passes/hr/m3) was found to be slightly
lower than the MERE spring flight density (4.9 x10-6 passes/hr/m3 ). This is likely due in part to
the MERE study area’s location on the Niagara Escarpment and its proximity to the North
Channel.

Radar monitoring conducted between July and October at another, unnamed northern Ontario
wind farm, located approximately 50km north of the Prince Wind Farm, also resulted in a lower
flight density (1.3 x10-6 passes/hr/m3) than that found at MERE. As this unnamed wind farm is
located at the edge of the physical range of migratory bats, these results are to be expected.

Section 3.5.2.2 page 31
While I don’t expect that the project will wipe out bird migration by any means, saying that
there will be “little” impact may be understating the impact. Manitoulin Island (especially
the east end) is a significant migration route. It is at the west end of the Atlantic flyway
and the east end of the Mississippi flyway. Bird Studies Canada (BSC) maintains a
Migration Monitoring Station at the northern end of the Bruce Peninsula…this station
would not be located there if there wasn’t a significant number of birds. BSC should be
contacted for data...this will give an indication of the importance of the Bruce Peninsula-
Manitoulin route as a migration corridor. A large number of hawks are known to move
across at Tobermory to Manitoulin Island (John McCracken, BSC, personal
communication). The ECR says that a number of the movements observed were
consistent with migrating birds. While many small songbirds do not travel at great
heights, some migrating birds such as geese and raptors would travel at a greater altitude
and be susceptible to the blades. The Important Bird Areas found on the island are all
associated with fall migrants. Fall migration monitoring was not done by NRSI. It should
therefore be assumed that the fall migration could be significant. Raptors would be
attracted to the cliff/forested ridge habitat to make use of rising thermals and updrafts in
the summer. This is evident as a greater percentage of raptors were reported at the
soaring station closest to the cliff/ridge.



         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 70
This comment is taken into consideration. It should be noted that a more detailed effects
assessment is presented in section 5. It is important to recall that the size of the project greatly
reduces potential avian mortality. A post-construction mortality monitoring program will be
undertaken to validate the assumption that low bird collisions are expected.


Section 5.3.4.4, Page 83
Movement of waterfowl and waterbirds between Lake Manitou and West Bay is noted.
Following in the 3rd Paragraph … “it is recommended that flyways between lakes or
wetlands be avoided”. Have specific flight patterns been noted that will be used to refine
tower locations? Or, is it more that the species / abundance levels documented are simply
not of concern?

As noted in paragraph 1 of page 84 “ Small numbers (75 in total ) of waterfowl and waterbirds
were observed flying between Lake Manitou and West bay. The majority of birds were observed
to be flying in a west to east direction in between proposed turbines 3 & 4, however due to the
low abundance of species and individuals observed, it is not anticipated that they will not be at
risk if collisions with the turbines

Section 5.3.4.5, Page 83 – Under Operations
Is one year of mortality monitoring sufficient? Given that this is being suggested as a
minimum monitoring program, will additional monitoring be added should mortality
estimates be of concern? Who will make this determination? Would feel more comfortable
if some of the key details of sampling design were specified as a component of the public
record rather than simply suggesting that the protocol will follow general CWS and MNR
guidelines. Is the proponent on the hook to follow through?

For the time being, a 1-year post-construction monitoring program is proposed at this facility,
consisting of mortality monitoring by means of systematic carcass searches. In addition to
mortality monitoring, scavenger surveys will also be conducted, and all mortality searchers will all
be tested for searcher efficiency. A detailed carcass search protocol will be developed in
conjunction with the appropriate agencies and will address the major issues including number of
turbines to be searched, search frequency, and timing of the searches. To accurately address
potential risks and effects on bird populations, the periods when birds are known to be most
active or concentrated within the area will be the focus of the carcass searches. Post-construction
mortality monitoring for birds will focus primarily on spring and fall migration periods, but will
initially occur during all four seasons with varying efforts during each season to address other
concerns including winter staging and breeding bird periods. Overall monitoring period and
search effort will be readdressed and discussed with appropriate agencies following the
completion of the first year of post-construction monitoring.

Mortality monitoring of birds will be conducted in conjunction with similar activities for bats. The
monitoring protocol will follow general CWS and MNR guidelines and will be developed in
conjunction with Environment Canada and MNR. This will ensure that actions are carried out as
expected, and for the necessary duration. The monitoring plan will also include a description of
the post-construction monitoring work to be done, the data that will be collected, and what
information will be made available to the public.


Section 5.3.4.5, Table 5.3-4, Page 85
Under Operations - Should include reference to mortality monitoring as a component of
mitigation strategy. Identify up front that should mortality estimates be of concern,
operational changes will be considered to mitigate such impacts where feasible.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 71
In the event of significant mortality observed at turbine sites, the Proponent will discuss
operations-phase mitigation measures with the MNR, and consider operational changes if
feasible.


Section 5.3.5.1, Bottom of Page 86
“No caves or abandoned mines are located within or near the project area”. As per prior
comment … The limestone ridge in proximity to the site may very well provide for
hibernacula as well as roosting sites. There are many fissures and very likely cave
formations in the escarpment landform. Was a thorough search conducted to support this
statement? We cannot rely of documentation of known hibernacula given that the vast
majority of such sites would not be known given a lack of inventory.

The above sentence taken from the ESR in section 5.3.5.1 should read as follows:

“Based on background information received from NHIC and OMNR NIRVIS data 2006, no caves
or abandoned mines are located within or near the project area.”

During the 2006 field surveys biologists only conducted searches for potential bat hibernacula
within the study area. Due to safety reasons thorough searches of the escarpment could not be
completed. Results from the radar monitoring did not indicate significantly high passage rates
and therefore large concentration of bats that could potentially be using the limestone ridge to
roost are not anticipated. As a result of no large concentrations of bats being observed and only
5 turbines scheduled to be constructed on the MERE Wind Farm Project, the impact to bats is
relatively low. Although the MNR bat guidance document does not take the size of the proposed
wind project into consideration to determine site sensitivity, the consideration of project size (i.e.
number of turbines) is consistent with the approach recommended for birds by Environment
Canada.


Section 5.3.5.3, Page 87 - Under Collisions with Turbines & Table 5.3-5, Page 89
Lighting considerations would seem largely irrelevant given discussion presented in
Section 5.3.5.1, Page 86.

This measure is applicable for birds but not necessarily for bats. It has been removed as a
mitigation measure for reducing bat mortality.


Section 5.3.5.4, Page 88 – Under Potential Collisions of Bats with Turbines
Note: Prior comments re: need to validate statements around relative bat abundance and
to acknowledge potential unknown hibernacula associated with limestone escarpment
formation relevant to this section as well.

Please see response to comment for section 5.3.5.1 above.

Section 5.3.6.2, Page 89
Under Operations – As per birds, is one year of mortality monitoring sufficient? Given that
this is being suggested as a minimum monitoring program, will additional monitoring be
added should mortality estimates be of concern? Who will make this determination?
Would feel more comfortable if some of the key details of sampling design were specified
as a component of the public record rather than simply suggesting that the protocol will
follow general MNR guidelines. Is the proponent on the hook to follow through?

A joint bird/bat post-construction monitoring program will be developed as described above.
Please see answer for section 5.3.5.4 p. 83 above.



         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 72
Re: Table 5.3-5, Under Operations - Should include reference to mortality monitoring as a
component of mitigation strategy. Identify up front that should mortality estimates be of
concern, operational changes will be considered to mitigate such impacts where feasible.
For example, shutting down certain turbines at night during periods of high bat mortality
may significantly reduce overall mortality with limited loss of generating potential.

As for birds and explained above, in the event of significant mortality observed at turbine sites,
the Proponent will discuss operations-phase mitigation measures with the MNR, and consider
operational changes if feasible.


Section 5.3.6 – Terrestrial Fauna
Timing of site prep / construction is referenced as mitigation for birds in Section 5.3.4.3 &
Table 5.3-4. Similar concerns are expressed for terrestrial mammals (Section 5.3.6.1) and
reptiles (Section 5.3.6.2) but the timing consideration is not carried through to Section
5.3.6.4 or Table 5.3-6. Would it be appropriate / feasible to merge timing considerations for
all species of concern and clearly specify the most appropriate construction window?

Based on the above comment, this paragraph is added to section 5.3.6.4.:

“During the construction site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing, the construction of
the access road and installation of electrical network, potential disruption of bird nests is a
consideration. The total amount of vegetation that will be cleared during these project activities is
15 ha. The potential for impact on breeding bird species is only an issue during the nesting
period. Based on the assessment that the extent of vegetation clearing will be small compared to
the remaining habitats, loss of productivity is not anticipated and therefore the residual level of
concern is considered to be low and not significant. Once the lands are cleared, the Migratory
Birds Convention Act is unlikely to apply as these lands would not provide habitat for nesting.

It is possible that preferred timing periods for all species of concern could be merged, into an
appropriate construction window, however it should be noted that if work is required at other time
measures, such as during the breeding bird season, specific consideration will be required.


Section 2.4.3
How is decommissioning of the site to be paid for? Is there a contingency fund if MERE
was to go out of business?



Section 3.4.3.3 Page 26 & 2 of ECR
Regarding reference to “federally and provincially rare species” – are these species that
are on the federal Species At Risk (SARA) list and the provincial Endangered Species Act
(ESA) list as the lower risk categories (i.e. not endangered, but still considered threatened
or of special concern), or are these from other lists?

The species listed below (Section 3.4.3.3 Page 26) are not listed as rare species by federal
Species at Risk (SARA) or by the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO), however they are listed as
sensitive species based on the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC).

Based on Environment Canada Species at Risk (SARA) website (February 2008) and Species at
Risk in Ontario (SARO) (June 2008) no significant plant species are known from the study area
and vicinity. However according to the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC 2005b) there
are 10 provincially rare plant species from the vicinity of the study area: 2 extremely rare
(Cephaloziella rubella var. bifida and Hypnum recurvatum); 6 very rare (Gymnocarpium

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 73
robertianum, Cystopteris laurentiana, Asplenium rutamuraria, Pseudoleskeella tectorum,
Pterospora andromedea and Frullania bolanderi) and 2 rare to uncommom (Pellaea atropurea
and Poa interior) from the vicinity of the study area.


Section 3.4.3.3 Page 26 & 2
 “All habitats onsite were systematically searched [for species at risk] during the 2006 field
surveys”. Additional details on the study methods (e.g. survey method, amount of time
spent surveying, etc.) should be provided or a reference to a report that included this
information. I assume the surveys (for SAR and other biological values) only included the
site boundary outlined on the maps in the EA document. It would have been nice if some
work was done on the cliffs of the ridge. This is where the most interesting values would
be found, and depending on species, this area could well be within the zone of influence of
the project.

Area searches of each different habitat found within the study area, were searched for species at
risk. These searches including the rock face of the ridge, even though vascular plant surveys of
the cliff on the ridge were not warranted as these area would not be impacted. Searches were
conducted by two biologists and consisted of walking throughout the study area recording any
rare species, as well other vascular plant observations. These searches were conducted in
conjunction with the following 2006 field surveys: vegetation community mapping, detailed
vascular flora inventory of the proposed turbine locations, along the access road and proposed
power line, breeding bird point counts and area searches, daytime bird migration, as well as
transects to and from the bat monitoring stations. Overall a total of 200hours was spent looking
for species at risk.


May be advisable to include the loggerhead shrike (an endangered species) in
consideration. This species is documented in the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas and the
MNR’s NHIC databases for the area immediately southwest of the project area. Clearing
and old field succession related to project construction could attract this species to the
project site.

Please note in Section 3.5.5.2 page 37 that the ESR has taken the loggerhead shrike into
consideration. Further discussion on this species and its habitat can be found in Section 5.2.5 of
NRSI’s report in Appendix..

The loggerhead shrike prefers grazed pasture, marginal farmland with scattered hawthorn
shrubs, hedgerows; fence posts, wires and associated low-lying wetland; located on core areas of
limestone plain adjacent to Canadian Shield (MNR, 2000). The greatest threat it faces is
fragmentation of suitable habitat due to natural succession. It also prefers at least 25 ha of
suitable habitat. This species has not been document by the OBBA (2005) as a breeding species
within or in the vicinity of the study area. In Canada data suggest that at most there are only 40
pairs of loggerhead Shrikes in Ontario and 10 pairs in Quebec. This species is considered
Endangered in Canada. As the majority of the study area is forested, suitable habitat for this
species is not found within the study area, however as vegetation clearing with be conducted, it
possible that this species could be attracted to the project site. It was not observed during the
monitoring period.


Section 3.5.3.2 Pages 34
“…no observations of owls…” This is not really a fair assessment given that owl surveys
were not done (although they were recommended by Wayne Selinger). All of the bird
monitoring was done during the day. The report does not indicate if any attempt was
made to survey for owls during the bat work. I assume not, or this would have been
noted? While it may be too late to do pre-construction owl monitoring (assuming

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 74
construction begins this year), the proponent should consider adding owl surveys to the
post-construction monitoring program (nocturnal owl surveys and possibly winter owl
surveys if necessary)…better late than never.

Although no formal standardized owl surveys were conducted during the 2006 field surveys,
biologists did listen for owls during the bat monitoring period. Monitoring was conducted in
conjunction with the acoustic bat monitoring period and consisted of walking transects to and
from the bat monitoring stations. Biologists stopped every 2km and listened for presence of owls
and any other nocturnal activities, but no large concentration of bat or owl were observed. The
post-construction monitoring program will be discussed with the MNR and will consider owl
monitoring, if deemed appropriate.


Section 3.5.7 Pages 37/38
What is the rationale for stating that no significant negative impacts are expected for birds
with aerial flight displays? There is literature that suggests this is a concern. Your report
states that woodcocks are present.

The rational behind this statement is based from 3 years of post-construction monitoring on the
Prince Wind Farm. The majority of bird mortalities found at the Prince Wind Farm were found to
be of birds that do not conduct flight displays and therefore not considered to be at high risk of
collision with wind turbines. Dr. Ross James conducted post-construction monitoring on the Erie
Shores Wind Farm in 2006 and 2007. During the monitoring period only killdeer and horned larks
were observed nesting or foraging around the turbines. He indicated that of 126 horned larks that
were observed over the two year period only one dead horned lark was found that may have
been a turbine casualty (James 2008).

James, R.D., 2008. Erie Shores Wind Farm, Fieldwork Report for 2006 and 2007
       During the First Two Years of Operation, Port Burwell, Ontario


Pages 27, 28,& 29
Note that bat monitoring fell short of the 2 nights per week that were scheduled. Reasons
why should be noted.

NRSI completed the bat monitoring on the MERE study site as outlined in the above work
program. Unfortunately due to severe weather conditions, monitoring could not be completed on
9 of the nights and as a result only 15 nights of useful radar data was collected.


Section 3.6.4 Page 43
Were bat hibernacula in the project area actually looked for? What about roosting sites?
Likely along the cliff face adjacent to site. What is the rationale for saying that bats are
likely to be found in low numbers based on habitat. Is it not likely that the adjacent cliff
provides good habitat?

As indicated in a comment above, biologists only conducted searches for potential bat
hibernacula within the study area during the 2006 field surveys. Due to safety reasons thorough
searches of the escarpment could not be completed. While results from the bat monitoring
revealed no concentration areas typical of hibernacula, small roost locations may occur within the
cliff face, but are not anticipated to be affected by the wind turbines. As a result of no large
concentrations of bats being observed and only 5 turbines scheduled to be constructed on the
MERE Wind Project the impact to bats is relatively low. Although the MNR bat guidance
document does not take the size of the proposed wind project into consideration to determine site
sensitivity, the consideration of project size (i.e. number of turbines) is consistent with the
approach recommended for birds by Environment Canada.

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 75
Section 3.7.2.2 Page 44
What is the justification for the statement that eastern milksnake habitat is not present.
The ECR (pg 43) says that the species uses “a wide variety of forest types”. Other than
destroying a hibernacula, I don’t see a lot of impact, but their presence is definitely
possible (they are documented in nearby areas).

Section 3.7.2.2 on page 44 should read:

“The Ontario Herpetofaunal Summary Atlas (Oldham and Weller 2000) lists two species that are
significant within Algoma County, Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) and the Eastern
Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum). No rare reptiles or amphibians were recorded
during the 2006 field studies.

Habitat for the eastern milksnake is found within the study area in a wide variety of habitats
including the hardwood and aspen forests, as well as vegetation community ES26.1.”

As a result of this species being found in a wide variety of habitats, NRSI agrees with Jeff
Brinsmead that no significant impact is anticipated.


Section 5.2
Criterion 4.4 should consider more than just ungulates. The greatest wildlife effect is
likely to be on bats…possible effects on populations or on movements (related to non-
migratory species that travel shorter distances to hibernacula, but don’t fly as high as
migratory species).

We agree with this comment and bats should have been mentioned in the table. In any case bats
are discussed in detail in the ESR.

Section 5.3.4.1 Pages 78, 79
Are the reported fatalities from the studies cited actual observations of corpses, or are
these adjusted estimates that consider scavenging and the ability of the observer to find
corpses? The number of observed corpses may significantly under-estimate actual
mortality.

Please note the above studies are from reported avian fatalities at wind farms in the United
States. The number of fatalities has been adjusted to take into account scavenging and observer
detection biases.

Section 5.3.4.4
Site preparation and construction should take place outside the breeding period to
minimize disruption where possible. It appears from table 2.4-5 that this is the plan
anyway…maybe it should be a recommendation of the Screening Report?

This measure is included in the Commitments Table in section 7.

Section 5.3.4.4
Although the risk of collisions having a significant impact on bird populations is relatively
low, this does not mean that no mitigation measures are necessary. Just from the
standpoint of being “green energy”, I would think that the proponent would want to be
seen as taking reasonable steps to reduce impacts and follow best management practises
as long as these are not excessively prohibitive.

The proponent will follow best management practices when applicable and feasible.

         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 76
Section 5.3.4.4 Page 83
Some mention of possible mitigation for bald eagles should be included. The species was
found to be present at the site and is considered to be a species at risk. Eagles are known
to fly higher, and thus are more likely to be influenced by the turbines than are songbirds.

The comment has been noted and will be taken into consideration.

Although there are no known bald eagles nesting sites within the MERE Study site, observations
of this species were noted by the biologists during the 2006 field surveys. As a result, the timing
of work should take into consideration possible breeding bald eagles within the study area and
vicinity. The timing of work should also consider the timing of clearing vegetation. It is
recommended that it occurs outside of the bird nesting period (mid March to late May) (MNR
1987).

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1987. Bald Eagle Habitat Management Guidelines. Online:
        http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR_E000493.pdf


Section 5.3.4.5
Construction Phase – what will be done by the trained biologist if nesting birds are found?

If nesting birds are found in areas to be cleared, alternative RoWs will be sought to minimise
impacts. Results of the site visit will be discussed with CWS to ensure project construction will be
in accordance with federal requirements for nesting birds.


Section 5.3.4.4 and 5.3.4.5
The EA document should make reference to the sensitivity rating described by
Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service in their document “Wind turbines and
Birds – A Guidance Document for Environmental Assessment”. The EA report indicates
that there is a low level of concern for birds. When I run it through the sensitivity rating I
find: 1) Manitoulin Island (particularly the east end of the island) is a known migration
route; 2) landforms that concentrate birds (within 1 km of the Great Lakes shore & along a
forested ridge that concentrates raptors) are present; 3) the site supports species of high
conservation concern (the CWS document specifically refers to species whose behaviour
includes aerial flight displays). This gives the site a High sensitivity rating. Given that the
site is small (< 10 turbines), the CWS document evaluates the project as a Category 2 level
of concern (i.e. small site, high sensitivity). For a Category 2 project, the CWS document
recommends that in addition to the work that was done, owl surveys be complete (also as
per Wayne Selinger’s recommendations). Since these were not done, it should be
assumed that owls are present and mitigation should be proposed.                    Monitoring
recommended for a Category 2 project includes 1-2 years of follow-up surveys to
determine if bird use of the site has changed and 1 full year of mortality monitoring.

This ranking assessment is taken into consideration. Please see response on owl surveys and on
the post-construction monitoring program above.

Section 5.3.4.5 Page 83
Operations – why are the carcass searches not being continued in the winter?

Based on the results from winter carcass searches that were conducted on the Prince Wind Farm
in 2006/2007 and recommendations received from Environment Canada and the Sault Ste. Marie
District MNR, winter carcass searches are not required.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                              Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 77
Section 5.3.4.4 Page 88
The EA Screening says that “…it is anticipated that bats are found in low numbers
throughout the study area.” In several places, the NRSI report indicates that the acoustic
monitoring results produced high passage rates (pages 33 & 35), particularly for little
brown bats and big brown bats. I’m not sure why the EA document would concentrate on
the lower figure in the radar monitoring and ignore the acoustic results. As well, the only
relative comparison that is made is to the Prince Wind Farm (and it seems that the
comparison was only made for the radar monitoring results). This makes the results very
difficult to interpret…is this saying that the MERE site has a very low population, or does
the Prince site have a phenomenally high population? Additional references would be
needed to determine whether the population is low or not. As well, the acoustic results
should be considered and compared to other acoustic surveys before such an assumption
is made, especially given that potentially good bat habitat is located in the immediate
vicinity (forested ridge habitat) and we know from the acoustic survey that there appears
to be a number of bats present.

As discussed above, the statements suggesting that low numbers of bats were found in the study
area are no longer valid. Based on recent results from similar wind farm studies, a higher density
of bats was observed on the MERE Wind Farm project.

Other wind farm studies conducted by NRSI in northern Ontario have topography and habitat
types similar to the MERE study area. These include the Prince Wind Farm, located
approximately 200km northwest of the MERE study area, and one other unnamed wind farm
located approximately 50km north of the Prince Wind Farm. Radar flight densities and average
acoustic passage rates for these two sites are used for comparison with the MERE study area
results below.

In order to compare radar results between sites, radar data has been standardized to account for
                                                                                    3
monitoring effort and radar settings, and is provided as flight density (passes/hr/m ). To account
for variation in radar settings, only those bats observed at or below 200m in height have been
included. In NRSI’s experience, a 200m height ceiling accounts for the significant majority of
bats, with few bats observed at greater heights.

Based on comparison of radar data between these sites, the MERE study area was found to have
a relatively higher level of bat activity (8.4 x10-6 passes/hr/m3) throughout the July – October
monitoring period. The average acoustic passage rate was also found to be higher at MERE
(10.3 passes/hr).

At the Prince Wind Farm, the flight density during the spring radar monitoring period (3.3 x10-6
passes/hr/m3) was found to be slightly lower than the spring flight density observed at the MERE
study area (4.9 x10-6 passes/hr/m3 ). The Prince Wind Farm’s average acoustic passage rate
(6.8 passes/hr) was also found to be lower than that observed at the MERE study area. This is
likely due in part to the MERE study area’s location on the Niagara Escarpment and its proximity
to the North Channel.

Radar monitoring conducted between July and October at the unnamed wind farm resulted in a
lower flight density (1.3 x10-6 passes/hr/m3) than that found at the MERE study area. The
unnamed wind farm’s average acoustic passage rate (4.7 passes/hr) was also found to be lower
than that observed at the MERE study area. Lower flight density and passage rate are
anticipated at the unnamed northern site, due to its situation at the northern extent of most bat
species’ physical range.

Based on the results of these wind farm studies, the density of bats observed within the MERE
study site is found to be higher than the densities observed at similar wind farms in northern
Ontario.



         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 78
However, as only 5 turbines are proposed for the MERE Wind Project and no large
concentrations of bats have been observed the overall impact to bats at the MERE study site is
anticipated to be low.



Section 5.3.4.4
MNR has recently put together draft guidelines for bats and bat habitat (I think this is still
draft and thus is not out to the public yet). Following the criteria in the guidelines, the
MERE site has high sensitivity (it is approximately 1 km from a Great Lakes shoreline
which could act as a migration corridor or channelling feature, it is located on top of a
forested ridge habitat, and there is the potential for hibernacula and maternal roosting
habitat within 1 km – the limestone cliffs). For a site with high sensitivity, MNR
recommends the following for Operational Monitoring: Mortality surveys, carcass
removal/scavenging surveys, searcher efficiency trials for 2 years from May 1 – September
30. For small sites, mortality surveys should be done at all turbines every 3 days.
Depending on the results of the first year of monitoring, the monitoring period for the
second year may be reduced or a third year of monitoring may be required. MNR should
be consulted in making this determination. It is possible that further monitoring such as
acoustic or radar surveys will be necessary to assess disturbance during operations.

These comments are noted. As discussed above the bird and bat monitoring program will be
prepared and discussed with the MNR and CWS.

Table 5.3-5
Note that 19% of the calls identified were from migrating species. Thus, there is some
level of concern with impacts on these species. Although not as vulnerable as migratory
species, non-migratory species are still vulnerable to collisions with turbine blades,
especially when travelling to and from hibernation sites in the spring and late summer/fall.
The site sensitivity is considered high (as per last comment) and I would suggest that the
level of concern should not be considered low. Additional mitigation measures should be
considered. If no viable options exist (I acknowledge that the science of wind power and
bats is quite young and is somewhat incomplete), this is good justification for a robust
operational monitoring plan.

This comment is noted. As stated above the operational monitoring program will be prepared and
submitted to the MNR for comment.

Section 5.3.13
A great deal of interest is being shown in wind power recently. Manitoulin Island is well
situated for producing wind power. Several other proponents have shown serious interest
in producing wind power on Manitoulin. It would be reasonable to assume that there will
be additional windfarms on Manitoulin and cumulative effects are a real concern.

Given the limited capacity on the distribution system, only a few small-scale wind farms might be
installed on the Island. In this case, cumulative effects are anticipated to be low and not
significant.


4.3.4.3 Environment Canada Comments and Responses

    1. Assign the project a "Level of Concern" ranking based on the matrix assessment
       of "site sensitivity" and "project size" provided in EC's Wind Turbines and Birds: A
       Guidance Document for Environmental Assessment.




         Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                             Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 79
As mentioned by the MNR above, according to the CWS matrix the project has a
Category 2 level of concern (i.e. small site, high sensitivity).




 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 80
2. Include a simple table listing all of the breeding birds, their total individual abundance and their abundance at each of the survey sites
in the ECR.

The following table is added to the ECR.

Table 3.5.4.2. Number of Individuals by Species found at each Breeding Bird Monitoring Station
                                                                                   BMB Station #
                                                                                                                                                            Total # of
     Species Name
                           001   002   003   004   005   006     007   008   009   010   011   012   013   014   015   016   017   018   019   020   021   Individuals


American Crow                     1                                           2                                         2     1                                6
American Goldfinch                                                                                                                              1              1
American Redstart                                  5     1                                2     2                                                     1        11
American Robin             3     2      1          1     1        1    1     1     1     2                                    1                                15
Black-and-white Warbler          3      1                              1           1                        1           1                                      8
Black-billed Cuckoo                                                                                                     1                                      1
Blackburnian Warbler                                     1             1                       1      1                                         3              7
Black-capped Chickadee                        1                                                                                                                1
Black-throated      Blue
Warbler                     1           2     1           1       2                                         3     1                                            11
Black-throated     Green
Warbler                     3     4     2     1     1             1     2     4           2           1                 1     5           1           1        29
Blue Jay                   1            2     1          3        1                                         1     1           1                                11
Broad-winged Hawk                                                             1           1                                                                    2
Brown Creeper                                             1             2                                                                                      3
Cedar Waxwing              3                  2                                                                                                                5
Chestnut-sided Warbler                             1              3                                                                                            4
Common Raven                                                      1                                                           1                                2
Common Yellowthroat                                                                                                                             1              1
Eastern Phoebe                                                                2           1                                                           1        4
European Starling                1                                                                                                                             1
Golden-crowned Kinglet           3                                                                                                                             3
Hermit Thrush                    2      1     1           2                   1           2     2                       2                       3     2        18
Indigo Bunting                   1                                                                                                                             1
Magnolia Warbler                                                        1                       1                             1                                3
Mourning Warbler                                          1                                                                                                    1


                                       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 81
Nashville Warbler          1   1     1                                                                                            1       4
Northern Flicker                                              1                                                                            1
Ovenbird                       1     4     3    2     3      11    6    5    4     5    4     1     2          1     1        1   1   2   57
Pileated Woodpecker                                           1                                                                            1
Purple Finch                                                  1                                                                            1
Red-breasted Nuthatch                                         1                                                1     1                     3
Red-eyed Vireo                       2     4    3     4       1         5    2     5    12                           3            1   3   45
Ring-billed Gull                                1     1       1    1                                                                       4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak               1          1     1                                                                                    3
Sandhill Crane                                        2                                                                                    2
Scarlet Tanager                                                         1                                      1                           2
Unknown Passerine sp                                                                                                 1                    1
Veery                                1                1            1                    1                            1        1            6
White-throated Sparrow               1                1                                                                                    2
Winter Wren                                                                                                               4                4
Wood Thrush                                                                                                               2                2
Woodpecker sp                                                                                                             1                1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker                                                                                                  2               2
 Total # of Species (per
         Station)
                           6   10   12     8    8     15     13    9    9    4     8    7     3     4    2     8     11   4   3   7   6   290




                                    Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 82
3. Include a discussion of the priority bird species identified in North American Bird Conservation
Region 13 in ECR Sec 5.2.5, making special note of any priority birds in the Study Area that are
experiencing continental and regional declines and how they might be impacted by the proposed turbine
development.

Partners in Flight (2006) have used a variety of behavioral characteristics and population tendencies of Ontario
species to establish conservation objectives for the species most at risk of declining populations. Twelve of the
28 birds identified as being priority landbird species within the Lower Great Lakes/St Lawrence Plain Transition
region have been observed and documented within the MERE project area in 2006. Table 5.2.2 lists the
Partners in Flight priority species known from the MERE project area. Birds observed and documented in the
first and second Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (Cadman 1987, OBBA 2005) are found under column OBBA , while
birds observed within the study site during the 2006 field season are shown under the “MERE 2006 monitoring”
column.

The following is added as a complement to the ECR.

Table 5.2.5. Partners in Flight Species of Concern Known from the Study Area and Vicinity of the Project Area
         Species                      Habitat Suite             Overall Objective     OBBA        MERE 2006
                                                                                                   monitoring
 American Kestrel          Grassland & Agricultural                Halt Decline                         √
 Bald Eagle                Other                                     Recovery                           √
 Baltimore Oriole          Other                                  Reverse Decline                       √
 Bank Swallow              Other & Aerial Insectivore             Reverse Decline
 Belted Kingfisher         Riparian obligate, wetland             Reverse Decline                       √
 Black-billed Cuckoo       Shrub/Successional and Forest          Reverse Decline            √          √
 Bobolink                  Grassland & Agricultural                Halt Decline                         √
 Brown Thrasher            Shrub/Successional                     Reverse Decline                       √
 Canada Warbler            Forest                                 Reverse Decline
 Chimney Swift             Other (generalist)                     Reverse Decline
 Eastern Kingbird          Grassland & Agricultural                Halt Decline
 Eastern Meadowlark        Grassland & Agricultural                Halt Decline
 Eastern Towhee            Shrub/Successional                     Reverse Decline
 Eastern Wood-pewee        Forest                                 Reverse Decline                       √
 Field Sparrow             Shrub/Successional                     Reverse Decline
 Golden-winged Warbler     Shrub/Successional                     Maintain Current
 Grasshopper Sparrow       Grassland & Agricultural                Halt Decline
 Northern Flicker          Forest                                 Reverse Decline            √          √
 Northern Harrier          Grassland & Agricultural               Maintain Current
 Peregrine Falcon          Other                                     Recovery
 Red-headed
                           Forest and Savannah                    Reverse Decline
 Woodpecker
                                                                 Maintain Current &
 Red-shouldered Hawk       Forest
                                                                  Assess Status
 Rose-breasted
                           Forest                                 Maintain Current           √          √
 Grosbeak
 Savannah Sparrow          Grassland & Agricultural                 Halt Decline
 Short-eared Owl           Grassland & Agricultural                Assess Status
 Vesper Sparrow            Grassland & Agricultural                 Halt Decline
 Whip-poor-will            Forest                                 Reverse Decline                       √
 Wood Thrush               Forest                                 Maintain Current           √          √




                Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 83
Partners in Flight (Ontario). 2006. Ontario Landbird Conservation Plan: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain
    (North American Bird Conservation Region 13), Priorities, Objectives and Recommended Actions. Draft
    February 2006. Environment Canada and Ministry of Natural Resources.

As for potential effects, the section on avian fauna in section 5 provides a more detailed effects assessment.
Careful consideration will be given to species at risk in the post-construction monitoring program.


4. Cite the source for the list of “Regionally Significant Species, referred to on Page 26 of ECR.

The source is the following:

Morton, J.K., and J.M. Venn. 2000. The flora of Manitoulin Island, 3rd ed. Department of Biology, University of
   Waterloo, Ontario


5. Cite sources/provide the scientific basis to justify the position that “Breeding birds are typically not
disturbed by wind turbines.” (ECR Sec8.0, P45,par 3). The ECR should discuss the implications of the
findings of Kerlinger (2002) for the MERE site as part of a full assessment of possible disturbance
impacts for turbines to forest birds since many area-sensitive neotropical species occur there.

The greatest threats to breeding birds are encountered during the construction phase of wind turbines. It is
during these periods that heavy machinery may disrupt ground-nesting birds, possibly destroying nests or
causing fatalities to young birds (BLM and DOI 2005).

Upon completion of the construction phase, breeding birds do not seem to be greatly impacted by wind turbines.
Resident birds quickly become familiar with the turbines and learn to avoid them (Kingsley and Whittam 2005).
With turbines in place, birds will subsequently nest in areas a comfortable distance from the turbines, sometimes
avoiding nesting within 100 to 200m of turbines (Leddy et al. 1999). Nesting success also does not seem to be
affected by the turbines. Results from the breeding bird monitoring that took on the Prince Wind Farm in 2007
and 2008 confirmed that the majority of breeding birds and their nesting success were indeed not affected by the
operating turbines.

6. Note in the SEAR the more recent and much more rigorous studies available for mortality estimates,
such as Jain et al 2007, which likely provides a much closer approximation to the MERE site than the
studies referenced in the Screening Report, and may offer better insights into possible mortality through
direct collisions.

The above comment has been noted and will be taken into consideration.

7. Review the Recommended Protocols for guidance on mortality surveys during spring migration (6
weeks), the breeding season (4-6 weeks), and fall migration (8 weeks for birds - but much longer for
bats), providing particular attention to search frequency (at least twice a week at all turbines), searcher
efficiency trials, and scavenging trials. It should be noted in the SEAR that at least two or three years of
breeding season surveys would be needed to differentiate any possible effects of the turbines from
natural year-to-year variation, and to separate short-term from long-term effects.

This comment will be taken into consideration. The post-construction monitoring program will be prepared and
submitted to the MNR and CWS for their comments.



8. Modify the SEAR to read: "Timing of work, or at least timing of clearing, is recommended to occur
outside the core bird nesting period (in forested habitat, 9 May to 23 July)".

The core nesting period is noted and will be used for future project planning.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 84
4.3.4.4 Health Canada Comments and Responses

Page 25, Section 3.4.3.1- First Paragraph:

The word “area” needs to be added in the beginning of the last sentence to read: “the study area does
not overlap..”

The change was made in the text.


Page 101, Section 5.3.10.1 – Predicted Noise Levels at Receptors:

The word “in” needs to be added in the beginning of the first sentence to read: “Noise levels in the
MERE Project…”

The change was made in the text.


Page 4, Table 1.6-1: Government Agency Involvement:

As stated above, Health Canada is a Federal Authority under subsection 12 (3) of the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and therefore providing expert advice, as requested by the
Responsible Authority, for the review of this project.            Health Canada does not have any
approval/decision authority for this project. Please create a separate row for Health Canada and change
“Decision on the Environmental Assessment” to “No approval required. Provision of expert advice”.

The change was made in the table.


Cumulative Effects

On page 2 it states, “the Project is just one of five initiatives currently being researched with a focus on
stable business development, expanding opportunities and long-term employment and training for the
M’Chigeeng First Nation (M’Chigeeng First Nation, 2006)”. But it also states on page 110, “No other
future activities that could potentially create cumulative impacts are known in the area.” Could you
please clarify that these 4 other initiatives have been assessed for cumulative effects with the MERE
Project.

The other four business development initiatives are not on an industrial scale and relate to recreational/social
infrastructure (retirement home, golf course); none are wind energy projects. Given their nature and the
uncertainty associated to their exact specifications and date of realisation, these potential initiatives were not
considered in the cumulative effects assessment.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 85
5          ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTS, MITIGATION AND MONITORING

5.1         Assessment Approach
5.1.1       Project-Specific Effects
The approach used for assessing the effects of the Project on the environment is based on the federal and
Ontario guidelines with respect to screening level assessments.

This assessment aims to identify and determine the significance of residual effects, i.e. the effects that remain
after applying mitigation and compensation measures. In effect, this approach consists of the following steps:
          Determine interactions between Project activities and “valued ecosystem components”, 7 that is,
          identifying what activities can potentially affect a specific component of the environment; these
          interactions will refer to all elements in the checklist for which a “yes” was given (see following section). If
          deemed appropriate, other interactions could also be identified and later discussed;
          Describe the effect and identify mitigation measures;
          Evaluate the significance of the residual effect, based on Table 5.1-1 below (NRCan, 2003);
          Propose follow-up and monitoring measures. Depending on the outcome of the effects assessment,
          follow-up and/or monitoring programs could be proposed in order to further investigate the potential
          effects, or verify the significance of the effect following commissioning.



                                            Table 5.1-1: Levels of Residual Effects
Residual Effect                                                                              Residual      Significance
                                                                                            Effect Level
Potential impact could threaten sustainability of the resource and should be
considered a management concern. Research, monitoring and/or recovery initiatives              High          Significant
should be considered.
Potential impact could result in a decline in resource to lower-than-baseline but
stable levels in the study area after project closure and into the foreseeable future.
                                                                                              Medium         Significant
Regional management actions such as research, monitoring and/or recovery
initiatives may be required.
Potential impact may result in a slight decline in resource in study area during the life
of the project. Research, monitoring and/or recovery initiatives would not normally be          Low        Not Significant
required.
Potential impact may result in a slight decline in resource in study area during
                                                                                              Minimal      Not Significant
construction phase, but the resource should return to baseline levels.



5.1.2 Cumulative Effects Assessment
A cumulative effects assessment (CEA) will be prepared according to federal guidelines. The CEA will include
the following steps:
          List and describe current and foreseen projects in the vicinity of the Project;
          Evaluate the significance of the cumulative effect stemming from the addition of the Project to the other
          current and foreseen projects. This assessment will use the level of residual effects table provided
          above.




7
    For the purposes of this assessment, VECs will broadly refer to any environmental but also social component, such as
    landscapes, or recreational activities.


                    Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 86
5.2        Screening Criteria Checklist
This screening checklist aims to identify potential environmental effects of the Project, before considering
mitigation measures. Criteria for which the “yes” column is checked are discussed in greater detail in the
following sections which discuss the assessment of effects for each environmental or social component.


                                       Table 5.2-1: Screening Criteria Checklist
      Criterion (Will the Project…)                     Yes    No              Additional Information
      1. Surface and Ground Water
                                                                     There are no watercourses of
      1.1 have negative effects on surface water
                                                                X    waterbodies on site or in the vicinity of
      quality, quantities or flow?
                                                                     the site.
                                                                     Unlikely due to small area impacted, and
      1.2 have negative effects on ground water
                                                         X           soil properties. The effects on this
      quality, quantity or movement?
                                                                     component are discussed below.
      1.3 cause significant sedimentation, soil
                                                                     The effects on this component are
      erosion or shoreline or riverbank erosion on or    X
                                                                     discussed below.
      off site?
      1.4 cause potential negative effects on                        No effect on surface water. Potential
      surface or ground water from accidental spills     X           effect on groundwater, although risk is
      or releases to the environment?                                not significant, as discussed below.
      2. Land
      2.1 have negative effects on residential,                      Potential for interference with a GMCO
      commercial or institutional land uses within       X           microwave link. The effects on this
      500 metres of the site?                                        component are discussed below.
      2.2 be inconsistent with the Provincial Policy
      Statement, provincial land use or resource                X
      management plans?
      2.3 be inconsistent with municipal land use
                                                                X
      policies, plans and zoning by-laws?
      2.4 use hazard lands or unstable lands                         Uncertain. The effects on this component
                                                         X
      subject to erosion?                                            are discussed below.
      2.5 have potential negative effects related to
                                                                X
      the remediation of contaminated land?
      3. Air and Noise
      3.1 have negative effects on air quality due to                Potential effects during construction. The
      emissions of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide,    X           effects on this component are discussed
      suspended particulates, or other pollutants?                   below.
                                                                     Potential effects during construction. The
      3.2 cause negative effects from the emission
                                                         X           effects on this component are discussed
      of greenhouse gases (CO2, methane)?
                                                                     below.
                                                                     Potential effects during construction. The
      3.3 cause negative effects from the emission
                                                         X           effects on this component are discussed
      of dust or odour?
                                                                     below.
                                                                     Potential effects during construction and
      3.4 cause negative effects from the emission
                                                         X           operations. The effects on this
      of noise?
                                                                     component are discussed below.
      4. Natural Environment
                                                                     Few listed species were observed on
      4.1 cause negative effects on rare, threatened
                                                                     site. Potential effects during construction
      or endangered species of flora or fauna or         X
                                                                     and operations. The effects on this
      their habitat?
                                                                     component are discussed below.
      4.2 cause negative effects on protected
                                                                X
      natural areas such as ANSIs, ESAs or other


                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                       Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 87
Criterion (Will the Project…)                      Yes    No              Additional Information
significant natural areas?
4.3 cause negative effects on wetlands?                    X
                                                                Potential effects during construction and
4.4 have negative effects on wildlife habitat,                  operations, namely for ungulates. The
                                                    X
populations, corridors or movement?                             effects on this component are discussed
                                                                below.
4.5 have negative effects on fish or their
habitat, spawning, movement or
                                                           X
environmental conditions (e.g., water
temperature, turbidity, etc.)?
4.6 have negative effects on migratory birds,                   Potential effects during construction and
including effects on their habitat or staging       X           operations. The effects on this
areas?                                                          component are discussed below.
                                                                Potential effects during construction. The
4.7 have negative effects on locally important
                                                    X           effects on this component are discussed
or valued ecosystems or vegetation?
                                                                below.
5. Resources
5.1 result in inefficient (below 40%) use of a
non-renewable resource (efficiency is defined
as the ratio of output energy to input energy,             X
where output energy includes electricity
produced plus useful heat captured)?
5.2 have negative effects on the use of
Canada Land Inventory Class 1-3, specialty                 X
crop or locally significant agricultural lands?
5.3 have negative effects on existing
                                                           X
agricultural production?
5.4 have negative effects on the availability of
                                                           X
mineral, aggregate or petroleum resources?
                                                                Some tree clearing during construction.
5.5 have negative effects on the availability of
                                                    X           The effects on this component are
forest resources?
                                                                discussed below.
5.6 have negative effects on game and fishery
                                                                Potential effects during construction and
resources, including negative effects caused
                                                    X           operations. The effects on this
by creating access to previously inaccessible
                                                                component are discussed below.
areas?
6. Socio-economic
6.1 have negative effects on neighbourhood                      Noise during operations could potentially
                                                    X
or community character?                                         impact the community as well as wildlife.
                                                                A microwave link traverses the site. It has
6.2 have negative effects on local businesses,
                                                           X    been included in the constraints analysis
institutions or public facilities?
                                                                (see section 2).
6.3 have negative effects on recreation,
                                                           X
cottaging or tourism?
6.4 have negative effects related to increases
in the demands on community services and                   X
infrastructure?
6.5 have negative effects on the economic
                                                           X
base of a municipality or community?
6.6 have negative effects on local
                                                           X
employment and labour supply?
                                                                Potential effects during construction. The
6.7 have negative effects related to traffic?       X           effects on this component are discussed
                                                                below.


             Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                  Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 88
Criterion (Will the Project…)                     Yes     No             Additional Information
                                                                Potential effects during construction and
6.8 cause public concerns related to public
                                                    X           operations. The effects on this
health and safety?
                                                                component are discussed below.
7. Heritage and Culture
7.1 have negative effects on heritage
                                                                A stage 1 archaeological assessment
buildings, structures or sites, archaeological      X
                                                                was undertaken and is discussed below.
resources, or cultural heritage landscapes?
7.2 have negative effects on scenic or                          A visual impact assessment is presented
                                                    X
aesthetically pleasing landscapes or views?                     below.
8. Aboriginal
8.1 cause negative effects on First Nations or
                                                           X    Project is located on First Nations land.
other Aboriginal communities?
9. Other
9.1 result in the creation of waste materials                   Waste and treatment from construction
                                                    X
requiring disposal?                                             activities is discussed in section 2.
9.2 cause any other negative environmental
effects not covered by the criteria outlined               X
above?




             Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                  Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 89
5.3       Effects Assessment, Mitigation and Monitoring
5.3.1     Air and Climate

5.3.1.1 Potential Effects

Construction and decommissioning activities can affect air quality by producing dust and fugitive emissions (i.e.,
tailpipe exhaust emitting CO2 and nitrous and sulphur oxides) mainly due to heavy machinery use and
transportation. As vehicle use during operations will be infrequent and of low intensity, effects of tailpipe exhaust
during this phase will be minimal and are not considered further in the assessment.

The potential for the following types of construction- and decommissioning-related emissions were assessed:
        Dust emissions;
        CAC emissions;
        GHG emissions.

Dust Emissions

Construction-related activities, including forest clearing, stripping of topsoil, road construction and upgrading,
installation of infrastructures and electrical lines, as well as restoration of the Project area, might create or stir up
dust and temporarily increase particulate matter concentrations. Transportation of Project equipment, as well as
traffic generated by workers might also create dust, particularly on the unpaved “municipal access road” that will
be used to access the MERE Project site. As the Project is small in scale, however, no significant concentrations
of dust emissions are anticipated.

The effect of these activities is limited to the Project area itself, located in a mostly uninhabited rural area.
Though dust could theoretically affect temporary users of the Project area such as hunters, the latter are unlikely
to be frequenting the site during construction or decommissioning activities.

Dust could affect workers’ health and security on the Project area’s unpaved roads and construction sites,
namely by increasing PM concentrations, reducing visibility and creating the potential for accidents.

To reduce the effect of dust emissions, the following mitigation measure will be applied:
        Water or a water-based dust suppressant will be used to control dust on unpaved roads in summer
        months.

The effect of dust emissions on air quality is of minimal concern and considered not significant (Table 5.3-1).


Fugitive Emissions

The main contributors to criteria air contaminant (CAC) emissions of this Project will be heavy machinery and
truck transportation during the construction and decommissioning phases of the Project. Machinery and vehicles
will run for the most part on diesel fuel. Emissions generated during construction and decommissioning are
considered to be similar to those produced for other large-scale construction projects. During operations, fugitive
CAC emissions are only associated with maintenance activities which require the use of light trucks. These
emissions are considered negligible and not considered further in this assessment.

Assuming displacement of an equivalent amount of power produced from a natural gas or coal plant, the MERE
Project would offset significant amounts of CAC emissions. Under these assumptions, it can be stated that the
Project would have a positive effect on air quality. Given that the actual displaced energy source is not known,
however, it can only be concluded that the Project will have no effect on CAC concentrations.




                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                       Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 90
To reduce CAC emissions, the following mitigation measures will be applied:
       Vehicle traffic on project access roads will be limited to 40 km/h, and Project and contractor vehicles will
       also be required to maintain speeds at or below posted speed limits on paved roadways.
       All Project and contractor vehicles and machinery will comply with current emission standards.
       During construction and decommissioning, the Project will ensure efficient use of vehicles that will
       minimize distances travelled and periods of heavy machinery use.

The adverse effect on air quality of the Project’s CAC emissions is of minimal concern and considered not
significant (Table 5.3-1). Depending on they type of energy displaced, the effect could be considered positive.


Greenhouse Gases

While a detailed life-cycle assessment (LCA) has not been done in the context of this environmental
assessment, polluting emissions associated with production, construction, operations and decommissioning of a
wind energy project (cradle-to-grave) are largely offset by the avoided emissions from producing electricity from
wind rather than from fossil fuel. In terms of energy, under normal wind conditions, it takes between two and
three months for a turbine to recover all the energy involved in its production, transport, installation and
decommissioning (Krohn, 1997).

Assuming displacement of an equivalent amount of power produced from a natural gas or coal plant, the MERE
Project would offset between 10,000 and 20,000 tonnes of CO2 a year (plus significant amounts of CAC
emissions). Under these assumptions, it can be stated that the Project would have a positive effect on global
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given that the actual displaced energy source is not known, however, it can
only be concluded that the Project will have no effect on climate change.

To reduce GHG emissions, the following mitigation measures will be applied:
       Vehicle traffic on Project access roads will be limited to 40 km/h, and Project and contractor vehicles will
       also be required to maintain speeds at or below posted speed limits on paved roadways.
       All Project and contractor vehicles and machinery will comply with current emission standards.
       During construction and decommissioning, the Project will ensure efficient use of vehicles that will
       minimize distances travelled and periods of heavy machinery use.

The adverse effect on air quality of the Project’s greenhouse emissions is of minimal concern and considered not
significant (Table 5.3-1). Depending on they type of energy displaced, the effect could be considered positive.


5.3.1.2 Summary of Mitigation Measures

To minimize the effects of the Project on air quality, the proponent will implement the following mitigation
measures:
       Vehicle traffic on Project access roads will be limited to 40 km/h, and Project and contractor vehicles will
       also be required to maintain speeds at or below posted speed limits on paved roadways.
       Water or a water-based dust suppressant will be used to control dust on unpaved roads in summer
       months.
       All Project and contractor vehicles and machinery will comply with current emission standards.
       During construction and decommissioning, the Project will ensure efficient use of vehicles that will
       minimize distances travelled and periods of heavy machinery use.




                Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 91
5.3.1.3 Residual Effects

The combined adverse effects on air quality are considered not significant. As a potential source of offsets, the
Project could reduce global GHG emissions and thus have a positive environmental effect.

Table 5.3-1 below summarizes the conclusions of the residual effects assessment.

                            Table 5.3-1: Effects Assessment Summary - Air and Climate
Effect                                 Mitigation Measure                     Level of      Significance of Effect
                                                                              Concern
Construction
                             - Limit vehicle speeds to 40 km/h on
                            unpaved roads
Dust                         - Dust suppression – Occasional spraying of       Minimal            Not significant
                            water or a water-based suppressant on
                            unpaved roads
                             - Vehicle emission compliance – Inspection
                            of trucks for compliance with emission
Fugitive emissions
                            standards                                          Minimal            Not significant
(except CO2)                 - Efficient transportation during construction
                            and decommissioning
                             - Vehicle emission compliance – Inspection
                            of trucks for compliance with emission
Greenhouse gases            standards                                          Minimal            Not significant
                             - Efficient transportation during construction
                            and decommissioning
Operations
                                                                              Potentially
Reduction of GHGs
                                                                               Positive
Decommissioning
                            - Limit vehicle speeds to 40 km/h on
                            unpaved roads
Dust                        - Dust suppression – Occasional spraying of        Minimal            Not significant
                            water or a water-based suppressant on
                            unpaved roads
                            - Vehicle emission compliance – Inspection
                            of trucks for compliance with emission
Fugitive emissions
                            standards                                          Minimal            Not significant
(except CO2)                - Efficient transportation during construction
                            and decommissioning
                            - Vehicle emission compliance – Inspection
                            of trucks for compliance with emission
Greenhouse gases            standards                                          Minimal            Not significant
                            - Efficient transportation during construction
                            and decommissioning
Accidents/Malfunctions
None

5.3.1.4 Follow-up and Monitoring

Considering the minimal residual effects that the MERE Project is expected to have on air quality, no follow-up or
monitoring programs have been proposed or are considered necessary.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 92
5.3.2     Terrain, Soils and Ground Water

5.3.2.1 Potential Effects

Construction activities, including road building, tree cutting and grubbing, and excavation at turbine sites, have
the potential to interact with the terrain, soil and ground water resources both within and beyond the immediate
footprint of the MERE Project (Table 5.3-2).

The Project-related effects on this environmental component are the following:
        Change in terrain stability. More specifically, because the site lies near a slope, potential concerns
        arising from construction and decommissioning activities include rockfall and landslides.
        Change in surface erosion, potentially increased by deforestation, clearing and grubbing activities.
        Contamination of soils or ground water from oil and fuel spills.

Change in Terrain Stability and Surface Erosion

Parameters used to assess the slope stability are thickness and quality of surface deposits, bedrock quality and
surface water and groundwater conditions. The assessment of these parameters is based on surface
observations. Subsurface investigations, test pits and/or boreholes, are recommended prior to construction.

As discussed in Section 3, soils where the Project infrastructures will be located are thin or inexistent. The
potential for landslides and rockfall is only possible if construction activities occur in close proximity to the bluff.
Poorly drained soils or weathered bedrock conditions would increase the potential for these effects. According to
the current project layout, all roads and turbine sites, except for WTG #6, are at least 60 m from a steep slope,
limiting the potential occurrence of these effects. Soils are considered well drained.

Depending of the quality of the bedrock, blasting could be required for excavating at turbine sites, however these
activities will be kept to the minimum required for the foundation size.

Mitigating effects on terrain stability and surface erosion also includes:
        Conduct a geotechnical investigation prior to any soil/rock excavation and blasting, especially near the
        edge of the plateau, especially where WTG #6 is planned to be located;
        Confirm information about soil quality, drainage and groundwater conditions at turbine and road
        locations through subsurface investigations;
        Avoid deforestation, clearing and grubbing activities beside steep slopes near the edge of the plateau;
        Implement site restoration following the work, including re-vegetation and/or stabilization of disturbed
        areas. Topsoil removed for the work is to be stockpiled where possible and re-used for re-vegetation and
        restoration works.

The power line will run down the bluff and require tree clearing. However, no other site disturbance is required
on this RoW.

Given the application of the mitigation measures, the effect is considered minimal and not significant.


Contamination of Soils or Ground Water from Oil and Fuel Spills

Spills may occur due to an accident or malfunction during construction activities, operation, and
decommissioning.

Mitigation measures include:
        Training of the construction and maintenance crews to respond to accidental spills;



                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                       Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 93
         Equip all Project vehicles with emergency spill response kit;
         Inspect truck and heavy machinery on a regular basis;
         Designated refuelling areas and maintenance areas are to be bermed.

 The adverse effect on soil due to accidental oil or fuel spills is of minimal concern due to the small quantities
 possibly involved and on the planned mitigation measures. These potential adverse effects are of minimal
 concern and not significant (Table 5.3-2).


 5.3.2.2 Summary of Mitigation Measures

 To minimize the effects of the Project on Soils and Terrain, the proponent will implement the following mitigation
 measures:
         Conduct a geotechnical investigation prior to any soil/rock excavation and blasting, especially near the
         edge of the plateau, where WTG #6 is planned to be located;
         Confirm information about soils quality, drainage and groundwater conditions at turbine and road
         locations through subsurface investigations;
         Avoid deforestation, clearing and grubbing activities beside steep slopes near the edge of the plateau;
         Implement site restoration following the work, including re-vegetation and/or stabilization of disturbed
         areas. Topsoil removed for the work is to be stockpiled where possible and re-used for re-vegetation and
         restoration works.
         Training of the construction and maintenance crews to respond to accidental spills;
         Equip all Project vehicles with emergency spill response kits;
         Inspect truck and heavy machinery on a regular basis;
         Designated refuelling areas and maintenance areas are to be bermed.



 5.3.2.3 Residual Effects Assessment

 The table below summarizes the conclusions of the residual effects assessment.

                      Table 5.3-2: Effects Assessment Summary - Terrain, Soils and Ground Water
Effect                                           Mitigation Measure                       Level of   Significance of
                                                                                          Concern        Effect
Construction
                                   - Avoid deforestation, clearing and grubbing
                                     activities beside steep slopes near the edge of
                                     the plateau.
                                   - Conduct a geotechnical investigation prior to any
                                     soil/rock excavation and blasting, especially near
                                     the edge of the plateau, where WTG #6 is
                                     planned to be located.
Change in terrain stability and    - Confirm information about soils quality, drainage
                                     and groundwater conditions at turbine and road       Minimal    Not significant
surface erosion
                                     locations through subsurface investigations.
                                   - Implement site restoration following the
                                   work, including re-vegetation and/or
                                   stabilization of disturbed areas. Topsoil
                                   removed for the work is to be stockpiled
                                   where possible and re-used for re-vegetation
                                   and restoration works.



                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 94
Operations
-                                                            -                               -             -
Decommissioning
                                   - Avoid deforestation, clearing and grubbing
                                     activities beside steep slopes near the edge of
                                     the plateau.
                                   - Conduct a geotechnical investigation prior to any
                                     soil/rock excavation and blasting, especially near
                                     the edge of the plateau, where WTG #6 is
                                     planned to be located.
Change in terrain stability and    - Confirm information about soils quality, drainage
                                     and groundwater conditions at turbine and road       Minimal   Not significant
surface erosion
                                     locations through subsurface investigations.
                                   - Implement site restoration following the
                                   work, including re-vegetation and/or
                                   stabilization of disturbed areas. Topsoil
                                   removed for the work is to be stockpiled
                                   where possible and re-used for re-vegetation
                                   and restoration works.
Accidents and malfunctions
                                   - Training of the construction and maintenance
                                      crews to respond to accidental spills.
                                   - Equip all Project vehicles with emergency spill
Contamination from oil and fuel       response kit.
                                                                                          Minimal   Not significant
spills                             - Inspect truck and heavy machinery on a regular
                                   basis.
                                   - Designated refuelling areas and maintenance
                                   areas are to be bermed.



 5.3.2.4 Follow-up and Monitoring

 Considering the minimal residual effects that the MERE Project is expected to have on terrain stability or soil or
 ground water contamination, no follow-up or monitoring programs have been proposed or are considered
 necessary. However, an environmental monitor will be present on site, during construction and decommissioning
 activities, to ensure that all measures are applied to limit any potential effects.




                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 95
5.3.3     Vegetation
The vegetation communities found within the Project area are summarized in Section 3.4 of this report.
Vegetation communities were mapped and described during the 2006 field surveys with the aid of air
photographs from the Ministry of Natural Resources. The biological area of study is primarily vegetated; the
northern portion of the Project area is mid-age hardwood forest, dominated by sugar maple. The southern
portion of the Project area is composed of a mixed deciduous forest, dominated by red maple, large-toothed
aspen and white spruce. Small disturbed areas are also found within the Project area. In order to assess
potential impacts, the character of the vegetation communities was compared to the proposed activities in the
construction, operation, and decommissioning phases.

In this section of the report, the potential effects on vegetation are discussed as well as mitigation and
monitoring. Potential effects were identified by comparing the details of the proposed activities to the existing
vegetation communities, based on the sensitivities of the forest communities and open habitats. Potential effects
include direct and indirect effects. Currently there are no provincial or federal policies to protect these habitats,
although there are other policies, which will indirectly provide protection such as the Species at Risk Act and
Migratory Birds Act.


5.3.4.1 Potential Effects

The assessment of environmental effects on vegetation is broken down into three phases: (1) site preparation
and construction phase, (2) operations phase, (3) decommissioning phase. Table 5.3-3 describes the
characteristics of the potential environmental effects for each project activity within each phase.

Site Preparation and Construction Phase Effects

Vegetation clearing will take place during site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing construction of the
access road, installation of wind turbines sites and the installation of electrical network. The overall amount of
vegetation that will be cleared for the construction of the Project is approximately 15 ha. The potential effects
during construction are the following:

        Loss of forest habitat
        Fragmentation of forest habitat
        Loss of forest interior
        Sedimentation
        Contamination from spills

Operations Phase Effects

As part of the regular maintenance project activity, maintenance of vegetation will occur every ten years. This
activity involves the clearing of brush on the road right-of-way, as well as along the electrical network system
right-of-way. No vegetation clearing is required at the wind turbine sites.

Decommissioning Phase Effects

In the event the MERE Project has to be decommissioned after 20 years of operation, the turbines and the top
portions of the foundations will be removed, as will the overhead electrical network. The access road will be left
in place. All activities will be conducted according to the decommissioning schedule. Clearing of vegetation
during decommissioning will have the following potential effects:
        removal of all vegetation for the rotor disassembly areas, which will result in a 5.5 ha clearing
        disruption of vegetation which will have become established on the turbine sites
        sedimentation


                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 96
5.3.3.1 Mitigation Measures

A range of mitigation measures are available to address potential impacts to vegetation resources during site
preparation and construction, operation and decommissioning phases of this Project. Some are specific to
certain potential impacts, while others are anticipated to be used widely to address a range of potential effects.

Table 5.3-3 indicates which measures are suited for which activities. Mitigation measures include:
        Delineating the extent of areas to be cleared/work zones to minimize damage to adjacent residual
        natural areas. Care should be taken when selecting locations to ensure the most desirable location with
        the least direct and indirect impacts on existing vegetation. Prior to the commencement of the work, the
        contractor should ensure that sufficient workspace is available within the vicinity of the work zone for all
        future activities to avoid future intrusions into natural areas to be retained.
        Site restoration (construction phase): restoration of the rotor assembly areas, including areas along the
        access roads, will be restored upon completion of the construction phase. This should include re-
        vegetation and/or stabilization of disturbed areas. Topsoil removed for the work is to be stockpiled where
        possible and re-used for re-vegetation and restoration works. These areas will be backfilled with
        salvaged subsoil and covered with topsoil and salvaged organic material. In areas that are at potential
        risk of erosion, an erosion seed mix will be applied. It is expected that grasses would be used to seed
        the area to restrict the invasion of surrounding tree and shrub species and to limit the need to clear
        brush in the area. Although the remediation of each site will not restore the site to its pre-construction
        state, the remediation will provide some vegetative cover and stabilize soils.
        Site restoration (commissioning phase): restoration of the turbine and rotor assembly areas, including
        areas along the access roads, will be restored at the end of the commissioning phase. These areas will
        be prepared to allow for the establishment of surrounding indigenous tree and herbaceous species. Any
        cleared and/or grassed areas will be restored with salvaged subsoil and replaced and capped with
        topsoil, along with salvaged organic material. In areas that are potential risk of erosion, an erosion seed
        mix will be applied. This re-vegetation is anticipated to have a positive impact due to the rehabilitation of
        the site towards a more pre-development condition.
        Standard sediment and erosion controls are to be installed and maintained for the duration of the
        disturbance. Settling ponds are to be used to remove sediment prior to discharge of water where
        necessary. The contractor is to develop a comprehensive sediment and erosion control plan for the
        entire site and the full range of activities. It is expected that the general maintenance operations and
        sediment and erosion control measures will be maintained where required.
        Specific dust suppression measures are to be implemented.
        Designated refuelling areas and maintenance areas are to be bermed. Construction equipment is to be
        well maintained throughout the construction period to minimize the potential for accidental releases of
        toxic fluids (hydraulic fluids, coolant, etc). The contractor is to have an Emergency Response Plan
        (ERP). All construction staff are to be trained in the proper implementation of the ERP. This will ensure
        that operational control procedures for the storage and handling of hazardous materials are adhered to.
        The contractor is to have appropriate spill clean-up materials on hand at all times.

5.3.3.2 Residual Effects Assessment

Site Prospecting and Construction Phase

Loss of Forest Habitat

Vegetation clearing will occur in the following proposed Project activities: site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing
and clearing, construction of the access road and installation of the wind turbines. Impacts that are associated
with these activities are discussed in greater detail below.

The area of vegetation affected by the initial surveying and siting operations will ultimately be used for the
access road. Although the duration of the work in this project phase is very short, the impact will be permanent.


                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 97
Vegetation in areas cleared for preconstruction surveys, which are not ultimately part of the access road network
or turbine sites, will regenerate.

Vegetation will be cleared on the turbine sites, totalling 6 ha (temporary assembly areas and permanent turbine
sites). This vegetation loss will extend for 20 years, after which, according to current laws and regulations, the
turbines may have to be removed and the sites rehabilitated. As such, the loss of vegetation will not be
permanent. Once the turbines have been installed, 5.5 ha of these areas will be allowed to naturally regenerate.
After 20 years these areas may have to be cleared of vegetation again, should the laws require the MERE
Project to be decommissioned. These areas would then be restored and previously forested areas will be
restored with native tree and shrub species.

Vegetation will be cleared from the access road right-of-way for a total length of 3.9 km. This vegetation loss will
be for the duration of the Project.

The majority of the overhead portion of the electrical system will follow the access road, except for a small
portion (250 m) that will be cleared of natural vegetation during construction. Only low herbaceous material will
be allowed to grow along the power corridor during the operating life span of the Project. The corridor will be
actively maintained to suppress any woody vegetation which regenerates and hazardous trees will be removed.
The area affected may be temporary if the power line corridor is restored by removing the poles, wires and
footings. Native grasses and herbaceous material will be used to restore the ground surface, and trees and
shrubs will re-seed naturally.

The majority of these impacts will be of short duration and very local in relation to the Project area. Therefore the
residual level of concern is classified as low and not significant.


Habitat Fragmentation

The proposed project activities, site prospecting, turbine and rotor assembly areas, installation of electrical
networks as well as the construction of the access roads will produce small amounts of habitat fragmentation.
However, only 15.0 ha of vegetation will be cleared (mostly along the road right-of-way and turbine locations).
The majority of these impacts will be of short duration and very local in relation to the project area. Therefore the
residual level of concern is classified as low and not significant.


Loss of Forest Interior

The proposed project activities, site prospecting, turbine and rotor assembly areas, installation of electrical
network as well as the construction of the access road will produce small amounts of interior loss. However, only
15.0 ha of vegetation will be cleared (mostly along the road right-of-way and turbine locations). The majority of
these impacts will be of short duration and very local in proximity to the Project. Therefore the residual level of
concern is classified as low and not significant.


Sedimentation

Bare soils will be exposed during the site prospecting, construction of the access road, preparation of concrete
foundations and the installation of the electrical network, when vegetative cover is removed. Rainfall and
surface water runoff will result in erosion of soils and sediment-laden runoff entering natural areas and other
drilling by-products such as extracted soil cores may also result in sedimentation. Potential residual effects to
vegetation are anticipated to be low, as a total of 15 ha will be cleared and appropriate sediment and erosion
control measures are available with proven track records of sediment control. Restoration and stabilization
efforts should minimize the length of disturbance. Therefore the residual level of concern is classified as low and
not significant.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 98
Contamination from Spills

During the construction phase, the potential for hazardous material spills is a consideration. Spills will be
minimized by ensuring that proper industry regulations are followed. Refuelling of construction equipment will
only take place at crane pads or designated areas. No hazardous materials will be stored on-site, but will be
stored off-site on the M’Chigeeng First Nation Reserve, in the designated maintenance building. Emergency spill
kits will be maintained on the project site, in the event that any spills of hazardous material occur. Limited effects
on vegetation are expected, due to the storage of hazardous material off site. The effects of potential spills or
uncontrolled release of deleterious substances are expected to be fairly localized and mitigation measures would
allow for rapid clean up and restoration. Therefore the residual level of concern is classified as low and not
significant.


Operations Phase

Vegetation clearing

As part of the regular maintenance that will occur every ten years on the MERE Project, brush will be cleared on
the road right-of-way, as well as along the electrical network system right-of-way. No vegetation clearing is
required at the wind turbine sites. Although the vegetation along the access road as well as along the electrical
network will not be fully restored to its pre-construction state, the re-establishment of vegetative cover will result
in a more positive impact on vegetation in the area than if it were left as bare ground. It is anticipated that the
amount of brush that will have to be cleared would be minimal and therefore the residual level of concern is
classified as low and not significant.


Decommissioning Phase

Removal and Disruption of Vegetation

After 20 years or more of operation, it is expected that vegetation will be cleared to prepare the rotor
disassembly areas. The total area of vegetation that will be cleared is 5.5 ha. Based on the assessment that the
extent of vegetation clearing will be small compared to the remaining habitats, loss of productivity is not
anticipated and therefore the residual level of concern is classified as low and not significant.


Sedimentation

Bare soils will be exposed during the decommissioning phase, when vegetative cover is removed. Rainfall and
surface water runoff will result in erosion of soils and sediment-laden runoff entering natural areas and other
drilling by-products such as extracted soil cores may also result in sedimentation. Potential residual effects to
vegetation are anticipated to be low, as a total of 5.5 ha or less will be cleared and appropriate sediment and
erosion control measures are available with proven track records of sediment control. Restoration and
stabilization efforts should minimize the length of disturbance. Therefore the residual level of concern is
classified as low and not significant.


5.3.3.3 Follow-up and Monitoring

In this section of the report, the needs and requirements of the monitoring program are described. Wherever
impacts to vegetation have been identified, mitigation measures are proposed and follow-up monitoring is
recommended. Monitoring includes the construction period and a suitable time frame during the operations
phase. Monitoring during the decommissioning phase is also proposed. Typically monitoring is carried out as
part of other site monitoring activities. Some monitoring measures are specific to certain potential impacts, while
others are anticipated to be used widely to address a range of potential effects. The monitoring
recommendations listed below are anticipated to be broad in scope and will address many of the issues.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 99
Construction Phase Monitoring

      Environmental supervision during construction and as part of a routine inspection program is
      recommended to ensure adherence to the prescribed mitigation measures. Environmental supervision is
      especially recommended during key components of the construction.
      The vegetated areas affected during the initial surveys and siting operations should be inspected
      immediately prior to and following active use to determine if mitigation measures are in place, are
      working properly and are adequate for the situation.
      Monitoring should be carried out routinely to ensure soil stabilization and early identification of runoff and
      erosion.



Operations phase

      Follow up assessments should continue annually after the soil stabilization and restoration efforts have
      been completed. Depending on the findings of the monitoring program, these inspections should
      continue until the establishment of vegetation is successful and considered stable.



Decommissioning Phase

      Environmental supervision during decommissioning is recommended to ensure adherence to the
      prescribed mitigation measures. Environmental supervision is especially recommended during key
      components of the decommissioning.
      The vegetated areas affected during the decommissioning operations should be inspected immediately
      prior to and following active use to determine if mitigation measures are in place, are working properly
      and are adequate for the situation.
      Monitoring should be carried out routinely to ensure soil stabilization and early identification of runoff and
      erosion.




               Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                   Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 100
                                    Table 5.3-3: Effects Assessment Summary - Vegetation
Effect                  Mitigation Measure                                                        Level of   Significance
                                                                                                  Concern      of Effect
Construction
                        - The extent of areas to be cleared/work zones is to be delineated
Loss of forest
                        to minimize damage to adjacent residual natural areas.
habitat,
                        - Provide sufficient work space to accommodate all future activities.
fragmentation and                                                                                                Not
                        - Particular care to be taken to select the most desirable location            Low
loss of forest                                                                                                Significant
                        with the least direct and indirect impacts on existing vegetation.
interior
                        - Site restoration following construction to include re-vegetation
                        and/or stabilization of disturbed areas.
                        - Standard sediment and erosion controls to be installed and
                        maintained for the duration of the disturbance.
                        - An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is recommended as
                        guidance for the contractor to minimize environmental impacts,
                        including impacts on vegetation.
                                                                                                                 Not
Sedimentation           - Train all site staff on implementing the plans and procedures                Low
                                                                                                              Significant
                        contained within the EMP.
                        - Contractor to develop a sediment and erosion control plan for the
                        entire site.
                        - Use settling ponds to remove sediment prior to discharge of water
                        where necessary.
Operations
                        - The extent of areas to be cleared/work zones are to be delineated
                                                                                                                 Not
Vegetation clearing     to minimize damage to adjacent residual natural areas.                         Low
                                                                                                              Significant
                        - Provide sufficient work space to accommodate all future activities.
Decommissioning
                         -The extent of areas to be cleared/work zones is to be delineated
                        to minimize damage to adjacent residual natural areas. Provide
Removal and
                        sufficient work space to accommodate all future activities.                              Not
disruption of                                                                                          Low
                        - Site restoration: use native species and establish vegetation                       Significant
vegetation
                        cover as soon as possible. Reuse topsoil materials from stockpiles
                        where possible in re-vegetation and restoration works.
                                                                                                                 Not
Sedimentation           See construction phase                                                         Low
                                                                                                              Significant
                                                 Accidents and Malfunctions
                        - Storage of hazardous material will be not be on site
                        - Designated refueling/ maintenance areas to be bermed and
                        located away from vegetated areas.
                        - Construction equipment to be well maintained throughout the
                        construction period to minimize the potential for accidental releases
                        of toxic fluids (hydraulic fluids, coolant, etc).
Contamination from      - Contractor to have Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place in                           Not
                                                                                                       Low
spills                  accordance with EMP.                                                                  Significant
                        - All construction staff to be trained on proper implementation of the
                        ERP.
                        - Adhere to operational control procedure for storage and handling
                        of hazardous materials. All construction staff to be trained on
                        proper implementation of this procedure.
                        - Contractor to have spill clean-up materials on hand at all times.




                      Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                          Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 101
5.3.4    Avian Fauna

5.3.4.1 Introduction and Methodology

Wind farms are known to pose threats to avian wildlife, particularly birds and bats. Kingsley and Whittam (2006)
describe the three potential threats facing these species, including direct fatalities, disturbance, and habitat loss
(Environment Canada, 2006). Direct fatalities can be associated with a number of wind farm characteristics,
including configuration, height and elevation, guy wires, lights, motion smear, and transmission lines. Indirect
threats include habitat loss, waste, decommissioning, and site placement near water or areas of food
concentration (Environment Canada, 2006).

Environment Canada (2006) reports that objects over 150 m in height are a greater threat to bird populations,
particularly nocturnal migrants. These structures, including communication towers, tall buildings, and wind
turbines, also have a greater threat of mass bird kills. Most wind turbines are between 60-120 m in height, and
do not reach this critical height outlined by Environment Canada. There are relatively few reports of mortality
events at communications structures or wind facilities less than 150 m in height (Erickson et al., 2001).

Environment Canada (2006) has indicated that underground transmission lines may reduce bird collision
fatalities, but that the habitat loss required for these lines to be placed is more substantial. In areas where the
risk of collision is relatively low and sensitive habitats are present, overhead lines are recommended. However,
in areas not deemed sensitive habitat or with high risk of transmission line collision, the additional benefits of
underground line placement may be warranted. In most cases interconnection lines are buried within access
roads and do not result in additional disruption of habitats.

The lighting of turbines can have an impact on birds, especially nocturnal migrants. Transport Canada produced
minimum guidelines for structure lighting to address safety issues. Environment Canada (2006) has
recommended that wind turbines utilize the minimum lighting allowable by Transport Canada. This would
correspond to a long “off-phase” and a very short flash duration. Continuous lighting and spotlights have been
shown to attract and confuse birds, ultimately leading to injuries and fatalities (Environment Canada, 2006).

Solid red or flashing red lights should be avoided as they appear to attract nocturnal migrants more than white
flashing lights (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003). These lights also appear to disrupt night-migrating birds
(causing circling or hovering behaviour) at a much higher rate than white flashing lights (Gauthreaux and Belser,
1999, Gauthreaux, 2000).

Results from modern wind farms indicate that an average of 2.19 avian fatalities per turbine per year has been
observed in the United States. If only raptors are considered, this number drops to 0.033 fatalities per turbine per
year (Erickson et al., 2001). If California is excluded, both of these averages drop substantially to 1.83 and 0.006
fatalities per turbine per year, respectively. Studies of individual wind farms in the northeastern United States
have shown results similar to, and often below these averages. Erickson et. al. (2001) examined the Buffalo
Ridge wind facility that averaged 1.95 fatalities per turbine per year, most of which were found to occur near
wetlands and woodlands. Another wind facility in Searsburg, Vermont was found to have no recorded bird
fatalities during one full one year study (Kerlinger, 2000).


Migrating Birds

The effects of wind turbine construction on migrating birds have been very well studied. A number of threats to
migrating birds have been determined by the Bureau of Land Management and US Department of the Interior
(BLM and DOI, 2005). Many of the discussed threats are short-term effects, not expected to pose significant
risks to populations of migratory birds. During the construction period, it is anticipated that habitat disturbance
and avoidance of migratory pathways will occur (BLM and DOI, 2005). These are both short-term disturbances,
and will last the duration of the construction period.

Most studies revolve around post-construction effects on migratory bird populations, particularly the extent of
bird mortalities associated with turbine collisions. Dillon Consulting (2000) indicates that the highest recorded
fatality rate at any wind farm in North America was 1.9 fatalities/turbine/year. Despite this maximum rate, almost



                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 102
all wind facilities fall well below this value. At Buffalo Ridge in Minnesota, Osborn et al. (2000) estimated an
average fatality rate of 0.33-0.66 fatalities/turbine/year.



Daytime Soaring

Daytime behavioural studies of soaring birds provide valuable information for evaluating risks to avian species at
proposed wind turbine developments. The types of birds that use soaring flight during migration include hawks,
gulls, storks, pelicans, cranes and swallows. Daytime/soaring monitoring focuses on the flight patterns and
behaviour of raptors, but waterbirds and to a lesser extent waterfowl were also monitored.

Environmental assessments at wind farms throughout North America and Europe have linked avian collisions
with turbines to species use and flight behaviour. Soaring birds, in particular raptors and various species of
waterbirds are thought to be at greater risk for collision with wind turbines because they tend to fly at low
altitudes through the zone of potential collision (Gauthreaux, 1995).

Waterfowl are amongst those species that may be most at risk from wind turbines, based on abundance and
flight altitude (Howe and Atwater, 1999, Osborn et al., 1998). Waterfowl often fly in tight flocks at rotor height,
making them susceptible to collision. Despite the increased risk, very few cases of waterfowl mortality have been
recorded, and when they have, they have been in low numbers (Hötker et al., 2004, Erikson et al., 2002, Osborn
et al. 1998). At a single turbine in the Yukon, located adjacent to the Yukon River valley, a prime waterfowl
migration corridor, a study to monitor avian/turbine interactions did not find a single waterfowl fatality in five years
(Mossop, 1998). Waterfowl show the greatest avoidance of turbines than any other group of birds (Winkelman,
1989).


Breeding Birds

The greatest threats to breeding birds are encountered during the construction phase of wind turbines. It is
during these periods that heavy machinery may disrupt ground-nesting birds, possibly destroying nests or
causing fatalities to young birds (BLM and DOI, 2005).


5.3.4.2 Potential Effects

This section of the report pertains to the potential effects on birds specifically:
        Disruption of bird nests are governed by the Migratory Birds Convention Act. This Act prohibits the
        disruption of birds and their nests.
        The potential for collisions of birds with turbines and power lines.


The assessment of environmental effects on birds is broken down into three phases: (1) site preparation and
construction, (2) operations phase, and (3) decommissioning.




                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                       Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 103
Table 5.3-4 describes the characteristics of the potential environmental effects for each project phase. The
detailed project activities are described in Section 2.4 of this report. A description of each of the activities that
pertains to migratory birds impacts are provided below along with the anticipated effects.


Site Preparation and Construction Phase Effects

Disruption of Bird Nests

As vegetation clearing will occur during construction site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing, the
construction of the access road and installation of electrical network, the disruption of bird nests is a
consideration (




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 104
Table 5.3-4). The disruption of bird nests is only an issue for a relatively short period of time, i.e. within the
nesting period of the birds in the area and the potential time overlap with the various construction activities.


Operations Phase Effects

The operations phase of the Project will include two general activities:
        Daily operation of the wind turbines;
        Regular maintenance of the turbines.



Potential Collisions of Birds

During the project activity operation of turbines and the potential for collisions of birds with turbines and the
power lines will be a consideration


Decommissioning Phase Effects

Disruption of Bird Nests

The disruption of bird nests is a consideration during the potential tree cutting component of the project activities.


5.3.4.3 Mitigation Measures

A range of mitigation measures are available to address potential impacts to migratory birds and habitat during
the site preparation and construction, operation and decommissioning phases of this project. Most of the
mitigation is specific to minimizing impacts to vegetation.

Mitigation measures that are specific to migratory birds are described below. Some of these measures will be
used widely to address potential effects from a range of project activities.
        Disruption of Nests
        Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum;
        Timing of work, or at least timing of clearing, is recommended to occur outside the bird nesting period (in
        forested habitat, 24 May to 31 July).
        Collisions with Power Lines
        Single wooden pole structures will ensure that power lines are on same level and minimize the potential
        for collisions;
        Pole heights will not extend far above the canopy of adjacent forest communities and will decrease
        potential for collisions with migrants.
        Site Remediation
        During the site reclamation project activity, restoration of the turbines and rotor assembly area, as well
        as along the access roads will be restored at the end of the construction phase. Salvaged subsoil will be
        replaced and capped with topsoil along with salvaged organic material. This re-vegetation is anticipated
        to have a positive impact on birds through the provision of additional nesting opportunities;
        Use native species and establish vegetative cover as soon as feasible;
        Use of shrub species to minimize need for maintenance as well as provide poorer habitats for potential
        prey species.
        Collisions with Turbines



                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 105
        Minimize need for lighting towers and use of strobe lighting. Discuss with Transport Canada to
        encourage the use of white flashing lights at night;
        Dismantle turbines and overhead power lines at decommissioning.



5.3.4.4 Residual Effects Assessment

The following discussion is broken down into the main phases of the Project (Site Preparation and Construction,
Operation and Decommissioning). A number of potential effects are similar for many of the activities, especially
those associated with disruption of nests. The following section documents cases where activity-specific residual
effects are anticipated.


Site Prospecting and Construction Phase

Disruption of Bird Nests

During the following project activities – construction site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing, the
construction of the access road and installation of electrical network – potential disruption of bird nests is a
consideration. The total amount of vegetation that will be cleared during these project activities is 15 ha. The
potential for impact on breeding bird species is only an issue during the nesting period. Based on the
assessment that the extent of vegetation clearing will be small compared to the remaining habitats, loss of
productivity is not anticipated and therefore the residual level of concern is considered to be low and not
significant. Once the lands are cleared, the Migratory Birds Convention Act is unlikely to apply as these lands
would not provide habitat for nesting.


Operations phase

Potential Collisions of Birds

A total of 6 turbines will be operational at the MERE Project. In addition, a total of 3.5 km of overhead power
lines (2.5 km along the main access road and 1 km down the bluff) will be operational. Results from modern wind
farms indicate that an average of 1.9 avian fatalities per turbine per year has been observed in the United States
(Dillon Consulting, 2000). This number is relative low when compared to other built structures such as buildings,
and communication towers. Based on results from the 2006 monitoring period conducted on the Project, as well
as liaison with agencies and review of background review, a low incidence of bird collisions with turbines and the
power line is anticipated and therefore the residual level of concern is considered to be low and not significant.

Migration monitoring at the MERE Project indicated that birds observed at all three stations were flying in
directions characteristic of spring migration, with the exception that bird movement at the northern and southern
stations were more characteristic of residential birds. The majority of birds were observed well below the blade
sphere (Height Zone C) indicating that the presence of a wind turbine would not greatly disrupt their activities or
pose immediate danger of collision. However, the majority of these observations were passerines that were
foraging, perching or flying between trees. Height Zone B, which is close to the blade sphere, had the second
highest rate of utilization which poses more of a threat for potential collisions. Height Zone A had a relatively low
utilization rate, indicating that although birds are flying within the blade sphere, it is unlikely that the presence of
a wind turbine would cause high mortality rates.

Although the central station (BMM-001) had the highest utilization rate, it is located in a clearing which allowed
more birds to be observed. Utilization rates at all other sites were lower; however, once these areas are cleared
for turbine construction it may become apparent that utilization is just as high. Observations at the central station
(HWK-001) indicated that less than 9% of birds were anticipated to be within the blade sphere – a relatively low
percentage. At the northern station (HWK-002), 25% of the birds observed were within the anticipated blade
sphere –a considerably higher number. Another 22% of birds at this station were flying in Height Zone B, close
to the blade sphere. These observations indicate that the northern station may pose a much higher risk of avian
collision with turbines than at the central station.


                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 106
Small numbers (75 in total) of waterfowl and waterbirds were observed flying between Lake Manitou and West
Bay. Waterbirds are those species that are typical of water habitats such as lakes, rivers and wetlands, but do
not include waterfowl or shorebirds. Some are colonial, meaning they nest in colonies, while other waterbirds
nest singly. Colonial waterbirds are frequently quite numerous, however since each colony may represent a
significant portion of a species’ population they are vulnerable to events that take place at or near their nesting
areas. Also, flights to and from colonies often follow traditional routes at low altitudes. Non-colonial waterbirds
are generally less abundant and appear to be in decline in North America as a result of diminishing wetland
habitat. For many species, the protection of important terrestrial habitats and adjacent feeding areas is essential
for their survival (Milko et al., 2003).

Of the 75 individuals observed, only three species were observed to be moving between the two lakes (i.e.
Common Loon, Common Merganser and Double-crested Cormorant). Loons have never been identified as
actual or potential victims of wind turbines. During migration these species generally fly high above the zone of
potential collision (Dillon Consulting, 2000). Overall, impacts to waterbird species were found to be minimal in
the Project area, but due to the rather limited manoeuvrability of some of these species during take-off and
landing, it is recommended that flyways between lakes or wetlands be avoided.
During the breeding bird surveys biologists observed a total of 290 individuals representing 40 different species.
Area searches conducted in June 2006 at the northern and southern stations indicated that the southern station
(Sugar Maple-White birch-Poplar-White Pine forest type) had more breeding birds present than the northern
station (Sugar Maple-basswood forest type). A total of 206 individuals were counted during the area searches:
83% were observed at the southern station and 17% at the northern station.


Decommissioning Phase

Disruption to Bird Nests

During the project activity of tree cutting, the potential for impact on nesting bird species is only an issue during
the nesting period. After 20 years or more of operation, it is expected that vegetation will be cleared to prepare
the rotor disassembly areas. The total area of vegetation that will be cleared is 5.5 ha. Based on the assessment
that the extent of vegetation clearing will be small compared to the remaining habitats, loss of productivity is not
anticipated and therefore the residual level of concern is considered to be low and not significant.


5.3.4.5 Follow-up and Monitoring


Construction

        Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking work, and regularly inspect the extent of the work
        to ensure that the spatial extent of the work is minimized;
        If work must occur within the nesting period, prior to any site clearing a trained biologist should inspect
        the proposed work area for nesting birds.
Operation

        A detailed monitoring plan for detecting mortality of birds associated with turbines will be developed. At a
        minimum the monitoring program will consist of mortality monitoring using systematic carcass searches
        and scavenger trials, during the first year of operations (Spring, Summer and Fall). The monitoring
        protocol will follow general CWS and MNR guidelines.
Decommissioning

        If work must occur within the nesting period, prior to any site clearing a trained biologist should inspect
        the proposed work area of nesting birds, identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking work, and
        regularly inspect the extent of the work to ensure that the spatial extent of the work is minimized.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 107
                                      Table 5.3-4: Effects Assessment Summary - Migratory Birds
Effect                          Mitigation Measures                                                         Level of   Significance
                                                                                                            Concern      of Effect
Construction
                                 - Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking work.
                                 Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum.
                                 - Timing of work, or at least timing of clearing, is recommended to
                                 occur outside the bird nesting period (In forested habitat 24 May to
                                 31 July).
Disruption of bird nests
                                 - Migratory Birds Convention Act prohibition periods may be                  Low      Not Significant
                                 required
                                 - If work must occur within nesting period, prior to any site clearing,
                                 a trained biologist should inspect the proposed work area for
                                 nesting birds.
                                 - Site restoration
Operations
Potential impact to
                                 - Minimize need for lighting towers and use of strobe lighting.
migratory birds due to
                                 Discuss with Transport Canada to encourage the use of white                  Low      Not Significant
collisions with turbines and
                                 flashing lights at night.
overhead power lines
Decommissioning
                                 - Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking work.
                                 - Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum. Timing of work, or at
                                 least timing of clearing, is recommended to occur outside the bird
Disruption of bird nests
                                 nesting period (May – June). If work must occur within nesting               Low      Not Significant
                                 period, prior to any site clearing, a trained biologist should inspect
                                 the proposed work area for nesting birds.
                                 - Site restoration




                           Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                               Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 108
5.3.5    Bats

5.3.5.1 Introduction and Methodology

In December 2006, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources released a document which gives good
information on bat ecology, as well as a literature review of impacts (OMNR, 2006). Mortality of bat species have
been reported at some wind power facilities in North America, as well as Europe. A technical workshop focused
on Bats and Wind Power Generation was conducted in February 2004. It identified that bat/turbine interactions
are resulting in mortality at some locations. The specifics of these interactions in terms of number, context, etc.
are little known and specific research was recommended (Energetic Inc., 2004).

In some cases, bat fatalities have far outnumbered bird fatalities, and so the importance of researching bats at
wind farms has become extremely important (Arnett, 2005, Arnett et al., 2004). Bat Conservation International
(2004) produced a summary of findings with respect to bats and wind energy. These findings were compiled
from a review of existing studies and field observations, and include:
        Bat fatalities at wind turbines occur world-wide in various habitats.
        Bat fatality at wind turbines is currently under-studied.
        Bat fatalities have occurred at all US wind facilities with estimated (conservative) mortalities between 2-
        50 bats/turbine/year (whereas bird fatalities generally number less than 1 per turbine/year).
        Searcher efficiency and carcass removal by scavengers is highly variable.
        Bat mortality appears to be highest in or near forests, especially along ridge tops, and lowest in open
        grassland or farmland away from forests.
        Hoary, red, and silver-haired bats (migratory) are killed most frequently.
        Bats rarely strike meteorological towers or non-operating wind turbines.
        FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) lighting does not appear to have an effect on mortality.
        Peaks in bird and bat fatalities are largely non-overlapping, with bats preceding birds in fall migration.
        Red bats are among those most frequently killed by turbines and appear to have been already reduced
        sharply from historical numbers.
        Bats are long-lived with low reproduction rates (unlike most species of birds) and appear to be especially
        vulnerable to mortality resulting from wind turbines.

A number of theories have been tabled to explain cases where bat mortality has been recorded at wind farms
(Kunz, 2004). In most cases high mortality seems to be associated with:
        Proximity to mines or caves that are used by thousands of roosting bats. In these cases, the shear
        numbers of bats moving through an area may result in higher mortality (Keeley et al., 1999).
        High use of areas by migrant bat species (Keeley et al., 1999). During migration, these species typically
        fly higher and may not use echolocation. The more common bat species in southern Ontario (i.e. Myotis
        species) hibernate, do not migrate, and typically forage closer to the ground.

Other hypotheses including attraction to warmth, lights, and insects have not been found to adequately explain
incidents of mortality.

At the Avian Interactions with Utility Structures Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, a panel presentation
led by Keeley et al. (1999) identified pre-construction spring, summer and fall surveys using bat detectors as
helpful in avoiding unnecessary mortality. They further recommended a literature review to determine local
species and known roost areas. Site visits were identified as a means to identify prominent geologic features,
waterways, and vegetation communities which bats may use for roosting, foraging, or as major flyways.

Landscape in the Project area is variable with high elevation ridges and undulating topography. No caves or
abandoned mines are located within or near the Project area.


                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 109
During the spring and summer months, bats found in the Project area may set up day roosts in the crevices of
high steep cliff faces. Maternity roosts may also be found in crevices of cliffs that are usually greater than 100 m
high (Ministry of the Environment, 2001). When the weather gets cooler and winter arrives, the resident bat
species will most often hibernate underground, in caves or abandoned mines. In order to survive winter
extremes, temperatures in these hibernacula must be stable and above freezing and humidity must be very high
(Canadian Wildlife Service, 2006).


5.3.5.2 Potential Effects

The assessment of environmental effects on bats is broken down into three phases: (1) site preparation and
construction, (2) operations phase, and (3) decommissioning. The potential effects on bats are specifically:
        Loss of habitat during construction and decommissioning;
        The potential for collisions of bats with turbines during operations

5.3.5.3 Mitigation Measures

A range of mitigation measures are available to address potential impacts to wildlife and habitats during the site
preparation and construction, operation and decommissioning phases of this Project. Most of the mitigation is
specific to minimizing impacts to vegetation.

Mitigation measures applicable to bats are described below. Some of these measures will be used widely to
address potential effects from a range of project activities. See Table 5.3-5 for a description of which measures
are suited for which activities.


Disruption of habitat

        Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum.
        Site Remediation (after construction and after decommissioning);
        Use native species and establish vegetative cover as soon as feasible;
        Use of shrub species to minimize need for maintenance.



Collisions with Turbines

        Minimize need for lighting towers and use of strobe lighting;
        Dismantle turbines at end of project life


5.3.5.4 Residual Effects Assessment

The following discussion is broken down according to the main phases of the Project (site preparation and
construction, operation and decommissioning). Table 5.3-5 provides a listing of the potential effects, as well as
recommended mitigation. This table includes the level of assessment for each residual effect. A number of
potential effects are similar for many of the activities, especially those associated with disruption of habitat. The
following section documents cases where activity-specific residual effects are anticipated.


Site Prospecting and Construction Phase

Loss of Habitat



                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 110
The proposed project activities – construction site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing, construction
of the access road and installation of electrical network – will produce a small amount of habitat loss. However,
only 15.0 ha of vegetation will be cleared (mostly along the road rights-of-way and turbines sites).

During the site reclamation activity upon completion of the construction phase, rotor assembly areas as well as
areas along the access roads will be restored. Site restoration measures are anticipated to provide increased
habitat for bat species (and other wildlife, see Section 5.3.6). The lands around the turbines and along the power
line will be initially seeded with low herbaceous plant species. Areas that were previously forested will be planted
with native tree and shrubs unique to the ecosystem. The total amount of land that will be restored is 5.5 ha.
Salvaged subsoil will be replaced and capped with topsoil along with salvaged organic material. The maturation
of this vegetation and the establishment of shrubs and small trees will occur, but the shrub-dominated system
will take time to establish dense enough canopy to provide roosting habitat for bats. As result the residual level
of concern is considered to be low and not significant.


Operations Phase

Potential Collisions of Bats with Turbines

During the operations phase, a total of 6 turbines will be commissioned. In addition, a total of 3.5 km of overhead
power lines (2.5 km along the main access road and 1 km down the bluff) will be operational. Mortality of bat
species has been reported at some wind power facilities in North America, as well as Europe, but very little is
known about bat interactions. Based on results from the 2006 monitoring period, it is anticipated that bats are found in
low numbers throughout the study area. There are no known hibernacula in the study area, although it is assumed that the
ridge (an extension of the Niagara Escarpment) provides good bat habitat and may provide roosts for bats. The incidence
of bat mortality resulting from collisions with the power lines is anticipated to be very low, but may last the
duration of operations. The residual level of concern is considered to be low and not significant..


Decommissioning Phase

Loss of Habitat

During the project activity of tree cutting, the potential for impacts on roosting bat habitat is a consideration.
After 20 years or more of operation, it is expected that vegetation will be cleared to prepare the rotor
disassembly areas. The total area of vegetation that will be cleared is 5.5 ha.

During site reclamation, turbine and rotor assembly areas will be restored. These areas will be initially seeded
with low herbaceous plant species. Areas that were previously forested will be planted with native tree and
shrubs unique to the ecosystem. Salvaged subsoil will be replaced and capped with topsoil along with salvaged
organic material. This site reclamation strategy is anticipated to have a positive impact on bats through the
provision of additional habitat.

Based on the assessment that the extent of vegetation clearing will be small compared to the remaining habitats,
loss of suitable habitat is not anticipated and therefore the residual level of concern is considered to be low and
not significant.


5.3.5.5 Follow-up and Monitoring

Construction

        Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking work, and regularly inspect the extent of the work
        to ensure that the spatial extent of the work is minimized;




Operations


                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 111
               A detailed monitoring plan for detecting mortality of bats associated with turbines will be developed. At a
               minimum the monitoring program will consist of mortality monitoring using systematic carcass searches
               and scavenger trials, during the first year of operations (Spring, Summer and Fall). The monitoring
               protocol will follow general MNR guidelines.


                                         Table 5.3-5: Effects Assessment Summary - Bats

Effect                 Mitigation Measure                                                           Level of     Significance
                                                                                                    Concern        of Effect
Construction
                       - Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking work.
                       - Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum.
Loss of habitat        - Site reclamation: re-establishment of vegetative cover, additional              Low    Not significant
                       habitat. Establishment of vegetative cover will provide habitat for
                       roosting migrant bat species.
Operations
Potential impacts to
migratory bats due
                       - Minimize need for lighting towers and use of strobe lighting                    Low    Not significant
to collisions with
turbines
Decommissioning
                       - Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking work.
                       - Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum.
                       - Site reclamation: re-establishment of vegetative cover, additional
Loss of habitat                                                                                          Low    Not significant
                       habitat. Establishment of vegetative cover will provide habitat for
                       roosting migrant bat species.




                        Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                            Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 112
5.3.6    Terrestrial Fauna

5.3.6.1 Terrestrial Mammals

The largest anticipated effect on local populations of mammals is habitat loss and direct mortality during the
construction phase of development. Small mammals will initially be most affected by the construction of the
access roads and turbines. The Bureau of Land Management and the US Department of the Interior (BLM and
DOI, 2005) indicate that machinery used during access road and turbine site clearing will result in mortality of
less mobile mammals. The extent of the effects caused by construction-related activities is directly related to a
number of factors. Species abundance, wind farm size, and construction timing all contribute to the overall
effects on mammal populations (BLM and DOI, 2005). Construction during reproductive periods of any ground-
nesting mammals should be avoided if possible, due to increased susceptibility to both adults and offspring
during these periods.

Many small mammals are ground-nesting and create burrows underground. A study by Erickson et al. (2003)
indicates that excavation processes undertaken during construction will cause direct mortality to some of these
burrow-dwelling mammals. This is a short-term and localized effect on populations, and local populations are
expected to rebound upon completion of construction. Mammals will also encounter invasive vegetation,
increased dust generation, high noise levels, and possible exposure to contaminants during construction (BLM
and DOI, 2005). All of these are expected to cause short-term disturbances in foraging, reproduction, or other
behavioural attributes, with the exception of invasive vegetation. Invasive vegetation has potential to cause long-
term results, however this would only pose significant threats to species that are highly habitat sensitive.

Upon completion of the construction phase, it is anticipated that the most detrimental effects to non-bat mammal
populations will be greatly reduced. Maintenance of areas surrounding turbines, in particular mowing, has been
shown by BLM and DOI (2005) to affect small mammal populations. In contrast, small mammal populations are
extremely adept, and often thrive in areas close to turbines (Dillon Consulting, 2000). The largest impact on
mammal population following the completion of construction will be the loss of foraging area due to access roads
and turbine pads (Erickson et al., 2003). This is expected to be a very low impact on mammal populations, and
mammal populations are anticipated to rebound to population levels comparable to those prior to construction.
Dillon Consulting (2000), while working with Toronto Hydro, determined that there is no evidence that terrestrial
mammals are affected by wind turbines.


5.3.6.2 Reptile and Amphibians

Although all the species known to exist within the project area, except the two significant species above, are
species considered common to very common (Oldham and Weller, 2000), appropriate actions should be taken to
cause as little impact on these resident species as possible.

Very few studies have been conducted directly towards potential threats and impacts of wind turbines on reptiles
and amphibians. The majority of the threats will occur during construction phases of the project. Many of the
potential threats to local populations will be very localized disturbances, and will be short-lived, ending upon
completion of the construction phase. The major threat to herpetofauna is habitat disturbance, particularly
fragmentation of adequate habitat by access roads and potential spur roads.

Other potential threats during the construction phase, as discussed by BLM and DOI (2005) include direct injury,
erosion and runoff into streams and ponds, dust generation, exposure to contaminants, and invasive vegetation.
Best management practices are available, however, to reduce impact. This affect on local populations, as
described by Erickson et al. (2003), is directly related to the species specific abundance. Timing of the major
construction period will also play an important role in number and type of species affected by direct injury.
Avoidance of spring construction will aid in reducing the number of amphibian and reptile casualties during the
construction phase.

Erosion and runoff from construction sites will have negative impacts on local population of amphibians that rely
heavily on water supply. Silt build-up in local streams can affect growth, reproduction, and overall survival of
amphibian populations (BLM and DOI, 2005). These effects would however be localized at streams and ponds
adjacent to a wind energy project, but these are not present on the site. Other threats, including dust generation,


                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 113
invasive vegetation, and exposure to contaminants present a lesser threat than previously discussed threats,
however are still important considerations during the construction process. Exposure to contaminants and
chemicals is not anticipated; however fuel spills or other chemicals accidentally coming in contact with the
environment may have strong effects on amphibians due to the permeability of their skin. During this project, no
excessive amounts of fuel are expected, reducing the likeliness of a detrimental spill.

Upon completion of the construction phase, many of these threats will be eliminated relatively quickly. Use of
pesticides in the direct vicinity of the turbines is not anticipated, but if used would pose a major threat to
amphibians that are come in regular contact with the sprayed vegetation. Pesticides, and other chemicals, may
affect reproduction, growth, development, and general survival of exposed individuals (BLM and DOI, 2005).

It is anticipated that disturbance to local reptile and amphibian populations will be minimal both during and after
the construction phase. Some individuals are likely to be temporarily displaced, however they are expected to
return to previous habitats and ranges upon completion of the construction phase.


5.3.6.3 Potential Effects

The assessment of environmental effects on vegetation is broken down into three phases: (1) site preparation
and construction, (2) operations phase, and (3) decommissioning.

Site Preparation and Construction Phase Effects

This phase’s potential effects are limited to :
        Vegetation clearing
        Noise
        Traffic
        Wildlife movements
        Loss of forest interior

Operations phase Effects

This phase’s potential effects are limited to :
        Noise
        Traffic

Decommissioning Phase Effects

This phase’s potential effects are limited to :
        Habitat Loss
        Noise
        Traffic



5.3.6.4 Mitigation Measures

To address potential effects to wildlife and habitat during the construction, operation and decommissioning
phases of this Project, a range of mitigation measures is available. Most of these mitigation measures are
specific to minimizing effects on vegetation (see Section 5.3.3). These measures will be used widely to address
potential effects from a range of project activities.



                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 114
        Numerous mitigation measures are presented in Section 5.3.3 regarding vegetation impacts. These
        measures are anticipated to address potential effects on wildlife habitats.
        Travel speeds will be restricted to minimize potential impacts on wildlife; where required sight-line
        considerations will be used to maximize reaction time for vehicle drivers and wildlife to minimize
        collisions.


5.3.6.5 Residual Effects Assessment

Site Preparation and Construction

Loss of Habitat

During site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing construction of the access road, and installation of
the electrical network and the turbines, loss of habitat is a consideration but will be very small especially
compared to the extent of habitat which will remain. The size of the cleared openings will generally be restricted
to minimal road width and turbine construction areas; only 15.0 ha of vegetation will be cleared (mostly long the
road rights-of-way and turbine locations). Impacts to wildlife will be of short duration and very local with respect
to the Project.

During site reclamation at the end of the construction phase, rotor assembly areas and areas along access
roads, will be restored. Salvaged subsoil will be replaced and capped with topsoil along with salvaged organic
material. This re-vegetation is discussed in detail in other sections of this report and is anticipated to have a
positive impact on vegetation. Once temporarily disturbed areas are restored these areas will provide additional
habitats (including lands found around the base of turbines and along the power line). As a result, the residual
effects on wildlife are considered to be low and not significant.

Habitat Fragmentation

The project activities of site prospecting, tree cutting and grubbing, construction of the access road and
installation of the electrical network and turbines will produce small amounts of habitat fragmentation. However,
as only 15.0 ha of vegetation will be cleared (mostly long the road rights-of-way and turbine locations, impacts to
wildlife will be minimal. The residual level of concern is therefore considered to be low and not significant.

Wildlife Movements

During site prospecting, transport, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing, construction of the access road,
preparation of concrete foundations, and installation of electrical network and turbines, the potential for impacts
on wildlife movements is a consideration. However, for the most part the impacts will be of short duration and
very local in proximity to the activity, and therefore the residual level of concern is considered to be minimal and
not significant.

Loss of Forest Interior

The project activities of site prospecting, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing, construction of the access road and
the installation of the electrical network, will produce some loss to forest interior. However, only 15.0 ha of
vegetation will be cleared (mostly along the road rights-of-ways and turbine locations). The impacts to wildlife will
be of short duration and very local in relation to the Project. The residual level of concern is therefore considered
to be low and not significant.

Noise

Some noise will be produced by activities such as site prospecting, transport, tree cutting, grubbing and clearing,
construction of the access road, preparation of concrete foundations, and installation of the electrical network
and turbines. However, wildlife typically habituates to the anticipated noise levels. For the most part the impacts
will be of short duration and very local in proximity to the activity; the residual level of concern is therefore
considered to be minimal and not significant.



                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 115
Traffic

Traffic is a consideration during project activities such as site prospecting, transport, tree cutting, grubbing and
clearing, construction of the access road, preparation of concrete foundations, and installation of electrical
network and turbines. Traffic will be restricted in terms of volume and daylight access and will be very low. The
residual level of concern is therefore considered to be minimal and not significant.


Operations phase

Noise

Operation of turbines, maintenance, transportation and traffic, and brush clearing will produce noise. However,
wildlife typically habituates to the anticipated noise levels. For the most part the impacts will be of short duration
and very local in proximity to the activity. The residual level of concern is therefore considered to be minimal and
not significant.


Traffic

Project activities such as turbine operation, maintenance, transportation and traffic (including brush clearing
traffic) have the potential to impact wildlife. Travel will be restricted in terms of speed, volume and daylight
access to minimize potential impacts on wildlife, where required. Sight-line considerations will be used to
maximize reaction time for vehicle drivers and wildlife to minimize collisions. The residual level of concern is
therefore considered to be minimal and not significant.


Decommissioning Phase

Habitat Loss

During tree cutting, the potential for impact on wildlife habitat is a consideration. After 20 years or more of
operation, it is expected that vegetation will be cleared to prepare the rotor assembly areas. The total area of
vegetation that will be cleared is 5.5 ha.

During site reclamation, turbine and rotor assembly areas, including the electrical network, will be restored.
These areas will be initially seeded with low herbaceous plant species. Areas that were previously forested will
be planted with native tree and shrubs unique to the ecosystem. The total amount of land that will be restored is
5.5 ha. Salvaged subsoil will be replaced and capped with topsoil along with salvaged organic material. Although
the project will not fully be restored to its pre-construction state, the re-establishment of vegetative cover will
result in a more positive impact on vegetation in the area than if it was left as bare ground.

Based on the assessment, the extent of vegetation clearing will be small compared to the remaining habitats,
loss of habitat to wildlife is not anticipated, and the residual level of concern is therefore considered to be low
and not significant.

Noise

Project activities during the decommissioning phase such as tree cutting, dismantling of Project components,
transportation and traffic, including site reclamation, will produce noise. However, wildlife typically habituates to
the anticipated noise levels. For the most part the impacts will be of short duration and very local in proximity to
the activity. The residual level of concern is therefore considered to be minimal and not significant.

Traffic

Traffic associated with the project activities of tree cutting, dismantling of project components, transportation and
traffic, including site reclamation, has the potential to impact wildlife. Travel will be restricted in terms of speed,


                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 116
      volume and daylight access to minimize potential impacts on wildlife, where required. Sight-line considerations
      will be used to maximize reaction time for vehicle drivers and wildlife to minimize collisions. The residual level of
      concern is therefore considered to be minimal and not significant.


      5.3.6.6 Follow-up and Monitoring

      The monitoring recommended in the vegetation section is expected to address the impacts on wildlife habitats.
      No additional monitoring of wildlife and habitats is recommended.


                                  Table 5.3-6: Effects Assessment Summary - Terrestrial Fauna
Effect                                  Mitigation Measure                                              Level of   Significance
                                                                                                        Concern      of Effect
Construction
Loss of Habitat, fragmentation, loss    Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking
of forest interior                      work.
                                                                                                                       Not
                                        Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum.                    Low
                                                                                                                    significant
                                        Site reclamation

Noise and traffic                       Travel speeds will be restricted to minimize potential
                                        impacts on wildlife                                                            Not
                                                                                                        Minimal
                                        Where required sight-line considerations will be sued to                    Significant
                                        maximize reaction time for vehicle drivers and wildlife.
                                        Travel speeds will be restricted to minimize potential
                                        impacts on wildlife                                                            Not
Wildlife movements                                                                                      Minimal
                                        Where required sight-line considerations will be sued to                    Significant
                                        maximize reaction time for vehicle drivers and wildlife.
Operations
Potential noise      impacts     from   Travel speeds will be restricted to minimize potential
equipment, traffic                      impacts on wildlife                                                            Not
                                                                                                        Minimal
                                        Where required sight-line considerations will be sued to                    Significant
                                        maximize reaction time for vehicle drivers and wildlife
Decommissioning
Loss of Habitat                         Identify and delineate work zone prior to undertaking
                                        work.
                                                                                                                       Not
                                        Vegetation clearing to be kept to a minimum.                    Low
                                                                                                                    significant
                                        Site reclamation

Noise and traffic                       Travel speeds will be restricted to minimize potential
                                        impacts on wildlife                                                            Not
                                                                                                        Minimal
                                        Where required sight-line considerations will be sued to                    significant
                                        maximize reaction time for vehicle drivers and wildlife




                       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 117
5.3.7     Economic and Community Setting

5.3.7.1 Potential Effects

Job Creation and Training

The MERE Project will create new jobs in the area, as well as provide an opportunity for specialized training.

Job creation estimates vary. A review by La Capra Associates (2005) and estimates from PESCA
Environnement and Hélimax (2005) indicate that large-scale wind energy projects generate approximately 0.5 to
1 job per MW during the construction phase. About half of these jobs are associated with clearing and road
construction, while the other half is associated with transportation and installation of turbines and other
components. For operations and maintenance (O&M), it is estimated that one job per 10 MW is generally
created (PESCA and Hélimax, 2005). Given that these ratios vary with the size of the project, is it estimated that
the MERE Project will create approximately 10 person-years of work activity during the preparation and
construction phase and 4 long-term skilled jobs during the operations phase.

The MERE Project is being promoted by the proponent as part of the M’Chigeeng First Nation community’s
Economic Advancement strategy which aims to foster stable business development and expand opportunities,
long-term employment and specialized training for the M’Chigeeng First Nation (M’Chigeeng First Nation, 2006),
namely with respect to operating and maintenance of the Project. Many potential benefits to the local community
are anticipated, such as being identified as the first or one of the first aboriginal communities in the province to
engage in this innovative and growing energy sector.


Economic Returns and Losses

The increased number of workers and increased income will increase spending in local communities, namely for
goods, services, and potentially housing. Owners of the three private lots on which wind turbines or the electrical
collector system will be sited will receive monetary compensation annually throughout the service life of the
Project.

As the Project area has a small footprint and is located in an area which presently has no income-generating
industrial, agricultural or tourism activity, no adverse economic impacts are anticipated with respect to its
construction, operation or decommissioning phases.


Increased Demand for Housing

During major construction projects, there is always a chance that an influx of temporary workers requiring
overnight accommodations will outstrip the supply of temporary housing. However, most of the construction
workforce is expected to be from the Island, namely the M’Chigeeng First Nation. Due to the relatively short
length of the construction period for any individual trade, most construction workers are expected to commute
daily. Therefore, these workers would not require overnight lodging.

Given the small-scale nature of the Project, it is not expected that long-term jobs during operations and
maintenance will significantly increase demand for additional local housing.

Increased Traffic on Main Roads

Construction activities associated with the Project will increase traffic volumes on roadways surrounding the
Project area. Traffic will mainly be associated with increased heavy load convoys and concrete trucks. As per the
construction schedule, this increased volume will mostly occur in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Given the small-scale nature of this Project however, these volumes are not expected to contribute significantly
to overall traffic in the area. Large convoys will, however, potentially slow traffic on this route, which could in turn
conflict with higher tourist densities in late summer. Additionally, in light of the single bridge leading to the Island,
the proponent will inform local and regional authorities of its transportation plan to avoid any unexpected


                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 118
circulation problems; this plan will include the complete construction schedule, convoy schedule and density,
types of vehicles, etc. The potential effect on traffic is considered not significant.


Increased Demand for Public Health Services

Demand for emergency medical services could increase slightly due to construction accidents that could occur at
the Project site or Project vicinity. Project construction workers will be exposed to hazards caused by equipment
failure, severe weather, or human oversight that could require the services of local emergency response units to
provide initial treatment and transportation to local medical facility and the services of emergency rooms in the
receiving facility.

With adequate safety measures in place, and considering the small size of the construction workforce, it is
expected that the Project construction will generate few serious injury accidents requiring emergency medical
response. No significant pressure on health services is expected.


Interference to communication systems

A microwave link of the Government Mobile Communications Program, linking a tower 1 km east of the Project
site to a tower on the other side of the project area, was identified by the GMCO. In order to eliminate any
potential effect to this microwave link, an exclusion zone, calculated according to the Radio Advisory Board of
Canada guidelines, was applied during the Project optimization process, as described in Section 2.2. The final
turbine layout presented in this environmental assessment thus avoids this microwave link, which passes
between Turbines #2 and 3, and a proposed exclusion zone of 375 m (187.5m on each side). The final turbine
positions and the proposed exclusion zone were reviewed by Bell Mobility (contracted by GMCO for the
analysis) and accepted (email dated 9 March 2007 from V. Popescu). No impact on this microwave link is
anticipated.


5.3.7.2 Summary of Mitigation Measures

The proponent proposes the following measures to minimize effects to the community:
          Develop and implement a transportation and construction communication plan;
          Develop and implement an Accidents and Malfunctions Plan;
          Maintain an exclusion zone around the GMCP microwave link as per the RABC guidelines.



5.3.7.3

The effects of the Project on the economic and community setting are generally positive. The number of jobs that
are expected to stem from the Project, especially during its construction phase, can be considered significant in
light of the low population of the region. Compensation payments to landowners will constitute an important
contribution to their annual revenues.

The combined adverse effects on the economic and community setting are considered not significant.




Table 5.3-7 below summarizes the conclusions of the residual effects assessment.




                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 119
                   Table 5.3-7: Effects Assessment Summary - Economic and Community Setting
Effect                                          Mitigation Measure                      Level of     Significance
                                                                                        Concern        of Effect
Construction
                                                                                         Medium       Significant
Job creation and training                               None
                                                                                        (Positive)     (Positive)
                                                                                         Medium       Significant
Economic returns and losses                             None
                                                                                        (Positive)     (Positive)
Increased demand for housing                              None                            None       Not significant
                                  Construction and traffic management plan: the
                                  proponent will inform local and regional
                                  authorities of its transportation plan to avoid
Increased traffic on main roads   any unexpected circulation problems; this plan          Low        Not significant
                                  will include the construction schedule, convoy
                                  schedule and density, types of vehicles, etc.

Operations
                                                                                          Low        Not significant
Job creation and training                               None
                                                                                        (Positive)     (Positive)
                                                                                          Low        Not significant
Economic returns and losses                             None
                                                                                        (Positive)     (Positive)
Increased traffic on main roads                       None                               Minimal     Not significant
Interference with the GMCP        Maintain an exclusion zone around the GMCP
                                                                                          None           None
link                              microwave link as per the RABC guidelines.
Decommissioning
                                                                                         Medium       Significant
Job creation and training                               None
                                                                                        (Positive)     (Positive)
                                                                                         Medium       Significant
Economic returns and losses                             None
                                                                                        (Positive)     (Positive)
Increased demand for housing                              None                            None       Not significant
                                  Construction and traffic management plan: the
                                  proponent will inform local and regional
                                  authorities of its transportation plan to avoid
Increased traffic on main roads                                                           Low        Not significant
                                  any unexpected circulation problems; this plan
                                  will include the construction schedule, convoy
                                  schedule and density, types of vehicles, etc.
Accidents/Malfunctions
                                  Accidents and Malfunctions Plan:
Increased demand for public       Implementation of industry-standard safety
                                                                                        Minimal      Not significant
health services                   measures to reduce the risk of work-related
                                  accidents


5.3.7.4 Follow-up and Monitoring

Considering the minimal residual effects that the MERE Project is expected to have on the local economic and
community setting, no follow-up or monitoring is considered necessary.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 120
5.3.8     Land Use

5.3.8.1 Potential Effects

As discussed above, activities on the Project area are limited to occasional hunting and logging by local
residents, as well as hiking on the M’Chigeeng trail which runs along the bluff. Given the small areas occupied
by the Project’s equipment and setbacks from any trails or frequented areas, none of these activities will be
restricted once the Project is commissioned. Turbine sites and access roads will not be fenced and thus will not
impact any of the users. The issue of wind farm effects on large mammals and thus hunting have been often
discussed in literature: documentation from wind farms in Europe and North America indicates that large
mammals are not disturbed by the presence or the operation of wind turbines (Strickland et al., 1998; Institute of
Wildlife Research, 2004). This is consistent with anecdotal evidence that large mammals such as deer and
moose often approach man-made structures or infrastructure and have been seen on wind farms.

The effects of the Project on land use are summarized as follows and are described in the paragraphs below:
        Reduced access to the Project area during construction and decommissioning;
        Loss of timber;
        Increased access during operations.

Reduced Access to the Project Area

The construction and decommissioning phases will require the use of heavy machinery, trucks and concrete for
a limited period of time, currently estimated at less than 6 months. For security reasons access to the
construction sites will be restricted, as there would be a potential for injury and disturbance from noise and dust
emissions. This will affect the lot owners and hikers of the M’Chigeeng Trail. The presence of machinery and
workers is likely to temporarily disturb large mammals which will avoid the Project area and its vicinity, thus
affecting hunting activities on site. This effect is however of short duration and localized, as only one hunting
season will be affected during the construction phase, on a relatively small area (lots affected by the Project and
adjacent lots). The effect is of low concern and not significant.

In order to minimize any effects, the proponent will apply the following measures:
        Implement a communications plan to inform lot owners and the local community of the schedule and
        extent of work;
        Minimize areas used during construction and reopen completed sites to minimize access limitations;
        Reduce to the extent possible construction activities during the hunting season.

Loss of Timber

It is estimated that a maximum of 15 ha will be clear cut during the construction phase. Management of timber or
brush will be done in collaboration with the M’Chigeeng community and the lot owners. Any timber of commercial
value will be returned to the owners. All brush clearing will be burnt during periods of low risk of fire, or disposed
of in accordance with agreements with the landowners. Given these dispositions and the relatively small areas
that will be cleared, the effect is considered to be of minimal concern and not significant.


Increased Access during Operations

The construction of the Project will increase access on site due to the presence of large forestry-type roads that
will need to be built to access the turbine sites, including on the non-built portion of Tower Road along the
municipal RoW. While this might be viewed as positive by the lot owners as reaching their property will be
facilitated by this new infrastructure, non property owners could also gain access to these areas. This has not
been raised as a concern by lot owners but the proponent will discuss this issue with affected land holders and
propose mitigation measures. This could include fencing (once on reserve land or on private lots) or information
panels.


                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 121
5.3.8.2 Mitigation Measures

The proposed mitigation measures are summarized as follows:
         Implement a communications plan to inform lot owners and the local community of the schedule and
         extent of work;
         Minimize areas used during construction and reopen completed sites to minimize access limitations;
         Reduce to the extent possible construction activities during the hunting season;
         Return timber of commercial value to the owners;
         All brush clearing will be burnt during periods of low risk of fire, or disposed of in accordance with
         agreements with the landowners;
         Install gates (once on reserve land or on private lots) or information panels to limit access.



                                 Table 5.3-8: Effects Assessment Summary - Land Use
Effect                                               Mitigation Measure                      Level of     Significance
                                                                                             Concern        of Effect
Construction
                                      - Implement a communications plan to inform lot
                                      owners and the local community of the schedule
                                      and extent of work;
                                      - Minimize areas used during construction and                           Not
Reduced access to Project area                                                                 Low
                                      reopen completed sites to minimize access                            significant
                                      limitations;
                                      - Reduce to the extent possible construction
                                      activities during the hunting season
                                      - Return timber of commercial value to the
                                      owners;
                                                                                                              Not
Loss of timber                        - All brush clearing will be burnt during periods of   Minimal
                                                                                                           significant
                                      low risk of fire, or disposed of in accordance with
                                      agreements with the landowners
Operations
                                      - Install gates (once on reserve land or on                             Not
Increased access                                                                             Minimal
                                      private lots) or information panels to limit access.                 significant
Decommissioning
                                      - Implement a communications plan to inform lot
                                      owners and the local community of the schedule
                                      and extent of work;
                                      - Minimize areas used during construction and                           Not
Reduced access to Project area                                                                 Low
                                      reopen completed sites to minimize access                            significant
                                      limitations;
                                      - Reduce to the extent possible construction
                                      activities during the hunting season




                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 122
5.3.9    Archaeology and Heritage

5.3.9.1 Potential Effects

Loss of Archaeological Resources

Based on the Stage 1 archaeological assessment undertaken during this environmental assessment, it was
determined that areas within 200 m of the scarp face (which includes the proposed locations of the six wind
turbines and their access roads) are considered to exhibit archaeological potential.

It is recommended that prior to any impact development, those areas of the property that lie within the 200-m
setback from the edge of the scarp be subject to a Stage 2 archaeological field assessment. It is further
recommended that development not proceed before receiving confirmation that the Ministry of Culture has
entered the report into the provincial register of reports.

Should previously unknown or unassessed deeply buried archaeological resources be uncovered during
development, they may be a new archaeological sites and there subject to Section 48(1) of the Ontario Heritage
Act. The proponent or person discovering the archaeological resources must cease alteration of the site
immediately and engage a licensed archaeologist to carry out archaeological fieldwork, in compliance with Sec.
48(1) of the Ontario Heritage Act. Any person discovering human remains must immediately notify the police or
coroner and the Registrar of Cemeteries, Ministry of Government Services.

Provided that these measures are taken by the proponent, adverse effects to archaeological resources are
considered not significant.




                Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 123
5.3.10 Acoustic Environment

5.3.10.1 Potential Effects

Activities associated with wind energy projects can increase ambient noise levels, which in turn can constitute a
disturbance to wildlife and humans. Noise is common to any medium- or large-scale project during construction,
due to the use of heavy machinery and vehicles. During operations, turbines in operation emit noise that
originates from the blades (aerodynamic noise) and from the nacelle’s internal electrical and mechanical
components (mechanical noise). The effect of operating turbines on ambient noise levels and related
disturbance is often raised by the public, regulatory agencies and First Nations.


Increase in Ambient Noise Levels during Construction/Decommissioning

The MERE Project will generate noise during construction and decommissioning due to the use of heavy
machinery and vehicles. The contribution to noise levels is only expected on site – an uninhabited area – and
during a short period of time, i.e. only during the construction/decommissioning periods. Increased truck
transport is not expected to significantly increase ambient noise levels on existing roadways, due to the already
existing truck traffic on these roads. Increased noise levels will be of medium magnitude on the municipal access
roads, but of short duration, intermittent and local. Overall, the effect of construction on ambient noise levels is
considered not significant.

In order to minimize any effects during construction, the proponent will limit construction activities to daytime and
early evening hours, and implement a construction and traffic management plan.


Increase in Ambient Noise Levels during Operations

Predicted Noise Levels at Receptors

Noise levels in the MERE Project area is considered to fall into Class 3 (rural) as per MOE Guidelines. As such,
at wind speeds up to 6 m/s the sound level limit at receptors is 40 dBA or the minimum hourly background sound
level, whichever is greater. At wind speeds above 6 m/s, the sound level limit at receptors is the wind induced
background sound level plus a specified adder. For example, at 8 m/s the limit is 45 dBA and at 10 m/s, 51 dBA.
A noise impact assessment was undertaken to assess the effect of the operating wind turbines on ambient
noise, pursuant to the requirement by MoE to apply for a Certificate of Air (noise). Mapping data and site visits
were used to identify any points of reception in the vicinity of the Project (radius of 1 km). The review indicated
that no receptors were found in Billings Township, as only one cottage was identified within the study area, on a
participating lot (CON 8, lot 4).

On reserve land, several dwellings are located within 1 km of the turbines. Health Canada recommends that
maximum noise levels from wind turbines should not exceed 45 dB(A) at any given time (Health Canada, 2006).

The noise analysis was done using WindFarmer, which is based on the ISO 9613-2 noise prediction model. The
results were then compared to the Health Canada guidelines in order to verify that the permissible sound levels
would not be exceeded at any dwelling, regardless of their participation in the Project. This analysis indicates
that maximum noise levels at all dwellings recorded within 1 km of the Project, would be under 45 dB(A). Noise
levels would exceed 40 dB(A) at only one dwelling, located on reserve on CON 7 lot 6.

The detailed noise impact assessment is presented in Appendix 6.


Noise Levels on Site

While no receptors are found directly on the Project area, users thereof could witness noise from the operating
turbines. At the base of a GE turbine, it is estimated that noise levels could reach 60 dB(A), but these levels
decrease with distance and presence of vegetation. Given that the site is uninhabited and is not used intensively
by lot owners, the effect is of minimal concern and not significant.


                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 124
5.3.10.2 Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures proposed to reduce the noise impact during construction include:
         Limiting construction activity between the hours of 07:00 and 22:00 to reduce the potential impact of
         construction noise;
         Implementing a construction and traffic management plan, advising nearby residents and First Nations of
         significant truck transportation passing through Route 6, Rockville Road and the municipal access road;
         Ensure all internal combustion engines are fitted with appropriate muffler systems.
         Comply with MoE noise guidelines and Health Canada with respect to permissible noise levels at points
         of reception.


5.3.10.3 Residual Effects Assessment

According to the noise impact assessment realized, the Project is compliant with MOE and Health Canada
Guidelines.

Overall, the Project’s effect on ambient noise levels will only be site-specific and affect the occasional and
temporary users of the Project area. It should be noted as well that turbines will operate in windy periods, during
which ambient noise levels will already be increased. Thus the effect on site is estimated to be not significant.

Table 5.3-9 below summarizes the effects of the MERE Project on the acoustic environment.

                          Table 5.3-9: Effects Assessment Summary - Acoustic Environment
Effect                                              Mitigation Measure                     Level of   Significance
                                                                                           Concern      of Effect
Construction
                                    - Limit construction activity between the hours of
                                    07:00 and 22:00 to reduce the potential impact of
                                    construction noise
                                    - Advise nearby residents and First Nations of
                                                                                                          Not
Increase in ambient noise levels    significant truck transportation passing through           Low
                                                                                                       Significant
                                    Route 6, Rockville Road and the municipal
                                    access road
                                    - Ensure all internal combustion engines are fitted
                                    with appropriate muffler systems
Operations
                                    - Comply with MoE noise guidelines and Health
                                                                                                          Not
Increase in ambient noise levels    Canada with respect to permissible noise levels at      Minimal
                                    points of reception.                                               Significant
Decommissioning
                                    - Limit construction activity between the hours of
                                    07:00 and 22:00 to reduce the potential impact of
                                    construction noise
                                    - Advise nearby residents and First Nations of
                                                                                                          Not
Increase in ambient noise levels    significant truck transportation passing through           Low
                                                                                                       Significant
                                    Route 6, Rockville Road and the municipal
                                    access road
                                    - Ensure all internal combustion engines are fitted
                                    with appropriate muffler systems

5.3.10.4 Follow-up and Monitoring

Considering the minimal residual effects that the MERE Project is expected to have on the acoustic environment,
no follow-up or monitoring programs are proposed.


                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 125
5.3.11 Landscapes

5.3.11.1 Potential Effects

The visual impacts of wind energy projects is almost systematically raised as an issue, particularly in areas
valued by the local population for their natural, pristine landscapes and for tourism. Interestingly, public opinion
on the aesthetics of wind turbines is divided: some see them as beautiful structures while others feel that they
disrupt natural landscapes. The location of turbines, the size of the project and the surrounding visual setting are
key elements that have an impact on the significance of the visual effect.

The effect of the Project on the quality of landscapes will be assessed in this section. The assessment will be
realized at both local and regional levels, as turbines are visible at considerable distances. The effects on
landscapes will be assessed for the operations phase only, as this is when turbines will be visible and will
potentially alter the visual landscape.

As introduced in Section 3, visual effects are assessed per landscape unit on the basis of the presence/absence
of visible components of the Project, the distance of these from the observer and the type of observer
(stationary, temporary-stationary, mobile). Visual simulations are used to illustrate turbine visibility from different
viewpoints. The following table presents the results of this visual effects assessment, per viewpoint identified in
Section 3. Visual simulations (1 to 4) are found in Appendix 7.


                                Table 5.3-10: Effects Assessment Summary - Landscapes

   Landscape Unit             Viewpoint             Visual                     Comments                       Effect
                                                 Simulation #

     M’Chigeeng                                                  Open view on road; 2 turbines visible at
                             Highway 540              1                                                        Low
     Community                                                           approximately 1 km.
                                                                 3 turbines visible at approximately 1-1.5
     M’Chigeeng
                             Highway 551              2               km; view partially screened by           Low
     Community
                                                                            transmission lines.
                                                                   Due to steep topography and dense
                           House located on                        vegetation, passers-by or residents
 West Bay Shoreline                                                                                             Nil
                             Highway 540                        alongside Highway 540, directly adjacent
                                                                    to the site, will rarely see turbines.
                           Cup and Saucer                       “Valued” views from the lookout look west.
       Plateau                                                                                                  Nil
                           Scenic Lookout                        Dense vegetation blocks view of Project.
                          Southern tip of lake                  6 turbines visible from south part of lake,
    Whitefish Lake                                    3                                                       Minimal
                                shore                                  approximately 3-4 km away.
                          Rockville Road and
                                                                 Dense vegetation and steep topography
    Lake Manitou             Tower Road                                                                         Nil
                                                                 to reach the plateau blocks view of site.
                             intersection
                                                                6 turbines are visible from the east shore
                          Residence on east                      of the lake, approximately 7 km away.
    Lake Manitou                                      4                                                       Minimal
                              shoreline                           Turbines will be partially visible under
                                                                        good weather conditions.



The visual effects of this Project are not considered significant namely because of the low degree of visibility of
the turbines: firstly, the number of turbines is low, and secondly the steep topography and dense vegetation on
site and alongside residential areas and roads will often block any views to turbines in close proximity. Turbines
will however be visible from open areas such as certain sections in the M’Chigeeng community, certain
segments of Highway 540, around Whitefish Lake and from the east shore of Lake Manitou.




                   Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                        Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 126
Additional note on turbine lighting

As indicated during public consultations, local authorities of Manitoulin Island would have implemented a “dark
skies” policy that aims to limit the intensity and number of night lights on the island. The proponent will follow-up
on this issue to verify if this policy applies to obstruction markings for tall structures. It is expected however that
for aviation safety turbines will need to be lit according to Transport Canada guidelines. Lighting is required only
for those structures that are over 150m total height (which currently excludes all turbines). For structures
between 90 and 150m, a Transport Canada assessment is required to determine lighting requirements, and for
structures below 90m, lighting is only required if they fall within a certain "airport obstacle limitation surface".
Transport Canada regulations also allow for the Transportation Minister to individually assess any structure and
modify lighting requirements as needed. For turbines requiring lighting based on the above guidelines, Transport
Canada requires red flashing beacons, but medium intensity white flashing obstruction lighting systems may be
used instead of red obstruction lighting.

The lighting scheme of the MERE project will be based on Transport Canada guidelines (see Section 2). It is
anticipated that the number of lights for the Project will be 2, and that red or white flashing medium intensity
lights will be used at night. Given this specification, visual impacts from the turbine lights are anticipated to be of
low concern and not significant. The proponent will however consult with Transport Canada and local authorities
to discuss these requirements, namely in light of the dark skies policy. Lighting requirements will also be
discussed with CWS which recommends low-intensity flashing white lights at night to reduce bird collisions.

Additional note on shadow flicker

Shadow flicker is defined as the alternating light intensity produced by a wind turbine as the rotating blade casts
shadows on the ground and stationary objects, such as the window of a residence. Flicker will not occur when
the turbine is not rotating or when the sun is obscured by clouds or fog. A larger turbine rotor diameter will cast a
larger shadow, meaning a larger area will be prone to incidences of shadow flicker.

In the vicinity of the MERE project, very few receptors are found within 500 m and shadow flicker could occur for
a very small fraction of the time (less than 1 %). Additionally, no receptor is less that 350 m from a turbine,
therefore reducing the shadow intensity at the point of reception. It is important to note that the distinctiveness of
the shadow is greatly blurred with distance: the farther the turbine is from the receptor, the more out of focus the
shadow flicker becomes.

It should be noted as well for shadow flicker to occur the rotor has to be perpendicular to the "sun-receptor line
of sight" and there has to be a clear line of sight between the turbine and the receptor (i.e. no obstruction from
other houses, structures, forested patches, etc.).

For that reason, and given the few dwellings which could be potentially affected by shadow flicker for a limited
number of hours per year, the anticipated impact is considered minimal.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 127
5.3.12     Accidents and Malfunctions
Accidents and malfunctions could occur during any of the three project phases, i.e., construction, operations and
decommissioning. Given that activities within the construction and decommissioning phases are very similar,
these are generally treated jointly, as listed below and detailed in the next sections:


Construction/Decommissioning
         Worker Accidents;
         Spills of Hazardous Materials;
         Vehicle Collisions;
         Fire.

Operations
         Overheating or Fire in Nacelle;
         Oil Spill from Nacelles or Transformers;
         Ice Falls or Throws;
         Blade Break-up or Fall;
         Tower Failure;
         Mechanical Failure;
         Electrical Failure;
         Fire.



5.3.12.1 Accidents and Malfunctions: Construction/Decommissioning

Worker Accidents

Worker accidents can occur during the construction of wind energy projects, and are the most common type of
accident related to wind projects. Nevertheless, an inventory of wind farm incidents indicates that only 14 deadly
accidents have occurred in the world between 1970 and the early 90s (Gipe, 1995). Incidents during
construction are commonly associated with work undertaken at high elevation (e.g., work in or around the
nacelle), heavy machinery operations and electrical network installation (AusWEA, 2004). Given these low
incident numbers, the risk is considered to be very low.

To minimize the risk of accidents, the proponent will ensure that workers have adequate training and that
construction activities are conducted with rigorously applied safety measures. Safety measures with respect to
work in elevation will also be applied, namely to minimize the possibility of falls from the tower.


Spills of Hazardous Materials

As stated in Section 2, the main hazardous substance that will be hauled on site during construction is diesel
fuel. Fuel will be hauled to the Project site to supply heavy machinery, namely the cranes. Hauling of fuel and its
presence on site create the possibility of spills on access roads and at turbine sites, potentially affecting
vegetation and watercourses. The risk of such spills will be minimized by ensuring that all fuel trucks are
inspected and in compliance with to industry standards. Cranes will be fuelled from fuel trucks at the crane pads.
Refuelling will follow accepted industry practices. All refuelling will occur at the crane pad or at designated



                  Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 128
refuelling sites, away from potential sensitive receptors. Designated refuelling areas and maintenance areas are
to be bermed. Emergency response spill kits will be maintained on site to contain any spill of hazardous fluids.

All hazardous material, including fuel, oils, and grease will not be stored on site, but rather in a designated
maintenance building.

Vehicle Collisions

Certain construction timeframes will be characterized by a significant increase in traffic on the Project site’s
access roads. Excess traffic could increase the possibility of collision with other vehicles, namely service
vehicles and logging trucks active on site.

To minimize potential traffic incidents, all construction teams and any other companies active on site will be
required to have a two-way radio system for communication to avoid any potential collisions on access roads.
The two-way radios will also be used to minimize circulation problems (e.g., exclusion of other vehicle traffic on
sharp turns during movement of the turbine blades).

Vehicles on the Project’s access roads will have a maximum speed limit of 40km/hr thus limiting the potential for
serious incidents on site and for collisions with wildlife. On public roads and highways, vehicles will abide by the
posted speed limits.


Fire

Tree and brush waste will be piled and burnt on site during spring, when risk of forest fire is low. No burning of
other materials or substances will be allowed on site. These will be disposed of in an approved facility.


5.3.12.2 Accidents and Malfunctions: Operations

Overheating or Fire in Nacelle

Modern wind turbines are conceived with proven state-of-the-art techniques to ensure safety and endurance.
Fire is a rare occurrence with wind turbines, with documented cases being associated with faulty older turbine
models (AusWEA, 2004). As the maintenance program will be diligently followed by the proponent’s and GE’s
specialized teams, overheating or fire in the nacelle are not expected to occur. Additionally, the Project’s
automatic control system can rapidly detect any abnormal behaviour of each turbine and proceed to an
emergency stop if needed, thus limiting the possibility of overheating.

It should be noted that the nacelle is a closed component and given the types of material in the nacelle
(fibreglass, steel, iron, rubber), fires with open flames would be very unlikely. Oils or lubricants that might ignite
are more likely to produce a smouldering fire with thick smoke.

As open flames are not likely to be produced and most of the turbine materials are not combustible, the
possibility of nearby groundcover, shrubs and trees catching fire is improbable. The concrete tower foundation
and the cleared area around the turbines (e.g., crane pad, access road) would help minimize risk of ignition of
vegetation.

If a fire were to occur in a turbine, the turbine would be stopped. The proponent maintenance staff would
immediately deploy a team to the site to deal with the incident. If a ground fire were to occur, the maintenance
crew would use the on-site fire control equipment to contain and extinguish the fire. The team supervisor would
also contact the local fire department to report the incident and determine the need for further assistance or
follow-up.


Oil Spill from Nacelles or Transformers




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 129
As explained in Section 2, the turbines are equipped with retention gutters in the top part of the tower, capable of
containing the total amount of oil used by the nacelle components, which totals approximately 180 litres.
Retention gutters and equipment are also standard for the turbine transformers. These retention systems
virtually eliminate the possibility of a spill into the environment.

Given these design specifications, only major circumstances (such as an extreme weather event) could create
the possibility of an oil spill in the environment.

The proponent has made an effort to avoid water courses and bodies and sensitive ecosystems when
positioning the Project’s infrastructure, thus reducing the risk of impacts to the environment.

All oils and other substances will be stored in appropriate containers in the maintenance building. Crews hauling
and manipulating oils during maintenance operations will be trained to respond to spills and will have readily
available spill response material.


Ice Falls or Throws

The formation of ice on turbine blades is a common concern in the industry as it has the possibility to increase
downtime and to produce ice clusters that could fall from the blades, and potentially injure humans and terrestrial
fauna or damage nearby vegetation. Formation of ice is however a low-probability event that requires specific
meteorological conditions to occur. According to Environment Canada (2006b), about nine days of freezing rain
occur per year in the region, offering icing conditions potentially suitable for ice throws or falls.

In the event of ice formation, the most likely response is that the control system will detect an unbalance of the
rotor and stop the affected turbine. In this case, ice falls would be limited to the turbine site.

Nevertheless, ice throws are known to happen, which is why the wind industry normally recommends a 200-m
distance between turbines and inhabited or frequented areas. Given that the Project is not in a populated area,
incidents are considered to be virtually impossible, except for Project field crews or wildlife on site at the moment
of an ice fall or throw.

the proponent’s communication plan to the public will include an explanation of ice falls and their potential
occurrence after such weather events as freezing rain.


Blade Break-up or Fall

Other turbine models with detachable blade tips have seen blade tips fall off or be thrown to a distance, but this
is not the case for GE turbines which have blades in one piece.

Blades can be damaged or broken by severe loads due to extreme winds, turbulence, wind shear and icing. An
on-site evaluation of these extreme conditions is however required by the turbine manufacturer. Extreme
conditions must be within acceptable limits set by the manufacturer which are calculated from the IEC 61400-1
standard methods; a precise analysis will be undertaken before final siting of each turbine. No turbines will be
placed in areas where turbine integrity would be jeopardized.

Additionally, such an incident resulting in injury has yet to occur in the world (Guillet and Leteurtrois, 2004).
Given that the Project is in a relatively remote area, human injury or fatality is considered to be virtually
impossible. Given the low probability of this type of incident, there is also negligible risk to wildlife.


Tower Failure

Tower failures can be associated with faulty foundation design and extreme weather conditions. Given that the
Project is in a relatively remote area, human injury or fatality is considered to be virtually impossible.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 130
The proponent will ensure that foundations are designed to have the proper support strength for the type of
terrain where the turbines are situated. The proponent will undertake a geotechnical assessment of all turbine
sitings and modify turbine positions where risk is considered too high. Assuming that proper siting results from
this assessment, foundation or tower failure due to terrain is unlikely.

Tower failure can be induced by severe loads due to extreme winds, turbulence, wind shear and icing. An on-
site evaluation of these extreme conditions is however required by the turbine manufacturer. Extreme conditions
must be within acceptable limits set by the manufacturer which are calculated from the IEC 61400-1 standard
methods; a precise analysis will be undertaken before final siting of each turbine. No turbines will be placed in
areas where turbine integrity would be jeopardized. Additionally, the turbine model will be chosen to withstand
the specific conditions on the site.

The proposed GE turbine used will be the “Cold Weather Extreme” version, able to operate under very low (-30°)
temperatures. Turbines are stopped if temperature would reach this level, and restart again when temperature
rises above -30°C.


Mechanical Failure

Mechanical failure could occur for components of the nacelle, such as the gearbox, yaw system, braking system,
generator, etc. In such an event the control system would detect any of these failures and shut down the turbine.
Repair crews would proceed to the replacement of the faulty parts.


Electrical Failure

Electrical components of the Project such as switchgears, generators and transformers can suffer a failure due
to short circuits in the system. Failures of these components would result in loss of power for the Project, but no
environmental damage or injury to the public is expected.

Failure to the overhead cabling or power line can occur due to lightning strikes, short circuits, severe wind
storms, tree fall or collision of vehicles with the supporting structures (single or double wooden poles). Lines are
equipped with protective relaying and lightning arresters that de-energize the affected line segment, thus
minimizing injury possibilities to humans and wildlife, and minimizing the potential for fire in the lines’ right-of-
way.


Fire

It is expected that brush clearing will be required every five years along the RoW for the power line and
overhead electrical line. Brush waste will be piled and burnt on site during spring, when risk of forest fire is low.


5.3.12.3 Accidents and Malfunctions Plan

The proponent is committed to developing an Accidents and Malfunctions Plan, addressing and reacting to any
emergency that should arise during the course of the Project’s life, in order to safeguard the health and safety of
its staff, the public and the environment. In particular the proponent commits to the following:
        In the event of a spill occurring at any time during the Project’s life, the proponent will prioritize the safety
        of its employees on site and the surrounding communities, followed by protection of the environment;
        While the general responsibility of this Plan will be under the proponent, the Construction Manager (for
        both construction and decommissioning) and the Operations Manager will have first-line authority to act
        upon accidents and malfunctions and provide for the necessary resources to address the issue;
        All public and media inquiries will be addressed in a timely fashion by the Public Relations Head for the
        proponent;




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 131
        The proponent will develop a monitoring program to verify compliance of all personnel including
        contractor personnel with the Plan;
        The Plan will be effective at the start of construction;
        The Plan will be reviewed periodically, namely once a year, and after every major accident or
        malfunction. Modifications to the Plan will be done if considered necessary to increase response
        effectiveness.

The Accidents and Malfunctions Plan will be structured around the following four main objectives:
        Understanding the type and extent of a potential accident or malfunction;
        Establishing a response plan commensurate with the risk, namely with respect to personnel and
        equipment required);
        Ensuring an orderly and timely decisional process;
        Providing an incident management organization with clear responsibilities.

The Plan will address all incidents that could potentially arise during the course of the Project’s life, from
construction to decommissioning. It will cover all incidents that could arise in the general Project area, which is
an approximated zone around turbine sites, access roads and power lines. It is expected that most impacts of an
accident or a malfunction during the Project’s service life will happen in close proximity to these infrastructure.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                      Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 132
5.3.13 Cumulative Effects Assessment
Cumulative effects are defined as changes in the natural or human environment caused by an action associated
with the project under review, combined with other past, present and future human activities. The cumulative
effects assessment (CEA) considered the following:
        Changes in the environment caused by the Project;
        The effects of any such changes on the component:
        Any change to the project caused by the environment.



5.3.13.1 Past, Present and Future Human Activities

As described in Section 3, activities on the island mainly consists of hiking, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing,
boating, agriculture and some industrial activities (quarries, concrete production). The area directly affected by
the Project is however located on forested private lots and is not intensely used for any of these activities.
Activities on site are limited to some logging and hunting by local residents. Tourism-related activities present
elsewhere on Manitoulin Island are not represented in the Project area or its immediate vicinity, except for two
hiking trails, one being located approximately 3 km northeast of the Project area.

The closest wind energy project in operation is the Providence Bay / Spring Bay Wind Farm, located
approximately 20 km from the MERE Project.


5.3.13.2 Cumulative Effects on Environmental Components Affected by the Project

Since very few activities are present in the Project area, cumulative effects are expected to be not significant. No
cumulative effects are expected for any of the components potentially affected by the Project, and listed below:


Bio-physical Components
        Avian fauna and bats;
        Terrestrial fauna;
        Flora;
        Soils and terrain;
        Surface and ground water.

Human Components
        Economic and Community Setting;
        Land Use;
        Archaeology and Heritage;
        Acoustic Environment;
        Landscape;
        Public Health and Safety.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 133
6       EFFECTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT ON THE PROJECT

6.1       Meteorological Conditions
6.1.1     Extreme Winds
Blades can be damaged or broken by severe loads due to extreme winds, turbulence, or wind shear. An on-site
evaluation of these extreme conditions is required, however, by the turbine manufacturer. Extreme conditions
must be within acceptable limits set by the manufacturer which are calculated from the IEC 61400-1 standard
methods; a precise analysis will be undertaken before the final siting of each turbine. No turbines will be placed
in areas where turbine integrity would be jeopardized, thus minimizing this potential effect of the environment.
Wind turbines are also equipped with a safety feature. If wind speeds reach 25 m/s (not classified as “extreme
winds”) at a given turbine, the control system will switch it off automatically. The turbine will resume operations
once the wind falls below 22 m/s.


6.1.2     Ice
During ice storms or periods of icing, ice can accumulate on the blades and reduce the energy output of the
turbine. This is caused by the alteration of the shape of the blades by the ice, which causes a loss of energy
production due to friction and/or by a stoppage of the wind turbine if the weight of the ice throws the rotor off
balance. According to Environment Canada (2006b), about nine days of freezing rain occur per year in the
region, offering icing conditions potentially suitable for ice throws or falls. It should be noted that such potential
losses of energy due to ice accumulation on the blades in the winter months have already been factored into
energy calculations previously made for the Project.


6.1.3     Extreme Temperature
The proposed GE turbine used will be the “Cold Weather Extreme” version, which is capable of operating under
very low (-30°C) temperatures. Turbines are stopped if temperatures reach this level, and restart again when
temperature rises above -30°C. This type of wind turbine has been proven in meteorological conditions similar to
those that characterize the Project’s site.


6.1.4     Climate Change
As stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently (IPCC SPM 2007 report), “warming of the
climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean
temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level”. Climate change is
therefore evident on a global level, such that it is necessary to envisage to what extent this phenomenon might
affect the Project, the main issues being icing, terrain stability, and winds.

According to the IPCC predictions, winters in northern latitude are expected to be milder; icing conditions could
therefore occur more frequently. In the event of increased icing due to climate change, longer or more frequent
down periods and thus slight decreases in energy yield might be expected.

Heavier precipitation may also increase runoff and the risk of landslides; however, the siting of turbines and
access roads will avoid unstable terrain areas in order to limit potential future impacts on the Project.

In the event of an increase in violent storms, the turbines are equipped to automatically shut down if winds reach
25 m/s, as stated previously.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 134
6.2      Other Phenomena
6.2.1    Fire
It is possible that forest fires might occur in proximity to the Project, as it is surrounded by some forested land.
However, the probability that a fire might pose a threat to the equipment is reduced because a cleared area will
be kept around each turbine site. Fire can still be propagated by brush that will have grown on the cleared areas,
but the risk is considered minimal.


6.2.2    Lightning
The wind turbines are equipped with an earthing system in order to prevent damages that could be caused by
lightning. Each blade is equipped with a copper wire running from its tip to the hub and nacelle and then down
the tower to a ground grid in the tower’s foundation. The nacelle is topped by a lightning rod which is also
connected to the ground grid.


6.2.3    Seismic Hazard
Structures will be designed to meet the earthquake loads for the area as per the Ontario Building Code. The
Project area is located in a low hazard area, as shown on the Seismic hazard map (NRCan, 2005).




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 135
7       SUMMARY OF COMMITMENTS
This section summarises the commitments from the proponent for mitigation measures (MM) and follow-
up/monitoring (FM) of the MERE project. The details of these commitments are found in the mitigation and
follow-up and monitoring sub-sections, presented in section 5 per environmental or social component.

                            Table 6.2-1: Summary of Commitments per Project Phase
          MM    Description                                                    Targeted
          or                                                                   Environmental/Social
          FM                                                                   Component
                CONSTRUCTION
                Comply with local zoning regulations, including setbacks to
          MM                                                                   General
                roads, lot lines and residences as described in section 2
          MM    Prepare and implement a Construction Management Plan,
                including a Communications Plan for local population and       General
                authorities
          MM    Prepare and Implement a Traffic Management Plan
                (use of water or water-based dust suppressant on
                                                                               Air, vegetation,
                unpaved roads when required; vehicle emission
                                                                               wildlife, public health
                compliance; efficient transportation plan to limit traffic
                                                                               and safety, noise
                intensity; limit vehicle speed; inform local residents and
                authorities of routes and schedules)
          MM                                                                   Terrain, soils and
                Conduct a geotechnical investigation                           groundwater, public
                                                                               safety
          MM    Prepare and implement a Sediment and Erosion Control
                                                                               Terrain, soils and
                Plan (avoid clearing and grubbing close to steep slopes,
                                                                               groundwater
                use of settling ponds
          MM    Limit vegetation clearing and grubbing for workspace are       All bio-physical
                as much as possible and delineate cleared/work zones           components
          MM    Prepare and implement a post-construction Site                 All bio-physical
                Reclamation Plan                                               components
          MM                                                                   Public safety, terrain,
                Prepare and implement an Accidents and Malfunctions
                                                                               soils and groundwater,
                Plan (Emergency Response Plan)
                                                                               vegetation
          MM    Avoid clearing in the bird nesting period (24 May – 31
                July). A qualified biologist will inspect the work areas if    Avian fauna
                work must occur during nesting period.
          MM    Use single wooded poles for power lines, with cables on
                                                                               Avian fauna
                same level and with height not exceeding the canopy line
          MM    Consult with local authorities, Transport Canada and CWS
                                                                               Landscapes, avian
                to apply an appropriate lighting scheme (low visual effects,
                                                                               fauna, bats
                low bird collision)
          MM    Maintain a buffer zone around the GMCO communications          Communication
                link; provide final site plan to GMCP prior to construction    systems
          MM    Prioritise the hiring of local residents, including First
                Nations; compensate lot owners as per the land lease           Economic setting
                agreement with the proponent
          MM    Minimise workspaces and reopen construction sites as
                                                                               Land use
                soon as completed
          MM    Reduce activity to the extent possible during hunting
                                                                               Land use
                season
          MM    Return timber of commercial value to lot owners
          MM    Limit construction to hours between 7 am and 22 pm             Noise
          FM    Conduct a Stage 2 archaeological assessment as per             Archaeology and
                MoC guidelines                                                 heritage


               Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                   Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 136
FM   Presence of an environmental monitor during construction
                                                                      General
     activities
     Pre and post-construction inspection of affected areas to
                                                                      Vegetation
     verify adequacy of mitigation measures
                                                                      Soils, terrain,
     Routine inspections to verify for run-off and erosion
                                                                      vegetation
     OPERATIONS
MM   Use signalling/warning signs and/or gates to limit access
                                                                      Land use
     to site
MM   Comply with MoE and Health Canada guidelines with
     respect to permissible noise emissions at points of              Noise
     reception
MM   Prepare and implement a Communications Plan to inform            Public health and
     local population of events related to the project                safety
FM   Annual inspections until vegetation establishment is
                                                                      Vegetation
     successful
FM   Post-construction mortality monitoring during the first year
     of operations (Spring, Summer and Fall), according to            Avian fauna, bats
     CWS and MNR guidelines.
MM   Prioritise the hiring of and provide skilled training to local
     residents, including the M’Chigeeng First Nation;
                                                                      Economic setting
     compensate lot owners as per the land lease agreement
     with the proponent
     DECOMMISSIONING
MM   Prepare and Implement a Traffic Management Plan
     (use of water or water-based dust suppressant on
                                                                      Air, vegetation,
     unpaved roads when required; vehicle emission
                                                                      wildlife, public health
     compliance; efficient transportation plan to limit traffic
                                                                      and safety, noise
     intensity; limit vehicle speed; inform local residents and
     authorities of routes and schedules)
MM   Prepare and implement a Sediment and Erosion Control
                                                                      Terrain, soils and
     Plan (avoid clearing and grubbing close to steep slopes,
                                                                      groundwater
     use of settling ponds)
MM   Limit vegetation clearing and grubbing for workspace are         All bio-physical
     as much as possible and delineate cleared/work zones             components
MM   Prepare and implement a post-decommissioning Site
                                                                      All bio-physical
     Reclamation Plan
                                                                      components
MM                                                                    Public safety, terrain,
     Prepare and implement an Accidents and Malfunctions
                                                                      soils and groundwater,
     Plan (Emergency Response Plan)
                                                                      vegetation
MM   Avoid clearing in the bird nesting period (24 May – 31
     July). A qualified biologist will inspect the work areas if      Avian fauna
     work must occur during nesting period.
MM   Minimise workspaces and reopen construction sites as
                                                                      Land use
     soon as completed
MM   Reduce activity to the extent possible during hunting
                                                                      Land use
     season
MM   Return timber of commercial value to lot owners
MM   Limit activities to hours between 7 am and 22 pm                 Noise

FM
     Presence of an environmental monitor during activities           General
FM   Pre and post-decommissioning inspection of affected
                                                                      Vegetation
     areas to verify adequacy of mitigation measures
FM                                                                    Soils, terrain,
     Routine inspections to verify for run-off and erosion
                                                                      vegetation




     Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                         Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 137
8        CONCLUSIONS
The proponent is aiming to develop the MERE Project as part of the M’Chigeeng First Nation community’s
Economic Advancement strategy. Through this Project, the proponent intends to supply clean energy to the
Ontario energy system using state-of-the-art wind energy technology. With a layout comprising six 1.5-MW wind
turbine generators (WTG), the proposed MERE Project will have a nominal capacity of 9 MW. The proposed
project would be installed on First Nation land and private lots in the Township of Billings.

The MERE Project, currently estimated at $261M, is designed to operate under the Standard Offer Program to
provide reliable clean energy to Ontarians, as well as create specialized high-quality regional employment
opportunities. It is expected that the Project will create approximately 10 person-years of work activity during the
preparation and construction phase and 4 long-term skilled jobs during the operations phase. If all regulatory
requirements are met, the MERE project could be constructed and commissioned by late 2010.

This environmental assessment was conducted according to requirements under the OEAA and the CEAA, and
guidelines from various regulatory agencies. All baseline work was undertaken from April 2006 to November
2006.

This environmental assessment, conducted by a team of qualified specialists from various disciplines, concludes
that the MERE project would not have any significant effects on the environment. Generally speaking, the project
layout readily complies with several setbacks and is not located in an environmentally sensitive area. The
proponent is also committed to a set of mitigation and monitoring measures that aim to minimise any potential
effects. This small-scale project would also occupy less than 10 ha during the operations phase, which is
considered very small compared to the availability of habitat in the area.

This wind energy project would produce a renewable source of energy for approximately 2400 households, that
could potentially displace fossil-fuel generation, and provide more energy to the Ontario grid. Economic returns
and potential for skilled job training for the M’Chigeeng First Nation and local community are substantial benefits.




                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 138
9        REFERENCES
Publications

Arnett, E.B. (ed.). 2005. Relationships Between Bats and Wind Turbines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia: An
        Assessment of Fatality Search Protocols, Patterns of Fatality, and Behavioral Interactions with Wind
        Turbines. A final report submitted to the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative. Bat Conservation
        International. Austin, Texas.

Arnett, E.B., W.P. Erickson, J. Kerns, and J. Horn. 2004, December 13. Studies to Develop Bat Fatality Search
        Protocols and Evaluate Bat Interactions With Wind Turbines in West Virginia and Pennsylvania: an
        Interim Report.

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and DOI (US Department of the Interior). 2005. Final Programmatic
      Environmental Impact Statement on Wind Energy Development on BLM-Administered Lands in the
      Western United States. Washington, D.C

Chambers, B.A., B.J. Naylor, J. Nieppola, B. Merchant, and P. Uhlig. 1997. Field Guide to Forest Ecosystems of
      Central Ontario. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Ontario, Canada.

Chapman, L.J. and D.F. Putnam. 1984. The Physiography of Southern Ontario, Third Edition. Ministry of Natural
      Resources, Ontario, Canada.

Chautauqua Windpower, LLC. 2003. Chautauqua Wind Farm: Draft Public Scoping Document for the Draft
       Environmental Impact Statement. Report prepared for the Town of Wesfield, New York and the Town of
       Ripley, New York.

Décibel Consultants. 2004. Caractérisation du climat sonore pour un projet de Parcs éoliens en Gaspésie.

Dillon Consulting Ltd. 2000. Wind Turbine Environmental Assessment – Draft Screening Document. Prepared for
        WindShare and Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc.

Natural Resources Canada, 2003. Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines for Screening of Inland Wind
        Farms.

Ministry of Environment, 2001. Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects.

Ministry of Environment (2004). Interpretation for Applying MOE NPC Technical Publications to Wind Turbine
        Generators.

Dobbyn, J.S. 1994. Atlas of the Mammals of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists

Environment Canada, 2006. Comments on Project Description Document and the natural Environmental Work
       Program. Letter Dated June 14, 2006

Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service). 2006. Wind Turbines and Birds: A Guidance Document
       for Environmental Assessment. July 28, 2006.

Erickson, W., J. Jefferey, D. Young, K. Bay, R. Good, K. Sernka, and K. Kronner. 2003. Wildlife Baseline Study
       for the Kittitas Valley Wind Project: Summary of Results from 2002 Wildlife Surveys. Report prepared for
       Zilkha Renewable Energy.

Erickson, W., G. Johnson, D. Young, D. Strickland, R. Good, M. Bourassa, K. Bay, and K. Sernka. 2002.
       Synthesis and Comparison of Baseline Avian and Bat Use, Raptor Nesting and Mortality Information
       from Proposed and Existing Wind Developments. West, Inc.

Erickson, W.P., G.D. Johnson, M.D. Strickland, D.P. Young, K. J. Sernka and R.E. Good. 2001. Avian Collisions
       with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian


                Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 139
        Collision Mortality in the United States. Western EcoSystems Technology Inc. National Wind
        Coordinating Committee.

Gauthreaux, S.A., Jr. and C.G. Belser. 1999. The Behavioral Reponses of Migrating Birds to Different Lighting
       Systems on Tall Towers. In: Proceedings of Avian Mortality at Communications Towers Workshop, 11
       August 1999.

Gauthreaux, S.A., Jr. 2000. The Behavioral Responses of Migrating Birds to Different Lighting Systems on Tall
       Towers. In: Proceedings of Avian Mortality at Communications Towers Workshop, 2000.

Gauthreaux Jr., S.A. 1995. Suggested Practices for Monitoring Bird Populations, Movements and Mortality in
       Wind Resource Areas. 1994 National Avian-Wind Power Planning Meeting Proceedings.

Gerson, H. 1984. Habitat Management Guidelines for Bats of Ontario. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of
       Natural Resources. 42 pp.

Gipe, 1995. Wind Energy Comes of Age.

Guillet and Leteurtrois, 2004. Rapport sur la sécurité des installations éoliennes.

Health Canada. 2006. Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau. Wind Farm Fact Sheet. Draft
       document – Working copy. April 25, 2006.

Hélimax et al., 2006. Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project (MERE): Project Description Document.
       Submitted to the Ontario Environmental Assessment and Aprovals Branch, and the Canadian
       Environmental Assessment Agency. May 2006.

Hoffman, D.W., Wicklund, R.E. and N.R. Richards, 1959. Soil Survey of Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Canada
       Department of Agriculture, Ottawa and Ontario Department of Agriculture, Toronto, Report No. 26,
       Guelph, Ontario.

Hötker, H., K-M. Thomsen, and H. Klöster. 2004. Auswirkungen Regenerativer Energiegewinnung auf die
        Biologische Vielfalt am Beispiel der Vögel und der Fledermäuse – Fakten, Wissenslücken,
        Anforderungen an die Forschung, Ornithologische Kriterien zum Ausbau von Regenerativen
        Energiegewinnungsformen. Gefördert vom Bundesamt für Naturschutz; Förd. Nr. Z1.3-684 11-5/03.

Howe, R.W. and R. Atwater. 1999. The Potential Effects of Wind Power Facilities on Resident and Migratory
      Birds in Eastern Wisconsin. Richter Museum of Natural History Species Research Report No. 5.
      Prepared for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Integrated Science Services.

Institute of Wildlife Research, 2004. http://www.tiho-hannover.de/wildtier/windkraft_e.htm.

Janusas, S, 2006. Archaeological assessment background research. MERE Project. M’Chigeeng First Nation
       Land.

Keeley, B., S. Ugoretz, and D. Stickland. 1999. Bat Ecology and Wind Turbine Considerations. Avian
       Interactions with Utility Structures Conference Presentation. Charleston, South Carolina.

Kerlinger, P. 2000. An Assessment of the Impacts of Green Mountain Power Corporation’s Searsburg, Vermont,
        Wind Power Facility on Breeding and Migrating Birds. In Proceedings of National Avian-Wind Power
        Planning Meeting III, San Diego, California, May 1998.

Kingsley, A. and Whittam B. 2003. Wind Turbines and Birds – A Guidance Document for Environmental
        Assessment. Prepared for Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service by Bird Studies Canada.
        Draft December 2003.

Kingsley, A. and B. Whittam. 2001. Potential Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds at North Cape, Prince Edward
        Island. Prepared for the Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation by Bird Studies Canada.



                 Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                     Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 140
Kunz, T.H. 2004. Wind Power: Bats and Wind Turbines. Wind Energy and Birds/Bats: Understanding and
       Resolving Bird and Bat Impacts. Proceedings of a workshop in Washington, D.C., May 17-18, 2004.

La Capra Associates 2005. A Brief Overview of U.S. Studies on the Local Economic Development Impacts of
       Wind Energy.

Lands and Estates Office. 2007. West Bay First Nation Residence Status, M’Chigeeng First Nation

M’Chigeeng First Nation, 2006. Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project. Informative brochure.

Ministry of Environment. 2001. Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects.

Ministry of Environment. 2004. Interpretation for Applying MOE NPC Technical Publications to Wind Turbine
        Generators.

Milko, R., L. Dickson, R. Elliot, and G. Donaldson. 2003. Canadian Wildlife Service. Wings Over Water:
       Canada’s Waterbird Conservation Plan. Cat. No. CW66-219/2003 ISBN 0-662-67101-5.

Morton, J.K., and J.M. Venn. 2000. The Flora of Manitoulin Island and the Adjacent Islands of Lake Huron,
       Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Third Edition. University of Waterloo Biology Series No. 40,
       Waterloo, Ontario. 376 pp.

Mossop, D.H. 1998. Five Years of Monitoring Bird Strike Potential at a Mountain-top Wind Turbine, Yukon
      Territory. PWGSC Contract No. 234403-9569/01-SQ. CANMET Energy Tech. Centre, Energy Tech. Br.,
      Energy Sector, Dept. Nat. Res. Canada, Ottawa. In Dillon Consulting Ltd. 2000. Wind Turbine
      Environmental Assessment – Draft Screening Document. Prepared for WindShare and Toronto Hydro
      Energy Services Inc.

Natural Resources Canada, 2003. Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines for Screening of Inland Wind
        Farms.

Ontario Ministry of Culture. 2006. Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists – Final Draft

Osborn, R.G., K.F. Higgins, R.E. Usgaard, C.D. Dieter, and R.D. Neiger. 2000. Bird Mortality Associated with
       Wind Turbines at the Buffalo Ridge Wind Resource Area, Minnesota. The American Midland Naturalist
       143 (1): 41-52.

Osborn, R.G., C.D. Dieter, K.F. Higgins, R.E. Usgaard. 1998. Bird Flight Characteristics Near Wind Turbines in
       Minnesota. The American Midland Naturalist 139 (1):29-38.

PESCA Environnement and Hélimax. 2005. Étude d’impact sur l’environnement du parc éolien de Baie-des-
     Sables.

Sustainable Energy Australia and AusWEA. 2004. Wind Farm Safety in Australia.

Winkelman, J.E. 1989. [Birds at a Windpark Near Urk: Bird Collision Victims and Disturbance of Wintering
       Ducks, Geese, and Swans.] Rijksinstituut voor Natuurbeheer, Arnhem. RINRappoet 89/15.

Internet Sources

Bat Conservation International. 2004. Bats and Wind Energy: Key Findings. Consulted July 20, 2005.
      http://www.batcon.org.wind.findings.html.

Canadian Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Federation. 2006 Hinterland Who’s Who – Mammal Fact
       Sheets: Bats. Consulted 24 March 2006. http://www.hww.ca/hww2/asp?id=63.

CanWEA, 2007. Consulted 30 October 2006. http://www.canwea.ca/images/uploads/File/fiche_anglais_-
     octobre_2006.pdf.



                Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 141
CanWEA, 2006. Consulted 30 October 2006. http://www.canwea.ca/downloads/WindLink/Issue_54.htm

Energetics Inc. April 16, 2004. Proceedings: Bats and Wind Power Generation, Technical Workshop February
       19-20, 2004. http://www.nrel.gov/wind_meetings/bat_meeting/


Environment Canada, 2006a. Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000.               Consulted 3 November 2006.
       http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_e.html?Province=ONT%20&StationN
       ame=&SearchType=&LocateBy=Province&Proximity=25&ProximityFrom=City&StationNumber=&IDType
       =MSC&CityName=&ParkName=&LatitudeDegrees=&LatitudeMinutes=&LongitudeDegrees=&Longitude
       Minutes=&NormalsClass=A&SelNormals=&StnId=4209&

Environment Canada, 2006b. Consulted 5 November 2006. http://ontario.hazards.ca/search/show-record-
       e.html?id=1.118.

Environment Canada, 2006c. Consulted 5 November 2006. http://ontario.hazards.ca/search/show-record-
       e.html?id=1.31.

Environment Canada Species at Risk, 2005. Species Status Listings. Last updated: December 1, 2005.
       Consulted 5 May 2006. http://www.sis.ec.gc.ca/ec_species/ec_species_e.phtml

Environment Canada Species at Risk. 2006a. Species Status Listing. Last updated: May 8, 2006.
       http://www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca/search/speciesDetails_e.cfm?SpeciesID=608

Environment Canada Species at Risk. 2006b. Species Status Listing. Last updated: May 8, 2006.
       http://www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca/search/speciesDetails_e.cfm?SpeciesID=714

Fyon, A. November 2006. Relationship between Flowering Plants and Geology on Manitoulin Island.
      http://www.ontariowildflower.com/massey_naturalists_oct1506_oct1706_upload.pdf

Health Canada, 2006. Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau - Wind Farm Fact Sheet - Draft
       document – Working copy. April 25, 2006.

Historica Canadian Encyclopedia, 2006. Consulted 1 November 2006.
        http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0005076.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and
        Vulnerability.

Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce, 2006b. Consulted 1 November 2006. http://www.manitoulin-island.com.

Manitoulin Living, 2006. Consulted 1 November 2006. http://www.manitoulinliving.com/.

Ministry of Natural Resources. 2000. Significant Wildlife Habitat: Technical Guide. OMNR, October 2000.
        Consulted November 14, 2006.
        http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/pubs/wildlife/swhtg/SWHTG_AppendixG.PDF

Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources. 2005a. Natural Areas. Consulted 19 April
        2006. http://nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/nhic/areas.cfm

Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources. 2005b. Geographic Query. Consulted 19
        April 2006. http://nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/nhic/queries/geographic.cfm

Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources. 2006c. Species Search. Consulted 19 April
        2006. http://nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/nhic/species.cfm

Natural Resources Canada. 2005. Simplified Seismic Hazard Map. Canadian Geological Survey.
       http://earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/hazard/simphaz_e.php



                Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 142
NAV CANADA, 2006. Consulted 5 November 2006.
      http://navcanada.ca/ContentDefinitionFiles/publications/lak/OnQc/4-OQ33E.PDF.

Oldham, M.J. and W.F. Weller. 2000. Ontario Herpetofaunal Atlas. Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ontario
      Ministry of Natural Resources. Available at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/nhic/herps/ohs.html
      Consulted Jan 22, 2007.

Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. 2000-2005. Species list for Square 17ML17. Consulted November 21, 2006.
       http://www.birdsontario.org/atlas/summaryform.jsp?squareID=17ML17&sumtype=2ns&start=1

Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Interpretation for Applying MOE NPC Technical Publications to Wind
       Turbine Generators. Consulted 8 November 2006. http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/gp/4709e.pdf.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment. 2001. Habitat Atlas for Wildlife at Risk – Species Profiles. Government of
        British Columbia. Consulted 5 September 2005.
        http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/sir/fwh/wld/atlas/species/spotted.html

Ontario Power Authority (OPA), 2006a. Consulted 30 October 2006.
        http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=795&SiteNodeID=120.

Ontario Power Authority (OPA), 2006b. Consulted 30 October 2006.
        http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=881

Ontario Power Authority (OPA), 2006c. Consulted 30 October 2006.
        http://www.ontarioelectricityrfp.ca/Index.aspx?id=53.

Ontario Power Authority (OPA), 2006d. Consulted 30 October 2006.
        http://www.ontarioelectricityrfp.ca/Index.aspx?id=64.

Statistics Canada, 2001. Consulted 1 November 2006.
         http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/home/index.cfm.

Township of Central Manitoulin, 2006. “Buisiness, Communities, Town Hall, Tourism.” Consulted May 2006.
      http://www.centralmanitoulin.ca/reeve's_message.html.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2003. Interim Guidelines to Avoid and Minimize Wildlife Impacts From Wind
        Turbines. http://www.fws.gov/r9dhcbfa/wind.pdf

Wikipedia. 2006a. “Manitoulin Island.” Consulted 1 November 2006.
       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manitoulin_Island.

Wikipedia. 2006b. “Little Current Swing Bridge.” Consulted 1 November 2006.
       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Current_Swing_Bridge.

Wikwemikong Heritage Organization, 2006. Consulted 1 November 2006.
      http://www.wikwemikongheritage.org/pow_wow/welcome/to_wiky.html.

WWEA, 2007. Consulted February 2007. (2007 dans le texte, changer date de consulation)
     http://www.wwindea.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=88&Itemid=43.


Personal Communications

Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce, 2006a. Personal communication via telephone with Sarah Bowerman. 6
       November 2006.

Popescu, V. 2007. email dated 9 March 2007.

Selinger, W. 2006. Biologist, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Espanola, Ontario. June 26, 2006.

                Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                                    Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 143
APPENDIX 1    MAPS




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 144
APPENDIX 2    ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISATION REPORT




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 145
APPENDIX 3    ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT REPORT




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 146
APPENDIX 4    NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT AND NOTICE OF COMPLETION




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 147
APPENDIX 5    OPEN HOUSE AD AND COMMENT FORMS




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 148
APPENDIX 6    NOISE IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT (COfA-AIR APPLICATION)




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 149
APPENDIX 7    VISUAL SIMULATIONS




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 150
APPENDIX 8    LETTERS FROM REGULATORY AGENCIES




       Mother Earth Renewable Energy Project – Environmental Screening Report – Final
                           Helimax - May 25, 2009 – Page 151

								
To top