PLIGHT OF MOUNTAINTOP HABITAT
Wildlife Biologists and Natural Resource Managers are expressing their growing concerns regarding large scale wind development and its impacts to sensitive mountain habitats. High elevation habitats are a scarce resource in the Northeast.
My name is Will Staats and I live in the Northeast Kingdom town of Victory, Vermont. make my living as a professional Wildlife Biologist but also run a small guide business in my spare time. I am an avid hunter, trapper and have spent a good portion of my life exploring wild places.
For the record I believe in global warming. It is this very fact that causes me concern about the plight of our sensitive mountain ridgeline habitat. In fact, as the climate warms, these high elevation islands of fragile habitat will become even more important.
Wildlife is impacted by industrial wind turbine development at both forest landscape and the forest stand level. Impacts are dependent on wildlife species, location of the ridgeline and the greater landscape context. At a stand level, forest cover is removed and permanently lost for some species due to the project footprint. Important wetlands are compromised and destroyed during construction. Headwater wetlands, seeps and feeder streams are directly impacted. At a landscape level, habitat connectivity and resiliency across the forest landscape is compromised. For birds and bats, turbines pose a new source of mortality in these habitats.