SOS November and December 2017 Newsletter

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Action Items for November/December 2017:

  1. Join SOS for an update this week: Wednesday November 29th from 7-8 p.m. at the White Birch in Lyndonville
    Come to this informal gathering, an opportunity for you to bring your questions and have a conversation with other SOS supporters about the status and next steps in the local opposition to Apex’s Lighthouse Wind project.

  2. Ask family and friends to write to the Department of Public Service and let them know your concern about birds or any of the other health and safety issues raised regularly on our website and Facebook page. Choose an issue and write a letter:

    Note that there are people who do not have regular connection with the Yates and Somerset towns who are writing with generalized statements in favor of the Lighthouse Wind project. Letters from residents or visitors with specific examples of concerns will have significant value. For example, your experience with the quiet nights, dark skies, flocks of birds flying during all seasons of the year, tourism, visitors, choice of a rural area for retirement or family residence are all personal knowledge that can inform the five “non-local” siting board members. Please include your connection with the towns and then direct comments to the siting board without reference to other people’s comments.


Birds: Appreciation and Protection

The Towns of Somerset and Yates are rich in bird life, both on land and in the waters of Lake Ontario, Johnson and Oak Orchard creeks, and the multitude of streams and ponds in the area. The proposal to build up to 70 industrial wind turbines that will rise over 600 feet into the sky with blades over 200 feet long makes it imperative that we understand the potential impact to our land, our lives and the local wildlife. One key concern is the intention of Lighthouse Wind to install turbines directly in the path of the major bird flyway along the Lake Ontario shore. The local and migrating raptor population in our area is directly threatened by wind turbine installations, the increase of which in the U.S. has led to a growing number of birds killed by colliding with the blades of the turbines.

The Lighthouse Wind project has been named one of the 10 worst-sited wind projects, either built or proposed, in the nation by the American Bird Conservancy because of its proposed location in a globally important bird migration path. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released a report in July 2016 on their radar study of migratory birds in the Lighthouse Wind proposed project area. The study summarized in part: “Our data demonstrate that the shoreline areas of Lake Ontario are important for migrating birds and bats. We have identified behaviors that concentrate migrants along the shoreline, demonstrated that these behaviors occur regularly throughout the season, and established that migrants are flying at altitudes that place them at risk of collision with current or future wind energy development in the area. The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our study, highlights the need to avoid these areas as migration corridors as recommended in the Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (USFWS 2012).”


What Can We Do? Migrating and local species can be seen and appreciated throughout the year. Consider participating in one or more winter bird counts conducted during the next few months:


Project FeederWatch: The Cornell Lab sponsors Project FeederWatch, a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders in backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. Anyone interested in birds can participate. New participants are sent a Research Kit with complete instructions for participating, as well as a bird identification poster and more. You provide the feeder(s) and seed.



The Great Backyard Bird Count: The Great Backyard Bird Count is a popular event where people collect information on bird populations all over the world. It’s free and easy to participate. The 21st GBBC will be held Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19, 2018. In addition to the count there is a photo contest with many of those sent in displayed on their website. The eBird mobile app is available and allows you to enter eBird observations from anywhere in the world. You can upload both photos and sound recordings. Sightings of owls, eagles, other rarities can be added to e-Bird at any time: This link shows data compiled from the 2016- 2017 count: The 2017 Great Backyard Bird Count was the largest in its 20-year history.

Lakeshore Waterfowl: Each January, members visit lakes, rivers and shorelines to count waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans, loons, grebes, etc.).  New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) has conducted this survey annually since 1955. In most years, more than a quarter of a million birds are tallied.  The DEC has acknowledged this to be a useful survey for long-term monitoring of waterfowl populations wintering in New York.  The count will always begin the Saturday just before Martin Luther King Day. For 2018 the target date is Sunday, January 14.

The Christmas Bird Count: Organized by the Audubon Society, this count takes place in specifically designated areas. Audubon's 118th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted this coming season, with designated areas for the count. The closest are Wilson - Lake Plains Christmas Bird Count, to be held Saturday, December 16, and the Oak Orchard Swamp Christmas Bird Count on Thursday, December 28. See the map on the website to find the contact information for the compilers.

The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge headquarters and visitor center is located at 1101 Casey Road, one mile north and west of the Alabama traffic light, which is at the intersection of Highway 63 and Highway 77 in Alabama. The phone number is (585) 948-5445. The refuge has a number of programs throughout the year for youth and adults as well as self-guided activities. The Wildlife Observation handout included below gives instruction on using their lookout points.


Click here for the 2017 Town Board Meetings

Don't forget to post your comments to the PSC:…/MatterManage…/CaseMaster.aspx…

If you need a subject to write about, check out our talking points on our web site:

SOS is 100% funded by generous local individuals. Please consider joining this work by giving what you can. SOS is a not for profit corporation and it is not a tax exempt organization, so donations are not deductible for tax purposes.

Checks can be sent to:
Save Ontario Shores, Inc.
PO Box 216
Lyndonville, NY 14098

We have also added a donate button to our web site.


The TAKE ACTION NOW page on our web site is a step by step guide to help you participate in our fight against the installation of industrial wind turbines in our community!

For the very latest news, please check our Facebook page:
Save Ontario Shores Facebook
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