16th September 20
By Jessica Howard, The Standard
Hundreds of bird and bat carcasses, including five wedge-tailed eagles, have been detected at a south-west wind farm in the past three years.
The Morton’s Lane Wind Farm is located in the north-west corner of Moyne and comprises six turbines in Moyne Shire and seven in Southern Grampians.
Since 2015, the operator of the wind farm CGN Energy was required to prepare a Bat and Avifauna Management Plan (BAMP) in consultation with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), and to document the findings of a bat and bird monitoring program. The report, which was endorsed by Moyne Shire councillors during Tuesday’s ordinary council meeting, revealed 238 birds and 677 bats were found to have collided with turbines in three years.
The report revealed there were at last 12 species of birds and fives species of bats, none of which were listed as threatened or migratory.
The two most commonly recorded species were Gould’s Wattled and White-Striped Freetail bats, which were referred to as “abundant high-flying bats which inhabit open areas” and were expected to be present in the carcass searches.
Moyne planning manager Michelle Grainger said the report did not show a concerning level of fatality. She said any significant impact would be reported to DELWP and both Moyne and Southern Grampians shires.
She noted the definition of “significant impact” was any death of a bird or bat species identified within a 130-metre radius of a wind turbine, or two or more carcasses found at the same or adjacent turbines in a two-month successive search.
When asked if there was a level of fatality that was considered unacceptable, Ms Grainger said it was “an area that is evolving”.
“It is something which DELWP are developing,” she said.
“When it comes to common species, it’s not really a numbers issue but when we’re dealing with more endangered species, numbers are definitely part of the equation.”
Cr Ian Smith noted five wedge-tailed eagle carcasses were located at the site during the reporting period but Ms Grainger said that species of bird had not been endangered in Victoria since the 1990s.
Read the Mortons Lane Wind Farm BAMP Report here;