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Best Management Practices (BMP) explain various options that constitute acceptable methods to minimize impacts of wind energy systems (WES). These include, but are not limited to, maintenance codes, environmental protection practices (soil erosion prevention, groundwater protection, habitat protection, and wildlife protection), operational practices, and resource lists.
Site Development and Construction Best Management Practices
During site planning and development, careful attention to reducing risk of adverse impacts to species of concern from wind energy projects, through careful site selection and facility design, is recommended. The following BMPs can assist a developer in the planning process to reduce potential impacts to species of concern. Use of these BMPs will limit adverse impacts to most species of concern and their habitats present at many project sites. Although, compensatory mitigation may be appropriate at a project level to address significant site-specific concerns and pre-construction study results.
1. Avoid locating WESs in areas identified as having a demonstrated high risk to birds and bats that cannot be mitigated.
2. To reduce avian collisions, place low and medium voltage connecting power lines associated with the wind energy development underground to the extent possible, unless burial of the lines is prohibitively expensive (e.g., where shallow bedrock exists) or where greater adverse impacts to biological resources would result.
a. Overhead lines may be acceptable if sited away from high bird crossing locations, to the extent practicable, such as between roosting and feeding areas and nesting habitats. To the extent practicable, the lines should be marked in accordance with Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) collision guidelines.
b. Overhead lines may be used when the lines parallel tree lines, employ bird flight diverters, or are otherwise screened so that collision risk is reduced.
c. Above-ground low and medium voltage lines, transformers and conductors should follow the 2006 or most recent APLIC “Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines.”
3. Use construction and management practices to minimize activities that may attract prey and predators to the WES.
4. Locate WESs to avoid separating bird and bat species of concern from their daily roosting, feeding, or nesting sites if it has been documented that the WES’s presence poses a risk to species.
5. When practical, use tubular towers or best available technology to reduce ability of birds to perch and to reduce risk of collision.
6. Follow federal and state regulations and guidelines for handling toxic substances to minimize danger to water and wildlife resources from spills.
Habitat and Natural Resources
1. Use available data from state and federal agencies, and other sources (which could include maps or databases) that show the location of sensitive resources.
2. For Midsize or Large WES, a mitigation plan to minimize the likely impact to the identified habitats and natural resources shall be filed with any application.
Retrofitting is defined as replacing portions of existing WESs or ancillary facilities so that at least part of the original turbine, tower, electrical infrastructure or foundation is being utilized. Retrofitting BMPs include:
1. Retrofitting of WESs should use installation techniques that minimize new site disturbance, soil erosion, and removal of vegetation of habitat value.
2. Retrofits should employ shielded, separated, or insulated electrical conductors that minimize electrocution risk to avian wildlife per APLIC (Avian Power Line Interaction Committee, 2006).
3. Retrofit designs should prevent or discourage nests or bird perches from being established in or on the WES.
4. When facility lighting is included, use lights with motion or heat sensors and switches to keep lights off when not required. Minimize the use of high intensity lighting, steady-burning, or bright lights such as sodium vapor, quartz, halogen, or other bright spotlights.
Repowering Existing Multi-WES Projects
Repowering may include removal and replacement of WES and associated infrastructure. BMPs include:
1. To the greatest extent practicable, existing roads and disturbed areas should be re-used in repower layouts.
2. Existing ancillary facilities should be re-used in repowering projects to the extent practicable.
3. Existing overhead lines may be acceptable if located away from bird crossing locations, such as between roosting and feeding areas, or between lakes, rivers and nesting areas. Overhead lines may be used when they parallel tree lines, employ bird flight diverters, or are otherwise screened so that collision risk is reduced.
4. Above-ground low and medium voltage lines, transformers and conductors should follow the most recent APLIC “Avian Protection Guidelines” or the most recent APLIC “Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines.”
5. Use of facility lighting at WES and ancillary facilities should be kept to a minimum.
a. Use lights with motion or heat sensors and switches to keep lights off when not required.
b. Lights should be hooded downward and directed to minimize horizontal and skyward illumination.
c. Minimize use of high intensity lighting, steady-burning, or bright lights such as sodium vapor, quartz, halogen, or other bright spotlights.
During decommissioning, contractors and facility operators should apply BMPs for road grading and native plant re-establishment to ensure that erosion and overland flows are managed to restore pre-construction landscape conditions. The Responsible Party, in conjunction with the Property Owner and state and federal wildlife agencies, should restore the natural hydrology and plant community to the greatest extent practical. Site inventories should be conducted by qualified experts to detect invasive plants, and comprehensive approaches to controlling any detected plants should be implemented and maintained as long as necessary.
LIST OF REFERENCES AND RESOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Avian Power Line Interaction Committee, Avian Protection Plan - http://www.aplic.org/
Germanischer Lloyd - Guideline for the Certification of Wind Turbines - http://www.gl-group.com/en/certification/renewables/CertificationGuidelines.php
Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA (INCE/USA) - http://www.inceusa.org/
McHenry County Conservation District, Citizens Advisory Committee, Wind Energy Task Force Report (April 2010) - http://www.mccdistrict.org/
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines - http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/
(Ord. O-201410-10-035, passed 10-14-2014; Ord. O-201601-ZBA-006, passed 1-19-2016; Ord. O-201603-ZBA-010, passed 3-17-2016, App. C; Ord. O-201803-ZBA-10-08, passed 3-19-2018; Ord. O-201808-10-033, passed 8-21-2018)