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First wind turbines on Galapagos Islands will halve diesel imports, reduce risk of future oil spills
Date:2/18/2008

irds of the Galapagos Archipelago, the long-winged Galapagos Petrel has been declared critically endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

The petrel nests in burrows where its eggs and chicks are preyed upon by rats and cats, non-native species first introduced to the islands via pirate and other ships. Petrel nesting areas are located in the highlands of several islands, in sites with dense vegetation and soil. In recent decades, the petrel population has been seriously impacted by agricultural expansion and the associated increase in predators and other invasive species that crowd out plants supporting the petrel, particularly the endangered endemic plant Miconia.

Early in the extensive environmental investigation, the e8 project team found that the site first proposed for the turbines, San Joaquin, had active petrel nests as well as Miconia. The turbine site was changed to the hill known as El Tropezn, an agricultural area with no petrel nests and few Miconia plants.

But the effort to protect the petrel did not end there. Because petrels spend the daylight hours fishing at sea and return to the island at night, little was known about their flight paths. The e8 team undertook studies to find out if the petrel flew near the proposed wind project site.

A Bird Review Committee, formed to assess the field testing results, reported that only a few petrels had been observed flying over the project site during the five month study. It was also believed that the petrels stayed close to the ground when flying over hills such as El Tropezn, well below the sweep of the turbines blades.

The committee concluded that although the turbines presented no significant threat to the petrel, some of the birds were being killed when they flew into transmission lines.

As a result, the project buried the transmission line near El Tropezn hill, chose turbine towers with no tension wires and minimized fencing all to minimiz
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
e8
Source:Eurekalert  

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