Environmental Concerns

Here are some environmental concerns about the proposed Swanton Wind project:

1. Stormwater, especially given that this ridge ultimately drains into Lake Champlain, which already has big water quality issues.  Construction of roads and pads will create large areas of impervious surfaces (i.e. where water can’t soak into ground), and blasting may alter

2.  Wetlands – there are lots of wetlands on and along this ridge, and I note that Arrowwood has mapped some of these and also many vernal pools as well. The concerns will be with filling and/or draining wetlands and/or altering their hydrology (the water flowing into and out of them) as well as any associated natural communities (e.g. different types of swamps and marshes, etc.).

3. Large habitat block – this ridge is included in a large forest habitat block, so there will be concerns about forest fragmentation.  It appears that this area is encompassed in a 4,500-acre forest block, which is fairly significant, especially over in the Champlain valley. Fragmentation of this block, especially if used by black beer and other large-ranging wildlife, could be a significant.

4. Possible deer wintering yard in southern part of project area (mapped by Arrowwood). These areas are necessary and critical habitat for white-tailed deer.

5. Bears?  Are there many beech trees along the ridge?  If so, that would be important to note and protect, as beech trees are considered necessary and critical habitat for black bear.

6. Do raptors (hawks, falcons, etc.) migrate along the ridge?  If so, that could be important.

7. Do bats roost in trees on this ridge?  This could be very important, especially if there are areas of older trees with shaggy bark.  Many bats are now listed as threatened and endangered species due to white nose syndrome.

8. Introduction of invasive species during construction and operation (both plants and animals, especially pest insects).

9. Possibly rare or uncommon natural communities. The ridge is mapped as Cheshire Quartzite bedrock. Given the amount of heavy logging, there may not be many intact natural communities (that is, assemblages of plants), but there may be and it should be looked into.
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