Rapid increases in human populations and energy demands have pushed for development of new energy technologies. However, many so called “green technologies” are poorly researched for their safety to wildlife.
WIND FARM DEVELOPMENT
We have research at Chaplin and Reed Lake, Saskatchewan investigating the effects of proposed and existing wind farms on migratory shorebirds. Chaplin and Reed Lakes are saline inland lakes which are recognized as a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance. The lakes host tens of thousands of shorebirds on migration. Increasingly, the shorelines are being encroached for wind energy developments that take advantage of the windswept Prairie landscape. Our research uses the Motus Automated Radiotelemetry network of towers to study the migratory staging and flight patterns of Sanderling as they arrive and depart from this important stopover site during spring to understand risks to migratory species from wind energy.
RUN OF RIVER HYDROELECTRIC DAMS
Other research on Run of River hydroelectric dams is conducted in British Columbia We evaluate the effects of changes in stream flow on American dippers, small riverbirds that use fast flowing streams year round.The dams have headponds with variable water holding times and penstocks that divert water flow through turbines sometimes for several kilometers. Since dippers are well known indicators of stream health, we are studying the effects of dams on river food webs, mercury accumulation and dipper occupancy in southern B.C.