In early December 2010 the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources posted a proposed “Natural Heritage Assessment Guide” to be used in relation to renewable energy approvals for application to both Crown and private lands.

The Natural Heritage Assessment Guide addresses the natural heritage assessment requirements of the Renewable Energy Approval Regulation and provides technical guidance to renewable energy project applicants by:

  • providing a consistent and standardized approach to the assessment and evaluation of natural heritage features for renewable energy projects province-wide
  • outlining MNR’s established and accepted procedures for completing all elements of the natural heritage assessment including: records review; site investigation; evaluation of significance; and environmental impact studies
  • providing information and information sources related to mitigation approaches specific to renewable energy projects, and pre and post-construction monitoring methods
  • employing an established approach based on MNR’s Natural Heritage Reference Manual (2nd Edition), which support the Natural Heritage Policies of the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005, issued under the Planning Act

Comments were to be filed by January 24, 2011.

For further information see EBR Registry 011-1845. EBR

In November, 2010 the MNR also posted proposed “Birds and Bird Habitats: Guidelines for Wind Power Projects (2010)” with comments closing in December 2010.

The proposed “Birds and Bird Habitats Guidelines identify and address potential negative effects on birds and bird habitats during the planning, construction and operation of wind power projects by:

  • focusing pre-construction monitoring on identification and evaluation of bird habitats to consider potential impacts of wind power developments on birds and bird habitats
  • identifying methods for evaluating the significance of candidate bird significant wildlife habitat and adopting a habitat set-back approach, with assessment and monitoring based on proximity to significant habitats
  • establishing post-construction bird mortality monitoring requirements for all on-shore wind power projects, via an environmental effects monitoring plan; and
  • establishing a requirement for an additional two years of scope monitoring when specified bird mortality thresholds are exceeded

The EBR posting dated November 5, 2010 indicated that pending the implementation of the Guideline, as interim direction, the criteria and procedures identified in the guideline will be deemed to be acceptable by MNR for wind power projects reviewed under the REA Regulation.

For further information see EBR Registry No. 011-0112. EBR