Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bay of Fundy Hawk Watch - Quoddy

Todd Watts posts information on hawk migration at Greenlaws Mountain near St. Andrews. This shows up regularly on the Nature NB Listserv. We think that it is worth following and will be posting his observations and others that some along here, as comments.

If you know of other hawk areas around the Bay, please let us know and we will post your information as well. If you like birds and nature, consider the Nature NB listserv as a source of information. Some of the best birders in the area contribute and it will help you find local clubs and groups.


New Bay of Fundy Hawk Heaven for Birders

I've long tried to convince local tourism operators that Chamcook and Greenlaw Mountains near St. Andrews were great locations to attract serious birders. Didn't work ... mostly they glazed over, apparently not fully realizing that birders are passionate, travellers of the kind that support sustainable tourism.

Now, along comes Todd Watts, an artist and avid birder who actually goes there and records what's happening in a very convincing way. Presto, we have a "new" important site; maybe on the same level as Brier Island where the fall hawk migration is world renowned. Add this to our natural beauty, the whales, seals, and other spectacular bird locations around the Bay and we are building "critical mass" as they say ... drawing attention to the importance of the Quoddy "eco-economy" a vibrant natural economy based on our natural resources, not heavy industrial development.

Thanks to Todd for bringing this to our attention. I'll try to post new information here as it becomes available.

You owe it to yourself to visit Todd's website for more fabulous folk carvings like the one I borrowed for this article. Thanks Todd.

Art MacKay

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fishermen Concerned about Tidal Power

Energy Only tests will reveal if power generation and fishing industry compatible, expert says

Studies are needed to test how much energy the water of the Bay of Fundy can produce, and at what cost, says a tidal power expert.

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Kate LeBlanc/Telegraph-Journal
‘You don’t know to what extent (the fish will be affected) until you can have a good model ... of what the disturbed (water) flow might look like,’ says George Hagerman of the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute. ‘Those are studies that should be undertaken.’
But members of the fisheries industry say the impact the in-stream turbines could have on their livelihood needs to be studied as well.
George Hagerman, senior research associate at Virginia Tech's Advanced Research Institute says not only does tidal power address the environmental issues of other methods of generating power but it is also more predictable.
"The advantage of any renewable resource compared to a fossil fuel resource is you're not subject to price volatility," he says.
Hagerman was brought in to Saint John by the Department of Energy to provide an overview of the tidal energy industry at an info session for Bay of Fundy Stakeholders, who were also given a forum to air concerns.
Because of the consistency of tidal power, energy companies can "schedule their other generation sources to match what they know will be coming out of the tidal power plants," Hagerman says. "They'll know for weeks in advance what the tidal power plant will put out."
Hagerman is waiting on studies to see how the cost of tidal power generation in New Brunswick would stack up against coal and fossil fuels.
"We know for example in Minus Passage (Nova Scotia), we've done a desktop study that suggests you can be competitive," he says.
But cost effectiveness isn't the only concern for tidal power in New Brunswick.
Maria Recchia, executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen's Association, which represents inshore fishermen from St. Martins to the Maine border, is worried about potential turbines scaring off the fish responsible for her members' livelihood.
"Herring are very sensitive to noise and lights and movement," she says.
Hagerman understands that concern.
"You don't know to what extent (the fish will be affected) until you can have a good model ... of what the disturbed (water) flow might look like," says Hagerman. "Those are studies that should be undertaken."
He says it may be a year or two before such study results could be ready.
Recchia wants the fishing community to be involved in the research from the beginning.
"I think we need to not just look at areas where you can make the most money with tidal power, but look at areas where ecologically it would be the most benign and economically as far as the other industries operating in the area," she said.
She is concerned a potential tidal power industry in the Bay of Fundy would simply be pushing out the fishing industry which she says is doing quite well there.
"We need to be able to find a way to allow those (industries) to functions and you can add on tidal power, as opposed to tidal power instead of."
Hagerman says all studies will be done on computers to simulate the effects of the disturbance instead of creating a real one. A turbine will eventually have to be put in the water and new information could be learnt from that process, but he is confident they'll have addressed most of the issues by that time.
"We'll be able to get a lot of good information from what's out there to physically validate what these models are predicting," says Hagerman, siting turbines in Nova Scotia and New York's East River.