Boston-based First Wind says that, for the second year in a row, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Biomonitoring and Aquatic Studies Program has issued a report showing that the Sheffield Wind project has not had an adverse impact on water quality and aquatic life of nearby cold-water streams.
The second study spanned from 2006 to 2012 and looked at aquatic life forms as indicators of water quality in five streams adjacent to and downslope of the 40 MW Sheffield Wind project, located in Sheffield, Vt. First Wind says the report measured "biological integrity" – an index of ecological health based on the condition of aquatic life and fish populations – both before and after the construction of the wind farm.
The state conducted pre-construction tests in 2006, 2009 and 2010, during-construction tests in 2011 and post-construction tests in 2012, the company adds.
According to the new report, "Four of the five stream reaches sampled during and after construction (2011 and 2012) maintained an excellent to very good level of biological integrity in the primary biometrics. …" A fifth stream – which was rated "fair" in 2011, in part because of high water runoff due to Tropical Storm Irene -Â improved to "very good," First Wind notes.
The company says the independent state study shows that water quality in the area potentially affected by the Sheffield Wind project has remained at very good and excellent levels.
"We're proud of the measures we put in place to protect the water quality at the Sheffield Wind project," says Josh Bagnato, First Wind's environmental permitting and compliance manager. "For the second year in a row, these test results have proven that the things we did in planning and building this project have worked and worked well.
"With careful planning and construction, along with monitoring of natural resources, wind projects like this one can be built in a way that protects the surrounding environment while delivering clean wind energy with no pollution or emissions," Bagnato adds.