Urban Noise Threatens Dawn Chorus and Bird Populations – European researchers are increasingly concerned about accumulating evidence that urban and suburban noise is having dramatic effects on bird populations. Some birds may be adapting by developing new behaviors, perhaps changing dramatically enough to be considered new species: nightengales sing up to 14dB more loudly in the city (some at 95dB, enough to cause discomfort to human ears), great tits are singing at a higher pitch, and robins have abandoned their noisy dawn (i.e. rush hour) chorus and now sing at night, when it is quieter. Birds must hear each other in order to mate and warn each other of predators. Declining populations of house sparrows (down by two-thirds over the past couple of decades) and overall bird populations (down 20% in the past four years) could be due to difficulty in finding mates, or abandonment of urban and suburban habitat.Source: Daily Mail, 3/26/08 [READ ARTICLE]
The latest AEI Special Report takes a close look (or, listen) to the growing concerns about noise impacts from wind farms. While it appears that only about 20% of wind farms trigger noise complaints, it is crucial that wind energy developers take a close look at these, to assure they don’t repeat the same mistakes.
As usual with AEI Special Reports, the Wind Energy Noise Impacts report is designed to offer a comprehensive yet concise “ten-minute version” of the issue, with links to more in-depth source material. It includes sections on wind turbine noise, current regulation, comments from neighbors disturbed by noise, possible factors in noise complaints (atmospheric effects top the list), emerging technology, and links to industry trade groups, government agencies, and advocacy groups, both pro and con.
To read or print the report, visit http://www.AcousticEcology.org/srwind.html
Some excerpts are below the fold:
Massive Offshore Oil Exploration Planned off Scotland – The UK government has announced the 25th offshore leasing round, a “record-breaking” offering of nearly 2300 development blocks, including nearly the entire coast of Scotland. “This represents the most substantial threat to Scotland’s seas in the modern age,” warned Green MSP Robin Harper, who demanded that UK ministers abandon the plans, and called on the SNP government in Edinburgh to oppose them. Read the rest of this entry »
California Appeals Court Hands Navy Sonar Setback; Supreme Court May be Next – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday night rejected the Navy’s appeal of restrictions that banned high-powered sonar within 12 nautical miles of the coast and set other limits that could affect Navy training exercises to begin this month. One of the key measures upheld by the court was the maintenance of a 2200-yard safety zone, with sonar being shut down if a whale enters that radius; the Navy called for a 200-yard shut-down zone, with power-reductions starting only when a whale came within 1000 yards. Read the rest of this entry »
Hawaii Court Adds Restrictions to Navy Sonar Training – A Federal District Court in Hawaii has issued a preliminary injunction forcing the Navy to use additional safety measures during routine mid-frequency sonar training in Hawaii waters; Judge David Ezra will hold another hearing in April to consider long-term measures. The restrictions are slightly less strict than those imposed by a different District Court in California: Ezra increased the safety zone in which sonar must be powered down by 6db, from the Navy’s 1000m to 1500m, and sonar must be shut down if a whale is within 500, rather than 200m as they Navy planned. Read the rest of this entry »