A three-year study of birds at Modlikowice WF began in March 2012. The farm area is a flat and open landscape dominated by agricultural land. All of the land used by the turbines is under large-scale cultivation. On the periphery of the farm, as well as between the turbines, there are landscape features enriching the typically agricultural landscape. These include parts of forests, mid-field trees, avenues of trees and bushes along roads and tracks (not in use), and small wastelands and water holes (increasingly drying up).
In the course of the post construction monitoring, the PWEA guidelines (Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Wind Farms on Birds, Warsaw 2011) were followed with respect to the number of inspections in respective phenological periods, the distribution of points and transects and the timing of individual inspections at the points.
Observations were carried out by two persons. The area on which bird observations were conducted in all phenological periods was approx. 25 km2. They were conducted similarly to the pre-construction monitoring, i.e. from three observation points (P1-P3) covering the largest possible area of the farm and at four transects (T1-T4) running between the observation points. Each year, monitoring was carried out in accordance with the rules established in 2012, i.e. with slight changes in observation points and in the course and length of transects. Post construction monitoring was conducted jointly for the Łukaszów and Modlikowice WFs, therefore the results presented below refer to both wind farms.
Total size of bird population in spring was significantly larger in the pre-construction monitoring period (2007: 46,391 specimens, 2008: 50,547 specimens) than in the post construction monitoring period (2012: 11,579 specimens, 2013: 5,434 specimens, 2014: 2,620 specimens). Post construction monitoring, conducted between 2012 and 2015, did not show any negative impact on birds. Annual reports summarising each stage of research were sent to competent authorities as required by the decision on environmental conditions.
In 2014, birdwatching ornithologists as part of post construction monitoring found Montagu’s harrier nests at the wind farm, so Polenergia launched an active protection programme for this rare species of the Accipitridae family. As part of the protective measures, the work pattern was maintained in the following years. The nests were fenced in so that agricultural machinery would not threaten the nests during harvesting and other agrotechnical operations. The birds were also protected from predators by spreading certified scented repellent, which is completely safe for humans, animals and the environment. Observations showed that young marsh harriers from subsequent broods (2014-2020) left the nest safely. Between 2014 and 2020, 60 chicks were rescued and ringed. The above practices were aimed at protecting Montagu’s harrier at an early stage of development, which significantly increases the chance of population growth of this species. Thus Talia joined the action of active protection of this bird in Poland, under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate and the General Directorate for Environmental Protection. It is one of the Polenergia Group’s efforts aimed at increasing biodiversity.
Following the construction of Modlikowice WF, a three-year bat study was initiated in March 2012 to assess the impact of the WF on the local chiropterofauna. During the operation of Modlikowice WF in 2012/2013, 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, the identified bat species composition corresponded to the results of studies carried out before project completion. In total, 7 species of bats were found in the first, second and third year of the operation of Modlikowice WF, of which 5 species, i.e.: Daubenton’s bat, serotine bat, common pipistrelle, Nathusius’s pipistrelle and common noctule, were common for the pre- and post-completion period. Moreover, in 2012 new species were identified: parti-coloured bat and Natterer’s bat, whereas the presence of western barbastelle, found once in 2007, was not confirmed. Both new species were present in the following years, i.e. 2013-2015. Estimated bat mortality for Modlikowice WF at 0.7- 0.8 specimens/turbine/year should not cause significant losses in chiropterofauna population.
Modlikowice WF was put into operation in Q1 2012. Pursuant to Decision No. 76/2011 of 29 December 2011 (operating permit), the obligation to carry out noise measurements and submit the results to the authorities by 10 October 2012 was imposed. Therefore, the post construction noise measurements were carried out in March 2012. The measurements were carried out by a certified subcontractor, BMT. Based on the results, no exceedances were recorded either during the day or at night. the results of the above-mentioned noise analysis were submitted to the competent authorities, i.e.:
- the Voivodeship Inspectorate for Environmental Protection in Legnica (WIOS);
- the Poviat Sanitary Inspectorate in Złotoryja (SANEPID);
- the Poviat Starost in Złotoryja;
- the Zagrodno Gmina Office.