Bird groups plan to sue Guard for wind turbine violations

By JIM ABRAMS
As we become a greener society, some unforeseen, or ignored, circumstances detrimental to our ecosystems are now being recognized.
The American Bird Conservancy, a leading national bird conservation organization, and Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory intend to sue the Ohio National Guard at Camp Perry for violations of federal laws with the planned installation of a wind turbine on the shore of Lake Erie.
The groups argue that environmental review was unlawfully circumvented, and that the development is taking place in violation of the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
“The proposed development of wind power at Camp Perry ignores the many concerns expressed by wildlife professionals in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources,” said Michael Hutchins, national coordinator of the Bird Smart Wind Energy Campaign.
The groups believes the placement of the Camp Perry turbine would be an extremely high risk to migrating songbirds, especially the federally endangered Kirtland’s warbler, which was nearly extinct less than 40 years ago, only rebounding after costly and intensive management.
According to Mark Shieldcastle, former Ohio Division of Wildlife research biologist and Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory research director: “Long-term research indicates that some of the largest concentrations of migratory birds in North America occur in the Lake Erie coastal region, including Camp Perry.”
“These species, along with one of the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states, use the habitat precisely in the risk zone of turbines such as the one proposed. Long-term monitoring of the active eagle nest at the facility indicates extensive use of the area of the turbine by eagles,” Shieldcastle said.
Shieldcastle bases his statement on more than three decades of migratory bird research in the area, including as project leader for both wetland wildlife research and bald eagle recovery programs for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
While wind energy technology may be an important development, placement of turbines is crucial to minimize environmental impact.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” — Roy Disney.
“Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.” — Anso Coetzer.
Along the Way:
The Division of Wildlife is providing waterfowl hunters a say on next season’s hunting regulations through an online survey. Topics include the timing of the waterfowl seasons and bag limits. The survey is available at wildohio.com and must be completed by Feb. 14.
Hunters need their customer identification number to take the survey. It is found on all Ohio hunting and fishing licenses or at wildohio.com.
Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp customers who wish to provide an email address to receive future invitations can do so by visiting wildohio.com and clicking the Wild Ohio Customer Center.
A summary of last year’s survey is available at wildohio.com on the Waterfowl Hunting Resources page.
Step Outside:
• March 15: Special drawing at the Lake La Su An Wildlife Area headquarters, 09-455 Williams County Road R, Pioneer, Ohio, for young folks age 17 and under who are interested in turkey hunting the area. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with the drawing at 10 a.m. A valid youth hunting license must be presented to register.
For information, contact the area headquarters at 419-485-9092, or the Division of Wildlife District 2 Office at 419-424-5000, Monday through Friday.
• Jan: 25-26: Heritage Gun Show, Richland County Fairgrounds, Mansfield.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via e-mail at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com.

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