Monday, October 8, 2012

Help Protect a Globally Important Bird Area from Improperly Placed Wind Turbines


CITIZEN CALL TO ACTION:  Help BSBO's efforts to stop a wind turbine proposed for a Globally Important Bird Area in Ottawa County

We hope you will email your Name, City, State, Zip, and email address (with "RWE" in the subject line) to: ResponsibleWindEnergy@bsbo.org to support our efforts on the troubling issue outlined below. Your name will then be included along with an official letter that BSBO, along with other conservation organizations, will be submitting to local, state, and federal officials.

Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) has learned of proposal to place a large wind turbine at the Camp Perry National Guard facility on the Lake Erie shoreline, just a few miles east of the world-famous birding hotspot of Magee Marsh.   The Camp Perry facility itself includes wooded areas near the Lakeshore that provide important stopover habitat for migratory songbirds.

The site also lies directly between the Darby Unit of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and the Navarre Marsh, site of BSBO's primary songbird banding research station, where we have banded more than 500,000 songbirds over the last 20+ years.  In other words, the site lies deep within one of
the most sensitive migration stopover habitats in the Midwest.

BSBO filed for all relevant documents from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources under the Sunshine Law. The documents show that both our federal and state wildlife agencies have listed multiple reasons why this site is not suitable for wind turbines.  Reasons cited in these documents include, but are not limited to:
- The site's proximity to an active Bald Eagle nest
- The high number of Bald Eagles that have been documented using the area
- The site lies deep within a highly sensitive area for migrating passerines, waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors
- The site poses high potential for impact on the Federally Endangered Kirtland's Warbler and Piping Plovers
- The site is part of a National Audubon designated Important Bird Area
- The site is part of a Partners In Flight designated Globally Important Bird Area
- The site is part of a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network designated area of Regional significance for shorebirds

* And most recently, in their comments evaluating the final Environmental Assessment (EA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ohio Department of Resources basically shred the EA, collectively calling out close to 50 erroneous and misleading statements in the document.

Based on this information, and the amount of data that BSBO's research has gathered to demonstrate the volume of migratory birds that rely on the stopover habitat in this region, BSBO's position is that this site presents high risk for migratory birds and it is irresponsible for the federal government to allow its installation on this site.

I want to be absolutely clear: BSBO is not simply saying no to wind energy; rather, we have expressed a sincere willingness to work with any and all stakeholder groups to develop alternate sites and alternate technologies that will allow us to support Responsible Wind Energy.  We are asking for your support of our position. Since the facility is part of the Department of Defense, there are some issues that we fear could allow them to proceed with this project in spite of the overwhelming comments against it expressed by the state and federal wildlife agencies.

Citizen action can have an enormous impact, and I encourage you to sign on to our efforts.  We met with National Audubon this week and their Chief Scientist has agreed to write a letter of support for our efforts, stressing the importance of responsible placement of wind turbines in Important Bird Areas.  We've issued this call to action to every conservation organization in Ohio (and a few in neighboring states).  Adding the names of concerned citizens will put those in charge of administering this project on notice that our very active birding community is watching, and that we hold them up to the highest possible standards as a federal facility. Here, in this area that is of global significance to migratory birds, we must ensure that the habitat these birds depend on is given the utmost consideration.

If you are willing to include your name in support of our position, please email the following information to: ResponsibleWindEnergy@bsbo.org  and please put RWE in the subject line.

Name
City, State, Zip
eMail address

Thank you,

Kimberly

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting the Call to Action here as well as on Facebook, Kim. I've just blogged about it to help spread the word. I hope you'll let us all know what response the letter gets.

    ~Kim Smith

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  2. Great work Kenn and Kim as well as the rest of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory team! I was watching Toledo 13 News today and they did a quick blurb about it.

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