Any Ohio resident would hope when challenged, the Ohio National Guard would be able to stand up to any foe.
But maybe not this time.
The Guard’s opponent this time is a nation – not just a state – of bird enthusiasts who are just as determined to win the battle.
The controversy has been over the Guard’s insistence on constructing a wind turbine at Camp Perry along the Lake Erie shore in the western basin. The only problem is those huge spinning blades would be right in the path of bird migration to and from Canada in the spring and fall.
In addition, there are about 60 bald eagle nests around the western basin, including one on the Camp Perry grounds.
The ONG, however, is continuing the project, saying the turbine would provide a considerable amount of the energy it needs to run the camp.
Birders, for the most part, are people who believe in green energy, including that from wind turbines – just not in the middle of one of the most important bird migration flyways on the planet.
This controversy has been going off-and-on for several years. Now, with the project apparently going ahead, two bird groups promise to sue in federal court if that happens. They say the project will be 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, all federal.
If you are talking about birds in Ohio, especially around Lake Erie, there is no more respected expert than Mark Shieldcastle. I have heard him speak several times and have interviewed him for a number of stories. For years before his retirement from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, he headed up the bald eagle project and was even the leader of the annual goose banding at Grand Lake St. Marys. Believe me, nobody knows birds better than Shieldcastle.
“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,” Shieldcastle said in a news release. “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.”
I believe the ONG could relocate the turbine and even add a couple more and still get the power it needs. After all, if a wind farm in Van Wert (along the Indiana border) can produce large amounts of energy for the Ohio State campus in Columbus, the ONG could get its energy from turbines located a few miles away, inland and out of the flyway and concentration of eagles.
To me, this seems like a pride thing. Those ONG officers aren’t going to let a bunch of bird watchers push them around.
Perhaps a federal court will.
Caesar Creek Lake being lowered
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporarily lower the level of Caesar Creek Lake by 10 feet to allow for an archaeological study to be conducted as part of the planned marina construction.
The drawdown, started last week, would be at a daily rate of 8 inches and reach the target level by Feb. 5. The archaeological study will be concluded by March 19, when the lake will be allowed to begin returning to its normal level.