Written by Donna Lueke – Beacon News, Dec. 3 2013
Two environmental issues are at a crossroads here on the shores of Lake Erie. Two of our most prominent natural resources seem to be on a collision course.
Birds and birders flock to the shores of Lake Erie. There is more of a concentration of bald eagle nests here than anywhere in the United States except Alaska. The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways converge near here. Each spring this area is the home of the largest birding event in the country, The Biggest Week in American Birding, which last year helped attract more than 70,000 birders from all over the world. Economic impact studies conducted by Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) and Bowling Green State University show that visiting birders spend more than 30 million dollars in the local area each spring. The internationally renowned Kaufman Birding Guides and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) have made Ottawa County their home.
Energy costs are high in Ottawa County. Here where the water meets the shore, the winds are frequent and strong. Wind turbines are being constructed at schools and private industries all over the area. As a green, clean, renewable alternative to the fossil-fuel-fired plants, wind power is becoming a popular choice. Yet, even with government subsidies, wind power is still an expensive alternative form of energy. The other significant negative with wind power is that birds, especially songbirds, eagles and other raptors, can be killed by wind turbines.