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Watchdog groups slate wind-energy forums

Two wind-energy watchdog groups have planned seminars for people who want to learn more about their views.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory – northwest Ohio’s largest birding group – is to be host for a forum at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, 14000 West State Rt. 2 north of Oak Harbor, Ohio.

And on Feb. 5, the newly formed Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition – created in response to wind-farm proposals in southeastern Lenawee County, near the Michigan-Ohio state line – is having an event from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Blissfield Middle School cafeteria, 1305 Beamer Rd., Blissfield, Mich.

At the birding organization’s event, attendees will hear how birds can be killed directly by turbine blades or encounter life-threatening circumstances by being thrown off course or trying to avoid the machines.

“And, of course, we are concerned about bat mortality as well,” the group’s executive director, Kimberly Kaufman, wrote.

Western Lake Erie is critical stopover habitat for thousands of migratory birds, from tiny songbirds such as the globally rare Kirtland’s warbler, to bald eagles, hawks, and other large raptors.

Ms. Kaufman said the group aims to better promote the region’s value as an eco-tourism destination. Birding peaks in May, when thousands of people from across the country visit the western Lake Erie shoreline. They contribute $19 million to the region’s economy in just that month, she said.

Several government agencies and wildlife groups are expected to have representatives there.

The Feb. 5 meeting is sponsored by the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, which is opposing plans for wind farms that three developers have made in Riga, Ogden, Palmyra, and Fairfield townships in southeastern Lenawee County.

The all-day seminar is titled “Living in the Grid: Industrial Wind Turbines and You.”

Speakers are to address a variety of wind-related issues, including property values and noise.

Several local officials have been invited, including those involved with drafting an ordinance for wind turbines in Riga Township.

The proposed document is seen as one that other townships might use as a model for similar ordinances.

For more information on the event, e-mail InterstateInformedCitizens@gmail.com or call 866-699-5824.