PORT CLINTON – Because of new developments, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory is more opposed than ever to a proposed wind power turbine at Camp Perry in Ottawa County, said Kim Kaufman, Black Swamp’s director.
Since the project was delayed by a new study in 2014, “the density of nesting bald eagles has increased in the area,” Kaufman said.
In addition, the sandhill crane is making a comeback in the area, she said.
“Sandhill cranes are an endangered species in Ohio,” Kaufman said.
The proposed 600-kilowatt wind turbine at Camp Perry was funded by a $1.5 million earmark from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, a “green energy” proponent. It would stand about 200 feet tall.
In 2014, after the American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Observatory threatened a lawsuit, the Air National Guard put the Camp Perry wind turbine on hold and announced it would carry out a new study of the project’s impact on wildlife.
Kaufman told the Register she is convinced Camp Perry officials are trying to revive the project.
Camp Perry had already bought the machine and had installed the base for the turbine when the project was halted, she said.
“I knew this thing was going to come back at some point,” she said. “They already have a turbine, they have already spent the money.”
A spokesman for the National Guard told the Register that nothing has changed.
“Right now, the project study is still ongoing. It’s with the Air Force,” said Major Dan Roche, director of government and public affairs for the Ohio National Guard.
Roche said he doesn’t know when the study will be finished.
Kaufman said her organization will go to court to try to block the wind turbine if any aspect of it is illegal.
“If we feel they’ve violated any law whatsoever, we will absolutely pursue legal action,” she said. “We are going to do anything we can to stop this turbine.”
The Ohio Division of Wildlife has an entry about the sandhill crane on its website.
“The sandhill crane is among the oldest living species of birds, dating back 2.5 million years. Today, it is an endangered species in Ohio,” the text at the website says.
Only about 25 breeding pairs have been seen in Ohio in recent years, the website says. It says that the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ottawa County offers one of the best viewing opportunities to spot the bird.
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