aba events

What’s Involved in Getting Involved: Part I (to be continued)

facebooktwitter

In 1988 and 1989, I fought against construction of what was to be a 300-foot, guyed, lighted cell-phone tower in view of and directly along the path of Duluth’s hawk and songbird migration flyway. This was six years before the American Bird Conservancy started, when cell phone technology was new, and when the issue of avian collisions with communications towers was well under the radar of Audubon, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and virtually all birders.

I won that battle: the company erected a 100-foot unlighted pole to support its antenna, the pole cemented in the ground without guy wires. I believe I am the first person ever to successfully stop construction of any communications tower entirely because of its potential effect on migratory birds. My much less extensive input in two other tower issues in the 1990s was also helpful in the ultimate decisions to lower the height of those structures, but other people led those battles.

In 2011, I helped fight a 450-foot tower that would be constructed right at the edge of the dark sky Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area in northern Minnesota. This time we had a prestigious Twin Cities legal firm representing a powerful organization (the Friends of the Boundary  Waters), and we were armed with all the information that had been amassed by the American Bird Conservancy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bill Evans and his wonderful towerkill.com website.

Despite ATT’s legal team and their hiring Paul Kerlinger to testify that the tower would kill at most just “a few dozen, up to four dozen” birds per year, again we won the battle: the District Court judge ruled in our favor. But in this case, we lost the war: the Minnesota appeals court overruled the verdict and the Minnesota Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

In the coming weeks I’ll be putting together two lengthy blog posts about these cases. Both stories are instructive in the amount and kind of work necessary to fight a single local environmental battle; how birders with different time constraints and areas of expertise, along with organizations and governmental units, contributed to the outcomes; and the powerful forces opposing conservation at every level.

The following two tabs change content below.
Laura Erickson

Laura Erickson

Laura Erickson has been in love with birds since she was a small child. She started birding after she received binoculars and a field guide for Christmas in 1974. Since then, her philosophy of life has been that “no one should go through life listlessly,” and she’s devoted herself to promoting the love, understanding, and protection of birds. She’s served as science editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, rehabbed wild birds for over two decades, written five books about birds, contributed to Audubon, Birding, and BirdWatching magazine, and for the past 25 years has produced, as an unpaid volunteer for several community radio stations, a daily radio spot about birds podcast at http://web.me.com/chickadeewhisperer/FTB/Podcast/Podcast.html. Laura lives with an Eastern Screech-Owl licensed for education as well as her amazingly tolerant non-birder husband.
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Recent Comments

  • Mark Brown, in #ABArare - Kelp Gull - California... { Kelp Gull seen on the Farallons May 24, 2015. https://www.flickr.com/photos/53425647@N02/17462281603/in/dateposted . }
  • Alan Wormington, in Rare Bird Alert: May 22, 2015... { Mottled Duck in Ontario was actually at Hillman Marsh, not Wheatley which is several miles away. Last night (May 26) there was also a GRAY... }
  • Madeline, in Blog Birding #236... { All of us should check the link to the International Bird Rescue blog -- if only to look at the right hand side which lists... }
  • Lucinda Nevzoroff, in #ABArare - Hawfinch - Alaska... { I've been watching 3 hawfinches in my yard in atka alaska, maybe even four. 3 for sure. one female and two males. the fourth one... }
  • Tom Ford-Hutchinson, in #ABArare - Tufted Flycatcher - Arizona... { To clarify the second photo is a photo of my friend Matt Grube's shot of it on the nest. }
  • Older »

Categories

Authors

Archives

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Meet Dessi Sieburth, 2015 ABA Young Birder of the Year May 17, 2015 12:00
    Learn more about Dessi Sieburth, the 12-year-old 2015 Young Birder of the Year! […]
  • Wildlife Ecology Research April 22, 2015 11:35
    Rensselaerville Falls, Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station. July 13, 2014. What: Wildlife Ecology Research Program for high school students entering their Junior or Senior Year. Where: Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station 5052 Delaware Turnpike Rensselaerville, NY 12147 When: Late applications due May 1 by 5 PM, EDT. Session I—July 5-26 Session II—August […]
  • Young Birder Blog Birding #37 April 8, 2015 4:19
    For many birders, February is a month of waiting. After February, the snow will melt and the first Killdeers and American Woodcocks will usher in a parade of exciting spring migrants. […]

Follow ABA on Twitter