aba events
Nikon Monarch 7

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

    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

    Categories

    Authors

    Archives

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

    • Book Review: The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition June 25, 2014 6:30
      In 2000, the birding world greeted the arrival of the revolutionary new Sibley Guide to Birds. Now, 13 years later, we welcome the long awaited updated second edition of our favorite field guide. […]
    • Meet Chloe Walker: 2014 ABA Young Birder of the Year June 17, 2014 8:51
      Although I "officially" started birding when I was eleven, my interest in birds began when I was nine. I remember taking my mom's camera outside and just "playing around" with it. […]
    • Open Mic: Fruits of the Future June 13, 2014 6:56
      It was a winter morning, the cloudy skies blocked out the brilliance of the sun. A chilly wind ran through the treetops like a group of mad, fast-moving invisible Capuchin monkeys. The branches of a nearby tree were shaking uncontrollably and the delicate stems could not support the weight of its leaves and blooming flowers. […]

    Follow ABA on Twitter

    Nature Blog Network