BOWLING GREEN, OH – Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) hosted an event Thursday morning celebrating the Ohio bald eagle license plate at the boardwalk in Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. Since the commencement of the license plate in 1999, funds from the program have helped acquire, develop, and restore habitats for bald eagles throughout Ohio. Latta was the original sponsor of the legislation in the Ohio General Assembly, and the sale of the license plates has generated nearly $3 million in revenue for conservation purposes.
The funds have helped purchase parcels of land to provide nesting and essential grounds for bald eagles, including 41 acres at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, 261 acres at Big Island Wildlife Area, 20 acres at Grant River Wildlife Area, and a 56 acre conservation easement with Seneca County Park District. Since 1979, total bald eagle pairs have gone from 4 to 221 in Ohio and the nesting area has grown from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Birding in Ohio has an economic impact of $36 million annually.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Jim Zehringer also announced at the event that a new redesign of the plate was in the works.
“The bald eagle license plate has been a massive success in the preservation of habitats for our national symbol,” said Latta. “It’s exciting to see how far we have come in rehabilitating this species, and the next phase of license plates will continue to raise important funding to further this conservation work. It doesn’t get more American than a soaring bald eagle, and the popularity of the eagle license plates means we will continue to see them soar over northern Ohio for years to come. I want to thank all the nest watcher volunteers, the Division of Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources employees, and all the wildlife lovers that have brought us to this place today.”