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Photo by Tom Grey

Conservation Corner July/August 2017

By Shani Kleinhaus and Mackenzie Mossing

 

San Jose Recognizes SCVAS Advocacy

In May, Councilmember Raul Peralez, Mayor Sam Liccardo and the great City of San Jose presented Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter with a commendation for our advocacy work in engaging and encouraging the community to explore, enjoy, and protect our planet. It is gratifying to be appreciated for our many years of advocating for creeks and wetlands, parks and open space, migratory and resident birds, and wildlife habitat. We are thankful to Councilmember Peralez and District 3 Staff, Mayor Liccardo, and City Councilmembers for recognizing our work, and we congratulate our partners at Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter.

 

Shani Kleinhaus accepting the award by District 3 Staff

 

Coyote Valley: Good News and Fun

The proposed “Panattoni Project” is no more – in June, Peninsula Open Space Trust acquired the disputed thirty acres in North Coyote Valley. We strongly opposed the Panattoni development due to potential habitat loss and harm to critical wildlife movement along Fisher Creek. Wins are rare, and we celebrate this one!

 

The long awaited vision for Coyote Valley emerged in June, when Open Space Authority (OSA) published the hope to purchase additional land and to preserve North Coyote Valley for its wildlife habitat and critical hydrological function. We look forward to continuing work with OSA and the community to preserve the valley. We are also looking to further scientific exploration of the valley. For that purpose:

 

  • • We recently published a comprehensive report, “The Birds of Coyote Valley,” to showcase the importance of the valley to resident and migratory birds. (www.scvas.org/pdf/Conservation/The_Birds_of_Coyote_Valley_012017.pdf) 
  • • We are planning a Coyote Valley BioBlitz on August 19th. This event will focus on identifying species of animals, insects, and plants in designated sites across the valley. To participate, please email BioBlitzCA@gmail.com or RSVP at coyote-valley-bioblitz.eventbrite.com. See page 2 announcement for details.

Let’s keep the momentum going! Invite friends and neighbors to join our advocacy list and participate in BioBlitz. Please consider inviting SCVAS to speak about Coyote Valley at your San Jose neighborhood association meeting (email advocate@scvas.org)!

 

Protecting Birds from Collision with Glass: LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s new redevelopment project (on Middlefield Road and Highway 237) would infill a sparse office campus with three additional six-story office buildings, two parking structures, and a four- to five-acre open area. Our concerns arose after reviewing architectural renderings that showed large walls of glass incorporated into the design. We asked the Mountain View City Council to require bird-safe design for the project and several Councilmembers expressed concern. LinkedIn representatives have since promised to incorporate bird-safe design in the new buildings. This campus will join North Bayshore campuses where Intuit, Google, and Microsoft are all building with birds in mind.

 

Electronic Billboards: What They Mean for Birds and Wildlife

The City of San Jose is looking to intensify electronic billboards for commercial advertising in downtown and North San Jose. These billboards contribute to light pollution and sky glow and are also disruptive to wildlife and cast light into nearby residences at night. During the migratory season birds can confuse bright light with the sun, often causing them to collide with building facades. Corridors along rivers, streams, and creeks provide habitat to many species and are especially sensitive to increases in light pollution. We have expressed our concerns to the City and will continue to advocate against intensification of electronic billboards, especially near sensitive wildlife habitat.

 

Advocating for Birds and Nature in Our Parks

SCVAS has long advocated for the inclusion of birds and nature in all parks in our region. When residents are asked to prioritize park amenities, they often ask for nature to be protected and enhanced even in urban parks. Residents also value access to nature and environmental education programs. SCVAS is currently engaged in several Parks Master Plan updates throughout the county, including:

 

  • • The Palo Alto Parks, Recreation, and Natural Open Space Master Plan is now complete and going through environmental review. SCVAS participated as a stakeholder and contributed to the plan’s goals, policies, and programs. We also commented on the Mitigated Negative Declaration.
  • • San Jose’s Greenprint is in the community outreach stage. We are on the Steering Committee for the plan and held an intercept event to gather input from residents.
  • • Cupertino is starting a City-Wide Parks Master Plan and Santa Clara County Parks is embarking on a new Strategic Plan. We continue to advocate for the inclusion of goals, policies, and programs that focus on preserving natural habitat and protecting birds.

The Egrets of Shorebird Way

The Egret Rookery on Google’s campus in Mountain View is bustling with activity. This year, the sycamore trees along Shorebird Way are supporting more than ninety nests, home to families of Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Black-crowned Night Herons. Through our partnership with Google, SCVAS hosted Egret Office Hours every week in May and June to educate Google employees and the public about the rookery. The egrets are expected to stay through summer and we highly recommend a visit to Shorebird Way!