May 09 2008

Owl Habitat Ruffles Some Feathers

Published by under Albany plateau,Owl Habitat

An interesting read in the The Journal today:

A conversation project under way at the Albany Plateau has pitted dog walkers and recreational users against environmentalists and local city and park officials.
The project mitigates for the lose of burrowing owl habitat at the Gilman Street Playing Fields in Berkeley… but many reject the assertion that owls used that area and any mitigation is needed.

dog walker and recreational user viewpoint: “The concept of making these areas of landfill, a dump, into preservation habitat where people cannot go, where fencing keeps people out, is really an insidious part of what passes as environmentalism these days,” said Jill Posener, a Berkeley resident who walks her dogs at the Plateau. “It’s really sad.”

Albany Waterfront Committee member, Clay Larson: “I don’t think that there was any real, scientific evidence that there was an impact on the bird…”

local city and park officials: Roger Miller, senior management analyst for Berkeley’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, said mitigation is required…
Miller said, a biologist hired by the city of Berkeley saw one owl in 2006 and a second biologist said he had seen a burrowing owl in the area in 2004.
Brad Olson, spokesman for East Bay Regional Park District said there was no guarantee the owls would move.

Read the full article: Conversation Project at Albany Plateau Riles Dog Owners


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May 03 2008

Jill Posener Shares Her Photos of the Bulb

Published by under albany bulb

Photo Copyright: Jill Posener

Jill Posener posted a great article on her blog – Albany Bulb RIP and a wonderful collection of photos dating back some 10 years where she shares her experiences about a place where she felt she and “many others, could pretend, as we ambled along an unkempt trail a mile into the Bay, that we were still living free”.

It was great to look back in time at a place I discovered just by chance some 8 years ago. But it also felt like I was saying goodbye.

In those 8 years I haven’t missed but one or two days of my morning walks with Toby and Cody. It was my place to get away – a place where I could either find solitude in the endless winding trails or hang out with friends on the beach or plateau. There was always something new and different –  from the gorgeous bay views to strange messages found carved into driftwood.  But that is the Bulb – beautifully, strange – a unique place of imagination and discovery.


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May 03 2008

Where is that Owl?

1 Owl – 8.0 Acres – $125,700

Would someone please educate me on this whole burrowing owl plan. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about the burrowing owl or its habitat – not for lack of trying though.

I can’t find much from the newspapers, council meeting minutes or the waterfront plans.

What I have found out is  The Environmentalists: “ were also concerned about the potential impacts of developing the Gilman Street site because a burrowing owl was spotted there two years ago. No nests were found, however, and plans now call for burrowing owl habitat to be enhanced and protected at the Albany plateau.”

So, okay I got it – A burrowing owl was spotted two years ago, and no nests were found.

Albany Waterfront coalition says “This was a trade-off agreed on when the future ballfields . were planned: It is hoped that Burrowing Owls on the ballfields will choose to relocate to the Plateau.”

Seems that single owl spotted some two years ago is now plural and there is hope they will relocate.

Please someone tell me – help me to understand.

Just where is that Burrowing Owl now? And what are the chances of a successful relocation which would warrant 8.0 acres of land?

Is it simply a matter of “If we build it they will come”?’

I can’t imagine it is as easy as that – especially after reading an article “Passive Relocation: A Method to Preserve Burrowing Owls on a Disturbed Site” – a relocation protocol used at sites in the Bay Area “to relocate birds living in burrow directly in the path of commercial development”. Guidelines recommend surveys on site and artificial burrowns placed close to the burrows to be destroyed.

So far I can’t find anything about surveys or artificial burrows at the site of the Berkeley Sports Fields.

Again, I repeat – ONE owl spotted TWO YEARS ago, NO nests found = Fencing off 8.0 acres of land – at an expense of $125,700? And where is that Owl?!


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Apr 17 2008

Fencing Along Albany Plateau

Published by under Albany plateau

And the fencing has begun!

Everyone I spoke with today seemed just as surprised as I was at the extend of the fencing. Even if this is just temporary fencing for now, it covers quite a bit of the Plateau and doesn’t allow access to most of the area except for a small section near the path leading out to the Bulb.


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Oct 14 2007

Recent Developments Burrowing Owl Habitat Project at the Albany Plateau

Published by under Homeless,Owl Habitat

City of Albany Report: City of Albany City Council Agenda Staff Report
Background: During the planning process for Eastshore State Park from 1999 through 2002, the demonstration of community need for sports fields led to the designation of the eastern side of the Albany Plateau an “active recreation” land use category. This was problematic because of its proximity to the Albany Mudflats State Marine Sanctuary and because State Parks is not in the practice of operating formal sports fields facilities.

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