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Save Shoreline's burrowing owls

Original post made on Nov 21, 2009

Once numbering in the hundreds around the Bay, the western burrowing owl in Santa Clara County is now down to fewer than 40 nesting pairs. In the past 10 years, as many as 13 of those pairs nested at Mountain View's Shoreline Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (63)

Posted by Carolyn Straub and Steve McHenry
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 21, 2009 at 7:48 am

Re: Save Shoreline's Burrowing Owls (Nov. 20, 2009, Opinion)
..."The September staff report to the council does not discuss an environmental impact report or analysis of alternatives for this development....."

This line in the story is key. Why wasn't an analysis done? It seems as if the city of Mountain View has good intentions but no real interest in Burrowing Owls. My husband and I spent a day at Shoreline a few years ago watching a pair of Burrowing Owls - they are so endangered - guarding their hole. No one - no one - noticed us. Is this what we want for our ecological future? A city filled with ball fields and industrial construction - and no traces of nature?
If you think about it, there will be no nature and the skies will be silent if we continue to build and place ourselves first.

Then we will look around and say: we have a nice life but where are the birds? Provide for the Burrowing Owls and change the plan for an athletic ball field to another suitable place in Mountain View.

Carolyn Straub
Steve McHenry
San Jose

Posted by Valerie Simon
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 9:55 am

At a time when we are decimating our planets natural wonders on a global level it seems to me that the opportunity to actually take action at the local level to save a species like the Burrowing Owls is a rare chance to express our commitment to reversing that trend.
I hope the council will reconsider its position and act to save the Burrowing Owls.


Valerie Simon

Posted by Dr. G. William Walster
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 11:11 am

My wife and I live in Cupertino. She is a birder. We often visit Shorline.

I am shocked and surprised to learn that plans could be in place that might negatively impact any native species in Shoreline. This is a treasure! Protecting it must trump all other considerations. Period. No exceptions.

Get ready for a storm of protests if the plan for an athletic field is not scrapped.

G. William Walster, Ph. D.

Posted by Laurel Rezeau
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 21, 2009 at 12:33 pm

The city of Mountain View has a chance to do something significant in preserving habitat for native species. Yes, it's important to have athletic fields for recreation, but surely there's a better place if the city really needs another one. We must preserve one of the last remaining places in this area where burrowing owls can live and breed. It would be a shame to have them disappear from our city when we can do something to prevent it.

I live near Shoreline Park (actually even closer than Rex Manor, but my area isn't a named neighborhood, and Rex Manor is closest) and I go to to the park often to walk and to watch and photograph birds. Having as much land as possible in the park in a more or less natural state is important to me.

Laurel Rezeau

Posted by Debbie Thompson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 21, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Please help preserve a small square of habitat for the owls! The current Mountain View City Council has a chance to make a difference in the future of its citizens and the Burrowing Owls. Owls deserve to keep their historic range in our area. The citizens deserve to see the owl and have it be a part of their lives - this enhances our quality of life in the Bay Area.

I hardily believe that there are better places to build an athletic field - in an area that will have less of an impact on nature and that is closer to neighborhoods to reduce traffic congestion.

A natural Shoreline Park is an important part of Bay Area living.

Posted by judielaine
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I've treasured Shoreline Park as my "back yard" where endangered species and my neighbors, co-workers and my family can enjoy the wonderful California weather and the rich biodiversity of the area. It's wonderful that the burrowing owls can thrive so close to trails: they're happily sharing the ecosystem with us. Can't we find another place for athletic fields and continue to support breeding pairs of burrowing owls in our park? I don't think "City must choose between athletic fields or disappearing species" is an accurate representation: we can find other places for athletic fields and continue to enjoy the richness of the San Francisco Bay ecosystem.

Posted by Marc Fontana
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm

On a recent field trip with a De Anza student group to Byxbee Park in the Palo Alto Baylands we saw ZERO burrowing owls, in spite of all the efforts to provide habitat for them there. If a few pairs are living at Shoreline Park in Mt View, we MUST do everything we can to encourage them. Mitigation by providing space in Alameda county doesn't work. These Owls chose their own nesting sites. Surely there must be other choice for an athletic field - Don't spoil our sensitive shoreline park and SAVE the Burrowing Owls - PLEASE.

Posted by Allen Royer
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I have walked around Charleston Slough, Palo Alto Baylands, and Shoreline for over thirty years. I always look forward to seeing Burrowing Owls. I no longer see them at the Baylands or on the levee between Adobe Creek and Charleston Slough. I enjoy seeing them at Shoreline Park. I also used to see Burrowing Owls at the Sunnyvale softball complex. I have seen only one owl around there recently. For some people I walk with, the local owls are the first live wild owls they have ever seen. It is great to see their excitement. They don't seem as excited about another ballfield. Nor am I. Please continue to preserve habitat for Burrowing Owls.-Allen Royer-San Jose

Posted by Daniel Foor
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm

As a long-time Mountain View resident and frequent visitor at Mt View/Shoreline Park the possibility that the City would not prioritize habit there for a threatened species is beyond me. Please consider that a commitment to biodiversity might actually mean committing to habitat preservation rather than making sports fields *and* that many, if not most, humans in the community prefer this.

Don't let the well-being of the owls be hijacked by private or specialized interests!



Posted by Esperanza Sanz
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Preserving the little burrowing owls today will help conserving the biodiversity in Mountain View tomorrow. They take burrows from ground squirrels. They are predators of other small mammals and birds. They are prey for northern harriers. They are carrion for turkey vulture.

Residents in Mountain View don't realize how rich that ecosystem in Shoreline is and how much we can learn from it.

When developing an area, we need to take into account every single species you find. If you remove one from the food web, this web will collapse... and we are in that web, even though, most of the people tend to think, that we as human beings are superior, and we do not belong to the environment.

We are environment. Thinking beforehand is a must, we cannot delay any longer. Protection of all the species is a need.

Let's make a difference in the county.

Don't let the burrowing owl dissapear from Mountain View.

I want to be proud of Mountain View, not being ashamed of it.

If Mountain View is REALLY going green, and wants to be a sustainable city, needs to look at the whole picture. More development is not more sustainable. Mitigation is not a real solution to the current owl population. Don't let the owls go!

Vivan los buhos!

Posted by Sara
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm

While athletic fields are commonplace, the burrowing owl is a special and unique resource which Mountain View is lucky to have. It is a conspicuous and charismatic creature that everyone can enjoy, and provides a great educational opportunity for the public. Especially because the species has severely declined along its coastal range, these pocket populations are important to preserve to maintain the (genetic) diversity of the entire species population in the west.

Think about it: we are considering wiping out an irreplaceable resource from our backyard to replace it with a piece of turf? In the long term, what is the real cost? Don't think this local population has value? Would you throw out a Picasso you have hanging on your wall and replace it with an ordinary poster, and justify it because there are other Picasso's out there still?

It really comes down to how society - how much the community - is willing to place value on the owls living there. And yet the community's decision may impact the species as a whole. Environmental Review should not be overlooked, especially for a Species of Concern and a raptor protected under federal law.

Posted by Marianne
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I reside in Sunnyvale, a city which has long since decimated its Burrowing Owl population. Mountain View has always stood out within Santa Clara County as a beacon of civic responsibility, biodiversity, and environmental sustainability. It seems unfair that the burden of preserving this wondrous species for our entire County now falls to Mountain View alone. But, alas, that is so. Please adhere to Mountain View's great principles and consider building the athletic field at a different location.

Posted by Ruth Troetschler
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm

I live next door to Mountain View and have been so proud of you because of the protection you have provided to the Burrowing Owls and other birds and animals in Shoreline Park. Therefore I am surprised that you are considering a ball field adjacent to the park which will seriously impact the owls. Ball fields should be placed in residential neighborhoods so kids and safely go there, not miles away across busy streets. Please look for another site for the ball field, and continue to protect the natural habitat at Shoreline/

Posted by Jennifer Drew
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 5:23 pm

As the bay area population grows, I believe it is essential to protect some habitit for nesting birds and other animals. I have walked around Shoreline Park just to see Burrowing Owls. I have not seen one yet, which I hope means they are safely hidden away. I think it is really special that wild owls are nesting within the city of Mountain View. I live in San Carlos and we have pleanty of athletic fields, but to my knowledge we do not have a population of Burrowing Owls. Please continue to preserve habitat for the owls.

Posted by Kathleen Cordova
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm

We love biking at Shoreline Park. It was wonderful to learn that there are still Burrowing Owls populating a small portion of Mt. View. Please do not ruin what little they have left. Every animal deserves a space, especially after what has been lost in Sunnyvale & Palo Alto. Make us proud and chose the little guy!

Posted by Ricardo Zaragoza
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I have been an avid golf player at Shoreline Park now for several years and have always enjoyed watching the burrowing owls on the golf course, I hope that my children will one day grow up and get to enjoy the owls as I have, and not have to see burrowing owls in a photo from some text book like the fate of so many other species from the Bay Area.

This is a great opportunity for the City of Mountain View to do something special and save the burrowing owls for their intrinsic value and also for future generations of children to enjoy.

Please Save the Burrowing Owls


Posted by annelise hartley
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Burrowing owls are precious and a part of our world, they deserve to be here just as much as we do. With out them who will we displace next? Amidst the usual geese and ducks someone can catch a glimpse of something really special and unique and feel excited. please we must care for them and allow them their space.In 2008 74 bird species were listed as threatened and now 5 of those are extinct.

Posted by MaryK
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm

As a longtime birder on the peninsula, I am saddened that the City of Mountain View would consider taking the habitat of resident burrowing owls.

These birds are under terrible pressure from human encroachment on their habitat. They're just birds and cannot respond ~~ the only response we'll see is extirpation from their site should the plan to put an athletic field in burrowing owl habitat go through.

I urge the City of Mountain View, please, create a burrowing owl preserve. Do not take these little birds' habitat: they cannot sustain their populations against an endless onslaught of human habitation.

Posted by nikki
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm

I totally agree that an analysis should have been done first. I live in Sunnyvale and love coming to shoreline park to rollerblade, fly kites and go birding. these beautiful birds choose their nest sites, and by providing space in Alameda does not mean that the birds will go there and nest. shoreline is a wonderful place for our natural fauna and flora to flourish. please, don't leave these birds and a host of other animals and insects homeless. have you ever been evicted from your home and been told that your fate will be decided later while we remodel the area?

Posted by Steve
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 21, 2009 at 8:13 pm

I say turf over the owls' burrows, that way the ground squirrels will have a better chance.

Posted by James Robenolt
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm

I feel it's extremely important to protect this beautiful bird at Shoreline park! Please keep shoreline park the way it is now and preserve not only the owl, but the lovely park by the bay for generations to come!

Posted by Amanda Alsumidaie
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 11:11 pm

To the Staff of the City of Mountain View,
To any other individuals whom this may concern,

I have recently learned a few things about burrowing owls in a class at DeAnza college that you may want to take into consideration.
My class and I went to Byxbee Park in the Palo Alto Baylands. We went there specifically to see burrowing owls and found NOT ONE OWL in the man made burrows that were strateigically placed there for that species.

-Burrowing Owls have proven to be very HARD TO MANAGE, so mitigation is not the best option.
-The owls in question can be migratory however in this area (Santa Clara County) they are not. The breeding pairs of this county are RESIDENT PAIRS. Their young are the ones that disperse.
-Burrowing owls can not dig their own burrows. Therefore they RELY on ground squirrel, badger and other FOSSORIAL (burrow digging) mammal populations for their SURVIVAL.
-There is an average of 11 burrowing owl breeding pairs in Santa Clara County. That is already dangerously low for genetic diversity.
-I have not yet seen a Burrowing Owl in person. I have only seen videos and pictures.

Please, i urge you to consider the information from myself as well as the many others concerned before you come to a final decision. Also please pay special attention to the fact that MITIGATION in this case may very well hold the same weight as the TAKE OF THE SPECIES. They have not responded well to being moved in the past.

I would also like the opportunity to see them in real life. I would be even more thankful to you if when i am fortunate enough to raise children, they can see them as well. Now is the time to make the decisions that will influence the well being of the world that we live in, as well as our survival. Your decision in preserving the burrowing owls' habitat in the city of Mountain View will be greatly admired and appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Amanda Alsumidaie

Posted by Renee Lewis
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2009 at 11:42 pm

It has been my impression that environmental impact requirements in California have been the critical factor in maintaining open space and wildlife habitats. Why is the City Council exempting itself from that effort in this case? Clearly, leaving consideration of the burrowing owls for "later" is not giving them consideration at all.What is there to fear from having an open and comprehensive process?

Posted by dfb
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

Can you say CEQA suit?

It is possible that the city has not reached the stage at which it needs to prepare an environmental impact statement (eis). Either way, it will likely want to prepare an eis since I expect a lawsuit will be filed by someone if an eis is not prepared. Apparently, judging by the comments, the birder community in Santa Clara County is very active.

Posted by Pete Rausa
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm

To the Mountain View City Council,
I spent my high school years in Mtn. View and 10 more years after that. During those years, I spent many hours at Shoreline Park; windsurfing and running along the trails. I really enjoyed
being there and as most people, took the Park for granted.
I am a little older and just a bit wiser. I feel baseball parks and nature settings don't go hand in hand. The baseball crowd for the most part are vastly different from environmentally minded individuals. I am not saying the baseball crowd are not environmentally conscious but I feel it is not a priority for them.
What are the positives of putting an athletic field there? Having an athletic field.
What are the negatives of putting an athletic field there? Pollution, degradation of nearby areas by the use of the athletic field, less natural setting, and of course very important,
no burrowing owls! Burrowing owls are neat creatures. There are very few of them left in Santa Clara County. You can see a FEW of them at Mission College, at their fragmented
habitat. Do the right thing Mountain View!
I am also planning on opening a small business in 2010. I will only consider cities with
a Sustainability Plan.
Athletic fields can be placed anywhere, but not where it is being proposed. Do the right thing Mtn. View!

Posted by Matthew Imwalle
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I've been a Santa Clara County resident for nearly 37 years. In this time I've watch what was once a vibrant community of wild lands and animals dwindle to near nothingness as the tide of "progress" encroaches on these wild treasures. Our Burrowing Owls have had a long history of residence in these areas...these our our neighbors... and deserve proper consideration. We have reached an age where the decisions made over our environment are nearly, if not totally, irreversible. Its is imperative that this council looks to tomorrow believing that protecting our natural resource is the right decision.

Posted by Mary Minow
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Shoreline is a regional treasure. It is essential to preserve it for generations to come.

Posted by Nacho
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 23, 2009 at 9:35 am

It is sad that we always find some excuse (a new athletic field, some other development...) to take another piece of land and displace the animals there. Unfortunately, since these animals do not have any other place to go, because all the other places where they could go are already roads, houses and malls, they just die out. Are we going to repeat the history with the Burrowing Owls at Mountain View?

I think that Mountain View citizens are aware enough of the importance of biodiversity in our local community. We do not deserve excuses to exterminate animals or move the few reminding birds we have to "burrowing owl reservations" where they will not adapt, so they will languish and die. Please, leave the owls where they are and where they belong.

Posted by Rich Schwerin
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 23, 2009 at 10:54 am

During the five years we lived in Mt. View, we always enjoyed walking to Shoreline Park and seeing nature--especially the burrowing owls in their natural habitat.

I urge the City Council to reconsider destroying the owl's natural habitat for athletic fields. Surely there must be more appropriate locations for fields instead of destroying habitat.

Thank you.

Posted by Mona
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 23, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I enjoy kite flying and walking around the lake at Shoreline. I am hoping we can reconsider destroying the owl's natural habitat for athletic fields. There are plenty of activities at Shoreline and I am sure there are other areas close by that can be used for the athletic fields that will not destroy the owls. Shoreline is working at maintaining the owls, why would you undo all the good work that has been done. Let the owls decide where they want to live.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Posted by Michael
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Here's an idea - instead of the a hotel that nobody wants, let's leave that space for burrowing owls! does anyone remember when google was going to build a hotel on burrowing owl habitat? well it's still happening, but a different company is coming now. why is no one talking about that?

Posted by Valerie
a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm

A ballpark would be a disaster for the owls and for many other species in the park. With ballparks, come hordes of cars, kids, garbage, pests, maintenance crews with pesticide sprays (minimize mice, rats, flies and anything else that moves) and that will be the end of the park as we know it! The end result needs to be taken into consideration prior to contracts being awarded. When contracts for projects with dire environmental consequences are awarded without the EIS, this smells of developer influence and improper processes and I am ashamed of the city staff and council for sheparding this project and awarding this contract. This community needs to get itself ready to fight this corruption, if it wants to save this small slice of its treasured biological diversity!

Posted by Laura Macias
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 23, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I know that I am very interested in doing what the city can to help the burrowing owls, their habitat and ongoing protection for them. The initial city reviews (years ago now) of placing the ballparks and fields at Shoreline did not identify this damning aspect of the fields to other councilmembers' and my attention.
I appreciate a recent in-depth conversation about the owls with our own burrowing owl Mountain View biologist. We do need to keep the burrowing owls. Last year at Moffett Field, I saw two owls close up and they are indeed precious and fragile.
It is great to see the support for the owls on Town Square. I don't think the ball fields are an evil plot to kill the owls but the city not fully knowing what the impact was esp on the owls. This is stil fixable I believe.

Posted by owl lover
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm

To the City Council -

My vote is to protect the owls. Please do not consider placing an athletic field in any area that may endanger our endangered native species.

Posted by Austin Anderson
a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2009 at 6:46 pm

What a shame! It was terrible to read this article, I believe Athletic Fields are very beneficial to children but only in the correct location, NEAR WHERE THEY LIVE, not across a freeway, kids should have easy access to them after school, within walking distance.

Must we kill off every other species in the name of progress, when will the City Council be happy, when every part of the city is paved over.

Leave Shoreline Park as OPEN SPACE, we have enough concrete all around us already. Can the City not save the Burrowing Owls, where else in the city is left for them and the many people who enjoy watching them?

Try and do whats right this time, Councilors

Posted by Kristy St. George
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2009 at 7:39 am

An environmental impact report needs to be done before anything is torn down or built. Mountain View needs to save whatever nature and animals it still has in it's area. What happened to Mountain View's General Plan for Sustainability 2009 Report and their commitment to sustainability and preservation of biodiversity? Clearly they are not following their own rules and regulations and apparently do not have enough information to make a good decision for the Burrowing Owl's future. Please don't build another athletic field/park.
Children and adults need nature around them more than they need a baseball field.

Posted by Cuesta Resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 24, 2009 at 8:31 am

I used to live in Sunnyvale close to Mission College. When I lived there, it was an open field and it was full of burrowing owls with Jack rabbits living alongside them. It was so amazing to come out and see the owls and the rabbits living side by side. When they paved the area, that was the end of the owls and the jackrabbits as well. It was very sad to see them go. I do not want to see them be annihilated in Mountain View as well. Please, council members, do the right thing. Save the owls and find another spot for the ball field.

Posted by Debbie Lawson
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

exactly where is the location of the field.

The athletic field is going to be out along the trails? Are they taking out part of the beautiful bayland/marsh/shoreline to put a sports park?

or by the lake or over along the shoreline by the kite flying area?

Is it going where the existing soccer field and basketball court already have been for over a year?

Is it going to be an extension of charleston park which has been there for several years?

or is it going by the amphitheater? The golf course? I think we need to know the exact location of the ballpark - I really do not think the city plans on destroying the natural habitat of the shoreline park to add an athletic field. They do not even have a playground by the lake, why would they but a sports complex there?

It would make more sense to put the athletic field by the industrial area that is along that side of the freeway, by Google, Intuit or some of the other existing developed area instead of out by the bay

Posted by Nathaniel Roberts
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Why must we have loss of open space everywhere, do council members ever venture outside to see the amount of people who enjoy Shoreline Park for its wildlife attraction? I regularly visit the park and walk the trails, observe the wildlife (I have even seen burrowing owls on several occasions) are we going to loose all this for an Athletic Fields Park, with activities that are not compatible with the parks present set-up. Why would I want to visit a park for noise and crowds of people?, I do go to ballgames but I also want to escape from a concrete jungle and find some solitude in nature. I must remember to erase Shoreline Park off my list of favorite places to visit from now on.

Posted by Barbara S
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Shoreline Park is a wonderful area and asset to the Peninsula. I hope that Mountain View city council members will carefully consider their actions and protect the burrowing owls. It is so important to our quality of life that we preserve our natural environment. We should make sure that we do not destroy the last remaining habitat on the peninsula for the owls. Soccer fields can be built in a variety of places, but the owl habitat cannot.

Posted by jean merrigan
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm

A series of burrowing owl preserves along the bay is a great idea, first because it will help to save the local owls, but also as a community resource. The Watsonville Wetlands Watch in Santa Cruz County is a good example of a project that saved disappearing habitat but also became an educational and recreational asset in its community.

Posted by Diana Hall
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 24, 2009 at 5:48 pm

We need natural habitat/environment much more than we need another playing field. What happened to our "green" city? Burrowing owls may seem like a small thing to the city officials, but if you keep taking away habitat, soon we will have nothing left but cement and astroturf.

Posted by Soccer Dad
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm

The planned athletic field is where the current City of Mountain View spoils/corporation yard is located; hence, there are bull dozers and dump trucks running around in this area. If there are any Burrowing Owls they must be on the perimeter between the yard and on the golf course. But what is really upsetting are those who are uninformed and obviously members of the or Audubon Society exploiting this issue for their own cause and more importantly are not from Mountain View! I respectfully request you do so in your own community and stop the sensational journalism on our athletic field as we were turned down from installing lights at Graham Middle School and from any athletic fields at all at Cuesta Park (same issue but this time the Blue Herring). We want the athletic field with lights.

Posted by Sivan
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2009 at 7:01 pm

The owls are a jewel of Mountain View. I live nearby, and I love to visit and watch them. I do not think another athletic field is important enough to destroy an endangered animal's life, as these owls cannot be relocated. Please try to keep these beautiful animals in Shoreline for the sake of Mountain View's children and all generations to have a chance to see and admire them.

Posted by Breanna Martinico
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 24, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I am a long time resident of the Bay Area, and we should have more sanctuaries. We have already lost many of the wildlife and biodiversity that make our area unique. We need to cherish what is still here. If we value things like athletic fields over creatures, then all that we will be left with is strip malls and poorly planned infrastructure.
Thank you for your consideration.

Posted by Frida Leonard
a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:27 am

No analysis being done, that sounds very suspecious and worrisome. What is the city up to? Obviously they will opt for off-site mitigation which will result in a further decrease in burrowing owls, they may as well elimate the entire population while they are at it. The owl population will become locally extinct if the city does nothing to preserve them now.

And I presume they are going to use artificial turf (as its a former landfill), which several studies have confirmed is very toxic due to lead exposure and then they want our kids to play on it.

No wonder they did not conduct an Environmental Analysis, they know the project would be stopped by concerned residents who care about the health of their children and the preservation of burrowing owls and all other animals that would be impacted by the Athletic Fields.

Save the OWLS and PEOPLE.

Posted by Old Ref
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 25, 2009 at 10:57 am


The best way to reduce teenage crime and obesity is to have enough field space so that everyone who wants to has a place to play sports. If you have listened to any of the field space negotiations in Mountain View over the last several years, you know we are a long way from that goal.

Adults who grew up playing sports save us all money in health care if they continue to participate as long as they maintain interest. The protocols for deailing with burrowing owl habitat are very well established here in Silicon Valley. I will agree, from professional experience that individuals do not relocate well. Perhaps the large fee being paid to the sports complex designer can include a habitat buffer zone between the new sports fields and the golf course. Golfers and other athletes would probabl appreciate a buffer as well.

Posted by David Cook
a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

While not a Mtn. View resident,I was born and raised in this Valley and have resided here for fifty years. We are no longer isolated little communities in Santa Clara County that can make unilateral decisions about land use. Shoreline Park is enjoyed and appreciated by many who are not Mountain View residents and Mtn View residents enjoy wild areas such as Ed Levin Park and Alum Rock Park. What makes these places truly special to many are the wild places where native wildlife can flourish.I believe the quality of our human existence can be measured by leaving some places wild. Is Shoreline Park truly wild? No, but the wildlife there thinks that it is. Let's permanently set aside some space for the Burrowing Owls at Shoreline. I applaud the City of Mtn. View for Shoreline Park, and I realize that the City of Mtn View has done more than most cities to preserve wild habitat in Santa Clara County. It is my hope that the people of Mtn View will consider the fate of the Burrowing Owls in it's long range plans for their city.

Posted by Julie Weiss
a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:03 pm

One of the reasons I love Mtn View is Shoreline and the wildlife that lives there. You can't escape Shoreline without an affection for the owls, even if you've only seen them a few times. The owls are a native species that serve an important ecological niche, and I've seen small crowds of people silent together watching, protecting, photographing and then quietly updating each other on the number of owlets and what the parents were doing over the course of the nesting season. When our community's children look back on the decision that Mountain View will make, let's make them proud by prioritizing the value of a species over a ballpark. I'd love to see Mountain View make a commitment to proactively encouarage habitat for burrowing owls as they did in the site close to the sailing station. Let's celebrate and foster the success of this species in Mountain View! There are likely many volunteers who would like to help make such an effort successful and I would be one of them.

Posted by Pati Rouzer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I have lived, worked, hiked, biked and birded in MV for 25 years and enjoyed the wonderful feeling of a wild edge to the City. Please consider forming a Burrowing Owl Preserve for all to enjoy these special creatures and the land they need to support them.

Posted by Mary Murphy
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 25, 2009 at 10:53 pm

I live in Mountain View (nearest neighborhood is Rex Manor)and find it has a wonderful community spirit. Our city has made an effort to reach out to it's citizens in the last few years seeking input as to what we want to see our community become. How fortunate we are to have Burrowing Owls as part of our community when they are disappearing from our valley. The owls only live in certain habitats like the flat open land in the Shoreline Park area, so I would like the city council to consider another location for the athletic field.

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 27, 2009 at 5:56 am

Do we really want to encourage predators like this owl in a habitat for the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse? Let's get the facts first before making conclusions. Small rodents are definitely on the diet of this small bird of prey: Web Link

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 27, 2009 at 7:18 am

According to a description posted about this site, here is a link to the aerial view of the property. Web Link

It is a narrow strip of vacant land crammed between an office complex and a golf course. There are busy roadways along half the site. Why would we preserve this specific area for owls? How many owls will wander onto the roads and get hit by cars? It looks like a perfect spot for some new recreational uses. It has direct access to good roads and VERY little connection with the baylands. Please get the facts before you condemn this project.

Posted by Valerie Baldwin
a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

Why are people so selfish? These little owls were all over the lands surrounding the bay before civilization paved over there homes. There are very few left. They live close to their burrows and eat mostly insects so have little impact on mice populations. We can now take our children to see these few and talk to them about nature and our sad legacy of destroying the land. There are plenty of places for kids to play sports and precious little to balance our children's education. When these owls are gone, they are gone forever.

Posted by Lorna Phillipson
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 28, 2009 at 10:58 pm

As a MV resident and voter, I beleive the remaining nesting pairs of owls should remain intact, unmolested and in their current burrows.
Mountain View has no buses or mass transit to the Shoreline. It makes more sense to develop an athletic field closer to the residential neighborhoods. Plus, didn't we recently read in the Voice that the town is unable to maintain the field on Middlefield Road and will need to charge fees?
Before we spend more money on a new athletic field (which no one in this forum seems to want developed in the Shoreline), perhaps our MV tax dollars would be better spent on the services we desperately need and are already under-funded. If MV needs a new athletic field, it should be placed nearer the people who will most use it.
The Shoreline was develped as a wildlife preserve and should remain as one.

Posted by mv resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:10 am

We went out to this propterty to look at the owls this past weekend = not only were there no owls on this busy corner but since the arial picture has been taken (see weblink from a couple messages ago) there is a soccer field and basketball court taking up over 1/2 of the so called open field. Where were the owl lovers when these were buildt?

Posted by Alyssa Byrd
a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Burrowing Owls deserve a place to survive, thrive, and (hopefully) multiply. Here in California in small cities like Mountain View, we can continue to set positive trends, and encourage the biodiversity that has been forming here for millennia of millennia by giving it space to BE and DO. Protect burrowing owl habitat because it is still POSSIBLE.

(What does biodiversity DO or PROVIDE you may wonder? Biodiversity can provide incalculable benefit via "ecosystem services". Ecosystem services include: water filtration, oxygen production, erosion and flood control, pollination insect and pest control among countless other benefits. Ecosystem services are those parts of nature that are easily taken for granted, yet provide trillions of dollars in benefit globally each year.)

Posted by Cheryl McCloskey
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:55 am

Mountain View should create a burrowing owl sanctuary not wipe out the few remaining owls by building another athletic field. You can put an athletic field anywhere. Help save the remaining owls as their population is declining drastically.

Posted by Daniel Mart
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Daniel Mart is a registered user.

As I've said in other threads, a good, truthful EIR "needs" to be prepared ... I belonged to the group which saved Coyote Valley is San Jose ... basically, a group from De Anza gave proof that the EIR given to the city was full of lies; the report said that no wildlife used the vast and gorgeous open space, which was so far from the truth it was laughable. Coyote Valley provides corridoors and habitat for many different species.

This is where city government scares me.

Is it not ironic that in the name of so-called "progress," man kills and destroys?

Who ever said that the human species is more relavent than other species? Other species have offspring; why are ours more vital? Some argue that our kids matter more; well, I'm sure that if adults had a higher opinion of our kids and actually consulted with them, from what they learn in the classroom and on nature field trips nowadays, our kids would side with the owls.

Posted by Vince
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 1, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I am member of the Audubon Society and support them financially, but I think that MV should build athletic fields at this location. Unfortunately, there is an acute shortage of athletic field space in MV, and the problem will only worsen as more housing gets built.

You might have noticed that Eagle Park is often closed to sports uses. That's because the park simply can't handle the number of people (kids and adults) that want to use it for sports. Other smaller parks sometimes get closed for the same reason.

I have been following the question of where MV might build athletic fields for a number of years, and it boils down to this: the Shoreline location is the only possibility left after many others have been eliminated. Believe me, there is a long history here.

If you are not involved with youth or adult sports, you might not be aware of the scarcity of field space, but it is a real problem.

Posted by Dina
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2009 at 7:01 pm

I also vote to protect the owls. I live nearby and enjoy visiting the park with my grandchildren. Please save the remaining burrowing owls.

Posted by Rebecca
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 2, 2009 at 12:01 am

I moved to Mountain View 5 years ago, and work in the office buildings near Shoreline. A friend told me about the Burrowing Owls - she'd seen them repeatedly when she lived here years ago - and we went searching for them. Twice. The second time we saw a pair....!

This is incredibly exciting. They are precious creatures, about 6 inches tall, bravely standing guard over their nest with serene owl-faces.

Here are pictures: Web Link

Burrowing Owls are owls out in the *day* and terrestrial! They are unusual creatures among owls around the world, even among birds. I'd marveled at them in my bird book for many years, and finally got a chance to see them. This is a chance for us to take care of the rare species in our own back-yards, folks.

Biology and experience shows they won't re-locate well. So lets not fool ourselves.

Sports are engaging and sports fields are valuable civic assets. I can appreciate that if the sports participants are finding fields limited, there's an appetite to look for a place for more of them. But in both places I've lived in Mountain View, I've been literally within 100 yards of sports fields, and so it's hard for me to feel like we're deprived of sports fields.

Sports fields are a functional human creation that can be located in many places; burrowing owls are a unique treasure that we can't re-create, can't re-locate, can only appreciate and do our best to protect.


Posted by Steve Marsh
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Mountain View needs more ecological reserves and should make an attempt to restore the population of an endangered species rather than encroach on the last few remnants of habitable space that remain. Sports fields can be found all over Mountain View and the rest of the south bay and peninsula. I don't see the need for another field that requires mowing, watering, a parking lot, etc. I would be very disappointed and frustrated if Mountain View sacrifices the burrowing owls for a an unnecessary field that would benefit only a few people and be an eyesore for the rest. The majority of marshlands around the bay have been destroyed and buried, I think it is important to preserve and protect what remains.

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