There is a considerable amount of conservation issues that affect birds and their habitat in Eastern Alameda County. Rich Cimino, Ohlone Audubon Society Conservation Chair, is looking for interested individuals to participate in an active East Alameda County Conservation Subcommittee.
Participation would entail communication through email, phones and text messaging rather than through monthly meetings. Rich will continue his role in attending public meetings regarding the issues but is looking for support from interested Ohlone members who are willing to assist with emailing elected officials and discussing issues in an effort to bring an conservation voice to the avian issues that are prevelant in this area.
With an increased interest in providing clean enery and the potential for solar development in Alameda County, the Board of Supervisors has directed County Planning staff to develop a solar policy for Alameda County. Currently proposed large-scale solar developments in eastern Alameda County will impact habitat for several raptor and grassland bird species including wintering habitat for Swainsons hawks, ferruginous hawks and burrowing owls. To find out more information on the policy development and public review process, visit the County's website at: http://www.acgov.org/cda/planning/landuseprojects/solarpolicies.htm
Williamson Act Revisions
A recent audit by the California Department of Conservation of the County's Williamson Act led to the determination that several areas of the act needed to be revised to remain in complaince. The Williamson Act provides valuable provisions to private landowners to keep agricultural land in agricultre and provide openspace. Most of eastern Alameda County's rangeland provides important breeding, roosting and foraging habitat for several bird species. To find out more information on the Williamson Act revisions, visit the County's website at: http://www.acgov.org/cda/planning/landuseprojects/williamson_act.htm
Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area
The East Bay Regional Park District is in the process of developing a Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) for the Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area.
For more information and to review the complete LUPA visit the EBRPD website: http://www.ebparks.org/planning#shadow
More information can also be found on the Friends of Shadow Cliffs website: http://www.friendsofshadowcliffs.com/
Pleasanton Ridge Land Use Plan
The East Bay Regional Park District is currently developing a Land Use Plan for Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. The early proposals include opening new acreage for hiking and birding and building a new trail head north of the existing one on Foothill Ave. in Pleasanton.
More information can be found on the Park's website at http://www.ebparks.org/planning#prlus
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) has prepared a Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Final Program EIR which evaluate ten different alignment, station, and maintenance facility combinations originating in the Interstate 580 (I-580) median at the existing Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station, and traveling eastward to Pleasanton and Livermore.
For more information or to download the Final Program EIR visit http://www.barttolivermore.org/
The East Bay Regional Park District in partnership with the City of Pleasanton will conduct a feasibility study that determines the operationally-required elements, community-desired elements, and engineering challenges to building approximately 1.5 miles of the Iron Horse Trail in Pleasanton, between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station and Santa Rita Road. Currently, there exists a minimally-used right-of-way through the Hacienda Business Park, which could be used for the Iron Horse Trail. Once this gap is completed, bicycle and pedestrian access between the BART station, Hacienda Business Park and area residents will be greatly improved. The project is funded by the District, the City of Pleasanton and by Measure B transportation funds from the Alameda County Improvement Authority.
An alarming number of birds are killed by wind turbines in the Altamont Pass each year. Golden eagles, American kestrels, red-tailed hawks, and burrowing owls are among the species that are affected the most. As a result of a lawsuit between Golden Gate Audubon Society, Californian's for Resposible Energy (CARE), Alameda County, and the wind power companies, a Settlement Agreement was adopted in 2007 to obtain 50% reduction in avian mortality rates.
The Altamont Pass Wind Resources Area (APWRA) Conservation Plan (Plan) is being developed to minimize impacts to birds caused by wind turbine operations, and conserve birds and other terrestrial species while allowing wind energy development and operations in the APWRA. The Plan is a joint Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) under state and federal laws, respectively.
The Plan is the first of its kind in California, and focuses on conserving the natural communities and sensitive species affected by the impacts of operation, maintenance and construction of wind turbines. It is a comprehensive, long-term, and ecosystem-based plan.
Ohlone Audubon Society is a member of the Stakeholder Committee and continues to be involved in the process of the Plan development including document review.
More information on the current Conservation Planning process and the effects on the birds can be found on the following websites: