This is really sad. The City of Berkeley, and the Golden Gate Audubon Society, have been working really hard to preserve their tiny remaining population of burrowing owls (three in Cesar Chavez Park, two in the adjacent Eastshore State Park). At the same time, over in Antioch, a developer is “evicting” burrowing owls (by installing one-way, outward-only gates on their burrows) in preparation to fumigating to kill all of the ground squirrels there, to make way for a big housing development. Read more about it at “the birder’s report”. At the least, there should be some kind of required mitigation to try to compensate for the loss of habitat for these birds, which are a “species of special concern” of the State of California because of rapid population decline. Please write to John McCamman the director of the California Department of Fish and Game, with a cc to Regional Director Chuck Armor email@example.com. At this point they are not going to stop the project but it may not be too late for them to require mitigations; also, it is very important that they know that people out here in the real world notice and care when they drop the ball like this.
[Note added 1/5/09: I just got a request from the Department of Fish and Game, to remove the name and contact information of the DFG’s local representative, Susan Gilmore. As you can see here, I have removed the contact info but not the name; people who make important decisions should be accountable for them. But there’s no point overwhelming her with messages if she’s not going to read them or is not supposed to read or respond to them, and I assume that’s the case here.]