Action Alert: Protect Birds in Santa Clara

Photo Credit: Guadalupe River Park Conservancy

Note: This action alert is now closed.  Thanks to all who responded.

Next Tuesday, November 13, the Santa Clara City Council will consider the Tasman East Specific Plan, a proposal for a high-density residential area adjacent to the Guadalupe River and across the street from Ulistac Natural Area. Currently, the Specific Plan suggests, but does not require, an open space park along the Guadalupe River corridor. Please email the City Council and ask them to revise the Specific Plan to require an open space park by the river.

What’s Happening:

The Tasman East Specific Plan will turn 46 acres of low-density industrial development into 4500 residential units in buildings up to 200 feet high. Although the City Council has indicated during the Specific Plan process that the plan should provide for open space adjacent to Guadalupe River, this is not required in the language of the Specific Plan. Once the Specific Plan is approved, the plans for the individual parcels will have no further City Council review, meaning that the Council will have no input into where the future open space is located within the Specific Plan area.

Why It’s Important:

The Tasman East area is located directly adjacent to the Guadalupe River, a short distance from the Bay. Birds frequently fly from the Bay, along the Guadalupe River corridor, to Ulistac Natural Area, the 40-acre natural open space area right across the street from Tasman East. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Specific Plan found that due to the high numbers of birds that fly along the river, the risk of bird strikes on the 200-foot tall buildings is a significant and unmitigated impact if those tall buildings are right next to the river.

The Specific Plan already requires 2.5 acres of open space parkland to be included in the design for the River District portion of Tasman East, which is the area closest to the river. If this 2.5 acres is situated along the Guadalupe River, birds will encounter trees and vegetation near the river corridor, rather than residential towers that pose a significant risk of bird strikes.

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