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Rare Owls Could Prevent New Google Mountain View Campus

Article Date: 2008-01-16   Source:   Comments: 0

Mountain View, California, U.S.A. - The real estate market is hitting Google hard but not because of sub prime mortgages.

The Silicon Valley giant is trying to build a new campus on an 18-acre parcel of land in Mountain View.

But, Google is running into a little problem. A problem that stands at just 10-inches tall.

That land that used to be a parking lot for the Shoreline Amphitheatre is home to burrowing owls, a species of special concern in the eyes of the Department of Fish and Game. The animal numbers are dwindling.

The city is leasing the land to Google but it is trying to figure out how the company can live in harmony with the protected animal.

Google plans to build a 3,000-square-foot office space and maybe even a 285,000-square-foot hotel on the site.

But, before Google can move the owls have to move out.

"There's habitat nearby that they can go to and that's the goal," said Scott Plambaek, with the city of Mountain View. "We want them to stay in the general area as well. We have additional habitat already created out there for owls 43 "

Mountain View is adding six acres to a 100-acre owl habitat nearby by the site. It costs the city $25,000 to maintain the habitat.

The city is also spending $146,000 to buy permanent habitat for the owls through an Alameda County conservation bank.

It is an effort to develop while protecting some of the city's most interesting residents.

"I think we do a good job of balancing both," said Plambaek. "We've done past development where we've done development and then created this habitat."

The city is closing up the old burrows hoping the owls will find the new habitat nearby and make themselves comfortable.

But time is of the essence because the animals have until the start of breeding season on Feb. 1 or Google construction will have to wait until the youngsters fly from their nests in August.

If the owls move out as planned by the start of the mating season, Google will being making lease payments to the city on Feb. 1. Google will continue to negotiate with the city regarding the possibility of building a hotel on the site.

Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from and placed here for comment. is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.

Related Articles:
2012-04-06 - New hope for city's burrowing owls by Daniel DeBolt - Mountain View, California, U.S.A.
2009-11-27 - Does city give a hoot about owls? by Daniel DeBolt - Mountain View, California, U.S.A.
2008-01-08 - Burrowing owls vs. Google by Daniel DeBolt - Mountain View, California, U.S.A.

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