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San Diego Audubon knocks city's density maps

What about the birds who fly into high-rises?

Rose Canyon trail
Rose Canyon trail

Hundreds of threatened animal species live in neighborhoods where the city wants to build more housing and trails for humans.

Where will the non-humans go?

Blueprint SD, an update to San Diego's general plan, is supposed to take care of environmental protection.

But critics say the draft plan and its environmental impact report, which goes before the planning commission on Thursday (May 30), fails to protect one of San Diego's most important resources in the fight to curb climate change: its biodiversity.

Critics seek a raft of changes.

Non-native villains: Canary Island and Mexican Fan palms

These would be guided by what San Diego Audubon Society calls "ecological urbanism." Fostering microhabitats that attract diverse species, for example, would go hand in hand with the city's goal of "enhancing visual diversity of neighborhoods."

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Right now, the focus is on linking open spaces through trails for public use, says a comment from San Diego Audubon. "What is missing is the principle of establishing connectivity for animals, birds, and plants."

San Diego's Multiple Species Conservation Program was enacted in 1997 to preserve habitats and wildlife. However, Blueprint shouldn't relegate conservation to specific protected areas, Audubon says.

Instead, it should combine ecological design and human recreation and development plans. For example, as buildings get taller to accommodate more homes, there's the collision-factor to consider, which kills one billion birds annually, according to the group. They also recommend Dark Sky standards for lighting.

"Light pollution harms birds and other pollinators, yet gets scant attention in the Blueprint's development guidelines."

The city's plan does not re-zone areas for higher density, but maps out where growth is needed for the city to meet its climate goals. Downtown, Hillcrest, and North Park are among these "climate smart village areas," as are the slower growing neighborhoods of Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Logan Heights.

Friends of Rose Canyon, another group critical of the draft plan, says Blueprint only studied the smart village areas, where development is already concentrated. Plus, the proposed University Community Plan Update calls for plantings of four tree species invasive in San Diego County (Evergreen Ash, Chinese Elm, Red River Gum, and Mexican Fan Palm). In addition, the city’s plan calls for extensive plantings of the exotic Canary Island Palm to “create a sense of place.”  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had numerous concerns of its own, including the intensity of recreational uses in the preserve areas. 

One thing Blueprint gets right, according to Audubon, is its treatment of existing wetland, vernal pools and other water  habitats.

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Rose Canyon trail
Rose Canyon trail

Hundreds of threatened animal species live in neighborhoods where the city wants to build more housing and trails for humans.

Where will the non-humans go?

Blueprint SD, an update to San Diego's general plan, is supposed to take care of environmental protection.

But critics say the draft plan and its environmental impact report, which goes before the planning commission on Thursday (May 30), fails to protect one of San Diego's most important resources in the fight to curb climate change: its biodiversity.

Critics seek a raft of changes.

Non-native villains: Canary Island and Mexican Fan palms

These would be guided by what San Diego Audubon Society calls "ecological urbanism." Fostering microhabitats that attract diverse species, for example, would go hand in hand with the city's goal of "enhancing visual diversity of neighborhoods."

Sponsored
Sponsored

Right now, the focus is on linking open spaces through trails for public use, says a comment from San Diego Audubon. "What is missing is the principle of establishing connectivity for animals, birds, and plants."

San Diego's Multiple Species Conservation Program was enacted in 1997 to preserve habitats and wildlife. However, Blueprint shouldn't relegate conservation to specific protected areas, Audubon says.

Instead, it should combine ecological design and human recreation and development plans. For example, as buildings get taller to accommodate more homes, there's the collision-factor to consider, which kills one billion birds annually, according to the group. They also recommend Dark Sky standards for lighting.

"Light pollution harms birds and other pollinators, yet gets scant attention in the Blueprint's development guidelines."

The city's plan does not re-zone areas for higher density, but maps out where growth is needed for the city to meet its climate goals. Downtown, Hillcrest, and North Park are among these "climate smart village areas," as are the slower growing neighborhoods of Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Logan Heights.

Friends of Rose Canyon, another group critical of the draft plan, says Blueprint only studied the smart village areas, where development is already concentrated. Plus, the proposed University Community Plan Update calls for plantings of four tree species invasive in San Diego County (Evergreen Ash, Chinese Elm, Red River Gum, and Mexican Fan Palm). In addition, the city’s plan calls for extensive plantings of the exotic Canary Island Palm to “create a sense of place.”  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had numerous concerns of its own, including the intensity of recreational uses in the preserve areas. 

One thing Blueprint gets right, according to Audubon, is its treatment of existing wetland, vernal pools and other water  habitats.

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