Google wants to keep its employees healthy, and not just by encouraging them to take the Shweeb to work. It planned on turning one of its Mountain View properties into a recreational area, complete with a soccer field, basketball court, disc golf area, and horseshoes and bocce ball pitches. To ease the pain after a long day of physical activity, they also planned a barbecue area for the site. The problem is that the area is home to the burrowing owl. In fact, it is only one of three areas in the county where the species now lives. “Do no evil,” as the saying goes.
Mountain View has, however, come up with a solution. Encouraged by the local Audobon Society, City Council asked Google to pay $10,000 to local owl protection efforts, then upped the sum to $20,000. They have also asked for several concessions, including signage at the site explaining why dogs are not allowed there. The city disagreed with the Audobon Society over scrapping the barbecue area.
An environmental report for the site agrees that this could mitigate the problem, “The loss of foraging habitat and potential nesting habitat at this site would be a significant impact but this impact has already been mitigated through the creation and management of 19.5 acres of burrowing owl habitat north and east of the project site.” With the compromise in place, owls will be free to forage, Google employees will be free to play, and at the end of the day, both owls and people will be able to eat.
Read More at the Mountain View Voice.