From Ashley Feeney
Assistant City Manager
Assistant City Manager Ashley Feeney issued a response to emails and public comments that were critical of a city decision on burrowing owl habitat at Mace 25. In a message, he stated:
1) There is no habitat easement or official destination for the property or policy direction that ensures the property is safe or managed for owls to live;
2) It would be irresponsible to promote a sensitive wildlife species to use a site where they could potentially be placed in harm’s way (i.e. an adjacent development application is under review where, though not agreed to, a portion of the property is being sought for an ag buffer;
3) Our wildlife biologist, John McNerney, recommends a passive deterrent through not mowing the property, which would encourage the owls to relocate to more suitable habitat that is actively managed, like the nearby Wildhorse Ag buffer;
4) The area the owls have been using is right next to Mace, which is a terrible place for young chicks.
It would be better to have them move to a safer area that doesn’t risk vehicle mortality or potential artificial relocation mortality.
Our staff is looking out for the long-term health of the species through thoughtful decision making.