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What will it cost to protect our birds?

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Sunday I was out in my cousin’s backyard enjoying the sound of the birds.  My cousin asked about the species of plants that attract them because it was so wonderful to hear them all busy at work to build their nests.

Yesterday I was sent tract conditions as a prelude to design a multifamily housing project in Los Angeles and was shocked to see conditions that I have never seen before.  There was an acknowledgement that some plants and trees will be removed to add the development and the requirement that if the demolition takes place between the months of March through the end of August, then starting 30 days before construction begins, a biologist must survey the premises.  If any native birds or migrating birds are found construction must be delayed until the fledglings have left the nest.

I started to cheer!  It is so great to see that there is a new consciousness around the importance of the life around us.  The beauty and importance of our connection to nature around us cannot be over stressed.  I first wrote about protecting our birds in my newsletter “Choosing Trees to Save Wild Birds”.  When I wrote the article I had many people who emailed me to tell me how they decided to change their tree pruning habits as a result of reading the newsletter.

I also want to speak of the cost of this measure.  I do have sympathy for my clients who are creating beautiful housing for people who want to live in a great area of Los Angeles.  I witness and am oppressed and depressed by the number and types of regulations imposed on any kind of development.  This year many of my projects require that I do complex, costly and time consuming water calculations in addition to the drought tolerant restrictions on each project which limit the type and variety of plant materials that can be used in any one project.

Is it worth it?  You bet!  Just go outside and listen to the birds busy at work and imagine a world without them.  Imagine a world where we run out of water and know that though these measures may seem difficult and costly, we have to understand that when we make changes to the environment we affect everything around us and there has to be a price that is equal to disturbance that we are making to the natural world.

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