I went on the tour of the Eco Gem and Wild Gardens Play area in North Bayshore. My focus and main interest, to be perfectly honest, is the birds and nature in the area. I know there are many aspects to the project, new housing, affordable housing, new office space, an elementary school, bike lanes, trails, and hotels, and I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to learn more about each of those, but right now but the one thing that seems the most exciting to me is the new open space that is being created. Buildings and asphalt are being removed and Mother Nature will be allowed to take over. There will be 10 acres of immersive habitat and nature areas.
Non-native trees, many of which are dying and dead, will be removed and replaced with the native California plants and trees. The birds that live along the bay, in the wetlands, don’t hang out in redwood trees. Those birds want cottonwood, willows and oaks and an intentional palette of native plants will establish structural complexity needed for local wildlife habitat and will create space for biodiversity in the urban matrix. I can’t wait.
There will be a 6 acre habitat for egret rookery and 5 acres of neighborhood parks, and 13 acres of Google-owned land permanently dedicated to the City for new natural areas and recreational space places where people and nature can come together. I met the team of ecology specialists that are designing the habitat areas and listened to them talk about how urban green spaces have profound benefits for human health and for many of us are the dominant way we experience nature. In addition to the benefits they provide to our health and well-being, urban green spaces are increasingly recognized as critical for maintaining biodiversity, with the potential to support surprising numbers of native plants and animals.
There will be a total of 35 acres of public open space for all, ongoing funding for ecological stewardship and open space operations and maintenance, and districtwide sustainability measures. A North Bayshore Urban Ecology Center is also part of the design. I’ll be the very first visitor there!
I’ve gone on walking tours in this area with Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, as well as Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter and learned about conservation, birding and protecting burrowing owl population. I recommend connecting with those groups if you want to learn more about our bird population and meet people with similar interests. I love Mountain View.