The process of tearing down the old Creekside Elementary School buildings has included ripping down several trees. Pleas from the CA Dept. of Fish and Game and the California Wildlife Foundation/California Oaks to follow regulatory processes intended to avoid harm to wildlife appear to have been unheeded. That has led to new concerns over possible violation of the Migratory Bird Act because some of the trees were taken down during the nesting season. Under the law, it is OK to take a tree down duriing the nesting season, but you have to do it a certain way, and it's not like that process is particularly cumbersome.
This isn't a trivial matter - it doesn't just bear on rare or exotic species of concern (like our familiar Yellow-billed Magpie), it's important to common birds as well - birds that eat insect pests, birds that protect habitat by scattering seeds, birds without which our world would be degraded. Neighbors are now wondering if the required procedures were followed. The CA Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking into the matter. We shall see.
If it turns out that trees were taken down without regard for wildlife and contrary to law, mitigation will be required. The last time this happened in our community was in 2015, when construction of the Anton Butano apartments resulted in over 90 trees being torn out during the nesting season in violation of the Migratory Bird Act. The County forced Anton to mitigate the damage by planting new trees. Unfortunately, the "mitigation" was directed to the Cosumnes River Preserve, some 26 miles away and of questionable value to our community's designated Environmental Justice Area (both the Anton and Creekside projects are in the County's officially-designated Environmental Justice Area). If the school district's project is found to have been careless like the Anton project was, and if mitigation is deemed appropriate, we hope the mitigation will be of tangible value to our community. If trees are indiscriminately removed here, new trees should be planted HERE.