Burrowing Owl Habitat Enhancement
The Western Burrowing Owl has been listed by the State of California as a Species of Special Concern. In California these owls are primarily threatened by habitat loss due to urban development and agriculture. In 2015, we started partnering with other organizations to monitor and enhance habitat for two of the last Burrowing Owl populations in the Bay Area at the National Wildlife Refuge property in Warm Springs, Fremont, and at the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility near Alviso.
At both sites we carry out a variety of vegetation management tasks to maintain suitable habitat for the owls. We construct and maintain artificial burrow systems, enhance potential foraging areas with native plants and structural features, and at the Alviso site we are experimenting with using high-salinity water to suppress weeds on the mounds used by owls. We are partnering with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society on our Alviso work, and with volunteers at both sites.