Bird Advocates Influence City and Port Building Codes in Ridgefield and Vancouver

The article below is by Sydney Reisbick. Sydney has been a Friend of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge member since 2000, refuge birder since 1974, and she is a Birdfest committee member. Sydney is concerned about the effect of night lighting on birds, and she has written the following to describe what she’s been doing to help.

It began with an apparent “pie-in-the-sky” wish for a bird-friendly building code in Ridgefield, as our city is very much “in-the-face” of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge where bird health and safety are concerns. When the City of Ridgefield was contacted, a few people asked, “What will it look like?” Bob Sallinger, Conservation Chair of the Audubon Society of Portland, said they were working on just that, and connected me with their Assistant Conservation Chair, Mary Carpenter. She had the code that San Francisco was in the process of adopting and a CD with their plan. This CD helped convince both the City and Port of Ridgefield to adopt some aspects of the code. For the City, it was an inclusion of a downsized version of Dark Sky Lights into the actual building code. The Port of Ridgefield included mention of window and light factors in their guidelines.

Additionally, I took the San Francisco code to the Port of Vancouver. Patty Boyden, Director of Environmental Services at the Port of Vancouver, took up the project. She reports…

“In 2012, 26 exterior fabric roller shades were installed on reflective windows at the port’s administrative office. Originally intended to be lowered primarily during migratory seasons, the shades have been useful and have generally remained lowered year round. The shades provide a visual and physical barrier to birds. Added benefits from the shades are the option to raise them when not needed or wanted, increased interior privacy, reduced glare, and temperature regulation. The number of birds observed to impact the administrative building has been greatly reduced since installation of the shades, and no strikes have been observed on windows treated with the shades. The port plans to use a matte glazing technique on its new security building planned for construction in 2014.”

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