Audubon Society to deliver 77k signatures to guv calling for fritted glass on Vikings stadium
|Bill Majoros on Flickr Creative Commons|
|According to Audubon, birds like this Canada Warbler often perish when they collide with glass buildings.|
At about 10 a.m. today, the Minnesota Audubon Society will deliver a petition with about 77,000 signatures -- 6,000 or so of them from Minnesotans -- to Gov. Mark Dayton calling for the installation of fritted glass on the new Vikings stadium.
"'The People's Stadium' shouldn't be killing the people's birds," Matthew Anderson, executive director of Audubon Minnesota, tells us.
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The glass the Vikings plan to install on the new stadium's exterior isn't visible to birds, so, as we've covered here on Blotter, Audubon wants the team and/or Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to pony up the roughly $1 million it'd take to pay for fritted glass that will save bird lives by allowing them to see what they're approaching.
But after 14 months of negotiations, officials from the team and MSFA pulled out of talks with Audubon last month, saying they didn't have a budget for the fancy glass. (See examples of local buildings with fritted glass here, here, and here.) That explanation, however, was belied by Zygi and Mark Wilf announcing last week that they'll spend $46 million of their own bucks to cover stadium construction cost overruns.
"[The Vikings] said on July 17 when they called our board member to say they weren't going with the bird-safe glass after 14 months of negotiations that it was because of [finances]," Anderson writes in a text message. "They then repeated that for weeks publicly."
But last week's developments show there's "plenty of money," Anderson adds. "They said it's a design (meaning aesthetics) issue though for last five weeks (until Friday) it was a [money] issue."
Audubon's petition, entitled "Don't fumble on bird safety," says:
The new Minnesota Vikings stadium is primed to become one of Minnesota's biggest bird killers unless quick action is taken. The Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) decided last week to use a form of glass that is extremely deadly to birds, rejecting calls to use safer types of glass that could save thousands of birds each year from fatally colliding with the stadium.We touched base with Joanna Eckles, Audobon's resident glass expert, to get more information on the type of glass Audubon would like to see encasing the new Vikings stadium (glass installation work is set to begin early next year).
The planned building features nearly 200,000 square feet of glass (that's 4 football fields of glass walls!) and is sited near a major bird migration pathway along the Mississippi River corridor. This decision is a death warrant for birds. This is a billion dollar stadium, and the cost to save thousands of birds by using bird safe glass could cost about one-tenth of one percent of that.
I expect more from both the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Please reverse course immediately and use safer glass for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
(For more, click to page two.)