Eustace Bill to Require Use of Bird- Friendly Glass & Other Design Elements in Hackensack Meadowlands Approved by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel approved Monday legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic) to prevent bird collisions into the windows and structure at the Hackensack Meadowlands.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, collision with building glass is estimated to be the second greatest source of direct mortality of birds, with over 300 million birds killed each year. Birds crash into buildings at alarming rates because they cannot see clear or reflective glass and mistake it for clear air space. It is possible for glass buildings to be “bird friendly” by using glass that is opaque or that contains patterns or films that are opaque on one side and mostly clear on the other, or by incorporating special lighting systems.

“Recognizing that the Hackensack Meadowlands is a birding hotspot, where more than 285 species have been seen, including 34 species that are listed as threatened, endangered, or species of special concern, this bill encourages Hackensack Meadowlands to use “bird friendly” glass or other construction and design techniques to reduce the number of bird collisions occurring in that area,” said Eustace. “Using reflective or opaque or patterned glass will help to lessen the confusion for birds flying around the Meadowlands. It just makes sense to consider the design’s impact on the surrounding environment before construction of new buildings.”

The bill (A-4795) would require buildings or structures constructed or reconstructed in the Hackensack Meadowlands to use “bird friendly” glass or other construction and design techniques to reduce bird collisions. This requirement would not apply to the construction or reconstruction of (1) a single family home, town home, or row home, or (2) any apartment building, condominium building, or multi-family home of three stories or less.

The bill would also provide that the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, may adopt codes and standards concerning building construction and design techniques that reduce bird collisions with building glass. The codes and standards would be based upon the best practices for reducing bird collisions with buildings and building glass developed by the Division of Migratory Bird Management in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the “Reducing Bird Collisions” program developed as part of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, adopted by the United States Green Building Council.

The bill would take effect immediately upon enactment.

It was approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee and will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.