This agenda planning meeting discussed the four demonstration sites, herbicide usage, and more fundamental issues of process and input.
It clarifies what UCSF/ Sutro Stewards want: to remove the forest, and convert the mountain to a park with broad trails, little undergrowth, and a depleted habitat for birds and animals.
UCSF added new information about expected outcomes of the projects. For South Ridge and Edgewood (Projects #1 and #2), they seek a park-like setting, with an open understorey, and trees spaced, like street trees, an average of 30 feet apart. After the demonstration, they will seek community input, and then extend the same spacing to 40 acres of forest. This would imply that 47.5 acres of the 61 acres would be thinned, leaving very little forest as such.
Project #3 (the small area near the summit) would be a grassy area with a view of the city. Afterward, more view corridors would be considered in other areas. (Though with 30-foot spacing, we cannot understand how they would be necessary.)
Project #4 (the “redwood bowl”) would have trees spaced 60 feet apart, and a sunny meadow (or presumably, a foggy one). This project is planned for a longer period than the other three, which would be activated in September 2011.
Herbicides will be discussed again because they will be used on poison oak and blackberry. This was not discussed in earlier meetings, which focused entirely on eucalyptus. One member suggested a test site, away from all housing, where herbicides could be applied and tested for migration. We pointed out that there were actually no areas away from housing (especially not in the four Demonstration areas), since the mountain was surrounded by residential areas.
UCSF is contracting with LSA Associates to do a wildlife study. Meanwhile, Forest Knolls neighbors were concerned about invasions of rodents from Demonstration Area 1, which appear to run far lower on South Ridge than even the FEMA project had planned.
- Craig Dawson pointed out that there had been no discussion of view corridors.
- One of the Forest Knolls neighbors wanted to know about the responsibility for hazardous trees on Crestmont, where disputes between the City and UCSF mean no one has done anything.
- Separately, Julie Sutton of UCSF talked about installing two kiosks with a bulletin board, maps of the reserve, and rules and regulations. The consensus was that both the kiosks and hazardous trees could be addressed independently of the planning process.
With all the topics left to discuss, one more meeting might not be sufficient. UCSF was concerned that more meetings could delay the Environmental Review process. Kevin Beauchamp (UCSF) specifically said that if more trails or view corridors were added, it could change the parameters for the Environmental Review.
It was decided to make the July 25th meeting more efficient while leaving time for everyone to talk. Presentations would be kept short, and background papers circulated in advance. At the previous community meeting, people had expressed concern that most of the time would be taken with presentations.
We voiced concerns with the process: Very little input is actually being taken on board by UCSF/ Sutro Stewards, except inputs from those people that support the conversion to a Native Plant park. The plan is proceeding as envisaged in the 2001 Plan, and triples the size of the demonstration areas, and plans to eventually thin a total of 47.5 acres instead of 32 acres. No consideration has been given to those who want to minimize disturbance of the forest’s ecosystem.
Craig Dawson said the Stewards are there only as part of the community, and had no special status. However, the UCSF website specifically recognizes the Stewards (and Craig Dawson in particular) with a laudatory paragraph: The Stewards work closely with the UCSF Facilities Management department… We found the claim of an arm’s length relationship disingenuous. He said we could earn the same relationship through pulling weeds on the mountain. We responded that if that was the sole criterion for community input, then we were all wasting our time.
The UCSF website also argues the case for the planned actions, indicating that the it expects to move in that direction.
- The proposals push the envelope of the 2001 Plan, both by tripling the size of the demonstration areas, and by expanding the “thinned” area in the post-demonstration setting to nearly the whole forest.
- The use of herbicides on the understory plants will probably imply more extensive use of Garlon and Roundup than has discussed at previous meetings.
- It would not be the dense cloud forest that existed before. The intention is to have a drier, more open, and more bare landscape. UCSF has apparently discounted the views of those who want to preserve the forest and its ecosystem.