The Draft Environmental Impact Report for Sutro Forest

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Sutro Forest is available for comment.

Tank Hill

Tank Hill

It’s long, and we’re still going through it. (We find the report cover a little disturbing, though; the “forest” seems to consist of some trees growing in an open setting, and flowers in the Native Plant garden at the summit – and a map that shows bold areas of intervention and large trails. It implies a vision for the forest that’s similar to Tank Hill.)

UCSF draft report cover

Here’s the summary of the planned project, taken from the DEIR (our emphasis):


“The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) proposes to implement a number of
management activities in the UCSF Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve (“Reserve”) at its flagship campus site at Parnassus Heights. The University‐owned Reserve is a largely undeveloped 61‐ acre forest located within the Parnassus Heights campus site near the geographical center of San Francisco. The Reserve is surrounded by the UCSF campus ‐‐ UCSF’s hospital, research, educational and support structures to the north/northwest ‐‐ and by urban residential neighborhoods to the south, east and west. In addition, the Interior Greenbelt natural area, owned by the City and County of San Francisco, is adjacent to the east side of Reserve.

“The proposed project would involve implementation of a number of management activities, including thinning of the forest, native plant restoration and enhancement, and conversion planting (removal of non‐native trees and plants and conversion to native species). Vegetation management actions are proposed to occur throughout the Reserve over many years. Under full or worst‐case implementation of management activities under the proposed project, approximately 60% of all the existing trees, including large and small trees, could be removed from the Reserve, the majority of which would be small trees less than 12 inches in diameter.

“Implementation would be phased beginning with four demonstration projects that were crafted with the interested public in the community process described below.
The first three demonstration projects are planned for implementation following the completion of environmental review and project approval. The fourth demonstration project would be implemented approximately one year after the first three demonstration projects to incorporate lessons learned from the first three demonstration projects. Also, the proposed project would include a “Hands‐Off” management area at the request of some community members. In the Hands‐Off management area, no vegetation management would be undertaken for the one‐year
duration of the first three demonstration projects.

“The demonstration projects would include a range of potential management actions that could be implemented later throughout the entire Reserve. Such actions would be first implemented in these four small areas to “demonstrate” to the public the range of potential results. Public feedback would then inform the University’s choices in the management activities to be applied to the remainder of the Reserve over time. The management actions identified for the demonstration areas are proposed to be applied ultimately beyond the demonstration areas to the remainder of the Reserve, as appropriate, subject to further refinement by UCSF in consultation with the interested public. Accordingly, this EIR conservatively analyzes environmental impacts resulting from the full range of management activities proposed for the entire 61‐acre Reserve.
Several principles will govern the implementation of management activities, including:

  • Adaptive Management: UCSF is committed to the principle of adaptive management as defined in the 2001 Plan, allowing for public input and opinion and adjustment of management activities before application to other areas of the Reserve. (Adaptive management is a flexible, learning‐based management approach that allows for changes in response to a problem or issue based on new information. Decision‐making incorporates monitoring of a situation, learning, and modifying actions if necessary in order improve long‐term management outcomes.)
  • Limited Use of Herbicides: Where herbicide use is indicated, targeted spot‐application methods would be employed on tree stumps, vine, blackberry and broom stems, and on poison oak adjacent to trails.
  • Tree Spacing: Where tree removal is indicated, the priority for removal is dead, dying, unhealthy, and hazardous trees. Where trees must be removed to achieve desired spacing, the next priority would be removal of trees smaller than 12 inches in diameter, followed by removal of trees larger than 12 inches in diameter.”


For those who would like to start looking at it themselves, we’re putting the PDF below.


Though it’s apparently very long (over 1000 pages), it in fact incorporates the whole of the Initial Study (which we wrote about in January 2011). We’re pleased to note that they have actually responded to comments asking them to evaluate some factors they hadn’t planned on doing two years ago. You don’t actually need to read the Initial Study now.

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1 Response to The Draft Environmental Impact Report for Sutro Forest

  1. dolan eargle says:

    The proposed activities that disturb the wildness of Mt. Sutro Forest is a disgrace attributable to a gullible group of people who apparently stand to make a lot of money dwelling on the public’s
    1. ignorance of the nature of this and other forests in this city,
    2. the determination of a bunch of opportunistic destroyers (who make money as well), and
    3. a bunch of people who think, or who are possessed by an obsession that any tree ( or other plant) that was not growing here in 1700 has far less value than any magnificent ones we have now.
    The ideas and activities of these people have been rightly called “nativists” and are the be taken with great caution and concern. We must protect the great diversity of our city’s trees from these destroyers. It will take a lot of firmness, action, and awareness on the part of preservationists and caring citizens.

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