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Our cosmopolitan viewpoint embraces ALL nature

November 1, 2011

Song Sparrow in non-native wild radish

Many passionate, well-informed comments were sent to San Francisco’s Planning Department about the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Natural Resources Areas Management Plan (SNRAMP).  Today we’re celebrating the end of the comment period by telling you about one of our favorite comments.

This comment was written by a talented photographer of wildlife in San Francisco’s parks who prefers to remain nameless.  She has exhibited her photos in several venues around town, including San Francisco’s Main Library.  She wrote her comment primarily on behalf of the wildlife that lives in our parks and she illustrated it with beautiful photographs of the birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals that she has photographed nesting, hiding, hunting, roosting, slithering in non-native plants and trees.

Garter snake in eucalyptus leaf litter

We will share the heart of her comment with you.  The soul of her comment is her photographs which were all taken in the parks of San Francisco.

“NAP is actually harming the environment by destroying trees, established habitat, and established ecosystems which include our existing wildlife. NAP wants to recreate our environment as one of native grasses which might have existed in the area in 1776 — in very delimited spaces this seems fine, but they should not be taking over our parks which have evolved on all levels since that time. The grasses were native to a sand-dune ecology, but that is no longer the case within the city, and the grasses provide no protective habitat to the animals which now occupy these spaces — animals which are not on NAP’s “specified” or “endangered” lists. There has been an alarmingly high rate of failure when “endangered” species have been introduced — this is because they are no longer suited to this environment which has evolved and changed since 1776. NAP is a political program, not a program based on science, and one which is hampering people’s enjoyment and use of their parks.”

Anise Swallowtail butterfly in non-native fennel

Although we have been engaged in this debate about destructive native plant “restorations” in the Bay Area for many years, we are still shocked by some of the arguments used to defend them.  Nature in the City is one of many organizations in San Francisco which considers itself an “environmental” organization.  In its latest newsletter, recruiting comments in support of the Environmental Impact Report, Nature in the City characterized critics of the Natural Areas Program and the DEIR as the “anti-nature forces.”  As we have said before, “environmentalism” has been stolen from us by the native plant movement, which we firmly believe is doing more harm than good to our environment. 

Frog hiding in pond plants

When was “nature” redefined exclusively as “native?”  We didn’t get that memo.  We are committed to preserving the habitat of all animals that live in San Francisco, whether the animals are native or non-native or the habitat that shelters and feeds them is native or non-native.  How does that make us “anti-nature?”

Honeybee in non-native wild mustard

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