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East Bay Regional Park District fuels management projects

August 27, 2013
Sibley "fuels management" 2012

Sibley “fuels management” 2012

On Thursday, August 29, 2013, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the East Bay Regional Park District will consider the District’s plans for fuels management in 2014.  In April 2010, the District’s Board of Directors approved the “Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan” and its Environmental Impact Report.  That plan provided for an annual progress report as well as budget and project planning for each forthcoming year. 

Here is the District’s report of what has been accomplished so far and the projects planned for completion by the end of 2013:

“In 2012, initial entry work was undertaken at Anthony Chabot and Sibley, for a total of 153 acres, including 140 acres of eucalyptus thinning in and around the Anthony Chabot Family Campground and 13 acres of eucalyptus thinning in the steep slopes of Sibley Triangle.  Approximately 1,500 tons of hazardous wildland fuels were treated.

 The District’s resource management prescribed broadcast burn program is continuing in 2013.  Approximately 50 acres of native prairie grassland in Point Pinole and 80 acres of invasive plants in Round Valley are scheduled for burning this year.

By the end of 2013, a total of 160 acres of initial entry work are expected to be completed at Anthony Chabot, Claremont Canyon, Kennedy Grove, Lake Chabot, Sibley, Tilden, and Wildcat Canyon. Approximately 900 acres across 16 parks will be maintained using goat grazing, prescribed burns, and chemical, mechanical, and hand labor as described in the 2012 report, and in accordance with the prescriptions and treatment protocols adopted in the Plan.” (1)

We would like to be able to tell our readers about the pesticides required to accomplish these tasks.  Unfortunately, the District has not posted an annual report of its pesticide use since 2010.  The District says it does not expect to complete the annual report of pesticide use for 2011 until late in 2014.  Meanwhile, you can see the latest report for 2010 that is available here.

Here are the District’s plans for implementation of fuels management projects in 2014 (Attachment B of report available here): 

Project Description

Estimated Cost

Estimated Acres

Annual maintenance of light, flashy fuels and eucalyptus sprouts in Fuels Plan area

$500,000

671

Annual maintenance of light, flashy fuels OUTSIDE of Fuels Plan area

$175,000

268

Periodic maintenance of heavy fuels (brush and ladder fuels) in Fuels Plan area

$250,000

70

Sub-Total Fuels Maintenance

$925,000

1009

Initial treatment of heavy fuels and eucalyptus in Fuels Plan area (Chabot, Claremont Canyon, Huckleberry, Leona, Redwood, Sibley, Sobrante Ridge, Tilden, Wildcat)

$1,200,000

544

Initial treatment OUTSIDE Fuels Plan area

$50,000

15

Sub-Total Initial Treatment

$1,250,000

559

Resource/habitat prescribed burns

$25,000

126

 

 

 

TOTAL FUELS MANAGEMENT

$2,200,000

1694

You can see exactly what will be done and where by looking at Attachment C of the report (available here).  All the “recommended treatment areas” are listed where the work is planned.  There are maps of the “recommended treatment areas” in the “Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan” which is available here.

The District expects to complete initial treatment on all 3,000+ acres of the fuels management project in 2019.   The District estimates that the annual cost of maintaining those treated acres will be between $2,055,000 and $5,400,000 per year in perpetuity. If you read our recent post about the Marin County Parks and Open Space “Vegetation and Biodiversity Management Plan” you know that all managers of public land in the Bay Area report the mounting costs of maintaining the fuel breaks they have created because when vegetation is cleared, the ground is quickly occupied by non-native weeds.  Our readers will recall that the author of that report recommends that fuels management projects be sharply curtailed so as to reduce the maintenance problems that are created by them.  The report also states that fire hazards will not be increased by curtailing vegetation management projects as recommended.  The projected costs of maintaining fuel breaks in the East Bay Regional Park District are an example of the maintenance nightmare that is being created by these projects. 

The meeting of the Board Executive Committee will take place at 12:45 pm on Thursday, August 29, 2013, at District headquarters:  2950 Peralta Court, Oakland, California.  The public has an opportunity to comment at these meetings.  You could, for example, ask why the District’s annual report of pesticide use hasn’t been made available to the public since 2010.   Your tax money is being used to fund these projects.  So, you have a right to know how your money is being spent.

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(1)    Background Information for the August 29, 2013 Board Executive Committee Meeting, 2014 Fuels Management Program of Work and Fuels Cost Analysis.

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