The public meetings held by East Bay Regional Park District about the renewal of Measure CC are over. Thanks to everyone who attended. Our viewpoint was well represented. We patiently waited in line to get our wishes on their flip charts and when they were read to the crowd, our message was loud and clear: “QUIT destroying healthy trees, DON’T use pesticides.”
If you weren’t able to attend the meetings, you can still tell the park district what you are hoping for in the renewal. Voters will be given an opportunity in 2018 to vote to continue for another 15 years the parcel tax that has been used for park improvements. The park district is inviting the public to submit written public comments about the projects they want to see funded by Measure CC. We will publish a series of such comments that we hope will inspire you to write your own comments.
Send your comments to email@example.com. Depending on the subject, copies to specific members of the Board or the staff are also appropriate. You will find a list of staff and board members at the bottom of this post.
TO: Rick Seal, EBRPD Fire Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM: Park Advocate
RE: Renewal of Measure CC
I understand that you are responsible for implementing the park district’s “Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan.” Much of that plan has already been implemented and most of it was funded by Measure CC. Therefore, I am writing to ask that the plans to reduce wildfire hazards be revised, as required by the plan’s commitment to “Adaptive Management.”
Adaptive Management is the sensible strategy to make needed adjustments in plans as required by changes in conditions and in response to the results of completed portions of the projects. There are two significant changes in conditions that require adjustments to the plans:
- The consequences of climate change are significantly worse than were evident when the plan was written in 2009. For example, a severe drought killed 102 million native conifers in California. Higher temperatures and other changes in the environment are altering our landscape. Plants and trees that lived here prior to European settlement are no longer adapted to the changed climate and further changes are anticipated in the future.
- Sudden Oak Death has killed between 5 and 10 million oak trees in California and the pathogen causing Sudden Oak Death spread exponentially in 2016 and 2017 because of heavy rain. There are significant SOD infections throughout the park district, including in urban areas. HERE is a map of those infections in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
These changes in the environment require the park district to revise its strategies for fire hazard reduction because dead trees are significantly more flammable than living trees that contain more moisture. HERE is a San Francisco Chronicle article that explains how Sudden Oak Death contributed to recent fires in the North Bay.
Removing trees infected with or killed by Sudden Oak Death should now be a higher priority than continuing to destroy healthy trees, as the park district has done in the past. Protocols for removing the dead wood must be developed because the wood is fuel when left on the ground; presently, the official protocol for the wood of trees killed by SOD is to leave it on the ground, in place. That practice is not consistent with EBRPD’s commitment to reduce fire hazards.
Scientists tell us that wildfires are becoming more frequent and more intense all over the world because of climate change. Therefore, addressing the causes of climate change should be the top priority of a program designed to reduce fire hazards. Since deforestation is the second greatest source of the greenhouse gases causing climate change, the park district should reconsider its program of destroying healthy trees storing carbon. The park district should also plant more trees, which have a future in our changed and changing climate and that will sequester carbon and reduce air pollution.
Thank you for your consideration. I will be looking for appropriate revisions of fuels management projects when making my decision about voting for renewal of Measure CC.
Send your comments regarding Measure CC renewal to email@example.com
Send copies to staff and board members of East Bay Regional Park District
Robert Doyle, General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Ana Alvarez, Deputy General Manager email@example.com
Casey Brierley, Manager of Integrated Pest Management firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Directors:
Beverly Lane, Board President email@example.com
Whitney Dotson firstname.lastname@example.org
Dee Rosario email@example.com
Dennis Waespi firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellen Corbett email@example.com
Ayn Wieskamp firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Coffey email@example.com