Natural Areas will be Managed and Preserved
San Francisco Tomorrow has long supported the Natural Areas Management Plan (NAMP) which San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) has proposed for the management of 32 natural areas in San Francisco. Unfortunately, in 2014 RPD decided to include the redevelopment of Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica in the EIR for the NAMP, allowing them to shorten the public hearing and review process for the project. SFT was among several groups, including the Sierra Club, Golden Gate Audubon and the Wild Equity Institute, who protested its inclusion. The same groups opposed the certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) before the Planning Commission in December and appealed the certification to the Board of Supervisors, where it was heard on February 28. SFT did not join the appeal but wrote the following in a letter to the Supervisors:
“I am writing to request that you vote on Tuesday to remove the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment project from the Environmental Impact Report for the Significant Natural Areas Management Program. This multi-million dollar development project has been inappropriately inserted into what has for more than a decade been a basic program for managing the City’s natural resources.
“When the scope of the Natural Resource Areas Management Plan’s EIR was defined – without this project – the Recreation and Park Department (RPD) promised: “Should changes to the Sharp Park Golf Course be proposed, they would undergo a separate regulatory review, including CEQA environmental review.”
This position was by no means unanimous. Many NAMP supporters, having waited more than a decade for the Plan’s adoption, were concerned that a successful appeal would send the NAMP back into limbo. On the day of the Supervisors’ hearing, the appellants reached an agreement with RPD. The Department agreed not to raise the Sharp Park Golf Course fairways and thus not fill any wetlands. They also agreed to dredge the Laguna Salada to increase wetland habitat for the threatened San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog; the earlier proposal would have filled parts of the wetland, reducing snake and frog habitat to the areas of the site most vulnerable to sea level rise.
This compromise, while not ideal, removes some of the worst problems of the Sharp Park Golf Course development and allows the NAMP to move forward at long last.
~ Jennifer Clary