Glen Canyon: Nesting Season, Habitat Destruction, and Pesticide

The nesting season is in full swing, now, and pictures of baby owls and other baby wildlife are beginning to hit the Internet. Glen Canyon is – or has been – an exceptionally good nesting area, with many kinds of habitat, undisturbed thickets for protected breeding spots, and easy access to food and water.

But the Natural Areas Program doesn’t appear to have registered this. We reported on this last year, and they’re doing it again – breaking down thickets and spraying pesticides, despite the obvious risk of disturbing birds and other wildlife. An observer wrote us: “… a group of four individuals with picks and axes are at it in the mid section of the park.”

Spraying pesticides in Glen Canyon March 2013

“This is way back in the park which we had hoped to keep wild. They’ve already removed much of the understory and now they are poisoning. ”

It’s no use to ask the staff to look out for nests. Birds, especially small ones, hide their nests as thoroughly as they can. They’re difficult to find even if you know what to look for. Some are very tiny: a hummingbird’s nest is the size of a quarter. Even with the best will in the world, these workers would find it impossible to guard against disturbing or destroying nests or dens.

2013-03-14 (2)

What is it?  A tank mix of Aquamaster and Milestone, apparently. Aquamaster is glyphosate, the same stuff that goes in Roundup. And Milestone is the pesticide that doesn’t go away (and is therefore banned in New York, which fears it will get into its waterways). The Natural Areas Program has steadily increased its use of pesticides since 2009, and Milestone use has increased particularly sharply in 2012.  It looks like 2013 is off to a good start.  (For more information about the pesticide applications and the pesticides themselves, read SF’s Natural Areas Program Uses Even More Pesticides.)

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7 Responses to Glen Canyon: Nesting Season, Habitat Destruction, and Pesticide

  1. Kathy Hallinan says:

    What can we do ?? Have the supervisors been notified ? does the city agree ? How about supervisor wiener ? are there commission meetings? Does the press know..?

  2. Hi Kathy, this looks to be the Natural Areas Program going ahead with what they want to do in the canyon. We do keep calling them on it, but it continues. We think it will go on until there’s a change in the way they think about wild spaces, habitat, and what is actually natural – and develop a greater sensitivity to the non-human users of these places.

  3. Vera Lee says:

    Why is there so little information in your newsletters about Mt Davidson? I appreciate your coverage about Glen Park but am more interested in the status of actions on Mt Davidson. It is not only a refuge for wildlife (including a pair of hawks) but people from all over the city walk the trails and enjoy the views.

    I’d like to contact my supervisor but your list of supervisors in out of date. – Vera Lee

    [Webmaster: We did run some articles about Mount D, and it is *very definitely* on our radar. We’ll try to do more there. Thanks for the heads up about the Supervisor list; we’ll update it.]

  4. dolaneargle says:

    Jeez people,Isn’t there some way to stop this… Quite legally, of course–of does everybody sit with hands tied? Where are the legal environment monitors?? GET THEM OUT HERE!!! or do we care? -dolan eargle


  5. Hi Dolan, thanks for commenting. We’re trying to stop it, and getting the information out is the first step. We can’t do it alone… make your voice heard!

  6. Kathy Hallinan says:

    Thanks for the answer– now how is it these folks get to apply pesticides on OUR city and county parks? A petition online to stop pesticide spraying in the parks? How does the NATURAL AREAS PROGRAM get to trump the people’s wishes….what a shame ..I have shared this story with many other SF residents and they are all aghast….so sad….so sad…

  7. Pingback: A Bushtit’s Nesting Plans in Glen Canyon Park | Save the Trees of Glen Canyon Park, San Francisco

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