Next Monday- June 16, 2014 – San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee will consider whether to approve the Draft Recreation and Open Space Element (ROSE). The ROSE is a document that will govern how SF manages its open space for decades to come. In many ways, this is an excellent document. Unfortunately, it includes a very problematic section.
“Policy 4.2” is designed to ensure that nearly all open spaces in San Francisco, even those in private hands – like your backyard – would be managed like the Rec and Park Department’s controversial Natural Areas Program (NAP).
Please ask the Supervisors to remove Policy 4.2 from the ROSE. Ideally, please attend the meeting and speak. If not, please write to the Supervisors involved and let them know. Here are the meeting details:
Land Use Committee
Monday, June 16, 2014, 1:30 pm
Room 263, City Hall – San Francisco
If you cannot attend, please write/ call the Supervisors on the Committee to say you want Policy 4.2 removed:
- Supervisor Scott Wiener: firstname.lastname@example.org 415-554-6968
- Supervisor Jane Kim: email@example.com 415-554-7970
- Supervisor Malia Cohen: firstname.lastname@example.org 415-554-7670
THE PROBLEM OF ROSE’S POLICY 4.2
Policy 4.2 in the Draft ROSE begins by praising SFRPD’s Natural Areas Program (NAP). NAP is the program that wants to cut down over 18,000 healthy non-native trees, tear out existing healthy non-native habitat, and re-create a habitat that existed in SF before western colonization, a habitat they perceive to be “better” than the existing non-native one – despite all the evidence that “restorations” only create Native Plant Gardens, not the eco-systems that existed before.
NAP uses a lot of toxic herbicides – repeatedly – to destroy non-native plants. It restricts access to its areas to people and families, including children and pets – they’re all about “Stay on the Designated Trail” so kids, dogs, and naturalists have no permission to explore. NAP is not a science-based program; it is a gardening preference. And a destructive one, at that.
Policy 4.2 goes on to say: “The City should ensure that a comprehensive inventory of all natural areas owned by city agencies other than the Recreation and Park Department [RPD], and by private landholders is developed, in order to preserve the City’s biodiversity and natural areas more holistically… Once the significant natural resources outside the jurisdiction of RPD are identified, the City should develop a management plan for these natural areas.”
Policy 4.2 defines “natural areas” so broadly that it includes not only areas that currently contain existing remnants of SF’s pre-colonization habitat, but also areas that could support native plants if they were planted there, or, in other words, nearly all open space in SF. Including people’s back yards. It would become City policy that nearly ALL open space in San Francisco, including that in private hands (including back yards), should be managed the same way as NAP manages its lands. That means
- More tree removals,
- Tearing up existing healthy non-native habitats and replacing them with native plant gardens,
- More herbicides, and
- More restrictions on access.
Please tell the Supervisors to please remove Policy 4.2 from the Draft ROSE:
1) San Franciscans do not want nearly ALL of our open space managed the same way as RPD’s controversial Natural Areas Program. NAP is a bad model for management of other open space.
2) Policy 4.2 would allow the SF Dept of the Environment’s Biodiversity Program (which focuses almost exclusively on native species) to become deeply involved in land use and land management decisions on open space. San Francisco’s City Charter prohibits the Dept of the Environment from being involved in land use decisions. The Planning Commission should be the only city agency that makes decisions about land use and, in particular, what can be done on and in open space. Not NAP, nor the Dept of the Environment or its Biodiversity Program.
3) Policy 4.2 is a major land grab for NAP and the Dept of the Environment’s Biodiversity Program. Neither NAP nor the Biodiversity program is controlled by elected officials, which means there’s little oversight. Their values do not reflect community values. They are anti-environmental (cutting down trees, using herbicides), and they are anti-people. Do not let them plan to turn more areas into native plant gardens, or get involved in controlling how our city’s open space can be used in the future.
3) The program to inventory all open space in SF and develop management plans for it, as set forth in Policy 4.2, is much too specific a program to be included in the ROSE, which is supposed to be a general policy document. Therefore it should go.
The rest of Objective 4, which talks about preserving local biodiversity, but also defines “local biodiversity” as including both native and non-native species, is okay. Please ask the Supervisors to insist that Policy 4.2 is removed before they pass the ROSE.
Please come to the meeting on June 16, or contact the Supervisors – especially those on the Land Use Committee – and tell them not to pass the Draft ROSE until Policy 4.2 is removed.