Natural Areas Program Degraded; Wild Equity Comments Help Improve Plan

San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program was to be one of the great urban conservation programs in America. But after years of misguided political beatings, the program has lost integrity. The program recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Report for its program management plan—but the plan has been radically altered, particularly at Sharp Park.

The new Sharp Park plan incorporates an 18-hole golf course into the “recovery” area for the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog—even though the golf course is the primary threat to both species’ existence at Sharp Park. The plan also suggests that Sharp Park Golf Course is an historic resource—even though the City’s own Historic Preservation Commission could not concur that the golf course retains historic integrity. Based on these misguided beliefs, the Draft Significant Natural Resource Area Management Plan Environmental Impact Report refused to consider a full restoration alternative at Sharp Park.

Watch this annotated audio excerpt of the Historic Preservation Commission hearing.

The Wild Equity Institute submitted comments opposing the Sharp Park portion of the Significant Natural Resource Area Management Plan, as did the Sierra Club, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Nature in the City, and many other conservation organizations.

In order to ensure that the good isn’t thrown out with the bad, the Wild Equity Institute has proposed that the Sharp Park Golf Course plan be segregated out of the Significant Natural Resource Areas Program Management Plan, and considered separately through its own environmental review process. After hearing about the misguided attempts to make Sharp Park Golf Course an historic landmark, Supervisor Scott Weiner agreed that the Department’s all-golf plan for Sharp Park should stand or fall on its own, not be cobbled together with the larger natural areas program.

The City will now consider the comments and will eventually publish a final plan, possibly in 2012. Keep abreast of the updates by signing-up for

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