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Sharp Park

The NAP proposal for Sharp Park intends to make major changes in the ecosystems there, with no apparent benefit to wildlife, and perhaps detriment to important wildlife.  Additionally, this proposal ignores the serious public safety issues that should be addressed in Sharp Park.
Closure of the entire golf course to create a “Natural Area” is the latest proposal under consideration by SFRPD.

What is proposed:

         237 of the approximately 400 acres are to be declared “Natural Areas”

         These areas will be cordoned off from public use

         Social trails will be closed in areas not fenced off

         15,000 trees are to be cut down to create “habitat”

         Pump controls to be reset at Horse Stable Pond to protect red-legged frog eggs

         Non-native bullfrogs, if observed, will be killed to protect red-legged frog

         In Laguna Salada area, non-native plants to be killed and replaced with native plants


The safety concern posed by erosion on the portion of Sharp Park east of Highway One is acknowledged as being serious, but is specifically designated as a problem that will be addressed as a last priority “when capital funds are made available”.  This is absolutely unacceptable.


The serious safety concern posed by toxic lead in the soil (way in excess of environmental screening levels) east of Highway One has been ignored for many years, and is briefly mentioned in this report.  No time table has been for cleanup and this promise has been made and broken many times before. Prior communications with the Health Department of San Mateo County have cited the cost of the cleanup as being an impediment to its undertaking.


This plan for Sharp Park is probably the worst of any in the SF Parks System.  The intentional disregard for the performance standards established in the SFRPD’s own Operational Plan is breathtaking.  Public safety should be a first priority.  The erosion problems should be addressed immediately, before funds are spent on habitat creation.  There is no priority committment to remove the toxic lead which has been leaching from the soil into the stream in the canyon and flowing to Laguna Salada.  The possibility of the lead leaching into the groundwater is ignored.  These both present clear and present dangers to the human population living adjacent to and frequenting that area.


The impact of the lead upon the wildlife in that area is even greater.  The perimeter fencing around the toxic lead area is not an impediment to the entry of many small forms of wildlife which are subsequently harmed by the toxic effects of the lead.  The lead that is carried to Laguna Salada wetlands across the freeway contaminates the very sites this plan spends huge amounts of money to restore.  It is clear this project is truly concerned only with native plants, not wildlife. 


This is further proven by the plans to cut down 15,000 trees on the east side of Highway One in Sharp Park.  These trees are non-native, yet they provide habitat for 20 species of special status birds.  They are to be cut down to create more scrub habitat. Scrub habitat exists on the hillsides all around Sharp Park!  It is in abundance on  Milagra and Sweeney Ridges, where it is protected and enhanced by the GGNRA (National Park Service).  Why would you jeopardize the only habitat in the area for these special status birds?  Also, the pattern and velocity of the winds in this area will be altered by the destruction of 15,000 trees.  This may well negatively affect the conditions in the remaining tree stands for those same birds should they attempt to relocate due to their displacement due to NAP.


The rationale given for the “restoration” of the Laguna Salada wetlands is to enhance the habitat for the red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake.  This is pointless.  The USFWS does not include Sharp Park as critical habitat for the red-legged frog.  The NAP report acknowledges that the quality of habitat at Laguna Salada, Horse Stable Pond and the adjacent wetlands remains excellent.  No, the real agenda here is to take out the non-native plants which provide excellent habitat for the wildlife there, and replace them with native plants.  This disruption of the habitat is not only unnecessary, but could prove detrimental to the wildlife flourishing there at this time.  Pacificans take their wildlife seriously.  I remind you of the situation created a few years ago when SFPRD employees poisoned hundreds of ground squirrels at Laguna Salada. 


The obsession with native plants in this NAP cannot be allowed to overtake reason.  It is not fair to force Pacificans to endure safety hazards, lose access to park facilities, watch 15,000 trees be cut down and see their wildlife endangered all to satisfy some native plant activists. NAP should be eliminated at Sharp Park. The money intended for NAP here should be utilized to address the public safety issues; the erosion and the toxic lead soil and water contamination.

Pine tree