The Rocky Outcrop is a 1.6 acre park which has been designated
in its entirety as a “natural area”. This park has little recreational
value, however the issue of erosion is relevant here. The park’s proximity
to homes is what makes the NAP proposal significant. The question must be asked
as to why this is a “natural area”. The only vegetation type with
a significant native species component is .07 acres of willow scrub. Clearly, this is NOT a “natural area”. NAP intends to create a “natural area” here. To do so, they will:
- Augment “sensitive” plant population (these are not plants that are protected by law; they are plants local
native plant advocates have arbitrarily designated as “sensitive”).
- Allow access on a designated trail only
- Reintroduce sensitive species of plants
- Destroy non-native plants and shrubs at NAP discretion.
- Reduce “predation pressure”. This would refer to the killing of feral cats and any other wildlife NAP deems unacceptable.
- It is desired to leave scattered areas of open sand
There is clearly a huge problem
with erosion at this park. NAP places the blame for erosion upon people and their
access habits. However, the surrounding neighbors of the park believe that the
erosion is being exacerbated by the NAP practice of removing non-native plants and replacing them with native plants.
neighbors are right. Native plants are inferior to non-native plants in controlling
erosion – as was evidenced by the failure of Natural Areas at Fort Ord, along Great Highway, and at Fort
Funston. Ice plant is the
proven solution to sandy slopes which must resist erosion. For these reasons,
this plan is in violation of the performance standards established in the San Francisco Recreation
and Park Department’s (SFRPD) own Operational Plan. The first mandate is
to protect public safety. Public safety is not protected by implementing an inferior
erosion control plan which may threaten the homes of taxpayers surrounding the lake area.
There are no species of
plant or wildlife that are considered threatened or endangered by the State or Federal government present at this site. Because there are no pressing ecological reasons to declare this a Natural area, it
would seem prudent to leave the non-native vegetation alone, and augment it further to prevent erosion and the subsequent
damage it may cause to neighbors.
In public meetings, neighbors
have attended and warned the Recreation and Park Commission of the possible liability of the City for damage they expect to
suffer. Liability could
be costly for the City, in addition to the cost of creating this new habitat. NAP
has refused to disclose the cost to create this habitat. Are these funds that
could better be spent elsewhere in the park system? Will there be the manpower
and funds to maintain this new habitat? Will it be sustainable?