tv [untitled] August 2, 2010 6:00am-6:30am PST
for discussion and possible action. it is one of the side funded by the 2008 neighborhood parks fund. the budget is $300,000. a community meeting was held march 3 to discuss the improvement. 23 communique members were in support of the plan. the plan was also presented on july 6. it is a site located at 15th access 5 two staircases. it has a few trees and plants and the butterfly habitat. there are panoramic views of the
city and beyond. it will improved trail safety, provide trail edging, decommissioning un safe routes, protect sensitive habitat, replacing retaining walls, provide erosion control of the top of the hill, and further securing it and providing more sign it. reaching more signs. -- providing more signs. staff is prepared to begin construction and august and be complete by the end of this year. staff recommends awarding the
plan for the program. thank you. >> can we have public comments? >> i changed my greeting. good evening, commissioners. good evening. in 2007, i began an exhausting review of the county. the utter these immortal words theory dead -- these immortal words. i had no idea how much these words would in fact my life. -- would impact my life. i did see a butterfly that day,
and as i looked at the summit, i thought how possible could this person is when it lives three- quarters of its live below the remaining native habitat? it used to fire all over san francisco, but now it is limited to the bluffs and the outcrops. let me make this perfectly clear. this is not a butterfly that will wander into your pretty garden of flowers. we only have 35 breeding species left, and a great majority have finally moved over and have adapted to the radical alteration of the landscape.
the restoration project will help keep people on the trail, reroute and remove trails, and augment the existing habitat for the butterfly, who has lived here a lot longer than any of us. >> is there any public comment on this item? please come forward. >> good evening, commissioners. i am representing nature and the city. this is part of the original san francisco landscape that needs to be maintained by specialists such as people working in the program. many san francisco plants and
other wildlife are bound on this space. it is an important connection for the butterfly corridor project. maintaining the main trails and restoring the habitat disrupted will help restore the preservation of this treasured natural area. thank you. >> thank you. >> please come forward. >> i am a board member of the neighborhood association, and this is a letter submitted by our organization. we have serious reservations about the project of trail restoration. we were told they met with stakeholders while deciding what to do.
we were never consulted. we learned that staff considered it a great turnout, and they did not feel a second meeting was necessary. we were not asked what should be done. we heard on june 15 that he would be meeting to days later. that is not enough public notice. it was hard to know if we should oppose the plan or not. we have expressed concerns about the plan. we would like them to guarantee that when they tear down retaining walls, the replacement
will hold it as well. we want them to guarantee the primary consideration will be what will hold them in place best, and we love the trees and want them protected. there is talk about living trees, but we have not been told how much pruning will be done. the devil is in the details, but there is no way to find out the details before it is approved. we want them to tell us in advance what pruning will be done and give us a chance to comment on it. there's never any feedback to neighborhood groups about what they are doing or not doing in response to our concerns. we want them to open a dialogue with us and other neighborhood groups throughout the process, include neighborhood groups while trying to figure out what to do, not just stakeholders who do not even live in the neighborhood. after plans are finalized, they should do another round.
thank you very much, and i will send this letter. >> thank you very much. >> my name is jake, and i have lived in this neighborhood since 1967. i have a lot of equity in the place. every wednesday they worked alongside the program, and we'll log well over 1000 hours every year. we set a record last year. we are ahead of that this year. it is windblown sand that covers a big rock outcrop, and
the entire sunset rage, -- ridge. because of past trails, it is very steep. they have come up with the huge truck and hauled it away, and it is a one-way street, because it is not being renewed. once it is gone, we will have bare rocks. the stairway on the east side was on the verge of collapse. the remedy that, and that has really cut down on the erosion.
it does need further attention. i think the program is doing a wonderful job. >> is there any other public comment? being none, public comment is closed. >> commissioners? there has been a motion to approve. >> there is a second. any discussion? hearing none, all in favor? >> aye. >> we are now on item 20, which is the recreation and park department urban forestry. >> good evening, commissioners. although it appears i am your last item, there are other items, so i will try to be as quick as i can. i am going to call of the
officer to present the file. i have come to you a few times, and we have done a significant amount of out reached. i will not read it to you. i will get a lot of his feedback, and i just want to introduce jim clark. we will make a brief presentation, and we will discuss the findings of the report. >> i will try to be as brief as
i can. it is a pleasure to really bring to an end what has been a productive projects for me. project for me. you have a i think a copy of the report i have prepared, and you may have a copy of the power point presentation. i simply want to say i cannot think the department enough for their excitement and enthusiasm about trees and their management. although this is an assessment of urban forestry operations that has recommendations for improvement, you cannot argue with the process we went through. you may recall that you saw in february, we talked about three risk assessment. since that time, i have a chance to start many of the capital projects. i have done three assessments for them. we have worked in the last couple weeks at the parks, and
from all of those experiences, i have to give you one editorial comment. to you and members of the staff and any members of the public listening tonight, please leave the metal tree tags on the trees. if the tree has a tag on it, that is our way of recording information. it is our primary location mechanism, and if the tree has a tag, it does not mean it is going to be removed. it means we have collected information about it. please leave the tags on the trees. with that, let me turn to my assessment of urban forestry operations. in the request for proposals, the description of this part of the project was to provide a set of recommendations with a healthy and sustainable long- term management of san francisco's unique urban parks. let me describe to you that
sustainable to me means we will enjoy our parks today and we will not compromise the ability of our children to enjoy those parks in the future. that means of the aesthetic and environmental, ecological benefits today will not be jeopardized and we will enhance it so our kids have the same experience. i think you have heard many times people speak about the unique urban forests that we have in san francisco, which is a largely planted forest, almost exclusively, and in a large parts that have a dominant tree canopy, that was the planting that occurred in the late 1800's to the early 1900's. i am sure that you have heard many times we are dominated by small number of species from all across the world, but we have a relatively small number of species that formed the dominant canopy of our parks. you may recall when i was here
in february i described a native plant as being here when the spanish arrived in 1769, and that is really the defining point for native compared with non native. i did not realize it was going to be such an exciting topic. non-native plants arrived in san francisco after 1769. and invasive plant is non-native and disrupts the natural system, whether plants or wildlife or habitat. we could have non natives or exotics that can be invasive. not all of them are. i want to make sure that we distinguish among those terms. this is a big picture document. it is a picture about the department's operations rather than pre management at individual parts and facilities. i will be doing assessments and you'll be hearing about these capital projects and others and
individual parks. this is a big picture document. the urban forestry unit has three functions. the two primary are to maintain existing trees, second, plant new trees, and the third function, because it has new and unique equipment, provide a service to other units in the city. it has the burial towers that are convenient for getting into high trees and aerial lights. the one question that has arisen as how many trees the department manages. my estimate is 131,000. that is 30,000, 40,000 more than it estimated numbers the department gave when i started the project. in some ways, you could argue that means the workload is even greater than we thought it was six or eight months ago, and those trees are evenly divided between locations that are in
the natural areas program and those outside the natural areas program. 130,000 or so. the urban forestry unit consists of about 30 staff. we have full-time staff, and the budget is $3.5 million. the staff is divided about equally between maintenance and reforestation, and there is one person who functions as the supervisor. each year, the meat in the staff touches about 1250 trees. if you divide at 65,000 trees outside of natural area programs, you come up with a tree maintenance cycle of over 50 years. that means in graphic terms, if we prune the monterey cypress in front of mclaren lodge this year and prune every other tree that is outside of the natural areas program, it will be 2065 before we come back to the monterey
cypress. that is the essential meaning of that. that is a striking finding. part that i have discussed or checked with have no idea what they're tree maintenance cycle in the parks is. those that do it, seattle shoots to have an 18-year pruning cycle for its trees in its parks. it really operates on a 40-year cycle. that is the only solid example of knowledge about that. what would it take to reduce the pruning cycle? one of the opportunities will be to increase the number of staff who are uprooting trees at the current 1253 per year use. that would require significant additions in urban forestry staff, which i don't think are going to occur, but i simply want to point out to you the current conditions or
situations that put the unit and the department are operating under. we would hope, i suppose, that bond money that this project is part of or rendered the assessments that will follow will be able to take care of some of that remedial work. the urban forestry program operates on a 100% reactive, requested driven mode. whether the requests come from the public through 311 or generated by the staff or department three of t.m.a. system. there is a backlog of about 450 requests which have not been gotten to yet, because the department unit operates on an emergency kind of system. the phone call comes in, a tree or limb is down, take care of it. that means there is never any programmatic pruning. there is never any "we need to
prune the trees because they need pruning." that does not get done. is simply an emergency kind of system. what i have recommended to the department is we try to transition to a 50% reactive, 50% program effort. the way that we do that, the first thing i said, which i had to take out of the report, the department needs to say no, so that when you call or someone calls 311 or the mayor's office calls and says we have a tree down in grand view park or we have a branch that needs to be pruned and might tennis courts are covered with debris, the department needs to say, no, it is on our list and we'll come back to it. that is an education matter, that it would be better for the trees in washington square if all of the italian stone pines could be pruned at one time rather than going on an emergency basis.
there are some characteristic of education about what is an emergency and what is not and what is retained compared with not. some use of the system and identifying pre work, the potential to add volunteers to assist in other operations that the and it takes care of. all of those i think would lead to some effort at going from this 100% reactive to something where is a little more programmatic. i asked kelly cornell, who supervises the crew, where would you go if on monday morning they said, you have the week to yourself, choose where you want to go and you would ever work you think needs to be done. washington square park, pioneer park, one of the first places that you mentioned, very concerned about department of trees that are leaning over grows or extending over roads.
he could easily think of examples of where program. in these trees are never going to get proof that unless it is on a programmatic basis. his best example was the japanese tea garden, where the style of proving that is required of the trees there is special, unique. that is ever going to be an emergency. that was a really good example of how being redacted and only working on emergencies prevents us from doing good tree care in places like the tea garden. that is the comment about our make it signed. let me talk about the standing side, which i have already mentioned about making sure there are trees in our parks for the future. really, the way that we reforest an even-aged city like san francisco is we have to re- plant, and along with that comes
removal. we have to make space for new trees. we have been told time and again there are major assemblages of trees that are mature and we have evidence at golden gate park of the declining tree population. we know that we have a situation where if we're going to have trees in the future, we have to actively plant them. there is really a very almost hidden success story in the department. it is the golden gate park reforestation program, which started in the 1980's and has been continued, pointing about 1000 trees per year. the reforestation and all of identifying sites with the gardners, local partners, preparing and clearing the sites, planting, and going back and doing remedial work. this is a monterey pine that was planted in the 1980's on the west end of golden gate park,
about 28 inches in diameter, about 60 feet tall. since that time, it has become a mature tree. you walk among those trees, you would never know this was a reforestation plot. but you would think you are in the old golden gate park monterey pines, and it is an astonishing experience to have this nurturing over the last 30 years that resulted in these big trees. that is the golden gate park for station plan, prepared in 1980. despite the department's up and downs in terms of the rotation and the number of trees planted every year, it is still ongoing program and a very successful one. the situation is not as successful in the parse and square. the department actually removes more trees than it plants each year in the parks and squares. at least urban forestry operation does. these numbers don't include what i would describe as capital
projects like martin spoke to you about. we know there is a regeneration gap there. an example of that, washington square, in 1957, the plan prepared had about 95 trees to be installed at washington square. there are about 67 now. we know there has been a decline in the tree population there. one of the things associated with that is when the planting gets done for the capital projects, we don't record those numbers, necessarily. it is a simple workflow matter. more importantly, many of the individual properties lack what i would describe as the master planting plans, or master design. i think at pioneer park, there is a good example of a community group developing a master plan that is headed towards working to implementation. you can see alcatraz these days.
a similar thing is happening at washington square and the other locations where that will occur. on an individual unit level, property level, there is a need for design direction in terms of the reforestation program. some things we can do our increase our numbers. by volunteer programs. i think we have heard about the success of the natural areas program and a volunteer efforts, and that success could be duplicating the stewardship on the mountainside in the non- natural areas side. we have other opportunities to partner with nonprofits for planting and other stewardship activities, and then we need to make sure we are recording removals' and plantings wherever they come from, so we are sure about what we have and how we are managing them. the golf courses have minimal planting programs. in fact, there is quite a much
larger number of removal of plantings. it has really striking impact on the golf courses because they are dominated by mature trees, and the trees are born to the plight of golf. we can accept a different experience in golf as trees are removed or if we want to maintain the experience that we have, we need to do something there. one of my ideas was to get concessionaire to pay for tree care and planting, but i don't know that has gotten very far. there are other opportunities elsewhere, other facilities with nonprofits and volunteers with specific interests in golf course properties to do planting and reforestation. they really need direction in terms of golf course master planning, what are we really trying to achieve, just so we're not out there just installing trees in the ground. my summary is really, three components. the maintenance end, we know we
need to do a better job of collecting work orders and work information so we can move to this 50% program, 50% reactive mode. i think if the department were able to achieve that, it would be a very important achievement for tree maintenance in the department and the system. the second thing is we need to build on the success of the golden gate park reforestation plan. that success has been that there has been a continuing annual effort to install trees and make sure they're taking care of. that needs to be extended to the golf courses and the other parks and squares. i believe there is a master plan and design question for each of the properties that needs to be addressed, but we really need to put the same attention to the parks and squares and golf courses at golden gate park has received. finally, we need to find ways to
expand the palin. when i have talked about native and non-native plants, we're making sure we have large canopy trees, that we read place large canopy with large canopy, that there will always be a large tree component to the park's, and then there are other opportunities for other demonstrations and other examples of trees and shrubs that can be used in the system. so that is my summary. with that, i'll take any questions. again, i cannot thank you and the department of. karen tells me is just their job, but it really is denny, and karen and kelly cornell for their willingness and eagerness to help me through these questions. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. commissioner sullivan?