Strawberry Canyon by John Martinez Pavliga

Strawberry Canyon by John Martinez Pavliga

FEMA will hold two public meetings on August 26th, 2010 at the Trudeau Center in Oakland (11500 Skyline Blvd).  The meetings will be held at 2 pm and 630 pm. The purpose of the meeting is to “evaluate the environmental impacts of funding a combination of hazardous fuel reductions projects within the East Bay Hills are in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California.” [Federal Register Docket ID FEMA-2010-0037]  The currently published documents are here.

This is an important meeting to attend as CNPS members can contribute their knowledge and perspective on vegetation management in the East Bay Hills. The East Bay has certainly enjoyed some “fuels and habitat” management successes, but there are many poorly planned projects that have impacted wildlands and increased the spread of invasive species – thus accentuating fire danger, rather than suppressing it.  Native coyote bush shrublands have been converted to weedy annual grasslands and thistle fields in some cases, causing a net loss in biodiversity and not achieving the goal of making an area more “fire safe”.  It’s a lose-lose, if not planned and executed properly.  The only way a sustainable plan for fuels can be created is by understanding the ecology and vegetation dynamics of the local area.

Additionally, we want to make sure rare and unusual local plant resources aren’t impacted adversely where “fuels” projects are being undertaken.  Please attend the meeting and help add to the depth of the Environmental Review process by presenting important considerations for making the proposed project a success.

Please send in formal comments to FEMA via email or snail mail at:

P.O. Box 72391
Oakland, CA 94612