Map of Oakland Zoo Expansion footprint and proposed mitigation areas (no public access) as of April 2014.

Map of Oakland Zoo Expansion footprint and proposed conservation easement areas (in yellow) as of April 2014.

In August, lawyers from the law firms of Shute, Mihaly, & Weinberger (SMW) and Barg, Coffin, Lewis & Trapp (BCLT) submitted letters to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on behalf of EBCNPS and the Friends of Knowland Park.

The letter from SMW was sent to USFWS and addressed issues with the Zoo’s proposed conservation easement, which is meant to provide mitigation for impacts to the federally threatened Alameda Whipsnake . This easement would remove over 50 acres of public access to public park land. A copy of the letter can be viewed here: SMW_Letter_re_Oakland_Zoo_Expansion_8-1-14

The BCLT letter was sent to USACE and addresses a wetland area (a perennial freshwater seep) 700 feet down-slope from the Zoo’s proposed development footprint. It discusses the need for avoidance measures to be considered during the permitting process for the Zoo project. A copy of the letter can be viewed here: 2014-08-15_Letter_to_USACE_re_Oakland_Zoo_Expansion

We are hopeful that the regulatory agencies will take the advice and information presented in these letters to make informed decisions regarding the issuing of permits for the Zoo’s proposed project.