The East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society strongly supports the litigation action by SPRAWLDEF and the Sierra Club, against FEMA’s surprising Record of Decision regarding fuels management in the East Bay Hills. The California Native Plant Society is a statewide organization of over 10,000 members dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of our state’s native flora. We recognize the importance of native plant communities and native plant habitats, in the intricate and complex web of life that is our natural world. Our locally evolved flora supports a rich palette of interconnected life, from the insect world to birds, amphibians and reptiles, mammals, fungi, etc. In order to allow these natural and native associations to repair themselves, and to thrive, we support the efforts of our collaborators SPRAWLDEF and the Sierra Club, in their suit against FEMA. FEMA’s Record of Decision left a confusing and murky set of unanswered questions, with unspecific parameters particularly around the management of stands of exotic eucalyptus, pine and acacia trees. We hope to see this confusion resolved in such a way as to allow complete removal of exotic trees in some specific places, so as to allow the regeneration of native species, with more manageable fire behavior characteristics. Attentive follow up weed management is a must. We believe this approach will meet the twin goals of reducing the risk of catastrophic fires, while maintaining native habitats. Also, this approach is fiscally responsible, and sustainable, whereas maintaining stands of huge exotic trees is not. The serious shortcomings and confusion of FEMA’s final Record of Decision should be re- examined and clarified, so as to allow for more responsible and effective management and stewardship of our East Bay Hills vegetation and habitats. Sincerely, Jean Robertson Conservation Committee Chair East Bay Chapter, CNPS

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