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Endangered Status Proposed for SF's Miracle Manzanita

September 7, 2011



Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 669-7357

San Francisco’s Rediscovered Franciscan Manzanita
Proposed for Formal Endangered Species Status

Proposed Rule to Protect San Francisco’s Miracle Manzanita to be Released Tomorrow

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Take Action: Help Pass Legislation to Restore Sharp Park!

On September 6, 2011, Supervisor John Avalos introduced legislation at San Francisco City Hall to restore Sharp Park in partnership with the National Park Service! Now the Board of Supervisors needs to hear from you: tell them to support this legislation and restoring Sharp Park!

Watch this short video to learn about the problems facing Sharp Park,
and Supervisor Avalos’ bold legislative solution.

San Francisco is renowned for its thoughtful-yet-impactful environmental policies, and Supervisor Avalos’ legislation is one of the City’s most important ideas yet. The legislation will enable San Francisco to partner with the National Park Service to transition land management at Sharp Park from an unsustainable golf course into a new National Park that everyone can enjoy. In the process, we can sustainably adapt the land to sea level rise and climate change; help save two endangered species; and provide recreational opportunities that match modern recreation demands. The legislation also gives Pacifica residents access to San Francisco-resident rates at San Francisco’s remaining five public golf courses, ensuring that affordable golf is made more accessible than ever.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will pass this ordinance: but only if they hear from you. Please write the supervisors using this Action Alert, and then call your member of the Board regularly to let him know you want Sharp Park restored!

Legislation Introduced to Restore Sharp Park!

September 6, 2011



Neal Desai, National Parks Conservation Association, (415) 989-9921 × 20
Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Meredith Thomas, Neighborhood Parks Council, (415) 621-3260
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 669-7357
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter, (415) 680-0643
Mike Lynes, Golden Gate Audubon Society, (510) 843-6551

Groups Applaud Legislation to Restore Sharp Park
and Partner With National Park Service

Proposal Would Improve Recreation, Save Money, Protect Endangered Species

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Downtown High School Completes Endangered Semester with Wild Equity

In 2011, the Wild Equity Institute partnered with Downtown High School in San Francisco to give students and endangered species a second chance at life. The joint project was called “Endangered Semester,” and it provides students who have not succeeded in traditional classrooms an opportunity to see 10 endangered species in the field, while taking 10 actions that help these species recover. It was a competitive event: as the students see and help save endangered species, they earn prizes that help their class succeed.

Endangered Semester Presentation at Downtown High School

The Endangered Semester was completed in four phases. First, students were provided an in-class description of the project, including specific instructions on how to see endangered species in the field ethically and how to complete actions that help species recover. Next students were taken on three field trips to observe species and conduct recovery actions. Third, students were provided with self-directed opportunities to see endangered species near their homes, and make healthy lifestyle choices that would also benefit conservation. Finally, the students’ scores were tallied and prizes awarded in an end of the semester celebration.

On January 13, 2011, students completed their first trip to help see and save Coho Salmon at Muir Woods National Monument and Muir Beach. Although inclement weather made it difficult to spot salmon, the students marshaled on and planted 120 native plants along creek beds to help improve spawning habitat for the anadromous fish.

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Golfonomics 101

Golf courses across the nation are suffering from a quintessential economic problem: too much supply and not enough demand. How the game responds to this problem may define its trajectory in American sport for decades to come.

As articles in the LA Times and the New York Times recently explained, golf developers expected Tiger Woods to drive golf demand to new heights when he joined the PGA tour. In anticipation, developers built additional golf courses. And then a few more, and a few more after that.

However, for a variety of reasons—the time-constrained nature of modern-day life, Lance Armstrong and the growth of cycling, the rise of self-directed activities like Yoga, and other unanticipated factors—the demand never materialized.

Suddenly the game had too many golf courses and not enough golfers to play them. The Bay Area golf market in particular is overbuilt: it supplies 6 million more rounds annually than golfers demand. Under these market conditions, golf courses will close: the only question is which ones. If we subsidize under-performing, low-quality courses, we will force better courses to close instead, and the future of golf will suffer as its best courses are lost.

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What's Better than Dressing up like Snakes and Frogs? Actually Saving Them!

Finally, something frogs and snakes can agree on.

The California red-legged frogs and San Francisco garter snakes support Restoring Sharp Park! You can too by signing the petition!

The San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog need our help! Every year they are victim to poor management operations at Sharp Park Golf Course. Wild Equity has a plan to help save these endangered species and stop San Francisco from subsidizing a failing golf course. You can add your voice to our campaign by going to Change.org and signing the petition to restore Sharp Park!

Delay, Duplicity Lead to Lawsuit to Protect San Francisco's Miracle Manzanita

June 14, 2011


CONTACT: Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989

Delay, Duplicity
Leads to Lawsuit
to Protect San Francisco’s Miracle Manzanita

SAN FRANCISCO — The Wild Equity Institute today filed a lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect the recently rediscovered Franciscan manzanita under the Endangered Species Act.

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Supervisor John Avalos Announces Legislation to Restore Sharp Park!

In a major step towards restoring Sharp Park, yesterday San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos announced that he has asked San Francisco’s City Attorney to draft legislation that will close Sharp Park Golf Course and transfer management authority to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area!

Please send Supervisor Avalos a thank you message by using the Wild Equity Institute’s Action Alert system today! (Note: you must sign-up for a free wildequity.org account to use our alert system.)

Supervisor Avalos announces legislation to restore Sharp Park
at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors May 17, 2011 (video begins at 1:09:50)

In a media advisory filed simultaneously with his announcement, Supervisor Avalos stated “[w]e owe it to future generations to provide sustainable recreation that everyone, from San Mateo to San Francisco and beyond, has an opportunity to enjoy. Working together, San Francisco and the National Park Service can create a new model that will serve Bay Area residents for generations to come.”

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Drink-up for WEI at Grant & Green Saloon 5/14!

RSVP at wildequity.org

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Grant & Green Saloon
1371 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(between Green St & Vallejo St)
North Beach/Telegraph Hill neighborhoods

Enjoy music by:
The New Thoreaus
The Great Sand Waste

Come to the Grant & Green Saloon for an evening of great music, smooth libations, and good company to support the Wild Equity Institute, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization building a healthy and sustainable global community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth! No cover, but donations are accepted, and 25% of the bar goes to WEI.

Sorry, ages 21+ only. Inebriation not recommended. Don’t drink and drive: so bring a straight-edge friend or prep for a taxi ride.

For more information contact the Wild Equity Institute at 415-349-5787 or info@wildequity.org.

Whole Foods SoMa Supports WEI with "Nickels for Nonprofits" in May!

From May 9 through June 5, Whole Foods Market in SoMA is donating funds from its Nickels for Nonprofits program to the Wild Equity Institute!

To participate, shop at the SoMa store with your reusable bags and then donate your 5-cent bag credit to the Wild Equity Institute. It’s that easy!

The Wild Equity Institute will be one of several organizations participating in the program this month. Our work builds a healthy and sustainable global community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth. Currently our campaigns help build new national park units that save local municipalities money; they help reduce pollution burdens in disproportionately impacted communities; and they help connect people to the incredibly diverse lands in which they live.

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Wild Equity Wins Patagonia's Voice Your Choice Grand Prize!

The people have spoken: and they have selected the Wild Equity Institute to receive Patagonia San Francisco’s $2,500 grand prize!

The store’s third annual “Voice Your Choice” campaign invited Patagonia’s shoppers to cast votes and determine how the store should distribute $5,000 in grant money to three local environmental organizations. The Wild Equity Institute was awarded $2,500, and the second- and third-place organizations received $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.

“We are grateful to Patagonia San Francisco for selecting us for the program, and honored that so many of its customers support our work,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “Patagonia has a rich tradition of supporting cutting-edge environmental organizations, and we’ll continue that tradition by uniting the grassroots conservation and environmental justice movements in shared campaigns that create a more equitable world for all.”

Volunteers John Bowie, Barbara Beth, and Courtney Rose Rump table at Patagonia San Francisco.

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Over 100 Attend Endangered Communities, Endangered Species Rally!

Over 100 enthusiastic supporters joined the Wild Equity Institute, Save the Frogs!, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, H.O.M.E.Y., and Action for Animals at noon today in front of San Francisco’s City Hall for the Endangered Communities, Endangered Species Rally!

Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater and San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos
discuss restoring Sharp Park at the Endangered Communities/Endangered Species Rally.

From k9sound on Vimeo.

In honor of Save the Frogs Day, the rally called on the City of San Francisco to close the failing Sharp Park Golf Course, quit killing endangered snakes and frogs, end the wasteful spending, and create a better public park at Sharp Park.

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4/30, Noon: Save the Frogs Day Walk at Sharp Park

Saturday, April 30, 2011, 12pm-2pm — In honor of Save the Frogs Day, join the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save both species from the brink of extinction. We’ll also have an activity and information table for kids of all ages. RSVP Required: please use this website to RSVP. Rain or Shine. Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, Pacifica, CA, 94044.

4/29, Noon: Endangered Communities, Endangered Species Rally at SF City Hall

San Francisco continues to subsidize an endangered species-killing golf course in Pacifica even though the City’s community services are being cut.

We deserve better!

In honor of Save the Frogs Day, please join the Wild Equity Institute, SAVE THE FROGS! and the Center for Biological Diversity for the Endangered Communities, Endangered Species Rally. The event is endorsed by Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth.

Join us and tell San Francisco to stop the wasteful spending, save the environment while helping our communities, and create a public park that everyone can enjoy by restoring Sharp Park! There will be speakers and informational tables.

Tell the SF Board of Supervisors to Oppose the Wiener Resolution!

Yesterday by a 2 to 1 vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee passed a resolution condemning the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for attempting to manage off-leash dogs in the park. This misguided resolution is driving a wedge in San Francisco’s progressive community, pitting environmental, social welfare, and justice groups against a fraction of dog owners who wish to recreate with their dogs without regard to the impacts on other people and other forms of life.

Leash laws and enclosed off-leash play areas are essential safeguards for us all.

There are solutions to this problem: the most obvious solution is to ensure that our off-leash areas are safe by enclosing them with a physical barrier. After two years of negotiation, the GGNRA’s pet management rulemaking committee reached consensus about creating a fully enclosed off-leash dog walking trail in Marin County. This can serve as a model to solve this ongoing debate: and is in stark contrast to the resolution passed by the Committee yesterday condemning our great Urban National Park experiment.

We all love our dogs. The question is do we love each other enough to recognize that how we allow our dogs to behave can have negative impacts on other people—not to mention the wildlife that find their last refuge in the GGNRA. The Weiner resolution doesn’t help us address this core question: and that’s why it should be opposed.

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Sharp Park Educational Forum, Pacifica, 3/31 6:30pm

Sharp Park Educational Forum

The authors of the Sharp Park restoration assessment report will be presenting their findings in a community forum at the Pacifica Library on Thursday, March 31, 2011, as a free educational service to Pacifica.

Their report is the first peer-reviewed scientific study of the area, presents a comprehensive picture of the past and present of Sharp Park, and lays out comparative plans for the parks future.

Independent authors Bob Battalio, environmental consultant of the firm ESA PWA; coastal ecologist Dr. Peter Baye; and herpetologist Dawn Reis, assembled the report after a careful year-long study of numerous facets of the park, ranging from the impacts of sea level rise to the management of the endangered species on site to the historical conditions of the area.

The educational forum will delve into the report’s findings and the science behind them. Residents stand not only to learn about Sharp Park, but the coastal environment as a whole, bringing greater understanding to the environment in which we live (and sometimes must contend with).

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What do Elizabeth Taylor, Barry Bonds, and the Wild Equity Institute Have in Common?

The classic beauty, the troubled slugger, and the Wild Equity Institute’s campaign to restore Sharp Park were all on the front page of the San Francisco chronicle on Thursday, March 24, 2011.

Click here to see a .pdf of the article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.

Now send a letter to the editor thanking the paper for running this important story. Remind all San Franciscans that all the available evidence indicates that Sharp Park was once a backbarrier fresh to brackish lagoon, not a saline tidal lagoon as the proponents of the status quo allege in this article. That means we can restore the natural system while preserving endangered species at Sharp Park. In the process we’ll build a better public park with recreation opportunities everyone can enjoy.

Sign the Petition to Restore Sharp Park

Our friends at Change.org heard that Sharp Park Golf Course may be restored and turned into a National Park, and started a new petition to the Recreation and Parks Department to demand that San Francisco stop killing endanagered species on the property and restore the land.

The petition has resonated with people around the world, and it is getting just under 100 signatures a day. Add your signature to the petition so we can make sure San Francisco understands that restoring Sharp Park has broad public support.

San Francisco Garter Snake

The Future of Sharp Park: Panel Discussion at SPUR 3/17

The peer-reviewed, scientific study of Sharp Park released last month has already impacted public policy: San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department has abandoned its plan to construct a sea wall at Sharp Park, and appears poised to adopt the rest of the reports findings as well.

You can find out why the report has been so influential by coming to a presentation by the report’s authors—Dr. Peter Baye, Bob Battalio, and Dawn Reis—at SPUR on Thursday, March 17, 2011, 12:30 p.m. Listen to the evidence and then decide for yourself what the future holds for Sharp Park.

Endangered species-killing pumping at Sharp Park Golf Course.

  • The Future of Sharp Park: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. — San Francisco’s public Sharp Park Golf Course, located in Pacifica, is facing serious financial, environmental and recreational challenges. Potential solutions are constrained by the presence of two endangered species and a coastal location threatened by sea level rise. Yet Sharp Park provides unique opportunities to adapt the coast to climate change while preserving public access and benefits to neighboring communities. Join Bob Battalio of the environmental consulting firm ESA PWA, coastal ecologist Dr. Peter Baye, and coastal herpetologist Dawn Reis, as they discuss lessons learned in designing resilient and robust coastal landscapes. Held at SPUR, 654 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-4015. Free for SPUR members; $5 for all others. OK to bring lunch.

Shop Patagonia SF This Month & WEI Wins 2.5K!!

You can help the Wild Equity Institute earn $2,500: simply by shopping at Patagonia’s San Francisco store! Just visit Patagonia San Francisco from March 10 through March 31 and cast your ballot for Wild Equity during Patagonia’s Voice Your Choice program.

The Voice Your Choice program encourages Patagonia customers to become better informed and more involved with environmental work in their communities. That’s why Wild Equity is such a great match for the program: our work helps build community every day by engaging people to care for each other and for other forms of life.

WEI is one of three local organizations selected to participate in Patagonia’s Voice Your Choice program this year, a great honor for our nascent group. Through this program WEI is competing to win up to $2,500: we take home the grand prize if we have the most supporters visit the Patagonia San Francisco store and cast a ballot for the Wild Equity Institute. The second and third place organizations receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

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Wild Equity Sues Sharp Park Golf Course for Killing Endangered Species

The Wild Equity Institute has filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department today for violating the Endangered Species Act at Sharp Park golf course, a financially troubled, city-owned course located within Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, Surfrider Foundation, Sequoia Audubon Society and Sierra Club joined the federal lawsuit. The Washington, D.C. public-interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal represents the coalition in the suit.

“We put San Francisco on notice that it was violating the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Three years later the City is still killing endangered species at Sharp Park,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “Last week more California red-legged frogs were killed by the golf course. It’s time for San Francisco to stop subsidizing this endangered species-killing golf course in San Mateo County and start working towards a better, more sustainable future at Sharp Park.”

This California red-legged frog egg mass was stranded and left to die after Sharp Park Golf Course’s pumping operations drained the frog’s habitat. Wild Equity Institute sent a letter to authorities requesting that they take emergency steps to save the egg mass when it was first exposed to the air, but no action was taken.

Sharp Park is a wetland that San Francisco regularly drains so golf can be played on the land. But draining the land reduces the depth of the water in breeding and feeding areas for the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. San Francisco has known about the problem since at least 1992, when the first biological surveys found dead California red-legged frog egg masses on the property. Yet the City still does not have any Endangered Species Act permits to kill endangered wildlife.

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More Imperiled Frogs Killed by Sharp Park Golf Course

On February 21, 2011, a local Pacifica resident informed the Wild Equity Institute that a presumed California red-legged frog egg mass was at risk of desiccation at Sharp Park. The egg mass appeared to have been laid shortly after the previous week’s winter storms inundated Sharp Park Golf Course. Wild Equity was informed that the egg mass was attached to aquatic vegetation near the surface of the water on the south side of Horse Stable Pond.

Horse Stable Pond Water Level,
February 21, 2011, 2:37 p.m.
(approximately 2.9 meters)
California Red-legged Frog Egg Mass,
Southern Edge of Horse Stable Pond
February 21, 2011, 2:35 p.m.

The resident was concerned that San Francisco’s ongoing pumping of water from Horse Stable Pond might expose this egg mass to the air. The pumps appeared to have been on consistently since the heavy winter rains inundated the course.

Pumping at Sharp Park Golf Course Pump House,
After Heavy Rains in February, 2011.

On February 23, 2011, Wild Equity Institute staff and supporters visited Mori Point and Sharp Park, along with an expert in herpetology. Wild Equity Institute staff quickly located the egg mass, and the expert confirmed that it was in fact a California red-legged frog egg mass. At that time the egg mass was completely exposed to the air. Pumping operations were still occurring.

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RPD Backs Off Sea Wall Plan: WEI Responds

Statements by Conservation Groups on San Francisco’s Change of Position on Sharp Park Golf Course Management

Sharp Park golf course, owned and operated by the city of San Francisco and located in Pacifica within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, faces significant problems with flooding, achieving environmental compliance and financial losses. The coastal wetland is home to two endangered species, the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. A recently released, peer-reviewed scientific study by coastal restoration experts concluded that restoration of the natural lagoon and beach processes provides the most public benefit and best protects endangered species, and is much less expensive than a San Francisco Park Department plan or maintaining the status quo.

In a change of position Wednesday, the Park Department abandoned plans to reinforce a beach-eroding seawall that is needed to support golf operations; it has also concluded that current golf operations are not compatible with protection of endangered species at the site. A working group of land managers convened by the Park Department issued a puzzlingly brief two-page policy findings report on Sharp Park that agreed with the conclusions of the peer-reviewed study on the impacts of sea-level rise and coastal erosion and the futility of armoring, maintaining or further raising a seawall that protects the golf course and recommended a transition to a naturally managed “barrier lagoon” at Sharp Park. Below are statements on the position change from conservation groups involved in the issue.

Statement by Neal Desai, Pacific Region associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association: “The Park Department now appears to acknowledge the conclusions of the recent scientific study by coastal experts at ESA-PWA that preserving the current golf operations is not financially sustainable and is damaging to the recovery of the endangered San Francisco garter snake and California red-legged frog within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. San Francisco policymakers should seriously consider the science-based ESA-PWA study as a blueprint for how to solve the various problems plaguing Sharp Park so our national treasure is preserved and protected for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”

Statement by Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute: “We agree that recreation can coexist with endangered species protection at Sharp Park; however, recreation that relies on dredging, pumping and mowing operations is not compatible with endangered species. Bay Area residents want our parks more sustainable and expect our scarce parks funding to improve recreational services within San Francisco communities, not subsidize suburban golf in Pacifica. Restoring Sharp Park in partnership with the National Park Service can build a better public park that everyone can enjoy.”

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Golf Course Compliance Plan Fails; Red-legged Frogs Jeopardized

February 22, 2011


CONTACT: Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989

Sharp Park Compliance Plan Fails; Imperiled Frogs Jeopardized by Golf Course

San Francisco — Documents obtained from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department show that at least 107 California red-legged frog egg masses were jeopardized this winter when ongoing pumping operations at Sharp Park Golf Course drained areas where the egg masses were laid, requiring emergency action to relocate the egg masses to deeper waters. This record number of egg mass strandings occurred despite the implementation of a compliance plan specifically designed to keep endangered species safe from the golf course’s activities.

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WEI Puts Fish and Wildlife Service on Notice for Delaying Manzanita Protection

Today the Wild Equity Institute filed a formal 60-day notice of intent to sue the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to provide timely protection to the Franciscan Manzanita, a highly imperiled plant found only in the Presidio in San Francisco.

The Last Wild Franciscan Manzanita

The Franciscan Manzanita made national headlines in December 2009 when Dr. Daniel Gluesenkamp rediscovered the plant near Doyle Drive in the Presidio, more than 70 years after the species was declared extinct in the wild. Unfortunately, at the time Dr. Gluesenkamp made his discovery the plant was threatened by a massive, federally-funded road construction project. But a collaborative effort to move the plant into a more secure location was undertaken, saving the individual plant and giving manzanita experts a more stable area to begin species-wide recovery efforts.

To kick-start those species-wide recovery efforts, on December 14, 2009, the Wild Equity Institute submitted a formal administrative petition to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to provide the species with formal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered Species Act protection is essential to the recovery of the Franciscan Manzanita because it requires a recovery plan to be created and prioritizes federal funding for recovery actions.

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2/17: WEI Presents Birding, Turtling, & Conserving Trinidad & Tobago

This Thursday, February 17 at 7pm, the Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director will present a slideshow with Eddie Bartley of Nature Trip about Brent’s Fulbright Scholar experience in Trinidad and Tobago. The presentation will be at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco: hope to see you there!

  • Birding, Turtling, & Conserving Trinidad & Tobago, Thursday, February 17, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: The Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater received a Fulbright Scholar grant to study leatherback sea turtle conservation in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010. While he was there, nearly 20 Bay Area conservationists visited to explore the country, including Eddie Bartley and Noreen Weeden of San Francisco Nature Trip. Eddie and Brent have put together this slide show of the experience, documenting the amazing wildlife, incredible culture, and heart-wrenching problems in T&T—and the inspiring people that are doing something about it. Held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco. Admission is free.

Nesting Leatherback Sea Turtle, Trinidad & Tobago

Peer-reviewed Scientific Study Calls for Restoring Sharp Park

February 10, 2011


CONTACT: Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
                 Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 499-9185

First Peer-reviewed Scientific Study of Sharp Park:
Removing Golf Course, Creating New Public Park Is Least Costly, Best Option

San Francisco — A new scientific report by independent scientists and engineers says that the most cost-effective option for Pacifica’s Sharp Park is to remove the golf course and restore the functions of the original natural ecosystem, which will also provide the most benefit to endangered species. Experts on coastal lagoon ecosystems have prepared the first ever peer-reviewed restoration study for Sharp Park, an 18-month assessment of Laguna Salada and Sanchez Creek. The report makes several key findings:

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Survey Says: SF Wants More Sustainability, Less Golf

A new survey released by the Neighborhood Parks Council shows that San Franciscans want more sustainability in their park system and fewer expenditures on golf: which is precisely why restoring Sharp Park is great public policy for San Francisco.

“Restoring Sharp Park is a sensible solution that helps the Recreation and Parks Department supply what park users demand,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We can reduce wasteful spending on regional golf in San Mateo County while providing a sustainable solution to the myriad problems the golf course faces. It isn’t often you get win-win solutions in park management: the City should seize this one immediately.”

The Neighborhood Parks Council surveyed 1,443 San Francisco residents in October and November of 2010, asking dozens of questions about San Francisco’s parks. In one question, respondents were asked to list three priorities for park funding. Of the nearly 100 different responses, sustainability came in 5th, behind only general park maintenance, better athletic fields, more programming, and improved safety. In a second question, respondents were asked to list three expenses they’d like to see cut. Of the over 80 different responses to this question, cutting golf expenses came in 5th, behind only salaries and overtime pay, construction projects, regional attractions, and wasteful spending.

Sharp Park Golf Course is a wetland that San Francisco drains regularly so golfers can play there for about $30 a round. The course loses money every year, siphoning scarce recreation dollars from San Francisco’s community centers and city services. A broad coalition has been working to transfer Sharp Park to the National Park Service and redirect the money San Francisco saves back to neighborhood parks, where the money belongs.

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Thanks for the Warmth, Congrats to our Winners!

Thanks to the 75+ supporters of the Wild Equity Institute and our suite mates, Restore Hetch Hethcy, that helped warm our office and bring the 2010 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year to a close.

Members enjoyed delicious foods and wines generously donated by
Arizmendi Bakery and Muir-Hanna Vineyards

We spent some time honoring our Big Year winners: Steve Price and Liam O’Brien were once again crowned co-champions, while Molly Latimer won a free pair of binoculars from REI’s San Francisco Store for being the top youth competitor. Kate and Gofi Gelles rounded out the top five finishers in the Big Year competition. Congratulations to you all!

And we couldn’t have done it without the support of Barbara Beth, who received special acknowledgement as the Wild Equity Institute’s Volunteer of the Year for 2010!

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Students Take Action for the Underfrog

Recently students from San Francisco’s public high schools visited Mori Point and the controversial Sharp Park Golf Course. They learned about the impacts the course is having on the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog, and learned what they can do to help these species recover. You can join them: send a message to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and tell ’em to Restore Sharp Park!