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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

Background
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.

Statements
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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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!

Best. Hate. Voicemail. Ever!


Artwork by Liam O’Brien

The Wild Equity Institute’s lawsuit to protect the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly was a hot topic with Bay Area media outlets this week, covered by The Bay Citizen, CBS 5, and the Contra Costa Times. But our favorite story was left on our voicemail: by someone with a decidedly different point of view.

This message has the hallmarks of an all-time classic. It’s anonymous, inaccurate, breathlessly angry, and masterfully on message: in under thirty seconds it gets all the talk radio insults in. This guy should be giving clinics.

Listen to the message for the full effect, but here’s the text:

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GGNRA Dog Plan Released: WEI Discusses on KQED 1/17

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area has released its long-awaited Dog Management Plan, and will be taking public comment on the proposal for the next 90 days. The Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater will be a guest on KQED’s Forum (88.5 FM) to discuss the plan Monday, January 17th at 9:00 a.m. You can bring your voice to the debate by calling 866-733-6786 or emailing forum@kqed.org.

Weighing-in at over 2,000 pages and over six years in the making, bystanders might look at the plan and conclude that the GGNRA’s priorities are misplaced. If, for example, the GGNRA tackled more pressing environmental problems like climate adaptation this thoroughly, we might have a carbon neutral park by now.

Yet in other respects pet management contains the same moral dilemmas as our most pressing environmental problems:

  • Who should bear the burden of activities conducted in National Parks: the individuals taking action or the public as a whole?
  • When should individual entitlement take precedence over public responsibility?
  • Does the Park have a duty to proactively protect park visitors from harm, or should the Park simply facilitate recompense after an injury has occurred?

These are common questions to most environmental problems, yet despite the plan’s length and delay, it still fails to address some basic problems with pet management at the GGNRA.

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WEI Heads to Court to Protect Antioch's Communities and Wildlife

On Friday, January 21, the Wild Equity Institute will appear in court to protect human health and endangered species. You can attend the oral argument: it is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. in courtroom 10 on the 19th floor of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

The lawsuit involves PG&E’s Gateway Generating Station, a natural gas power plant in Antioch. Because of several miscues by regulatory agencies and calculated risks taken by PG&E, the power plant was constructed and continues to operate without federal air pollution permits. Community groups concerned about the power plant’s pollution discovered that the requisite permits weren’t in place, and brought suit to demand pollution reductions to protect human health. Unfortunately, the EPA is now attempting to cut a sweetheart deal with PG&E over the legal violation: without first considering the impacts of this deal on endangered species at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, including the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, the Contra Costa Wallflower, and the Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose.

This is a serious concern because the same pollution that is impacting human health is also polluting endangered species habitats at the Refuge, which is less than 1 mile from the power plant. Nitrogen emissions from the power plant change the chemical composition of the dune soil, creating favorable conditions for invasive weeds. These weeds crowd out the endangered plants and the host plant for the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly. The Butterfly, already on the precipice of extinction, is closely associated with its host plant, and when the host plant is crowded out the Butterfly’s population plummets even further.

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Students, Wildlife Get a Second Chance with WEI

The Wild Equity Institute has partnered with Downtown High School in San Francisco to give students and endangered species a second chance at life.

“We’ve been inspired by the students at Downtown High School and the empathy they’ve shown toward each other and to other forms of life,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to help them succeed both in and out of the classroom.”

The joint project is 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 is 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

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Endangered Species, Endangered Buses

Artist Todd Gilens has implemented a fascinating new public art project that highlights the link between how we treat each other, and how we treat other forms of life.

The project is called Endangered Bus. Todd has placed photos of several imperiled species on San Francisco MUNI buses to highlight the similar challenges we face addressing these collective problems: saving endangered species on the one hand, and providing affordable, reliable public transit on the other.


Coho Salmon Endangered Bus


Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Endangered Bus

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1/27: Office Opening, Big Year Closing Party

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year has come to a close, and some familiar faces ended up at the top of the leader board.

Liam O’Brien and Steven Price tied for first place this year: just as they did in the inaugural 2008 Big Year competition. Rounding out the top finishers were two new competitors—Kate & Gofi Gelles—and Molly Latimer, our youngest competitor in the running for the top prize. Congratulations to you all!

This year we’ll be celebrating the Big Year winners in a new location: the Wild Equity Institute’s first office! We’re co-hosting an office warming party on January 27, 2011 from 5pm until 7pm, with our suite-mates, Restore Hetch Hetchy.


Minding our footprint: our new office is furnished
entirely with donated, recycled, and salvaged materials.

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Comment on Unleashed Dogs in the GGNRA

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area may finally start enforcing leash laws at the GGNRA: and you will have two opportunities to encourage them to do so in the coming weeks.

Off-leash dogs at the GGNRA negatively impact people, our pets, wildlife, and park resources. Imperiled wildlife like the western snowy plover are frequently harassed by off-leash dogs; guide dog users are regularly interfered with—and occasionally attacked—by off-leash dogs; and perhaps most alarmingly, hundreds of off-leash dogs have been lost, injured, or killed when they fall off cliffs, run into traffic, or otherwise lose their owners.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can make off-leash dog play areas that are safe for everyone, including our dogs.

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Federal Golf Bailout Stopped! For Now . . .

Thanks to thousands of calls and emails from supporters like you, the federal bailout of Sharp Park Golf Course proposed by Congresswoman Jackie Speier was not adopted by the 111th Congress before the congressional session expired. This means that the bailout proposal is over: unless it is reintroduced and passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate during the 112th Congress. With the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, this seems unlikely to occur.

“Democrats & Republicans, environmentalists and budget hawks, social service providers and open space advocates all agree: there should be no federal bailout of Sharp Park Golf Course,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “If federal dollars are spent at Sharp Park, taxpayers deserve a federal asset in return, and the best asset would be a National Park that everyone can enjoy, not just golfers.”


A Restoration Vision for Sharp Park.

The federal golf bailout submitted by Representative Speier would have taken money dedicated to wetland restoration and used it to build a sea wall at Sharp Park. To justify this diversion of funds, the Congresswoman argued that the sea wall was needed to protect endangered species at Sharp Park. However, ecologists and biologists that have reviewed the proposal determined that the opposite is true: the sea wall would doom Sharp Park’s endangered species while causing Sharp Park Beach to erode away.

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Big Year Finds Endangered Coho Spawners in Muir Woods

On December 26, 2010, a dozen Golden Gate National Park Endangered Species Big Year participants found the first endangered Coho Salmon spawning in Muir Woods National Monument this spawning season.

“Santa came a day late, but he brought quite a gift,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “The numbers are still critically low, but anytime salmon spawn it is reason to celebrate.”

The sighting was reported to the National Park Service, which sent out an emergency survey team. The team discovered 5 adult Coho salmon and 2 redds (which are essentially salmon nests) in Muir Woods. Additional surveys are now planned for later in the season.

Endangered Species Big Year Participants Observe Coho Salmon in Muir Woods.

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Lawsuit Launched to Protect the Lange's Metalmark Butterfly from PG&E Power Plant

December 28, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Lawsuit Launched to Protect the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly from PG&E Power Plant

Nitrogen Emissions Threaten Survival of Critically Endangered Butterfly

ANTIOCH, CA— Today the Wild Equity Institute filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for issuing air pollution permits to PG&E’s Gateway Generating Station without first evaluating the power plant’s impacts on the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, an endangered species whose only home is less than a mile away from the Gateway Generating Station.

“When the EPA takes short cuts with environmental health, disadvantaged communities and wildlife often suffer the most,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “Today’s action will help us create a healthier environment for people and for the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.”

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Sharp Park Golf Course Floods: Again

Even though San Francisco dumped $300,000 of taxpayer money into new pumps and repaired drainage pipes at Sharp Park over the past two fiscal years, the controversial Sharp Park Golf Course is—once again—severely flooded.

Photographs Taken December 18 & 19, 2010.

Sharp Park Golf Course has had problems with water management since its inception. The golf course’s poor design and unfortunate placement has resulted in flooding from coastal storm surges and from normal winter rains nearly every year.

The ongoing flooding problems highlight the futility of maintaing an 18-hole golf course in this inappropriate location. Millions of dollars of public money would be required to defy nature and defend the golf course’s existing location: money that would be better spent on public parks everyone can enjoy.

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Last Big Year Trip of the Year: Dec. 26, Get Your Spawn On!

We’ll be heading to Muir Woods to close our the 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year with a trip to search for spawning Coho Salmon and Steelhead. The fish have been returning in larger numbers than we’ve seen in the past two years, but they are still critically low. We will almost certainly see some young fry in the streams: but we’ll really be looking for the big spawners swimming up stream. Rain or shine: so see you outside!

Get Your Spawn On: Searching for Endangered Salmon in Muir Woods — Sunday, December 26, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute as we take an easy stroll through Muir Woods National Monument to search for endangered salmonids in Redwood Creek. We’ll learn about the lives of Coho Salmon and Steelhead as the fish return from the Ocean, and discuss what we all can do to help them recover. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to see and help save the Park’s endangered species. Trip goes rain or shine: dress for cold, wet weather and wear boots as trails may be muddy. RSVP required: please use the RSVP tool on this website to RSVP. Meet at the Dipsea Trail Trailhead: the trailhead is within the auxiliary/south parking lot for Muir Woods. Park entrance fees apply, but the hike is free.

5K Matching Grant Offered: Donate to WEI Now!

An anonymous Wild Equity Institute donor has pledged up to $5,000 to our work: if we can get our community to match it!

Here’s the deal: For every dollar we raise during our end-of-year fundraising drive, our donor will match it — up to $5,000!

This means you can double your impact by donating today: for every dollar you contribute, another dollar will be donated to our work.

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Rose Foundation Supports the Wild Equity Institute

The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment announced their continued support of the Wild Equity Institute and our campaign to restore Sharp Park on December 14, 2010.

“We are grateful for the Rose Foundation’s generous grant,” said Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute. We’re proud of the diverse coalition we’ve built to restore Sharp Park, and the Rose Foundation’s support will help us continue this important work."

The Wild Equity Institute is working to transform Sharp Park from a money losing, endangered species killing golf course into a public park that naturally adapts to sea level rise, protects coastal communities from flooding events, recovers endangered species, and provides recreational access everyone can enjoy.

A Restoration Vision for Sharp Park.

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