Restore Sharp Park News

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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!

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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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.

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.

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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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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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!

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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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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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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This Weekend: Big Year Bike Ride in SF, Twain's Frog in Pacifica

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year is getting frenetic as we close out this year’s competition. This weekend we’re offering two trips to see and save endangered species: one by bike, the other on foot. Hope to see you at either or both!

SF Commissioner Agrees to Meet with WEI and Allies About Sharp Park Lawsuit

Mark Buell, the new President of San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Commission, has agreed to meet with the Wild Equity Institute, Surfrider Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, Sequoia Audubon, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, and the Center for Biological Diversity after being put on notice of a forthcoming lawsuit over the City’s violation of environmental laws at Sharp Park Golf Course. The groups are represented by the Washington, D.C. public-interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.

A restoration vision for Sharp Park.

“The coalition of environmental, justice, and social service organizations calling for closing Sharp Park Golf Course continues to grow and is stronger than ever before,” says Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We’re glad to work with Commissioner Buell to ensure that, just as he would never conduct the public’s business without complying with open government laws, we do not conduct the endangered species’ business without complying with the Endangered Species Act.”

The controversial Sharp Park Golf Course is owned by San Francisco but located in suburban San Mateo County. The golf course receives failing grades from golfers in most categories measured by the National Golf Foundation, has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2004, and has been killing two species protected by the Endangered Species Act, the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog, for decades.

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Life on Edge, Twain's Frog Trips This Weekend

We’re offering two great GGNP Endangered Species Big Year trips this weekend. hope to see you outside exploring our parks!

Life on Edge: Seeing San Francisco’s Endangered SpeciesSaturday, November 20, 2010, 10:00am to 3:00pm — Join local naturalist Matt Zlatunich on a 5-mile hike along the edge of the North American continent. We’ll discover San Francisco’s beautiful habitats and learn about the endangered species that call the area home.  We’ll search for Marbled Murrelet, Western Snowy Plover, San Francisco Lessingia, Humpback Whale and Southern Sea Otter. Bring food and water. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to win $1,000 while seeing and saving the Park’s endangered species. RSVP required: use this website to RSVP. Meet at the Baker Beach north parking lot.

Twain’s Frog and the Beautiful SerpentSunday, November 21, 2010, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Join Brent Plater of 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. RSVP Required: please use this website to RSVP. Rain or Shine. Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, Pacifica, CA, 94044. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competitive event to help endangered species recover.

Another 100K Down the Drain at Sharp Park Golf Course

November 16, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Another 100K of Public Dollars Down the Drain at Sharp Park Golf Course

San Francisco taxpayers billed a half-million dollars
over the past six years for controversial San Mateo County golf course

SAN FRANCISCO— A new analysis of documents recently released by San Francisco’s deficit-ridden Recreation and Parks Department shows that Sharp Park Golf Course lost between $117,000 and $135,000 last fiscal year, bringing the golf course’s total operating losses to at least a half-million dollars since 2004.

“No community center or neighborhood park should have services reduced while the Department is subsidizing suburban golf in San Mateo County,” says Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We deserve better: it’s time to close Sharp Park Golf Course and bring the funds saved back to San Francisco’s communities, where the money rightfully belongs.”

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Election Day & a New Day for Sharp Park

An election is always cause for reflection: on the candidates and issues we are asked to support (or oppose); the state of our democracy; and our individual roles within it.

Today is no different. And while it may be some time before the full repercussions of today’s election will be known, we can immediately start reflecting on our relationship to each other and our relationship to the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

Here’s to a new opportunity: another chance to get involved and help build a more equitable world for us all. At the Wild Equity Institute, we always have the time to help you find your place within our growing movement to build a healthy and sustainable global community. Contact us to find out how you can become involved in our work.

The work begins near home. Today we stumbled across this photo of Sharp Park’s Laguna Salada. The lagoon is reclaiming it’s historic boundaries with water collected from the winter rains. It reminds us how easily and instantly the floodplain can be restored: and that we can build a better, more sustainable, and more equitable park at Sharp Park, just as nature is already attempting to do.

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Another 63K Down the Drain at Sharp Park

New documents released by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department show that another $63,000 was spent to install and repair a pump at the controversial Sharp Park Golf Course, adding to the course’s environmental and economic woes.

The 63-thousand Dollar Pump Installation at Sharp Park

The project follows a $238,000 project to fix the pumping operations implemented just two years ago.

The golf course’s expenses are partly responsible for the Department’s unpopular plan to commercialize San Francisco’s public spaces. For example, at a recent community meeting about Dolores Park, General Manager Phil Ginsburg argued for a controversial vending-cart plan to close a 70-thousand dollar shortfall in Dolores Park’s budget.

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SFPUC Delays Vote on Sharp Park Project

Thanks to calls, letters, and compelling public testimony, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has delayed approval of a recycled water project that would benefit the controversial Sharp Park Golf Course.

The SFPUC was asked to give its General Manager authority to negotiate a recycled water delivery contract with San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department. The contract would deliver recycled water from a treatment plant in Pacifica to Sharp Park Golf Course.

As currently proposed, three-quarters of the recycled water from the treatment plant would be delivered to Sharp Park Golf Course. But since the golf course may not persist, the current proposal jeopardizes the long-term feasibility of the recycled water project: if the SFPUC cannot find alternative customers for this water, the project could become infeasible and set a bad precedent for future recycled water projects.

The Wild Equity Institute and other environmental organizations argued that the Commission needs to provide opportunities to deliver the water to other users before locking-in contractual agreements for a golf course that may not exist.

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SFPUC Vote Tomorrow Will Define Future of Recycled Water Projects

Tomorrow, Tuesday September 28, 1:30pm at San Francisco City Hall room 400, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will vote to authorize the SFPUC General Manager to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with Phil Ginsburg and the Recreation and Parks Department to deliver recycled water to Sharp Park Golf Course. The vote is item 14 on the agenda. You can find out more here.

The Wild Equity Institute supports using recycled water for non-potable uses. In general, recycled water is a great substitute for drinking water, when the substitution is appropriate.

But this vote is pre-mature. As currently proposed, 75% of the recycled water from this project is slated to quench Sharp Park Golf Course: even though the golf course is unlikely to exist in the near future as sea level rises and environmental and economic constraints force the City to provide recreational golf elsewhere. This is why people from across the political spectrum, from San Francisco’s Green Party to Republican Senator John McCain, have all opposed investing millions of dollars in a water project for a marginal golf course.

So why the rush to vote? A document request by the Wild Equity Institute has found part of the answer: to beat a deadline for federal stimulus dollars for the project. With federal stimulus money on the line, the PUC and its partners seem to be spending money and making agreements first, and thinking about the consequences later.

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Stand Up for the "Underfrog": Stop the Federal Golf Bailout Today

San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department is seeking federal funding from the Army Corps of Engineers to build a sea wall at Sharp Park: a sea wall that ecologists and biologists have stated will doom the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog, and cause Sharp Park Beach to erode away as sea level rises. We need you to take action today to stop this golf course bailout effort in its tracks.

Read More About the Golf Bailout Here:

The Department is trying to obtain the funds from Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act: a federal program that directs the Army Corps of Engineers to restore aquatic ecosystems. The Department convinced Congresswoman Jackie Speier to initiate the request: and true to her early statements in support of restoring Sharp Park, her request claims that the money will be used to protect endangered species at Sharp Park, not bailout the golf course.

But legislative research by the Wild Equity Institute indicates that the Department has a very different—and arguably illegal—purpose for the restoration money: the Department’s formal letter in support of the project expressly states that the funds will be used to ‘reconstruct the Sharp Park Seawall’ and to ‘maintain the existing recreational opportunities provided by the golf course’.

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UC Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy & Management Study Supports Restoring Sharp Park

A 2010 study released by UC Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy, & Management students concludes that Sharp Park Golf Course should be closed and the land restored in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks.

A Restoration Vision for Sharp Park

The independent study, based on Recreation and Park Department data and interviews with environmental and golf advocates in the Bay Area, reviewed the fiscal, recreational, and environmental impacts of Sharp Park Golf Course. The study made a number of important findings:

  • Sharp Park Golf Course is not financially self-sustaining and loses thousands of taxpayer dollars every year.
  • Millions of capital improvement dollars are required to make the golf course competitive, but there is no guarantee that the investment would improve profitability of the course.
  • The golf course is harming two endangered species, the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake.
  • The golf course serves a small community of golfers that is declining, while demand for other outdoor recreation is increasing.

The study concludes that restoring Sharp Park in partnership with the National Park Service is the best alternative for Sharp Park, because it will resolve environmental problems at the site while matching public recreation supply with modern recreation demand.

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Twain's Frog & the Beautiful Serpent, Sept. 19, 10am

Sunday, September 19, 2010, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Join Brent Plater of 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. RSVP Required: please use this website to RSVP. Rain or Shine. Meet at the Mori Point Trailhead, Pacifica, CA, 94044. Take the Sharp Park exit off Hwy. 1 and continue south on Bradford Way about 0.5 mile to the gate/trailhead at Mori Point Rd. Roadside parking is limited; carpooling is encouraged. Samtrans buses #110 and #112 stop nearby.

California red-legged frog