Photograph copyright 2015 by Jack Gescheidt, TreeSpirit Project
Starting on August 1, the City of Oakland, UC Berkeley and the East Bay Regional Park District will begin the clear cutting of as many as 450,000 trees - French broom, eucalyptus and Monterey pines – in the East Bay hills. A $5.6 million grant from FEMA will be used to pay for this work. After they are downed, the trees will be chipped and the stumps treated with pesticides including Monsanto Roundup (glyphosate) and Dow Garlon (triclopyr) twice a year to keep them from growing back. The grant money from FEMA is not enough to pay for the removal of the wood chips or to plant new vegetation.
This plan is moving forward despite overwhelming public disapproval during the environmental review period.
Proponents of the plan say that these trees are non-native species that need to be removed and that they are a fire hazard – although the FEMA report after the 1991 East Bay fire does not mention these trees as contributing to the spread or intensity of the fires.
Opponents of the plan counter that the wood chips will be an even bigger fire hazard since brush fires were a large factor in the start of the 1991 firestorm.
There are environmental and neighborhood groups on both sides of this issue. 350Marin opposes this plan and wants to make our members and friends aware of it.
You can find more information at the following websites:
East Bay Hills Tree Removal Plan Still Sparking Debate – East Bay Express
The Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan - East Bay Regional Park District
Lawsuit to Block Funding for East Bay Deforestation – SF Forest Alliance