June 24 2014 Urban Forestry Council Meeting Approved Minutes


Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

City Hall, Room 416
One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Jr. Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Order of Business

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.   The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 6:05 p.m.  Present:  Council Members Flanagan, Hillson, Kamalanathan (Recreation and Park Department), Kida, Leffingwell, Most, and Swae; Excused:  Members Hillan, Short, Sherwin, and Sullivan.

2. Adoption of Minutes of the March 28, 2014 Urban Forestry Council Meeting. (Explanatory Document:   March 28, 2014 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  This agenda item was incorrectly published as adoption of Minutes of the March 28, 2014 meeting instead of the May 25, 2014 meeting minutes.  The adoption of the May 25, 2014 Draft Minutes will be considered at the July 25, 2014 Urban Forestry Council meeting.

3. Public Comment:  Members of the public may address the Council on matters that are within the Council’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

4. Mature and Historic Tree Stands Best Management Practices Listening Series.  Council members will be hearing from urban forest managers and stakeholders on consideration of Best Management Practices to improve the health of San Francisco’s mature and historic tree stands. (Explanatory Documents:  Presentations) Speakers:  Rupa Bose, Save Sutro; Craig Dawson, Sutro Stewards; Joe McBride, UC Berkeley; Peter Ehrlich, Presidio Trust; Lou Stringer, Presidio Trust; Noreen Weeden and Roy Leggitt, Golden Gate Audubon Society; Igor Lacan, UC Cooperative Extension (Informational Presentations and Discussion)

Chair Flanagan announced that Mr. Joe McBride and Mr. Igor Lacan’s presentations would be heard at the July 25 Council meeting.  He reported that this agenda topic is the first of two meetings to inform the Urban Forestry Council on Best Management Practices facing the urban forest and to assist in the Council’s major goal to become more relevant to the City, the Board of Supervisors, and Mayor on issues facing San Francisco’s urban forest.  The Council will then identify Best Management Practices to consider adopting in the fall.

Ms. Rupa Bose, Save Sutro, discussed Mt. Sutro’s cloud forest, its location in San Francisco, aesthethics, neighborhood appreciation, ecosystem services provided, and ownership of Mt. Sutro by UCSF and San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.  She discussed UCSF’s 2013 Draft Environment Impact Reports and the Revised Plan to fell 4000 of the 45000 trees in the forest due to what they consider to be potential safety and fire hazards and what Save Sutro and other community members are opposed to in the Plan.  She referred to an article by the Sutro Stewards that alleged that the forest was dying. She presented a picture of a healthy forest canopy taken just a few days earlier and said it was representative of most of Sutro Forest. She also said that experts who had looked at the Stewards' article did not consider it as indicating any serious problem in the forest.

Mr. Craig Dawson, Sutro Stewards, reported that he has worked on management plans for the Mt. Sutro Forest and discussed community outreach on the development of the 2001 Management Plan by EDAW.  He reported that UCSF in 2013 responded to the EDAW Plan by publishing an Environmental Impact Report.   Mr. Dawson presented pictures of unhealthy tree canopies in portions of Sutro Forest taken in 2014 and discussed the importance of training in distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy trees.   He Dawson discussed the many issues facing the forest such as drought, pests disease, and fungus and presented trees leaves eaten by pests.   He recommended that Sutro Forest be thinned and diversified.

Mr. Peter Ehrlich, Presidio of San Francisco, discussed the significance of Golden Gate Park and the Presidio in San Francisco’s history and habitat that the park and forest provide for City wildlife.  He presented on the bird population and herp life that can be found in the Presidio, Presidio territories, Presidio Vegetation and Risk Management Plans, and the reforestation program.   A discussion was held on Presidio nesting sites and phenology, reproduction, branching and fledgling, raptor rescue, and the good health of the eucalyptus forest as opposed to the declining pine forest in the Presidio.  Mr. Ehrlich reported that there is a phased approach over the next 65 years to replace the forest and discussed plans to add a Wildlife Plan.

Mr. Lou Stringer, Presidio of San Francisco Supervisory Restoration Ecologist, reported on Presidio forest understory pilot projects and invasive species control in those areas.  Topics of discussion included the Presidio today; urban forest benefits, management of aging forests for health, structure, and longevity; concerns regarding local and migratory wildlife; and understory management.  Mr. Stringer reported on Presidio’s Vegetation Management Plan goals and recommendations and Environmental Assessment.  A discussion was held on the Presidio initiative to control English Ivy citing methods, costs, and ways to reduce costs.  Plans are to plant for diversification and to work out best management practices. 

Ms. Noreen Weeden, Golden Gate Audubon, reported on Golden Gate Audubon’s goal to protect the native bird population and their habitat.  She discussed San Francisco’s 400 bird species, some of which have adapted to urban life and others that migrate through the city.  She reported that there are over 103 nesting species that can be found in San Francisco discussing when birds nest and breeding bird surveys.  Ms. Weeden discussed how birds depend on healthy trees and other wildlife or insects that live within the trees for survival.   A discussion was held on bird protection laws that were created due to a decline in many bird species and resources for law enforcement.

Mr. Roy Leggitt, arborist, Golden Gate Audubon member, reported on state laws that require that birds be protected when they are pruned.   He discussed how trees should be maintained to protect habitat and steps to take when birds are disturbed or harmed.
Public Comment: 

Ms. Mary McAllister questioned how much moisture there is in the soil on Mt. Sutro.  She discussed the survey of ant populations in twenty-four of the natural areas in San Francisco including the Interior Greenbelt that found that there was more moisture in the soil in the Interior Greenbelt than in any other natural areas that were studied.  She spoke in support of UCSF’s commitment to reducing herbicide use in their Review Plan.  Ms. McAllister reported that a survey administered by the California Invasive Plant Council on methods that plant managers use to control invasive plants on their properties showed that ninety-four percent use herbicides, ten percent said they use them always, and sixty-two percent use them frequently.   She stated that many non-native trees that are being destroyed are able to re-sprout unless they are poisoned repeatedly with herbicides, citing UC Berkeley’s use of herbicides for this purpose. She suggested that an expert be asked to discuss herbicides and their toxicity. 

Ms. Carolyn Johnston questioned the validity of comments made by UCSF and other land managers that say that trees should be cut down because they are hazards.   She reported on a request that UCSF had made to the Fire Department requesting a letter indicating that trees should be cut down without an inspection being made.   Ms. Johnston reported that PG&E is doing tree cutting in Stern Grove during nesting season, stating that land managers need to be told not to do tree cutting during nesting season unless there is an emergency.  She asked that existing trees not be removed for the purpose of creating a native plant garden and that these gardens should be put in places where there are no trees.   Ms. Johnston referred to Mr. Lou Stringer's statement that it cost $22,000 per acre to remove non-native plants at the Mountain Lake site, even after the goats (which were provided at no cost), had removed a great deal of vegetation.  

5. Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)
Planning & Policy Committee. Chair’s Report.
Funding Committee.  Chair’s Report 
Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee.  Chair’s Report.

Planning and Policy and Funding Committee June meetings were cancelled.  Landmark Tree Committee Chair Hillson reported that there are two landmark tree nominations scheduled for the July 9, 2014 Landmark Tree Committee meeting for trees located at 38 Newman Street.

6. Staff Report. (Informational Report and Discussion)  Council Coordinator Mei Ling Hui reported that she would be out of the office for the next two weeks.

7. Chair’s Announcements: Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion) No Chair’s announcements were made at this time.

8. Urban Forestry Council Member Announcements. (Information and Discussion)

Member Kida reported that he works for PG&E, and that PG&E performs bird nesting surveys and has a Migratory Bird Procedure that instructs workers not to work on trees that have an active nest.  He will follow up with staff that manage that area in Stern Grove and will report back.

9. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)

Council Coordinator Hui reported that the Deputy City Attorney is working on Urban Forestry Council recommended amendments to membership, and that legislation may be sponsored by Supervisor Weiner.

10. Public Comment:  Members of the public may address the Council on matters that are within the Council’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There were no members of the public present at this time.

11. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 7:58 p.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council will be rescheduled from Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:00 p.m. to Friday, July 25, 2014 at 8:30 a.m., Room 400, San Francisco City Hall.

Copies of explanatory documents are available to the public at (1) the Department of Environment, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, California 94103 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Photo identification is required for access to the building; (2) upon request to the Council Secretary at the above address or telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at [email protected] within three business days of a meeting. Explanatory documents may also be available at the Council’s meeting or agenda website
http://www.sfenvironment.org/about/taskforce/urban-forestry-council/agendas as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes. Meeting audios can be accessed at the following weblink https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/urban-forestry-council/urban-forestry-council-and-committee-meeting-audios.

Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

Urban Forestry Council
San Francisco Department of the Environment
City and County of San Francisco
1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94103