September 26 2014 Urban Forestry Council Meeting Approved Minutes


Friday, September 26, 2014, 8:30 a.m.

City Hall, Room 400
One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Jr. Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Council Members: Dan Flanagan (Chair), Carla Short (Vice Chair) (Department of Public Works), Malcolm Hillan, Rose Hillson, Dan Kida, John Leffingwell, Sandy Sherwin, Andrew Sullivan, Michael Sullivan, and Jon Swae (San Francisco Planning Department). Advisory Members:  Yolanda Manzone, (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission); Phil Ginsburg/Ana Alvarez/Lisa Wayne (San Francisco Recreation and Park Department); San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (Vacant); Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Vacant)

Order of Business

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.   The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 8:35 a.m.  Present:  Council Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Leffingwell, Sherwin, Sullivan, Swae, Manzone and Ginsburg (8:45 a.m.); Excused:  Members Kida and Sullivan.  Returning Member Michael Sullivan and new SFPUC Representative Yolanda Manzone were welcomed to the Council.

2. Adoption of Minutes of the May 23 and June 24, 2014 Urban Forestry Council Meetings. (Explanatory Document:   May 23 and June 24, 2014 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action) 

Upon Motion by Council Member Hillson, second by Member Flanagan, the May 23 and June 24, 2014 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Leffingwell, Sherwin, Sullivan, and Swae; Absent:  Members Kida and Sullivan).

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. 

Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern spoke in opposition to (1) the Natural Areas Program (NAP) use of herbicides and plans to remove 18,448 healthy mature trees in San Francisco; and (2) the change in the Urban Forest Plan’s goal from increasing the city tree canopy by 25 percent citywide to 50 percent for street trees only.  She stated that she hopes that the Plan has not been influenced by the NAP who believes that native trees should be restored and what they consider to be invasive plants eliminated.  Ms. Glikshtern referenced an opinion by Professor of Evolution and Ecology at U.C. Davis Arthur Shapiro on the Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan and native and invasive species.    She stated that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced a new interpretation of the Endangered Species Act as it refers to native landscape and animals.

Ms. Rupa Bose spoke of her concern with the SNRAMP, which calls eucalyptus "invasive."   The following comments were provided:  “The management plan for our Natural Areas will become the paradigm for management of all San Francisco open spaces under the recently approved Recreation and Open Space Element.  It assumes that "invasive" eucalyptus trees should be removed and replaced by native shrubs and grasses. Yet, in fact, even invasion biologists don't agree that eucalyptus globulus should be considered as an invasive.  Here's Dr. Marcel Rejmanek's statement in the Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions (Univ. of CA, 2011), edited by prominent invasion biologist Daniel Simberloff and Rejmanek: "they [eucalyptus] have been orders of magnitude less successful as invaders than pines and several other widely planted trees, including many flesh-fruiting trees… Where eucalypts have invaded they have very seldom spread considerable distances from planting sites and their regeneration is frequently sporadic.”

Mr. Matt O’Grady, CEO, San Francisco Parks Alliance, stated that he has read the Natural Areas Program and its related Draft Environmental Impact Report and does not recall any reference to eucalyptus trees as an invasive species.

4. Review and Approval of Urban Forestry Council Draft Resolution 2014-08-UFC Commending Member Emeritus Mike Barrow for his Service to the Urban Forestry Council. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution) (Discussion and Action)

This agenda item was continued to the Call of the Chair.

Item 5 was heard before Item 4.

5. Review and Approval of Urban Forestry Council Draft Resolution 2014-09-UFC Commending Member Emeritus William Most for his Service to the Urban Forestry Council. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution) (Discussion and Action)

Urban Forestry Council Coordinator Mei Ling Hui read the Resolution into the record.  Upon Motion by Council Member Flanagan, second by Member Leffingwell, Draft Resolution commending Member Emeritus William Most for his service to the Urban Forestry Council was approved without objection (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Leffingwell, Sherwin, Sullivan, and Swae; Absent:  Members Kida and Sullivan).

6. Note:  The nomination for landmark tree status was withdrawn by the applicant; therefore, the following hearing will not be held:
Hearing on Nomination for Landmark Tree Status. The Council will hold a hearing to determine whether the trees nominated at the following location meets the criteria for designation as landmark trees and may adopt a Resolution making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. (Continued from the July 22, 2014 Meeting) (Discussion and Action)

• Leyland’s Cypress (#1 & #2) (Cupressocyparis leylandii aka Cuprocyparis x leylandii), located at 38 Newman Street, Assessor’s Block 5715, Lot 014, San Francisco, CA.  (Explanatory Documents: Nomination Form, Committee and Staff Evaluation Forms, Written Summary, Tree Images, Arborist Report)

This agenda item was announced but not heard as the nomination was withdrawn by the applicant.

7. 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) (Informational Presentations and Discussion)

Presentations were heard on the mature and historic tree stands Best Management Practices and Council Members held a discussion.  Presentation speakers included:

San Francisco Fire Department, Michie Wong on “Earth, Wind and Fog--Urban Forest Defensible Space.  2013 California Fire Code, California Code of Regulations Title 19”

San Francisco Forest Alliance Representative, Dee Seligman on “Recommendations for Urban Forests in Natural Areas.”

Cal-IPC: Doug Johnson on “Urban Trees and Invasive Plants”

Hillson Conservation Network, Dan Grassetti, on issues of fire and widespread destruction of trees.

UC Cooperative Extension, Igor Lacan on “Aging and Historic Tree Stands”

UC Berkeley: Professor Emeritus Joe McBride on “Values of Older Forest Stands.”

UCSF, Director UCSF Campus Life Services, Maric Mann on “Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve Operations and Maintenance of Forests”

Public Comment:

Ms. Caroline Johnston, San Francisco Forest Alliance, discussed the importance of having clear goals to guide the management of the urban forest and spoke in opposition to what she stated is the Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan (SNRAMP) goals for native plant restoration.  She stated that native plant restoration is a worthwhile goal but not in urban forests, and suggested that SNRAMP should manage the areas that are not currently forested.

Ms. Denise Louie, Volunteer, Recreation and Park Department Natural Areas Program, discussed terminology and human interpretation of what is a natural setting, a forest and nature.  She stated that the Natural Areas Program thinks of a natural area as one that has a lot of native species, native plants, and wildlife that co evolved in the place originally.  Ms. Louie stated that the San Francisco Bay Area has a wealth of native species that are at risk of extinction due to human activity.  She stated that the eucalyptus does not support biodiversity and is not suitable for drought conditions.  Ms. Louie encouraged the City to look at eucalyptus trees that have been stressed by repeated years of drought and request funding to manage the trees. 

Ms. Rupa Bose for Save Sutro, stated that she appreciates the work of Maric Munn and her team in keeping the forest accessible and safe.  Comments provided included: “This forest gets more maintenance than many others in San Francisco.  I commend UCSF for using no herbicides in the forest since 2008, and committing not to use any going forward. I also walk in the forest at all hours, and have never felt unsafe there.  That said, I have concerns about the fire safety work they performed last year, removing understory and small trees.  This dried out parts of the forest and increased the fire hazard. Some areas are not so affected and recover and green out. But in the drier parts of the forest, and on steep slopes, it can have the effect of drying out the forest and damaging trees. It would be good in UCSF reconsidered these actions going forward in view of the microclimate of the area.”

Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern spoke about what she feels are bad management practices at Mt. Davidson opposing the replacement of the forest with native forest, grasslands, and scrub.  She suggested that goals should be reassessed.  Ms. Glikshtern spoke in opposition to the Natural Areas Program cutting down a large amount of trees and their use of herbicide to destroy vegetation.   She discussed her opposition to plans to cut down 82 percent of trees on Mt. Davidson and the safety and health risks due to the use of herbicides in that location.

8. Review and Approval of the Urban Forestry Council 2014 Annual Report.  (Explanatory Document:  Approved Report) Speaker: Mei Ling Hui, Council Coordinator (Discussion and Action)

The 2014 Urban Forestry Council Annual Report was presented to the Council for review and discussion.  Upon Motion by Chair Flanagan, second by Member Hillson, the 2014 Urban Forestry Council Annual Report was approved with amendments (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Leffingwell, Sherwin, Sullivan, and Swae; Absent:  Members Kida and Sullivan).

Public Comment:

Ms. Dee Seligman suggested making the data in the Annual Report more intelligible for the average person in San Francisco by creating a chart that indicates last years’ increases and decreases of trees planted and removed along with percentages instead of having numbers in two different locations.

9. Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)
Planning & Policy Committee. Chair’s Report.  Council Coordinator Hui reported that the Planning and Policy Committee reviewed the Annual Report and discussed plans for the upcoming quarter.  The Committee may be hearing a presentation on the Better Market Street Plan at the next meeting.

Funding Committee.  Chair’s Report.  No report was provided since the last meeting was cancelled.

Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee.  Chair’s Report.  Committee Chair Rose HIllson reported that the Sequoia giganteum tree was approved for landmark tree status by the Board of Supervisors at their first reading. She reported that there would be a potential meeting in November for a new nomination for a Holly tree and to continue discussion of landmark tree markers.

10. Staff Report. (Informational Report and Discussion)  Council Coordinator Mei Ling Hui reported on the holdover and application process to renew Council membership as member terms are due to expire on November 18.  She reported that Urban Forestry Council Ordinance amendments for member seats and meeting schedule requirements have been introduced at the Board of Supervisors.  Information was provided on the California CalFire Community Grant, status of the Sequoia landmark nomination that will be on the Board of Supervisors Consent Calendar Tuesday, September 30, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco in June 2015.   

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

12. Urban Forestry Council Member Announcements. (Information and Discussion)  Member John Leffingwell reported on his work with the Forest Service and potential partnership to update data for the Tree Assessment of Urban Benefits from the street trees in San Francisco.  He invited Council Members to attend the next meeting scheduled for October 3.

13. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  No new business or future agenda items were heard at this time.

14. 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.

Mr. Peter Brastow, Biodiversity Coordinator, Department of the Environment stated that he would be interested in speaking to the Council about the complement of indigenous biological diversity in San Francisco, eucalyptus trees, and future goals.

15. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 6:30 p.m., City Hall, Room 416, San Francisco, CA  94102.

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 as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes. Meeting audios can be accessed at the following weblink

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

Approved:  December 12, 2014