Monday, September 23, 2013

The Willow Trail

I took some more pictures of the UCB/CCC clear-cut forest a few weeks ago, but just now got around to blogging about it. I had already done an album and blog for the Summit House Trail, so I thought it only fair to also include the Willow Trail as well.
Here is the beginning, by the log bench.
Willow Trail lower trailhead

Steps back up to the trailhead 

Up the hillside on the south face of the canyon
This trail winds up the hillside, lots of steps and turns.

Top of the trail
The eucalyptus grove in the background hides a riparian forest, just like the one in these photographs.

The ridge where Milliontrees took the deceptive photograph it published on it's blog.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Montclair Railway Trail

I rode down to the Montclair Railroad Trail in/near Shepherd Canyon and took pictures which I shared publicly on Google+.

Beginning of the Montclair Railroad Bike/Ped trail.

This is what the whole trail can look like, minus the re-sprouting broom.

These photos highlight the beauty of the trail and documents the vegetation management challenge.

French broom and eucalyptus are a vegetation management nightmare.

A good portion of the trail is infested with invasive species that tend to form monocultures, like french broom and Eucalyptus Globulus.

Eucalyptus branch suppressing an oak sapling.

French broom re-sprouts

There are some hidden gems under the invasive canopy.

Madrone in the corporation yard

Manzanita under eucalyptus, surrounded by broom.

By managing the vegetation properly, pulling instead of cutting broom, treating stumps with herbicide to prevent re-sprouts, and cutting the annual grasses in the spring when the seeds are soft, will make future vegetation management easier.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Neighborhood Watch

Remsen Belvedere, an internet construct is currently spoofing me on FaceBook.

I reported it to FaceBook of course. Creating fake accounts in order to harass people anonymously violates FaceBook Policy.

Reporting abuse is the best way for the larger internet community to self regulate. As our ability to communicate grows, so grows the size of our communities.

The internet and social media are a part of our neighborhood.  I see no reason to cede our neighborhood over to anonymous bullies.

Neighborhood watch is everyones responsibility. And I am very proud of the way the NH Forums community worked together to expose the sock puppet, Remsen Belvedere.

The question remains, who created it and what were their motives?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What does a Clear-Cut Forest Look Like?

Self described Student of the Forest and guest blogger at, Deane Rimerman, commented on one of my photo albums, Eradicated Area as seen from Claremont Avenue.

I don't know if he looked at the entire album or if he only looked at the cover. I find it hard to believe he could look at all the pictures I have of the eradication area and conclude it is a "traditional California clearcut..."

Here is his description, I assume he is only commenting on this single photo:

Looks like a traditional California clearcut... Most industrial timber lands in California look just as immature and structually impoverished as this stand of seedlings and saplings.

The foreground is eucalyptus wood chips piled 2 feet high.

I Googled traditional california clear-cut forest, and I must say, I saw no pictures that look like the riparian woodland on the south side of Claremont Avenue that I took photos of.

The traditional clear-cut looks more like this.

Traditional clear-cut coniferous forest

Deane then goes on to make unfounded claims regarding the carbon cycle, another topic of which he appears to lack understanding.
Of course it will be more than a century before an equivalent amount carbon is absorbed out of the atmosphere and locked up again on this site. 
I asked him if he had a reference that supports this notion, but he failed to respond to that request.

Two things I believe he is overlooking.
  1. The trees are not being removed from the site, therefore the carbon is still locked up at the site, and will be for centuries.
  2. The stunted trees beneath the canopy will pick up the slack once the nutrients and sunlight are no longer being hogged by the eucalyptus.
As far as I can tell, no one has done a quantitative analysis of the East Bay Hills eucalypti. The trees themselves store carbon for centuries, but since they outcompete all other native and non-native species for nutrients, the net carbon footprint could even be negative. Even if the Eradication Project is carbon positive, which I suspect it will be for the first 10-20 years, it is still negligible in the short term, and infinitesimal or even carbon negative a century from now.

Also at least a century before the previous vertical structural diversity that creates wildlife habitat is restored .
There is very little habitat created by the eucalyptus. Of all the trees targeted and removed so far, none have contained nests. The native canopy supports about 100 times the insect population of the eucalyptus canopy. Insects being a primary food source for birds... well here again, Deane is cherry-picking his facts to support his belief.

These last two sentences are a bit garbled. This appears to be a common symptom of the cognitive dissonance associated with trying to argue a false premise.
And since "facts" are so important to you, where are your "facts" that say that all the carbon off gassed via this clearcut is a benefits to the important need for carbon sequestration. 
The facts are, the Project's off gassed carbon will be insignificant, since the biomass will not be removed, but left to decompose on site. The carbon will be slowly released into the soil and atmosphere. Meanwhile the newly liberated native flora will increase their photosynthesis and carbon uptake.
Also where are your "facts" that say loss of whole stands of the world's biggest flowering trees are a benefit for at risk pollinator species?
Since eucalyptus are not native, removing them in favor of native flora is without question of benefit to the at risk native pollinators.

I have numerous Photo Albums full of pictures of a riparian woodland and young redwood forest.

Deane's only evidence is his claim to superior knowledge.

Well Deane, anecdotes and appeals to authority are not evidence.

If you have evidence that the following picture is a traditional California clearcut...

Claremont Canyon West of Grizzly Peak. Eradicated eucalypti and liberated forest/woodland.

not a traditional California native woodland, grassland, scrubland, and forest...

Please provide some, or stop harassing me with personal attacks (ad hominem fallacies) and specious arguments. (argumentum ad logicam)

Here are the other albums with more photos of the rich and diverse ecosystem, liberated from the oppressive eucalypti.

Sign post 24
Summit House Trail
Area 29 Restoration
Native Rain Forest
Native Rain Forest II

Monday, July 29, 2013

Who is Remsen Belvedere?

Being somewhat new to communicating on a forum via email, early on I overlooked information in the heading of the email by going straight to the text in the body. For example, I was having a public conversation with Remsen Belvedere when somehow the 'reply to' changed from the NH Forum and Remsen Belvedere, AKA Michele Drokolia, to just Remsen Belvdere.

I found the conversation to very informative. An excellent example of trollish behavior. So I published a transcript of the conversation on my blog. Remsen claimed that I had no right to publish what he characterized as private emails and made unspecified threats toward me.

Since it has recently come to light that Remsen Belvedere is not a real person... I have decided to publish the email exchange I had with the HCN sock puppet, after I had already published the transcript, beginning with my informing the puppet and providing a URL to the post.

My comments are in blue, (my favorite color) HCN sock puppet, Remsen Belvedere's in red.

I found this conversation to be informative, so I published a transcript on my blog.

I would like for you to ask me for permission

Too late for that.
Do you have any objections?

It's not too late to ask for permission, as I have neither granted it nor denied it. So again, I would like for you to ask me for permission.

That is like asking for cookie after I already ate it.
I have already published it.
I don't need your permission, but will consider any objections.

You are incorrect. You do need my permission. I will give you one more opportunity to ask me for my permission.

I don't believe I need your permission.
Show me the legal statute.

I'll do better than that. You do not have my permission to publish my emails.

I did not publish your emails. 

I published a transcript of our public conversation. 

I'm not here to provide you with a legal education. As I said, and as I am reiterating, you did not have permission to publish my emails and I reserve all rights to the contents of the emails that were sent.

You'll see why it matters.

Well good luck in your endeavors. 

Luck has nothing to do with it.

Online legal experts are a dime a dozen.

I'll believe you when I see an injunction.

Remember that your arrogance brought this on.

Now you are harassing me.

Nope, I'm responding to your taunt about getting an injunction. You'll soon find out how little you know.

It was not a taunt.
If you want me to take down the post...

I don't need an injunction. Stop violating my rights.

As we all now know. Remsen Belvedere is not a person. Remsen Belvedere is a sock puppet for the Hills Conservation Network. No action has been taken, because a sock puppet cannot seek an injunction. His threats were lies. 

The only person whose rights were being violated here were mine. Some anonymous person or persons have been harassing me on the North Hills Forum and via email for the last five weeks.

The HCN has infiltrated the North Hills Community and are tightly controlling the eucalyptus narrative on the NH Forum. Remsen Belvedere is just one example. 

I have some other interesting emails from the early days from Amanda Davenport that I will publish transcripts of in future posts.

She appears to be real person, not just a tool of the HCN. Although, as I will demonstrate in my next post, she carries their water.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eucalyptus Globulus Exacerbates Drought Conditions.

Stunted native trees, deprived of light and water by the eucalyptus.

Our friend on the North Hills Forum, who goes by a pseudonym  Remsen Belvedere, because he doesn't want to associate his real name with his troll persona, challenged my conclusions that:

  1.  If a tree does not regulate it's stomata to slow water loss through transpiration during drought, it will dissipate more moisture into the atmosphere than trees that do close their stomata during droughts. 
  2. If the same tree, also has a predominately lateral root system extending out 100 feet from the trunk, one that is also very efficient at extracting moisture from the soil, even under high soil moisture tensions, the result will be less moisture in the soil, especially during the dry the season, within 100 feet of each mature tree.
So here is the comment by our anonymous friend. Let's dissect it. Light red is Remsen Belvedere, light blue is

Actually, you provided a source, but it in no ways backs up your conclusion.
My source does support my conclusion, as anyone with a capacity for critical thought can attest.
Read what your source says and then read what you concluded. In your mind the source may support your bizarre conclusion, but there is no actual link there.
This is called psychological projection, where he is projecting his own behavior onto me.
Your source stated that studies show that eucs are able to find water in drought conditions and thus are able to survive where other trees aren't able to survive. That's all your source stated.
Clearly, that is not all my source states:
They do not economize in the use of water but have wide-ranging root systems and an ability to extract water from the soil at even higher soil moisture tensions than most mesophytic plants. Transpiration rates remain high even when water supply from the soil is dwindling. 
My source also states:
Phytotoxins exuded through the pores on the leaf surfaces are transported by condensation, fog drip, and rain creating a ring around the base of an individual tree with a relative paucity of herbs. It was also proposed by Dr. Leisner, of the Department of Environmental Horticulture at the University of California, Davis, that another reason for the absence of other plant life beneath the trees might be the strong competition for water exerted by the trees, which outcompete other plants (Brown 1983). 
And then there is this description of the root system:
The root system of E. globulus consists mostly of strong lateral roots. An abundant supply of moisture is demanded. Since the roots grow quickly toward water, E. globulus should never be planted near wells, cisterns, water pipes, irrigation ditches, sandy or gravelly soils. Large roots have been discovered at a depth of 45 feet below the surface, and surface roots frequently spread over 100 feet away from the trunk (Sellers 1910). 
Obviously, my source states much more than his cognitively challenged mind comprehends.
You, however, jumped to the conclusion that since the eucs are able to find water, they must necessarily be depriving all other trees of water. Your source in no way stated that. You claim that it's logical to assume that, but that is exactly my's an assumption, not a fact.
As  we can all see from the snippets, my conclusions are clearly shared by the published biology and supported by the facts.
And it's a bizarre assumption. Just because one tree can find water to survive doesn't mean that it is preventing all other trees from finding water. This is why I asked for your source, and you have admitted that you're just assuming that it's the case. Unless you show a study where it was shown that eucs water use in a drought actually deprives other trees of water and causes them to die, your assumption remains nothing more than unsupported and illogical speculation.
Why is it illogical to agree with what is clearly stated?
Eucalyptus globulus out-competes native vegetation for space, light and nutrients.
Water being one of the nutrients that eucalyptus deprive the natives of.
Let me remind everyone of what you claimed: "[Eucs]  exacerbate drought
conditions, making the local forests drier and more fire prone by their
mere presence."
Yes, I did make that claim. And the facts clearly bear out that conclusion.
All your source said is that eucs are able to find water in a drought where other trees have already died. In other words, your source says that eucs are able to survive droughts better than other trees, but in no way is that source saying that eucs "exacerbate" drought and, in fact, the source says that where other trees die from drought, eucs can survive, and that logically means that the forest with eucs in it is less prone to fire, not more prone.
My source said nothing about finding water where other trees have died. In fact, it states that eucalypti outcompete, IE kill the other trees by sucking up all the moisture, until everything wilts. Then, because of their nature:
Eucalypts develop an abundance of hard tissue called sclerenchyma which gives them the ability to endure severe wilting without lasting damage (Pryor 1976). 
They suck the moisture from the soil, worsening drought conditions for nearby flora. When everything including the eucalypti wilt, the eucalypti survive and are the first to come back after the drought is over. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the forest is dead.

Eucalypti also take advantage of fire to eliminate competition from other flora. They supply enormous amounts of ground fuel while sucking the moisture out of the ground and dissipating it into the atmosphere, creating favorable conditions for wildfires. Eucalypti are able to survive fires. They are the first species to resprout after a fire, and given their other allelopathic characteristics, they have the enormous advantage over the native flora.
Again, until you find a source that says that the eucs actually deprive other trees of water in a drought your conclusion is as illogical and unfounded as most other things you say.
Here again he is projecting his own cognitive dysfunctions onto me. it is obvious that if eucalyptus outcompete other trees for water, and don't economize, they will deprive other trees of water during drought conditions. 

Eucalyptus are like the rich people with million dollar, water intensive landscapes, who refuse to economize during drought. They don't turn off the faucet until the last drop is used up.

The roots extend 100 feet from the base of the trunk.

With the eucalypti gone, the natives would take over, keeping the whole forest moister and less fire prone.

Stunted natives that would quickly fill the open spaces left after eradication.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Evidence of HCN bias.

I posted the following comment on the HCN website a few weeks ago.
The post; Forests Respond to Climate Change, was about how some tree species respond to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations, by closing their leaf stomata.

Stomata size and density is used as a proxy for historic CO2 levels. Incidentally, Eucalyptus Globulus does not slow it's transpiration during drought.

Most eucalypts grow in localities where there is marked water shortage for substantial parts of the year. Therefore, they are adapted to seasonal drought stress associated with dry summers. Eucalypts develop an abundance of hard tissue called sclerenchyma which gives them the ability to endure severe wilting without lasting damage (Pryor 1976). They do not economize in the use of water but have wide-ranging root systems and an ability to extract water from the soil at even higher soil moisture tensions than most mesophytic plants. Transpiration rates remain high even when water supply from the soil is dwindling. It is only when severe permanent wilting occurs that there is stomatal closure which inhibits water loss (and, of course, also prevents gas exchange and photosynthesis) and enables the plant to survive a critical water balance situation for some time (Pryor 1976).

There were no published comments at the time that I left the one above. Today there is only one comment published. My above comment was censored by the moderator.

Why would the fact that Eucalyptus Globulus exacerbates drought conditions, and therefore catastrophic fire conditions, be censored on the HCN's blog?

They claim to want an honest discussion of the issue.

Are they lying when they represent themselves as objective?

The question was asked by the author;
Which species are becoming more efficient in their water use?
I offered an example of one species, Eucalyptus Globulus, that was not becoming more efficient in it's water use. But the moderator refused to publish it.

They claim to want an open and honest discussion and a democratic process. But they censor any comment that does not conform to their strictly controlled narrative.

The censoring of my comment is more evidence that the Hills Conservation Network is only interested in it's own narrow-minded agenda, and is severely lacking in credibility!

The truth is; Eucalyptus Globulus is often planted specifically to drain swampland. Not only does Eucalyptus Globulus excrete phytotoxins that inhibit germination and deplete the soil of carbon with it's calcium rich leaves, it also dries out the soil faster than native trees, outcompeting the native flora and exacerbating drought conditions.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

HCN Deception Part II

I found the stumps shown in the second 8/28/2010 photo milliontrees has on his hyperbolic blog post about the EPA review of the DEIS. This is the top of the ridge, not a riparian woodland, like the eucalyptus they show in the other picture are oppressing.

Top of the ridge, Sign Post 24

Here are the stumps they show in their 2010 photo.

Eucalyptus stumps on the hilltop

Hilltops and ridgelines do not have rivers, and are not normally associated with riparian woodlands, like the one being oppressed by the eucalyptus forest. Here is what they are not showing you.

There is another riparian woodland under the eucalyptus forest across the road.

From the ridge up here, to Claremont Avenue below, the eucalyptus have been eradicated.
View from the bottom
It is quite obvious from these pictures, that the narrative that HCN has been spinning, through their rather extensive and sophisticated media outreach organization, is a bald-faced lie, supported by cherry picked pictures, facts, and evidence.

Here are the rest of today's photos.

Monday, June 24, 2013

HCN Deception?

The HCN is all worked up over the EPA's EC-2 rating of the DEIS.

And showing old misleading pictures.

This is the picture I took today, compare it to what is on their latest blog today. Pictures from August 2010. One was of these trees, 3 years ago.

Eucalyptus to be eradicated on north side of Claremont Avenue
Here is what they didn't show you.
The area on the left has had the eucalyptus eradicated

I suppose that is because it doesn't fit with their clear-cut forest narrative.
Liberated from the oppressive eucalyptus
See todays photos here.

I focused on the stumps to show where the eucalyptus were. The fact that they are hard to spot beneath the trees puts paid to the HCN lie that this is a clear-cut forest!

EPA Review of the FEMA Draft EIS

The EPA has reviewed the DEIS for the Hazardous Fire Risk Reduction Project and submitted it during the comment period.  They gave it an EC-2 rating. The EC stands Environmental Concerns and the 2 is insufficient information. That may sound terrible, but remember; this is a draft statement thousands of pages long. An 8 page punch list from the EPA is nothing for a project of this size and scope.

The EPA ratings are:
  • LO Lack of Objections
  • EC Environmental Concerns
  • EO Environmental Objections
  • EU Environmentally Unsatisfactory
The numbers represent:
  1. Adequate
  2. Insufficient Information
  3. Inadequate
What this rating means is there are environmental concerns, not objections, and insufficient information has been provided in the DEIS to to mitigate those concerns.

2 (Insufficient Information). The draft EIS does not contain sufficient information to fully 
assess environmental impacts that should be avoided in order to fully protect the 
environment, or the reviewer has identified new reasonably available alternatives that are 
within the spectrum of alternatives analyzed in the draft EIS, which could reduce the 
environmental impacts of the proposal. The identified additional information, data, 
analyses, or discussion should be included in the final EIS. 

The EPA's primary concerns are;
  • Some eradicated areas may need more intensive regeneration efforts than those proposed. 
  • Lack of information about herbicide use.
I concur with the EPA on both accounts. While many areas have a well established, albeit stunted woodland beneath the canopy, many areas do not. Replanting in barren areas and manual weeding could mitigate these concerns. This is where neighborhood activism could make a difference. The Claremont Canyon Conservancy has shown what can be done when the community gets involved with the various agencies.

UCB and CCC have eradicated the eucalyptus and replanted more redwoods, seen below.
The eucalypti were recently eradicated here.
Building on this success is the path forward. Pressuring the agencies to make a greater restoration effort will also mitigate one of the EPA's primary concerns.
Little redwoods where the eucalyptus once stood

The EPA concerns about the herbicides can be addressed by simply editing the DEIS so that the FEIS addresses the EPA concerns. The FEIS will likely pass the EPA review with a LO-1

The strategy of stopping the HFRRP through the courts is counter-productive. All that will do is slow or stop the FEMA money. UC Berkeley doesn't care, it is their land, their risk, and their money. Targeting them on this issue will be as effective as living in the trees to stop the stadium renovation was.

The City of Oakland and EBRPD don't have the resources to proceed. Holding the money up in the courts will harm the community, not the University.

Our efforts are better spent identifying areas for more intensive restoration efforts and less toxic forms of weed control.

Strong community organizations, working closely with the agencies involved, have already proven that we can eradicate the eucalyptus and return the native habitat.

Let us build on that success. Not deny it's existence.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summit House Trail

I walked my bike down the Summit House Trail, from grizzly peak to Sign Post 29 on Claremont Avenue. Along the way I took pictures, focusing on the stumps and trunks. I wanted to highlight the signs of the eradication of the eucalypti and the organic engineering. using the onsite material to construct the trails, control erosion, and shore up banks of the stream.

Top trailhead at Grizzly peak and Claremont Avenue

Here are two small, nearly completely decomposed eucalyptus stumps from when the project began about 10 years ago.
See the decayed eucalyptus stumps 

A little further down the trail we see signs of eradication, but no signs yet of clear cutting.
Larger stumps decompose more slowly

This is the first time I have seen California Strawberry growing next to eucalyptus.
Wild California Strawberries next to eucalyptus log
Pesticide doused stump becomes an organic native planter

The eucalyptus stumps serve as pilings, while the logs act as a retaining wall
The multi-heads of the cut re-sprouts makes a solid piling

The entire album is worth viewing. These pictures clearly demonstrate that eradication is not only feasible, it is preferable to any of the other proposed alternatives.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Grizzly Peak from Skyline to Frowning Ridge

I took these photos of the trees along Grizzly Peak, from Skyline to Frowning Ridge.

View from above Skyline

Eucalyptus were eradicated here

Nothing left but the stumps of a clear cut forest

With the eucalyptus gone, their backyard is now a woodland park.

Skyline. The right side is the clear-cut side.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice Sunrise

Summer Solstice Sunrise 2013 Mount Diablo in the distance.

Why We Can't Have a Productive Dialogue

Here is the transcript of an email exchange in response to my post on the NorthHills open forum.

This as  perfect example of why we cannot have a productive dialogue.

Here are new photos of the Summit House Trail through the clear-cut, pesticide drenched desert, left behind after the eucalypti are removed.

Bob Strayer

I just finished publishing the photos I took of the trees along the Big Springs/Quarry trail, across from the golf course.
Remsen Belvedere

Since there's so much call for a return to the native species of the hills, I thought it would be nice to see pictures of what that would look like. Here's a pic I found online of the hills from Skyline looking towards the bay, circa the 1920s.

 Anyone want to tell me how many of the native houses that they see in the hills?

 I see some eucs, but I can't seem to see any houses. I really wonder why anyone thinks that there is something magic about a partial return to a "natural" landscape when the most flammable, fuel-intensive objects around (the houses) are going to be allowed to remain.

 I think we should just cut down all of the trees. Houses don't burn without trees, right?
Bob Strayer

It appears there was quite a large and well defined eucalyptus plantation as well as pastures. Smoke from at least three open fires. The evidence of human activity dominating the landscape is stark. If you were attempting to show a native landscape, you failed.

 The reasoning behind returning to a native ecosystem, is that it is less prone to catastrophic fires and easier to maintain. Purely economic. FEMA would rather spend $5 million now to reduce catastrophic fire risk, than spend $5 billion or more later, to rebuild a fire ravaged community.

 If there were no human dwellings, I don't believe humans in general would care what species dominated the forest. However, humans are here, many have their entire lives invested in their homes, and they prefer that the trees next to their homes not bear the firefighter's nickname "gasoline on a stick!"
Remsen Belvedere

So if this isn't the native ecosystem, what will be, if there are still thousands of invasive and flammable houses dominating the landscape?

If it's "purely economic", then why not just pave over everything that isn't already developed?

Interesting to see how in an area where environmentalism reigns supreme and many use politics to force others to either do without or spend a lot in order to preserve the environment, we're seeing those same people demand wholesale destruction of the environment because they have "invested in their homes" and have an obsession with preventing nature from doing that which it does, naturally.

Very interesting indeed.
Bob Strayer

Your misanthropic attitude is not particularly conducive to productive dialogue.
Remsen Belvedere

What is misanthropic about questioning hypocrisy? Oh,'re of those who don't like anyone questions your dogma. Well, I'm sorry that you're so thin skinned. Before all of this bickering started I was agnostic as to the EIS and the HCN position. People like you and Howard have given me great cause to move towards the HCN position.
Bob Strayer

What hypocrisy?

You offered a 1920's photo of the East Bay landscape dominated by human activity, as an example of what a return to native species would look like.

How is that; challenging my dogma?

Eradicating the eucalyptus is not destroying the environment, it is the first step to restoring it.
Remsen Belvedere

That you don't see the hypocrisy of destroying the environment to "save it" doesn't surprise me. That you also have an obsession with the miracle of "native species" when the hills are, and will continue to be, dominated with non-native, highly flammable structures also doesn't surprise me.

You talk about restoring the environment as you push plans to destroy it, not even realizing that you've already admitting that your position is based on money, especially protecting your own at the cost of the environment. As the picture I linked to showed, the native state of the hills didn't include housing. Yet you're proclaiming that you want to restore the native ecosystem.

Stop cloaking your position in environmentalism. "Eradicating" 80,000 trees is a wholesale destruction of the environment, period. Even under the most hopeful of projections it will take 20 years for new trees to have substantial growth. It's all about you and Howard and a few others being willing to destroy the region's environment and harm the health and well being of the region's population for over 20 years to gain some minimal edge in preserving your investment from the risk of a fire.

Hypocrisy, defined.
Bob Strayer

You are arguing against yourself, not me. Creating a weak argument and calling it my position is called a straw man fallacy.

I never cloaked my position in environmentalism. I have consistently argued that the trees present an unacceptable fire hazard that must be mitigated. That the major source of fuel for a fire is the homes, is irrelevant, since we are not going to remove the homes.

I have walked through, and taken pictures of, the post eradication recovery areas. They are all nicely recovered in less than a decade.

The CBA for the UCB fuels management plan (eradicate and liberate) has an ROI of ~9-1 with a 10% reduction in fire risk. The major fire risk is from the tall trees, particularly eucalyptus do to their flammability and tendency to spot fires. Removing the trees will reduce the risk more than 10%, so the ultimate ROI could actually be much higher.

The trees were brought here as part of a number if failed enterprises, mistakes. The idea that these trees are being treated pariahs and must be defended, is preposterous.
Remsen Belvedere

So you admit it's all about destroying the region's environment to provide illusory protection for the financial interests of a select few. Thanks!
Bob Strayer

I made no such admission, that is a hyperbolic construct of your own imagination.

The regions environment, as evidenced by your 1920's photograph, was destroyed long ago by human activity. One of the most environmentally destructive activities, also in evidence in your photos, was the planting of non-native, mono-crop plantations of eucalyptus trees.

Eradicating these trees is restoring the regions environment. But that is only a side benefit of the underlying purpose of eradicating the trees, which is to protect the lives and homes of the people who live in the East Bay Hills.
Remsen Belvedere

Hey, buddy, I can't help it if you don't understand what you write. You contradict yourself as you deny what you say. In one sentence it's about the environment, in the next it's about money, then it's restoring the environment by killing off the trees so houses can proliferate.

Again, I thank you for finally admitting that the environment has nothing to do with your agenda; it's all about money and entitlement for the few on the backs of the health and well being of the many.
Bob Strayer

To my knowledge, we have never met. I am not your buddy.

It is not my fault that you are incapable of binomial thought.

The environment has a lot to do with my "agenda". But so does economics and safety. One does not mutually exclude the others.

Thank you for playing expose, ridicule, and marginalize.
Remsen Belvedere

It's easy to marginalize thought that is extreme, contradictory and nonsensical, so the thanks should remain with you.

We now know that your agenda is to expand carbon footprints for your comfort and financial gain and the charade of restoring the environment has been exposed.
Bob Strayer

Your argument begins with the false premise that eradicating the eucalyptus trees would destroy the environment.

A walk through the eradicated area along the Willow or Summit House Trails is all the evidence one needs to dismiss your premise as nonsense.

You may think yourself clever with your convoluted logic that allegedly exposes my agenda!

But in reality, all you are exposing is your own convoluted logic.
Remsen Belvedere

You've already admitted that this is about money, not the environment, so why do you keep returning to environmental arguments? Allow me to remind you of your own words with regard to why you want to destroy the eucalyptus forests:

"Purely economic."

So try to get your arguments straight.

My argument is, and always will be, that "eradicating" 80,000 or so trees (and the environmental benefits they provide to the entire Bay Area) to calm the oversensitive nerves of a very few entitled homeowners is a boondoggle and surely not the proper way to address the issue.

This is why you've lost me and why I'm ever closer to donating a significant amount of money to the HCN. It's also why so many rational, logical people are speaking out against the FEMA plan.
Bob Strayer

FYI, I have been an environmentalist since this commercial first aired.

I can take your words out of context as well. You said:

"I think we should just cut down all of the trees."

You even suggested paving over everything that is not developed. Preposterous ideas, not even worthy of consideration really. Yet, you present them for consideration. Quite interesting.

And after all the obfuscation and red herring fallacies, you finally state your real position/argument.

"My argument is, and always will be, that "eradicating" 80,000 or so trees (and the environmental benefits they provide to the entire Bay Area) to calm the oversensitive nerves of a very few entitled homeowners is a boondoggle and surely not the proper way to address the issue. "

Well, that is an opinion. Your opinion to be exact, without any credible supporting evidence.

If you want to sue the various agencies charged with protecting the community from catastrophic wildfires, to stop them from doing their jobs. By all means, give your money to the HCN, because that is what they intend to do with it. I have read the EIS. I have read the milliontrees blog, I have been all over the hills on a bicycle and photographed the trees. The EIS dismissed the HCN alternative out of hand, without further study, because it was suffered two fundamental flaws. None of the three agencies is going to adopt it, because FEMA says it won't work. So if FEMA gives us the money, the HCN will sue. Meanwhile, the tinder just keeps piling up!
Remsen Belvedere

I remember that ad well, buddy. If that's when you started being an environmentalist, when did you stop being an environmentalist?

I look forward to the government agencies that you rely on being challenged in court by experts. Then we'll see how comprehensive and reliable that EIS is. I think you'll find that my opinion is one shared by quite a few experts who aren't on the government's teat. It certainly won't be the first time that a government study will have been found to be inadequate and biased.

Then again, maybe the courts will find that the EIS is the best way to go. If that's the case, then I'll tip my cap and consider the matter to have been fully and fairly vetted.
Bob Strayer

I never stopped being an environmentalist. I stopped being a naive 11 year old. I understand that environmental projects take money. The best way to get money is to demonstrate a positive ROI.

Eucalyptus trees in the East Bay Hills are an environmental disaster. Eradicating them is a good thing for environment. Coincidentally, eradicating them will reduce the catastrophic risk of fire, netting a 10 to 1 return on investment.

You are on the wrong side of this fight my friend. And your allies don't know what they are doing.

I will do my best to keep you all from making complete fools of yourselves.
Remsen Belvedere

That's quite an environmentalist, who wants to eradicate trees because there's a high ROI.

You're obsessed with the risk of fire and are willing to cast aside the core principles of environmentalism in order to favor development.

Even a naive 11 year old can see the hypocrisy in that one.

I hope you enjoy losing fights, Mr. Quixote.
Bob Strayer
I want to eradicate the eucalyptus trees and liberate the oppressed woodland beneath them.

Eradicating eucalyptus in California is in line with core environmental principles.

The fire risk makes it economically feasible. A win win. Risk of catastrophic fire reduced, native habitat restored, and the ROI is exponential.

Calling it a boondoggle, does not alter those facts.

I walked down the Summit House Trail today and took photos of the clear cut, pesticide drenched hillside.

I will share them later tonight.

I also took pictures of the eucalyptus groves and the eradicated and liberated woods right next to them on Skyline and Grizzly Peak.

I took hundreds of pictures, I try to be thorough.

Look at them tomorrow. Then we can talk about the EIS
Remsen Belvedere

This is getting more amusing the more you write. Yes, wipe out a forest in hope that in 20 years, another one takes its place. Meanwhile, in those 20 years, the environmental suffers irreparable damage from having lost 80,000 mature trees.

The mature trees could be retained and managed to minimize fire risk, but some people don't want to spend the money to do that.

Money over the environment. That's your position. Take all the pictures you want, but the reality is that environmentalism isn't your strong suit. Neither is logic...
Bob Strayer
The 80,000 trees in question are harming the environment. Removing them is allows it to heal.

I will take all the pictures I want. They are evidence.

You can ignore all the evidence you want. That is called confirmation bias.
Remsen Belvedere

Yes, Ben Tre Strayer...destroy that forest to save go, girl.

[sound effect: cuckoo cuckoo]
Bob Strayer
And now we know who still has the mentality of a naive 11 year old.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Hills Conservation Network's Alternative???

On the 12th of June, I attended a public meeting at the Hillside Club where two members of the HCN presented false narratives and gave specious answers to questions from an issue friendly audience.

I was given opportunity to ask two questions.

I asked if there was an EIS for the HCN alternative proposal?

Dan Grassetti assured me there was.

My second question was; What happens to the native and/or non-native species, living in the thousands of tons of duff and tinder that would need be raked up and removed every year?

I didn't wait for the answer. I had read enough of the milliontrees blog to assess a high probability that the HCN answer would be... unreliable.

If there actually was an EIS for the HCN alternative, I would find the answers there. So I walked out of the meeting, and began looking for the evidence.

The Dov Sax paper, which the HCN touts as proof that eucalyptus are not evil destroyers of native habitat, (just friendly developers come to upgrade the neighborhood) does not specify specific species (tongue twister) except to point out that the type and composition of species, varies greatly between the eucalyptus sites and the bay/oak sites. The Dov Sax research is a study of species adapting to changing environments, not a challenge to the consensus opinion that eucalypti destroy native habitat.
All available field research and evidence over the past few centuries, (not to mention  the evidence before ones own eyes) concludes; eucalyptus are allelopathic, tend to develop into mono-cultures, and are destructive to the native environment and habitat in the East Bay Hills.

The HCN plan calls for removing even the sub-standard habitat provided by the eucalyptus litter on the ground.  Eradication of the eucalypti would allow the stunted riparian woodland to recover.

I don't accept the specious interpretation of the Dov Sax study being propagated by the HCN.

My interpretation is; loss of habitat is forcing more and more species to adapt to the more extreme and competitive environment, created by the presence of the eucalyptus forest.

Comparable to bulldozing your home and replacing it with a yurt. Some may find the yurt more desirable, but try and take out a second mortgage. All habitats are not equal.

Some species are learning to make use of the otherwise barren litter on the forest floor, which is comparable to rats, cockroaches, and pigeons, adapting to human monocultures, IE cities.

Is it a surprise to the HCN, that life struggles to adapt to whatever environments exist?

(Might be, judging by their reaction, to the reaction, to their actions ;-)

Why construct an argument in defense of eucalyptus, using the fact that eucalyptus ground fuel provides habitat for many species???

And then propose to remove the very same ground fuels you argued were necessary for creating wildlife habitat???

(I am eager to see how they overcome the cognitive dissonance.)

The HCN alternative proposal, from a wildlife perspective, is a complete non-starter. The eucalyptus trees are already destroying native habitat. Removing the eucalyptus litter from the forest floor would be removing what little habitat is left; leaving many critters homeless. And right about the time some of them begin to recover, the HCN plan calls for the process to be repeated. And it would need to be repeated endlessly because eucalyptus trees drop a lot of litter and eucalyptus sprouts can grow 80 feet tall in 10 years!

The UC Berkeley, eradicate and liberate plan restores the lost habitat from the eucalyptus invasion, by allowing the native woodland to emerge from beneath the oppressive alien canopy.

The HCN calls this a clear-cut pesticide doused hillside

The HCN has characterized the liberation of the native forest as clear-cutting the canyon and dousing it with pesticides. They have misled thousands with a 15 year disinformation campaign to save the eucalyptus.

And for the record, here is what the EIS says about HCN "Alternative"

3.3.1 Alternative Hazardous Fuel Reduction Program Considered But Not Carried Forward for Additional Study 

Taken as a whole, a substantial group of public scoping comments suggested the following measures as part of an alternative approach to hazardous fuel reduction:

  • Removal of brush and surface fuels
  • Removal of lower tree limbs In areas where trees are thick, species-neutral removal of small trees and in some cases understory trees to remove ladder fuels and to create space between trees while maintaining shade to suppress growth of shrubs and grass
  • Removal of eucalyptus debris that falls off the trees after a freeze
  • Keeping grass short by mowing or grazing, especially along roads
You can read the rest of the consideration in the EIS.  I am skipping/snipping to the evaluation and reason given for not studying the idea further. Combined Alternative Program 

The alternative hazardous fuel reduction program outlined at the beginning of this Section 3.3.1 
has two fundamental weaknesses, as illustrated by the discussions of its components in Sections through First, its species-neutral approach does not adequately address the special  characteristics of eucalyptus and Monterey pine trees that can make wildfires difficult or even  impossible to control (see Section Second, its reliance on continuous removal of ladder  fuels under tall trees on steep slopes would likely be prohibitively expensive and increase erosion  by disturbing soils. For these reasons, this alternative fuel reduction program would not meet the  purpose and need and was eliminated from further study. 
(emphasis mine)

The FEMA EIS says the HCN plan is unworkable. Suffers two fundamental weaknesses.

So the HCN plans to sue any agency who refuses adopt it???

Something is seriously wrong with this logic.