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.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My comment to FEMA

June 17, 2013

East bay Hills EIS
Federal Emergency Management Agency
PO BOX 72379
Oakland, CA 94612-8579

Dear FEMA Staff Members,

As a concerned citizen an resident of Claremont Canyon, I feel strongly about eradicating the eucalyptus from the East Bay Hills. These trees are suppressing a riparian woodland, stunted by the overhead eucalyptus canopy, increased soil pH, and poisoning native soil microbes.  

I have recently photographed the managed and unmanaged eucalyptus groves, as well as the post eradication recovery areas. All the photos, numbering in the hundreds, are publicly available via my blog.

These photos document the immediate threat these trees pose to the community, and the unfeasibility of routinely thinning, limbing and clearing literally tons of ground fuel every five years. This procedure is very disruptive, destroys habitat, kills wildlife and causes erosion.

Any sensible fire mitigation strategy undertaken should have as it's long range goal the eradication of eucalyptus in the East Bay Hills, particularly the Tazmanian Blue Gum. The tremendous amount of ground fuel they create, the rugged and inaccessible terrain they inhabit, and the extreme fire danger they pose, all make keeping these trees an unacceptable risk. 

After eradication, the entire ecosystem begins healing, the native microbes migrate back into the soil, and the native habitat returns. Once reestablished, the riparian woodland of the East Bay Hills is far less dangerous and easier to manage without major environmental disruption. The Sign Post 29 post eradication recovery area is clear evidence that the concerns of 2009, that the native woodland would not recover, were and are unfounded.

Clearly, the safest, most economic, environmentally sound, and sensible solution to the dire threat posed by the Eucalyptus trees in the East Bay Hills is eradication and restoration.



AND THIS . . .




The choice is clear and obvious. Eradication, then managed recovery of the native habitat is the sensible solution to long term fire risk management in the East Bay Hills.


Bob Strayer,
Resident, Claremont Canyon, East Bay Hills

Lower Big Springs Quarry Trail

Here are the photos I took from the fire trail across from the golf course.

Bay and oak at the trail head.
The first grove near the trail

Not terribly attractive up close.

Native woodland with a west coast manzanita

Friday, June 14, 2013

Eucalyptus Merry-Go-Round

Here are the pictures I took of the Merry-Go-Round.

Merry-Go-Round in Tilden Park

There are two nearby picnic areas. Here are the trees near one area.
Note the stunted native trees.

This is a managed grove near modern infrastructure

Here is the other picnic area.

Behind these trees is a eucalyptus grove with a poison oak floor.

Here is the eucalyptus grove behind the native picnic area.
Poison oak mono-crop under eucalyptus. 
Where should we put the picnic table?

In my opinion, the environment surrounding the native trees is much more inviting and enjoyable than the eucalypti. But that is a subjective argument, which varies with the subject making the argument. Since this area is developed, used by many people, and the trees are easily accessible. It is not comparable to the rugged, undeveloped areas that are the primary focus of the FEMA grant.

I would argue that the methodology used here on a few small groves is not practical for an entire forest. The process is as harmful to the native species, as the full eradication, and would have to be repeated on a regular basis. A riparian woodland is much easier to manage, less dangerous, and from my perspective, creates a more pleasing environment.

Hopefully I will get to captions on the pictures by this evening.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Berkeley Hillside Club HCN Public Meeting

I went to the HCN meeting tonight. I was a few minutes late, but caught the part of the introduction where they announced that the evidence they would be presenting was based on published scientific research, not anecdotes.

During the anecdotal recital of trying to light eucalyptus leaves on fire, being presented as evidence debunking the commonly held myth by Australian firemen, that eucalyptus spot fires downwind... (must be some other cause for all the spot fires up to 10 kilometers downwind of the fire line in the 2011 fire.) ...I interrupted saying; "IT'S THE BARK NOT THE LEAVES!" The speaker then added that he had also tried lighting the bark. 

I could contain myself no longer. I stood up, said; "YOU'RE TELLING ME YOU TORCHED A 150' TREE AND ANALYZED IT'S EMBER DRIFT! Snorted in disgust, and started walking out. 

Someone told me we all must wait our turn to speak. I said I was done speaking. Tired of listening to lies, and walked on out. I went around the corner, unlocked my bike, and realized I had to go back in for my coffee cup. 

Maybe 4 shots of Peet's before the meeting wasn't the best idea I've had recently, but I was very tired.

When I came back to get my cup, some of the people there asked me to stay and speak, that they were very interested in hearing what I had to say.

So I went back to the greeting table at the entrance and listened for awhile. The gentleman manning the table engaged me in whispered conversation. I gave him a link to my blog.

I then interrupted another anecdotal story, about fires on Angel Island. 

The speaker began the narrative by saying never in history had there been a fire on Angel Island. Which is not true, there have been multiple building fires. Humans are the constant in all the fires, not vegetation. 

If the eucalyptus groves on Angel Island were anything resembling the ones in the Claremont Canyon. Humans would only venture into them with protective gear. They definitely would not be hiking, or camping,  or having a picnic on a carpet of eucalyptus bark and leaves, intertwined with poison oak rhizomes. Without humans in the forest, it is far less likely to burn. IMO, on Angel Island it is worth the risk of introducing human vectors, for the recreational value alone.

The FEMA grant has no bearing on Angel Island, so telling anecdotal stories about fires there is a red herring fallacy, a distraction. Since it was the very people running the meeting who kept making these these specious and fallacious statements, I felt compelled to speak out, just like at their milliontrees blog, the narrative was being very tightly controlled. I wanted no part of it because I experienced how they use dissenters on their blog. The difference here was, the moderator could not censor me from speaking out, all he could do was respond with another fallacy and move on. Any rebuttal would be considered "repetitive". Since he controlled the meeting, it would not be a fair discussion and I wanted no part of it. If they want an open discussion, they should engage in open dialogue, and get beyond these controlled narratives.

The room asked that I be allowed to speak out of turn. They gave me 2 minutes.  I went up to the mike, asked my questions; Is there an EIS covering the other agencies plans, and what is the impact of removing all that debris that native species are using because their native habitat has been taken over by eucalyptus?

I then told the crowd that I had pictures of the restoration site published on my website that show the narrative being presented by HCN and their claim that the restoration site is a disaster to be a lie.

I told them; I am a massage therapist. I will give anyone who goes up the restoration site, takes a picture before the 17th, and shares it with me on Google+,  $30 off a massage, or a free 30 minute massage. 

All they need to do is go and look for themselves, walk the trails, and take a picture that I can share on my blog. 

At least they will have seen the site in person before making their comment to FEMA, or signing any petition. Or if they already have signed or commented, they can change their comment, and/or sign a different petition.

I will make good on this offer to anyone. Limit one per person. 

I believe that once people see the difference for themselves, they will back the gradual eradicate and restore option, over the thin and remove every 5 years option.

Restoration is what is in store for the mixed growth eucalyptus forest across the road from the restoration site. It will undergo the same transformation from eucalypti forest into stunted riparian woodland, and eventually into a mature woodland.  In the coming decades the canyon will be a safer, more accessible, and more enjoyable than the current weed invested tinder box.

So as I turned to walk out, The primary speaker wanted to answer my question about how the species that rely on the eucalyptus litter, since there is little else under a eucalyptus aside from litter and poison oak for habitat, were going to fare when the proposed thin and remove plan removes their habitat every 5 years.  

I said I had heard enough and continued on my way out the door.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Manage -vs- Eradicate

The proposal being put forth by the HCN, and apparently being adopted by the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks District, is to thin the groves and remove tons of duff and tinder on a five year rotation.
Traumatizing the ecosystem every five years may be acceptable along the highways, but definitely not in the forest.

I would argue that based on the photos I took of the various methods employed along the highway... eradication provides superior long range results.

Grizzly Peak South of 4 Corners
This was the most favorable light I could cast on the eucalyptus side of the road.

This is the other side of the road.

I invite everyone to view the entire album.

[edit] I added more previous photos of the roadside, taken earlier this month [/edit]

Monday, June 10, 2013

Follow up photos to Deane Rimerman's Eucalyptus Fog Drip Myth

As promised, I went up to restoration area to see how well the ground beneath the trees is faring moisture wise. Here are all the photos.

Well, there wasn't much fog drip to begin with, so no big surprise here.

Most of it evaporated here as well.

Or maybe not. Here is clear evidence that the ground is still moist from the fog drip from the coast live oak canopy above.

The ground under the redwoods would still be moist of course. These future giants produced enough fog drip to saturate the ground and create a little surface runoff.
Redwood fog drip can penetrate the ground up to 35cm.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ecologic Study Area at Sign Post 25

Here are the photos I took of the Ecological Study Area at Sign Post 25, along with some other random photos taken from the road.

At the four corners on the ridge

Four corners