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Sutro Forest Update: We’re below the Demo Site

May 26, 2010

As some of you may know, I’ve been attending the Sutro Forest Community meetings. After the withdrawal of the FEMA application, UCSF has decided to return to a plan originally drawn up in 2001, after conducting its own Environmental Review. This calls for “thinning” the trees and removing the understory on a small area as a demonstration.

They are now talking of potentially three demonstration sites, of which the largest – 2 acres – would be on the South Ridge (above Christopher and Crestmont). They are considering thinning the trees to an average of 30 feet apart, and removing all the shrubs and plants that grow under them. They may use herbicides to prevent regrowth. This is planned for Fall 2011.

We’re concerned about the risk to other trees (because it’s windy on top of South Ridge, and thinning the trees may expose others to the wind); to wildlife that uses the understory as habitat; and to the forest, which is likely to become drier in the exposed areas. We’re also concerned about herbicides coming off the steep hillside into our community.

Further details are at the Sutro Forest website, along with a great deal of information about the forest. I’ll post an update from time to time, since it seems that our community will be most directly impacted by the new plan.

[Edited to Add: The area has been expanded to 3 acres, the largest single “demonstration area.” There’s a follow-up post at Sutro Forest Planned Actions.]

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