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A well-managed fuels area on a south-facing slope in Claremont Canyon. This area (Sagebrush-sticky monkey flower vegetation alliance) still provides intact bird, native plant and animal habitat. This is an alternative to Eucalyptus monocultures on the South slope of the canyon.

An emotional and cultural debate has emerged over the removal of fuels in the East Bay Hills. This large scale FEMA-funded project is intended to reduce risk of catastrophic fire in the East Bay.  Human development within, and at the edges, of the natural environment has dramatically changed our relationship in this fire-prone area. The critical question is what action will truly increase long-term safety, while minimizing impact to natural resources. There is no simple answer to this question.

We hope that residents and ecologists with professional experience will read and review the weighty Environmental Impact Report documents and provide input on this project. We hope that people can rise-up towards analyzing the facts rather than providing a purely emotional “not in my backyard” analysis. Although it is impossible to disconnect humanity from anything we do in nature, there should always be a sacred place for science and rationality in what we do as land managers.

We do believe there are still notable improvements to be made in this document, but we support people and agencies working together toward solutions rather than standing around and doing nothing while danger is imminent. Please consider that doing nothing may also contribute to ecological damage and deterioration.

A great place to begin is to read the introduction and the summary of this analysis and start to understand some of the key issues and difficulties in analyzing them. (Links are below)

Comments to FEMA are due by June 17th, 2013.

Submitting Comments on the Draft EIS

Written comments must be submitted or postmarked by midnight on June 17, 2013. Oral and written comments may be made at any of the three public meetings. Written comments may also be submitted through:

Here’s the press release with links to critical information: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/04/25/fema-releases-draft-environmental-impact-statement-addressing-hazardous-fire

Here is a comment letter from the  East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society on the Notice of Preparation for this document (published 2010). Please note the Appendix to this letter which offers some key insight into fuels and vegetation.

Written by GoldenHour

3 Comments

Valeria Vincent Sancisi

I am referring you to another Institute that has done a lot of work around fire, ecology and the policies of this state..and I hope you look at the FEMA funding with a clear understanding of this issue of over simplified courses of ‘prevention’ that end up doing more harm….
California Chaparral Institute has devoted much of their research around frequency of controlled burns and misconceptions politicians have put forth in management of out wildlands…

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Golden Hour

Thanks Valeria for your comment. I do know Richard Halsey and have talked with him even about the Oakland Hills at a Claremont Canyon Conservancy meeting. He is a fantastic resource. Please do understand that from both an ecological and fire perspective Adenostema (chamise) vegetation is quite different than Eucalyptus spp. Thanks for your interest on this topic – please find that the next post has our FEMA comments which address some of your concerns.
Sincerely,
Lech Naumovich

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