FEMA Finalizes East Bay Hills Fuels Management Plan. On March 5th, the Federal Emergency Management Agency finalized the environmental review process for its East Bay Hills Fuels Management Plan by approving the Record of Decision for the plan’s Environmental Impact Statement. As I reported in the January update, FEMA changed the specifics of its plan between the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements. The original plan called for UC Berkeley and Oakland to completely remove the eucalyptus forests in their treatment areas and to allow the native canopy and understory to return. In the final EIS, FEMA changed course and modified its document to require all the agencies (UC Berkeley, Oakland, East Bay Regional Park District) to only thin the eucalyptus forests. This plan essentially requires the agencies to manage the eucalyptus forests on their land as mature eucalyptus stands in perpetuity, at much cost to the native environment as well as the public’s tax dollars. EBCNPS and our environmental allies were very disappointed to see this plan finalized, and we are now discussing potential next steps. We are hopeful that our continued work on this project will achieve a fuels management plan that achieves a win-win of protecting and restoring native habitats while at the same time minimizing wildfire risk in the hillside communities of the East Bay.

Volunteering: The Conservation Committee is always looking for new volunteers to get involved in our many projects. If you are interested in working with me on any of the projects that you have read about on our blog or in past Conservation Analyst Updates, please feel free to contact me by phone at (510) 734-0335 or by email at conservation@ebcnps.org. And as always, for more detailed updates on all of our conservation projects please visit the Conservation Blog at http://ebcnps.wordpress.com/ .