Niles Canyon
On April 3, 2015 the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (EBCNPS) submitted comments to Caltrans regarding the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for the Alameda Creek Bridge Replacement Project. Our letter expresses concern that Caltrans has designed this project as an overbuilt highway-widening project with little regard for the sensitive natural resources of Niles Canyon that would be permanently damaged as a result. The DEIR examines several project scenarios, all of which would result in the removal of between 284 and 414 native trees in the riparian area of the canyon.

EBCNPS’s letter also noted that Caltrans is attempting to segment the Niles Canyon Corridor Project into several different projects that will all be subjected to independent environmental reviews. The effects of this entire project, the Niles Canyon Safety Improvements Project, Niles Canyon Short Term Improvements Project, and Arroyo de la Laguna Bridge Project must be properly considered as part of a total environmental review to ensure that cumulative impacts are properly quantified and understood.

EBCNPS’s letter can be found on the Conservation Blog: http://ebcnps.wordpress.com .

In 2011, the Alameda Creek Alliance had to sue Caltrans to halt its original project in the canyon due to inadequate environmental review. Unfortunately, Caltrans had already cut down nearly 100 native trees along the creek by the time the courts stopped the project. Caltrans has yet to mitigate that damage.

Point Molate
Now that the casino developer’s lawsuit against the City of Richmond is approaching resolution the future of Point Molate is again being discussed by the City and its Point Molate Community Advisory Committee. On April 20th I gave a presentation to the Advisory Committee regarding the unique botanical resources at Pt. Molate and recommended areas for future research in the area. I hope that a better understanding of the existing environment at the site will empower decision makers with a strong conservation ethic when identifying areas for development and areas for conservation.

The Advisory Committee was very receptive to my information and asked many good questions. I am looking forward to continuing this dialogue as the planning process for Point Molate continues.

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/ .