Stakeholder Project Initiation Working Session Summary - 05/18/06

Prepared by Cheryl Miller, Amphion


Afton Crooks, Sierra Club
Joanne Drabek
Bill Gilbert
Marilyn Goldhaber, Claremont Conservancy
Jerry Kent
Tom Klatt, UC Berkeley
Barbara Kluger
Bill McClung, Claremont Conservancy
Peter Rauch, CNPS
Paul Silberstein
Tim Wallace, Claremont Conservancy


Brian Wiese, Chief Planning/Stewardship/GIS Services
David Amme, Wildland Vegetation Program Manager
Ken Blonski, Fire Marshal
Joe DiDonato, Stewardship Manager
Nancy Brownfield, IPM Specialist
Brad Gallup, Fire Captain, FEMA projects
Ed Leong, Park Supervisor
Dennis Rein, Fire Chief
Jessica Sheppard, Resource Analyst
Aileen Theile, Resource Analyst
Jeff Wilson, Unit Manager

Consultant Team

Judy Malamut, Project Manager LSA
Malcolm Sproul, Principal in Charge LSA
Cheryl Miller, Process Coordinator, Amphion
Amy Paulsen, Project Planner LSA
Richard Nichols, Biological Resource Mgr LSA

Purpose and Overview of Meeting
Cheryl Miller welcomed participants and provided an overview of the evening. The meeting provided an opportunity for the LSA team to hear first-hand issues from stakeholders that had been involved in past discussions about the project.

Overview of Project
Brian Wiese provided an overview of the project goals and specific objectives. A summary handout was provided.

Brian Wiese and Judy Malamut introduced members of the EBRPD staff and consultant team and outlined their roles and areas of expertise.

Overview of Planning Process
Judy Malamut provided an overview of the work program and project schedule. A Work Program handout was provided that included a preliminary schedule.

Discussion of Key Issues by Participants
The participants introduced themselves, then Cheryl Miller facilitated a discussion. The following items were recorded (responses are in italic):

  1. Was the Request for Proposal (RFP) recommended by the Temescal Group a starting point for the project?
    The Temescal Group document was attached as Exhibit C to the RFP.
  2. The Plan needs to define what "sustainability" means.
  3. The Plan needs to define what resources EBPRD is managing for when it uses the term "resource management."
  4. Who are the technical advisors?
    • The technical advisors are available to provide the team with information and advice about their area of expertise. They were selected based on the following criteria: They are recognized technical advisors in their field. They are a neutral party who does not have a vested interest in the project.
    • The final list is being prepared and will be made available on request.
  5. Will a US Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion be sought during this process?
    Ongoing consultations and findings will be incorporated into the plan.
  6. The Plan should be evaluated in the terms established by the East Bay Regional Park District's Mission Statement and District Master Plan (1997), as well as based on NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act), CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), Measure CC and available budget requirements.
  7. Why is the 1995 Vegetation Management Consortium Fire Hazard Mitigation and Fuel Management Plan for the East Bay Hills (VMC) plan out of date?
    • A stakeholder summarized that the 1995 VMC Plan included a number of items such as grazing, treatment of eucalyptus and fire management that have advanced since 1995. There is now additional information that should be incorporated into the Plan.
    • The 1995 Plan is not a comprehensive fire and vegetation plan covering all the East Bay Hill parks
    • Native habitats are not adequately addressed.
    • There was a request to put the 1995 VMC Plan on the website.
  8. Will the environmental document cover all the future projects or will other documents be required? What level of federal review will be included?
    • EIR will cover the recommendations made in the Plan and fuel reduction activities within the Measure CC, Zone 1 area.
    • Information necessary for NEPA review will be incorporated into the environmental review process.
    • Document will be prepared so it is not in conflict with existing UC Berkeley or other agencies' existing NEPA and CEQA documents.
  9. Document will need to recognize the differences between the various neighboring agencies' missions. The Plan will need to relate sustainability to the EBRPD mission.
  10. Document will cover a wide range of fuels and environmental management techniques to anticipate future actions.
  11. Need to keep the "what's" and the "how's" separate. Should use past studies. Public comment should be focused on the "hows." It needs to be very specific.
  12. Don't forget to inventory and assess invertebrates.
  13. Grazing policy is not consistent with other agencies (e.g., EBMUD). Need to look at grazing as tool.
  14. The 1995 VMC Plan is hard to use. Need to write a more easily understandable report.
  15. Park District needs to protect the communities to the west (the people and cultural resources), not just the natural resources.
  16. Manage for vegetation types that can be sustained with low fuel characteristics.
  17. Find the common ground between resource management and fire management.
  18. What category of "Preserve" is Claremont Canyon in the EBRPD Master Plan? The categories need to be clear so that the definitions convey the management that is permitted in this area.
  19. Urban side also has a responsibility for fuel management and fire safety.
  20. Management techniques beyond vegetation need to be included (e.g., use of roads and trails in vegetation management and firefighting).
  21. Communication to community (outside of agency to agency) during fire incidents needs to be accurate and timely. Operation of radios and other methods need to be confirmed so information and communication connections are good.
  22. Investigate management options that promote the stages of vegetation succession to a more fire safe system (e.g., don't take a young oak woodland back to grass to have it evolve through the shrub stage that is higher fire danger).
  23. Provide specifics for management of plants around the homes. Encourage adjoining cities to consult on the process and bring in their fire safety compliance programs. The options within the yards need to make sense and work in conjunction with the work on EBRPD lands.
    • EBRPD will continue to coordinate with neighboring jurisdictions through the Hills Emergency Forum.
  24. Send agenda with meeting notices. Provide attachments to the agenda. Not everyone is computer literate. Make available a list of documents and technical advisors.
  25. What is the natural state that we want to manage toward?
  26. There is a desire for more native habitat. EBRPD is charged with preserving native heritage.
  27. What is relatively safe vegetation from a fire viewpoint? Need to identify high-fire-risk areas.
  28. Adaptive management is meant to find sustainable management actions working with the environment. Look at key issues such as how to control broom.
  29. Manage to an acceptable level of risk. Incorporate continued monitoring to assess progress in achieving the goals.
  30. Must address how to eliminate weeds in the fuel break that occur because of management practices.
  31. Don't be restricted by lack of current resources.