Fire safety, forest preservation, environmental protection
University of California, Berkeley
CENTENNIAL DRIVE TREE FELLING. UC Berkeley continues to fell hundreds of trees beyond Defensible Space requirements for fire safety. This increases heat, winds and aridity in our hills already at high risk for wildfires by destroying critical tree canopy cooling functions including reducing winds, creating shade, and capturing fog.
HCN's primary goal is to ensure our community's safety from wildfire while maintaining its precious, forested, ecosystem which is an irreplaceable bulwark against a hotter, drier local ecosystem, and a more fireprone landscape. We have been largely effective, having successfully challenged and ended several clearcutting campaigns over the years which, under various false pretenses, would have increased wildfire danger by converting healthy, cooling, fog-generating forests into unstable hillsides fire prone grasslands. READ ABOUT OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, made possible with your support.
The many varied projects of several East Bay agencies and institutions, given various names including "fire risk mitigation work" and “vegetation management” affect us all. We remain actively involved and engaged in discussions with these agencies and institutions, including but not limited to: UC Berkeley, The East Bay Regional Parks Districk (EBRPD), The City of Oakland, and the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD).
UC has been the most problematic of the East Bay hills agencies. Beginning in the early 2000s, UC had been advocating a policy of 100% removal of Monterey pines, acacias, and eucalyptus trees in the entire "hill campus". HCN filed a lawsuit against the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) EIS (Environmental Impact Study) several years ago to prevent UC's deforestation. The HCN suit was ultimately settled with FEMA, with the funds that would have been awarded to UC and The City of Oakland instead being awarded to EBRPD (East Bay Regional Parks District).
Since then, UC tried to use an outdated EIR (Environmental Impact Report) from their 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) to justify newer, unrelated "vegetation management" projects. HCN had no choice but bring another lawsuit against UC to challenge this practice, too — and won.
Our successful legal action forced UC to create a new EIR that is currently being developed. But simultaneous with its developing this EIR, UC has released a roadmap for so-called "maintenance" work under the very same 2020 LRDP — and has already implemented the first disturbingly extensive phase along Centennial Drive.
SEE PHOTOS & MAPS ABOVE and BELOW.
While HCN generally supports species-neutral (wildfire and emergency) egress route maintenance, portions of this effort were far extensive more than that. As a result, HCN will be closely monitoring the other portions of this roadmap to ensure that UC isn't simply attempting to remove large amounts of vegetation without any environmental review.
We are currently working to gather more information from UC as to exactly what they propose for the balance of their "maintenance" projects.
BELOW: UC Berkeley's aggressive tree felling along Centennial Drive in the hills campus exceed
100 ft. Defensible Space requirements and roadside vegetation management for emergency egress.
MAPS BELOW, created by the university, show UC's extensive future "vegetation management" projects.
These appear (as in photos above) to far exceed the needs of defensible space for fire safety and roads access.
FELLING HUNDREDS OF TREES creates hotter, drier conditions and more wind-driven wildfires.
UC's CalFire GRANTS WORK plans are concerningly extensive...
...as are UC's ONGOING 2020 "VEGETATION MANAGEMENT" PROJECTS: