06.24 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment




Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 5:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 416  

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102


1.        Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council Meeting was called to order at 5:40 p.m.  Present: Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Griswold, Nervo, Sherk and Short. Absent: Member Habert. Excused: Members Hillan, Marks, Miller, Rodgers and Sustarich.


2.        Adoption of Minutes of the May 23, 2008 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Cohen and second by Member Nervo, the May 23, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Absent: Members Habert, Hillan, Marks, Miller, Rodgers and Sustarich) (Explanatory Document: Approved Minutes)


3.        Update on the Urban Forest Master Plan. (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Mr. Andres Power, Project Manager, Planning Department. (Explanatory Documents:: Presentation and Scope of Work Tasks Plan and Work Assignments)


Excerpt from Mr. Power’s Presentation in summary:


Mr. Power presented a map showing that San Francisco has a few large, relatively green parcels, the Presidio, Golden Gate Park, McLaren Park and a few in residential neighborhoods; but to a large extent there are huge swaths of the city that are not green; e.g., the Downtown, South of Market, Outer Richmond, and the Sunset.  It was explained that the objective is to make a difference by adding more green space to the city.  The Urban Forestry Council adopted a definition for the urban forest, and it is this definition that the Planning Department is using to move forward in this planning process.  Namely, the urban forest is composed of trees and understory plantings, which is essentially the entire green structure of the city’s landscape. 


Mr. Power stated that the Environmental Code charges the Urban Forestry Council with adopting an Urban Forest Plan, with keeping it updated and encompassing as possible, and to work with City departments on getting recommendations, guidelines, and financial mechanisms that are proposed in that plan encoded into City policy and operating procedures.  Mr. Power explained that the 2006 Urban Forest Plan produced with little funding is a good start, but it is an understanding by this body and of the City as a whole that subsequent work would need to be completed in order to get that plan to where its recommendations can be adopted into City law.  A Resolution passed by this body in 2007 expressed that understanding.


Mr. Power presented an update on the Planning Department’s contract process, overview of the Urban Forest Master Plan scope, process and timeline.  It was stated that in December 2007, the Planning Department issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the amount of $200,000 to assist this City and the Council in developing the desired content.   A team headed by EDAW won the selection and as of yesterday, the contract was signed and work can move forward.  In the interim Mr. Power has been working with different City agencies, the Mayor’s Office of City Greening, the Department of Public Works, and Public Utilities Commission to bring together a collaborative working group so that as this plan moves forward, the content that is produced is a quality product.  It was explained that the Recreation and Park Department through the last general obligation bond (Proposition A in February), stipulates about $5 million dollars for urban forest related issues and a subset of that money is for a management plan on how to expend that money. The jurisdiction of that money is to be spent only on Recreation and Park land, so Planning will be working collaboratively with the Recreation and Park Department as the two processes move forward to make sure the two plans mesh together.


Mr. Power reported on the Urban Forest Master Plan sub-consultant team that consists of Friends of the Urban Forest; Sherwood Design Engineers (green storm-water engineers); Mr. Josiah Clark, Habitat Potential (urban ecology); Mr. Roy Leggitt, Tree Management Experts (arborist perspectives); and Mr. Joe McBride, UC Berkeley (tree science input and to provide commentary).  A chart was shown of the consultant team and organizational structure (see presentation above).


A handout was distributed on the “Scope of Work Tasks Plan and Work Assignments” It was explained that a memo was sent to EDAW that establishes the fact that this is a fluid process and that the project has flexibility for change.  The intent of the Plan is to update and expand on the 2006 Plan so that there is a comprehensive visionary document that is ready to be incorporated both into the General Plan and in all of the other City codes and ordinances that affect trees and landscaping in the City.  The goal is to provide the framework and implementing strategy so that the City can move towards streets with more green space.


The scope of this Plan will cover the entire right of way from property line to property line, pocket plazas, developed public parcels, e.g. schools, and private property.  It will defer to other efforts that have been led by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), Recreation and Park Department, the Natural Areas Program, the Presidio and others, and will work closely with them to make sure the plans that are being developed will be in unison with their plans.  It was stated that the scope of this work does not deal with Recreation and Park land, but an effort will be made to ensure that the two plans work together.  In addition, existing Codes, the 2006 Plan, and different efforts moving forward by different agencies and community groups will be reviewed.  The plan will summarize the existing conditions both in terms of what is on the ground physically and characterize the existing fragmented structure currently in place in terms of jurisdictional issues and maintenance and will explore best practices from other cities. Through a community process and with the help of this Council, an open vision of what we want the urban forest to look like in San Francisco will be defined and impediments will be identified.  A very detailed and actionable implementation strategy with recommendations for funding and looking at jurisdictional considerations will be produced.  After the implementation strategy is developed, the next stage is to do the implementation, go to all of the different Boards and Commissions that have jurisdiction over pieces of the City’s laws and propose the changes that should be made. 


The Urban Forest Master Plan will tier off of the Better Streets Plan (that has been published and is available for comment) and provide more detail.  The urban forestry section of the Better Streets Plan is sparse as it deals with geometries, conflicts with existing utilities, placement issues, but doesn’t get into managerial issues of funding, types of trees, etc.  It was stated that there would be coordination with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) on their Storm water Management Program.  Mr. Power reported that the SFPUC will dedicate 10% to low impact design so there will be ways to mitigate storm water that are not traditional gray infrastructure; and would include green landscaping, removal of concrete and adding trees, etc. 


Mr. Power reported on the schedule of the planning process (expected to take 9-12 months) for the development of the plan and public outreach plans (see explanatory document).  It was stated that it is hoped that a draft document would be available in Spring or Summer of 2009.  Mr. Power stated that he would like to discuss what the role of the Council is in relation to this Plan and requested input and advice from Council members.  


Member Cohen expressed her concern with the form of planting trees in little cutout squares, which she felt is a paradigm that doesn’t work, would be a less successful mode of creating an urban forest in an urban center, and is setting up the mechanics for tree failure for a short-lived urban forest.  It was explained that for decades it has been seen that trees fail in those conditions, people don’t take care of them, and more trees in more cutouts will not change how people feel about it. Member Cohen recommended looking at sidewalks more as gardens as opposed to little cutouts to put trees in and asked Mr. Power to listen to the agenda item to discuss a pilot project that the Urban Forestry Council is engaged in that shows different ways of planting on the sidewalk.  Member Cohen stated that over 50% of San Francisco streets and sidewalks are hardscape and at some point, the City could lose that space to something else that is not urban canopy.  Member Cohen stated that the Better Streets Program does not discuss sidewalks as gardens and that it should be included in the plan. Mr. Power stated that the Urban Forest Master Plan will be looking for ways to deal with trees and understory plantings in a more holistic way and not just the repeating pattern of vertical street trees, but something more continuous with dimensions that would vary depending on the layout of the street.


Member Short inquired when the Recreation and Park process is going to begin and whether the Urban Forest Master Plan would deal with Recreation and Park lands or would be just an effort to coordinate with their process. Mr. Power stated that the Plan would deal with the rights of way that abut on Recreation and Park land, e.g., Lincoln Avenue and Fulton, but would not deal with actual Recreation and Park land.  The General Obligation Bond passed in February provides $5 million dollars, a subset yet to be determined is for a management plan.  Mr. Power reported that the Board of Supervisors is considering cutting the entire Recreation and Park Planning Division, which would be undertaking this effort.  They have a staff of four and the proposal is to cut three positions.  The Planning Department is writing a letter in opposition to the proposal.


Member Blair submitted her comments on the Urban Forest Master Plan and asked if the Plan has control of the 100,000 trees in the Recreation and Park Department’s property.  Mr. Power stated that the scope of this plan is not to look at Recreation and Park Department land.  It was explained that given the $200,000 that is allocated to work on the Master Plan, it would be insufficient to do that. Member Blair stated that the Urban Forest Master Plan’s focus should be on the urban forest of trees and not plants, as there is already a Natural Areas Program Plan and the Better Streets Plan.  Member Blair stated that even with the 1996 Sustainability Plan for San Francisco, we still end up with one of the lowest canopies of major cities in the United States and only 1% of our trees have a trunk diameter of 22 inches.  Member Blair recommended that San Francisco for the first time focus on the preservation and protection of the last few large, tall, mature trees and also plan to increase the number of potentially large trees, species that might be around long enough to reach landmark quality for this generation and the next to enjoy.  Member Blair stated that the existing scope of work mentions updating the tree list and that she is impressed by seeing larger size trees going on in the new plantings, but has not seen where this City is going to put in large mature trees that will live anywhere from 90 - 200 to maybe 1000 years. 


Member Blair stated that one of her major concerns is that San Francisco does not have a tree canopy similar to Berkeley that has redwood trees in sidewalk basins and rich canopies of elms and sycamores that have been in existence for 90 years.  Member Blair stated that she hopes that this Master Plan will focus on trees, their preservation and promoting larger mature trees, because this is the Urban Forestry Council for trees, not a plant council.  Member Blair stated that she hopes to see a canopy that compares with other cities that have a tremendous forest and that the Plan urges other city departments to support the Council’s policies and resolutions. Mr. Power stated that the effort of this plan is to re-conceive and move in the right direction. 


Public Comment


Ms. Nancy Wuerfel reported that she was part of the planning process for the general obligation bond, and explained that the urban forestry portion is $4 million not $5.  It was stated that the intent was not to have a plan for the entire urban forest and Recreation and Park Department, but simply to have a plan that could be implemented within the five years the bond was expected to be in effect and within the $4 million dollar limit. The intent is to get a little bit done in a little area and then move onto the next bond and do something else. Ms. Wuerfel stated that she is in support of Member Blair’s statements to better integrate Recreation and Park Department’s tree activities. It was explained that the Natural Areas Program has control of approximately 360 acres of urban forest trees and have relegated these trees to Management Area 3, which has little regard for the trees, as they are not surveyed or looked after.  Ms. Wuerfel expressed her concern that if the Urban Forest Master Plan does not include the Recreation and Park Department’s activities, that it could be dooming 100,000 trees to a very poor fate.  It was explained that the bond is not going to bail them out and neither is natural areas. 


Ms. Wuerfel also explained that the Board of Supervisors is only considering cutting 3 of the 7.5 FTE’s in the Recreation and Park Department’s that have not yet been hired.  Ms. Wuerfel also expressed her concern that Mr. Josiah Clark who would be a sub-consultant to the Plan has no credentials and is not a biologist or botanist.  It was suggested that somebody with scientific degrees be hired to recommend ecological activities for the entire city.  Ms. Wuerfel expressed her strong support of the Urban Forest Master Plan, stated that she loves trees, is grateful that this tree plan is in the General Plan, and offered her support in helping make that happen.


Mr. Alan Grossman asked if the Plan would deal with (1) a restructure of the City units involved in street tree management; and execution; (2) proposed changes to the Urban Forest Ordinance and other laws that govern street trees; (3) setting goals for the restoration of the urban forest and the expansion to some ultimate number; (4) providing some calculations of the cost to reach those restoration and expansion goals; and (5) propose funding sources to defray those costs.  Mr. Power stated that all of Mr. Grossman’s recommendations are scoped for inclusion in the Plan.    


4.        Ordinance Amending the San Francisco Environment Code by Amending Section 1202 to Reconstitute the Membership of the Urban Forestry Council to Five Members. (Explanatory Documents: May 23, 2008 Memo, Proposed Ordinance, and UFC Resolution 004-08-UFC) (Discussion and Possible Action) SPEAKER:  Chair Milne.


Chair Milne reported that the current Ordinance proposes five voting Council members; five voting alternates who would be secondary to the five (substitute at meetings that the first five are not able to attend), and five department representatives.  Chair Milne reported that a Resolution was sent to the Board of Supervisors after the first amendment proposal and after the Rules Committee hearing and meetings with Supervisor McGoldrick, the second amendment proposal was received.  It was reported that a hearing would be held on the proposal at the Rules Committee meeting on July 17th.


Member Short asked if alternates are expected to attend every meeting or would only attend if the other member were not available. Chair Milne stated that his impression is that the second member would be called on to attend if the other were not available. Member Short stated that if this were the case, she did not feel that alternates would be prepared and informed enough to vote on issues before the Council. If alternates were expected to attend and not have a lot of interaction if the other member were there, then there would not be a lot of attendance.  Member Short recommended researching other Councils that have a similar structure to see how their attendance works.  Member Short expressed her concern that only three people could set forth a resolution that could impact the urban forest.


Chair Milne stated that having department representatives that are not voting members and who would not be required to attend meetings would not be helpful to the Council’s goals. It was explained that the original Urban Forestry Council’s Resolution covers the basic issues and that the current proposal’s membership requirements cuts out a lot of public participation that is important to the Council.  Chair Milne stated that changing the membership numbers would not ensure that there would be a quorum and would present Committee structure problems.


Member Cohen stated that the proposed legislation undermines almost a decade of work of putting this Council in place and that at the tree summit, it was stated that city agencies had to be involved on a very integrated level or decisions and activities would not be effectively produced.  Member Cohen stated that she has a calendar of how she schedules her work and could not effectively participate as a drop-in member.


Member Boss stated that the Supervisor’s memo states that it is hoped that the Council appreciates the content of the legislation and all of the good that it can achieve, but that there is no explanation as to what that good can be.  Member Boss stated his opposition to the proposal as he felt that there would be fewer people doing more work, that there would be fewer perspectives put forth, and does not understand what good can be achieved through this change.


Member Sherk stated that the memo also states that it is believed that this change would help the Council operate more efficiently and meet their goal of coordinating the City’s urban forest effort and that it is a good government policy.  Member Sherk proposed asking Supervisor McGoldrick to explain in detail how it would be more efficient, how it would be better government, and how it would help the Council coordinate the City’s urban forest efforts better.


Vice-Chair Quirke stated that he is eager but reluctant to discuss strategy at this forum other than to suggest that there is Council consensus opposing this proposal.  Vice-Chair Quirke proposed that the Planning and Funding Committee at their next meeting capture the Council’s opposing comments and write an addendum to the original Council Resolution to present at the July 17 Rules Committee meeting. Vice-Chair Quirke stated that he felt that if the Council were opposed to the legislation, that it may not pass. Chair Short explained that the Planning and Funding Committee meeting is also on July 17, the same day as the Rules Committee meeting.  Coordinator Hui reported that the Rules Committee meeting starts earlier in the day than the Planning and Funding Committee, which meets at 4:15 p.m.  Ms. Fish stated that the Planning and Funding Committee could schedule a special meeting before July 17 if necessary. 


Member Blair stated that the Supervisor’s office indicated that other Councils, Commissions, etc. that are smaller than the Council have worked many more hours and have accomplished many things. Member Blair felt that was because those Councils and Commissions may have more staff assigned to them.  Member Blair stated that she is in opposition to the proposal and recommended that the Council become a Commission in order to create laws and legislation.


Member Cohen recommended creating a draft letter of key points that were brought up at the meeting and make phone calls to other City agencies and organizations, e.g., SPUR, Sierra Club, SF Beautiful, and Parks Trust and let them know that a letter will be sent to them asking for their support in sending letters to the Board of Supervisors. Vice-Chair Quirke questioned the capacity of the Council to take on this effort.  Chair Milne stated that the timeline allows for a few weeks and suggested that an individual Council member contact three or four oganizations to request their support. 


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel spoke in support of the idea of requesting that the Chair send a motion explaining the Council’s reasons for opposition and suggested including the reasons presented at the meeting.  It was stated that if a Supervisor sees a problem, it should be explained prior to such a change in composition of the body.  Mr. Pilpel discussed whether three members could effectively make decisions about the urban forest and whether the Department of Public Works Urban Forestry Division has appropriate staffing to carry out the complexities of the Landmark Tree Ordinance considering its other workload. 


Mr. Pilpel explained that the Rent Board has alternate members who generally attend all of the meetings.  In the event a voting member steps out, they vote, but it’s not common in the City to have alternate members to vote when called upon.  To the extent that you want to develop people with a body of knowledge, you have to maintain continuity.  Mr. Pilpel recommended encapsulating all of the Council’s comments into the Chair’s letter.  It was reported that the Rules Committee meeting starts at 10 a.m. so the letter should be prepared in advance of the Planning and Funding meeting later in the day.  Mr. Pilpel also recommended communicating with outside groups who have input into the Supervisors and to include the media in what might be an interesting story about the proposed legislation.


Ms. Wuerfel stated that the only way that there can be communication with the Recreation and Park Department about preservation of trees is through the Council.  Ms. Wuerfel stated that if the Council does not have representation from City departments, efforts could not be brought together. It was suggested including in the letter that it is the uniqueness of the charge of this Council that mandates the uniqueness of the composition. It is important to say that the Council has to have voting members from City departments in order to provide input into activities that would affect their department.  Ms. Wuerfel reported that she has seen the budget and that Supervisor McGoldrick does not have an issue with money, the money is in the budget and the arguments have been dealt with, so another reason has to presented as to why the Council should have fewer members.


Upon Motion by Member Boss and second by Member Cohen without objection, the Council requested that the Chair prepare a letter in consultation with the Planning and Funding Committee to be added as an addendum to the previous March resolution to express opposition to the proposed legislation (Absent: Members Habert, Hillan, Marks, Miller, Rodgers and Sustarich).


5.        Update on the Sidewalk Pocket Park Garden {SPPG) Pilot Site and Presentation of Outline. (Explanatory Document: Outline and Studies) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Cohen


Member Cohen emphasized that sidewalk pocket park gardens puts trees at the center of the ecology.  Member Cohen stated that she originally brought the idea of pilot sites to the Planning and Funding Committee who had unanimously approved the idea, and then to the Urban Forestry Council where it was also unanimously approved with a Resolution.  Member Cohen stated there was a good discussion at the February Council meeting and a lot of points to act on were presented at the meeting.  It was suggested at that meeting that Member Cohen take the lead on this effort so that this idea could come to fruition. 


Member Cohen requested that prior to the August meeting that (1) Council members and the organizations they are involved with provide nominations/suggestions for sites and in doing so, to think about champion, remnant, and heritage trees; (2) Council members contact organizations/agencies to establish a connection/buy-in of people interested in collaborating on an actual project and to provide their names to Member Cohen; and (3) each Council member think about what as an individual or through their association with other groups could bring in terms of in-kind services to the project.  Member Cohen asked that Council members review the timeline (included in the second page of the outline).  It was stated that there shouldn’t be hard costs for three pilot sites because they are low-impact and consist of removal of hardscaping.  Member Cohen reported and showed diagrams of studies that she had completed on various pilot sites where a garden environment could be set up on a whole street and on understory plantings where large trees could take the center of the ecology (see explanatory document above).      


Member Blair suggested the chestnut or walnut trees on 23rd Street between Folsom and Shotwell as a planting location as the sidewalk basins have been opened up considerably.  Member Cohen suggested that the pilot site examples be high profile as they are examples and would like to make sure that there are enough people going by in some capacity.


Member Short recommended looking for really big sidewalks as potential sites because there is a requirement for DPW to keep larger areas of pedestrian path of travel than initially expected.  It was stated that ADA requirements specify a minimum of 48 inches, but that there have been issues with people trampling plants and complaining with the lack of space with the 48-inch requirement.  It was explained that DPW is moving toward recommending a five or six footpath of travel depending on the location. Member Short recommended keeping this in mind when identifying locations and suggested identifying locations where the sidewalk is wide enough to have a good impact with the permeable portion of the sidewalk and to still maintain sufficient path of travel. It was explained that with existing permits, there has been a maintenance issue where there is not a single plant left except for the trees, and the site is left with cutouts that are in various degrees of sunkeness or that is a tripping hazard potential.  Member Short recommended including the requirement that someone be made available to maintain the sites and that there be long-term maintenance.


Member Short stated she could provide information on what DPW could offer to support the site after sites have been identified and are determined to be in DPW jurisdiction.  Member Cohen stated that she has a clause in the document referencing the requirement for a responsible party to provide long-term maintenance.


Member Cohen asked Council members to review the last paragraph in the outline that discusses additional thoughts about nurturing and supporting old trees and that emphasizes that larger and older trees are the center of this project; not the understory planting.


Mr. Andres Power suggested referencing the list of the streets that DPW is doing sidewalk replacement/street repairs on and recommending that sidewalk pocket parks be used instead of replacing the sidewalk and leaving a 3x3 cutout.  It was stated that it would be less expensive than repaving.     


6.        Resolution to Support Development of an appropriate frame for the Islais Creek Watershed to enhance the urban forest canopy in conjunction with all City Agencies involved with transforming streets, streetscapes, and other open spaces in and around the Islais Creek Watershed. (Explanatory Document: UFC Draft Resolution and Fact Sheet) (Discussion and Action) SPEAKER: Member Sherk


Excerpt from Member Sherk’s presentation in summary:


Member Sherk presented background information on two Living Library projects that she is involved with, the OMI/Excelsior Living Library &Think Park and the South Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park where the landscape is being transformed and both of the sites are part of the Islais Creek watershed. It was stated that each branch of the Living Library looks at the resources in the community; e.g., human, ecological, economic, historic, technological and aesthetic and all subjects come to life through involvement, hands on transformation and learning math, science, history, language, arts, arts and technology.  It was explained that the goal of the Living Library is to have Branch Living Libraries in diverse communities that will be linked through green-powered digital gateways and other community programs.


Member Sherk explained that the OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park is in southwestern San Francisco where Balboa High School, James Denman Middle School, and San Miguel Child Development Center are located.  Member Sherk described the history of the place that shows that the Islais Creek and vegetable gardens and agriculture existed at the location of the schools before they were built. Member Sherk explained that she was asked by the James Denman Middle School principal to work with the school and the community to work to develop the Master Plan for A Living Library, which is an interdisciplinary, standards-based, ecological learning program integrated into a transformed environment. Existing conditions of the street where there were little or no trees and the transformations that took place were described and shown with pictures. The first iteration of the Master Plan that was funded by the Mayor’s Office of Community Development was shown as well as Design Development Plans of the San Miguel CDC, funded by the Ford Foundation.


Member Sherk showed slides of the San Miguel Child Development area where they are building out a lot of these areas now with different learning zones including the Redwood Reading Circle and the new gardens.  Slides were shown on what this area looked like formerly and the work that is being done by young children, youth, and adults who are involved in transforming the hardscape into gardens, plantings, etc.  It was explained that a green skills job-training program targeting low-income immigrant adults was offered.  Before and after pictures were shown of the streetscape transformation after California native tree and understory plantings and artworks were added. Member Sherk discussed the attributes of planting large California native trees for both projects.


Member Sherk described the South Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park and the planning process, which also engaged the children, adults, and the community.  It was explained that the approach of A Living Library (A.L.L.), is to look at the local assets of the community:  human, ecological, economic, historic, technological and aesthetic, and to look through the lens of time - past, present, and future.  As part of the program, the children have a media literacy component so that they can document all processes of research, planning, design and implementation use, maintenance, management and communications for the project. The Community Masterplan from 2002, was to create a Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk. 


Member Sherk showed a slide of the Islais creek system, which links at least nine communities in San Francisco.  It was explained that it would be fantastic to call attention to this place through trees and understory, using native trees whenever possible.  Member Sherk explained that the more that the project creates a strong visual representation, there would be a greater impact - conceptually, visually, and functionally.


Member Sherk stated that she is not against non-native trees, but in this situation, the effect of using native trees would be dramatic.  The opportunity is to have trees, native trees whenever possible, under-story, and narrative artworks and other elements, such as signage and narrative artworks, to tie all of the elements together.  It is also a terrific opportunity for all of the different agencies in the City to participate. Member Sherk stated that she believes that the Urban Forestry Council can have a role in this effort that could be beneficial and help to bring together the different agencies, and more promininence to the Urban Forestry Council.


Member Sherk recommended amendments to the Resolution: (1) Lines 8 and 9, to capitalize “w” in watershed as it is in Line 21; (2) line 9:so it reads “using native trees and understory whenever possible, and suitable non-native trees”; (3) line 12 so that it reads, “in Southwestern and Southeastern San Francisco”; (4) line 16, “planting native trees and understory whenever possible, and suitable non-native trees, signage…”; (5) line 21, change to “Whereas, Developing the Islais Creek Watershed in this manner”; (6) second page, line 3 change “supporting a” to “supporting the” and capitalize “Bernal Heights Nature Walk”.


Member Boss recommended either dropping or making a clarification to the reference of using native or non-native trees.  It was explained that typically, for most people when the term native is used, it would mean California native, and California is a political boundary with no ecological context, and what you are talking about here is ecological context.  Trees from other California areas are not relevant to this place. Member Boss recommended changing the reference to either a Bay Area or a regional native, ideally native to Islais Creek.


Member Cohen suggested making sure that in the language that the window for the choice of trees is not closed or opened so much because a lot of California or regional natives have nothing to do with a watershed or are not appropriate for planting in a watershed.


Chair Milne explained that the Council’s endorsement would be an overall blanket endorsement of the idea, and would not be specific to any of the projects.


Member Blair stated that she was concerned about the message that is being sent to schoolchildren when something native is being promoted and may offend the non-native children in school. Member Blair reported that at the Natural Areas Program Citizen Advisory Committee (NAPCAC) scientific members Dr. Roughgarden and Professor Connors agreed that the sustainability of native plants is questionable.  Member Blair stated that she likes the idea of a watershed, the idea of greening, but does not support the native plant movement.


Member Sherk stated that based on Members Boss and Cohen’s comments she would like to change, in #8, line 9, to read “development of an appropriate frame for the Islais Creek watershed using regionally appropriate riparian or drought tolerant native trees and understory whenever possible, and suitable non-native tree plantings, …” Member Boss recommended the line to read “using regional native and site appropriate plants and suitable non-native tree plantings…” Member Cohen recommended, “using suitable trees and understory ecology that enhances the watershed project, themed artworks”. Member Sherk stated she would like to retain the native and non-native reference.


Public Comment:  Ms. Wuerfel suggested (1) not planting a drought-tolerant plant next to a riparian plant and (2) asked whether the fact sheet that is included in the packet would be adopted as part of the Resolution.   Member Sherk explained that the fact sheet is for informational purposes only.


Chair Milne recommended adopting the Resolution as written without amendments.  Upon Motion by Member Boss and second by Vice-Chair Quirke, the Resolution was recommended for approval.  The motion did not pass by the following vote (Ayes:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Boss, Cohen, Griswold, Sherk and Short. Noes: Member Blair; Absent: Members Habert, Hillan, Marks, Miller, Nervo, Rodgers and Sustarich.) Member Blair stated that her opposition is that the idea should be to promote the watershed with trees and under-story plantings and would prefer to see the word native removed from the Resolution.


Chair Milne explained that a new Resolution would have to be prepared at the Planning and Funding Committee meeting and then brought back to the Council for a vote.


7.        Recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the Urban Forestry Council Budget. (Discussion and Possible Action) SPEAKER: Chair Milne


Chair Milne asked the Council to recommend that the Chair write a letter to the Board of Supervisors since they are in the middle of their budgetary considerations for urban forest budget purposes.  The letter would be a general letter recommending that they maintain the amount of money in the budget for tree planting, tree maintenance, etc.


Upon Motion by Member Boss and second by Member Short, without objection, the Council recommended that Chair Milne write a letter to the Board of Supervisors Budget Committee suggesting that they maintain the City budget for tree planting and maintenance for the upcoming year. (Vote: 8-0; 7 Absent; Ayes:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Griswold, Sherk and Short. Absent: Members Habert, Hillan, Marks, Miller, Nervo, Rodgers and Sustarich.)


8.        Proposal for Visible Identification of Landmark Trees after Designation. (Explanatory Documents: 061008 Visible Identification of Landmark Trees Proposal, Graphic 061008 061008 Landmark Tree Identification, Proposed Amended Graphic, and 062408 Visible Identification of Landmark Trees Recommendation) (Discussion and Possible Action)


Continued to the July 25, 2008 Meeting.


Items 9 – 13 were not heard due to a loss of quorum.


9.        Staff Report.  Staff will provide updates on UFC administrative and programmatic operations relating to research, planning, funding, outreach, and other related activities. (Informational Report and Discussion)


10.    Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion).

Planning & Funding Committee, Chair, Carla Short

The next meeting is scheduled for July 17, 2008 at 4:15 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.


Landmark Tree Committee, Chair, Mike Boss

The next meeting is scheduled for July 8, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.


11.  Chair’s Announcements: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council. (Information and Discussion)


12.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)


13.  Public Comment:  Members of the public may address the Council on matters that are within the Council’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.


14.  Adjournment. The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.


Copies of explanatory documents are available to the public at Department of Environment, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., by clicking on the links by each agenda item above, or upon request to the Council Secretary at the address listed below, telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].


Urban Forestry Council

San Francisco Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Council Secretary


Approved:  July 25, 2008

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