For Immediate ReleaseMay 01, 2015
Comments encouraged on Park’s environmental impact report starting May 6
San Rafael, CA – With more than 34 open space preserves and a network of 250 miles of roads and trails, Marin County Parks manages nearly 16,000 acres that require a consistent resource management approach. In 2014 Parks released a draft Vegetation and Biodiversity Management Plan (VBMP) to provide long-term guidance for vegetation management across its system of preserves. Parks also began work on a Tiered Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the draft plan, and the EIR is now complete. A 60-day public review period starts May 6 for the EIR and the public is invited to review and provide feedback on the report through July 8.
The VBMP establishes four vegetation management zones, ranging from the relatively pristine Legacy Zone to the Highly Disturbed Zone. The plan identifies long-term vegetation management strategies to maintain natural biodiversity and prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species. The plan also highlights public safety concerns, emphasizing fire and erosion risk reduction, in addition to maintaining the accessibility of open space by emergency and patrol personnel.
The 1995 Vision Fire sparked increased public concern of wildfire risk, which in turn led to an exponential growth over the next several decades in Parks’ vegetation management projects. Over the years, these projects have constrained and reduced the department’s ability to manage vegetation to protect biodiversity and achieve other ecological goals.
The plan directs vegetation management efforts within the open space preserves for the purposes of maintaining and increasing biodiversity, reducing the risk of wildfire, and providing opportunities for the public to engage in stewardship. The plan also identifies 45 best management practices.
As required by the California Environmental Quality Act, the Tiered Program EIR evaluates the VBMP’s impacts on biology, hydrology, geology, hazards air quality, greenhouse gases, noise, visual resources, and cultural resources. The environmental impact report also compares the plan to potential alternatives, and offers mitigation measures that will reduce the plan’s impacts in these fields.
The Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission is scheduled to hear oral public comments about the environmental impact report at its regular meeting on May 21. The report will be available at www.marincountyparks.org as of May 6. Emailed comments can be sent to James Raives, Senior Open Space Planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be mailed to James Raives at 3501 Civic Center Dr., Suite 260, San Rafael, CA 94903-4157. All comments should be submitted by July 8.
Mischon MartinChief of Natural Resources and ScienceMarin County Parks
Marin Civic CenterSuite 260San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-2056Email: Mischon MartinMarin County Parks website