Thursday, February 10, 2011

...and tobacco company scientific studies have shown that tobacco is harmless

Another piece of work by Peter Baye, the Center for Biological Diversity's "scientific expert."

Renee Batti, Lionel Emde's better-half, received the following press release from CBD :

For Immediate Release, February 10, 2011
Contact:  Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 499-9185
First Peer-reviewed Study of Sharp Park:
Removing Golf Course, Creating New Public Park Is Least Costly, Best Option
SAN FRANCISCO— A new report by independent scientists and engineers says that the most cost-effective option for Pacifica’s Sharp Park is to remove the golf course and restore the functions of the original natural ecosystem, which will also provide the most benefit to endangered species. Experts on coastal lagoon ecosystems have prepared the first ever peer-reviewed restoration study for Sharp Park, an 18-month assessment of Laguna Salada and Sanchez Creek. The report makes several key findings:
  • Restoring Sharp Park is the cheapest public option, particularly compared to the San Francisco Park Department plan or the option of maintaining the status quo.
  • Restoring the natural processes of the lagoon and surrounding wetlands will provide the best flood protection for neighbors against sea-level rise and coastal storm events.
  • Removing the golf course to restore habitat to the east of the lagoon is essential for the long-term sustainability of endangered species found on the site.
“This report lays out how we can create a better public park at Sharp Park that everyone can enjoy, while saving taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Brent Plater, director of the Wild Equity Institute. “Restoring Sharp Park is the sensible decision for our pocketbooks and our hiking boots.”
The new restoration alternative would allow beneficial natural processes to reconfigure the Laguna Salada wetlands and beach to a natural dynamic, providing the most benefit to endangered species, protecting the beach from erosion, ensuring resilience and adaptivity for habitat to respond to sea-level rise, and improving flood protection for adjacent residential areas, all with lower long-term costs and maintenance requirements. The authors of the report and peer-reviewers have unparalleled expertise in Bay Area coastal and aquatic ecology and wildlife, hydrology, coastal engineering and ecosystem restoration.
“This is the first credible scientific evaluation of how to revive the Laguna Salada wetlands and nearby habitat for the long-term survival of the San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s clear the best option for Sharp Park in terms of economy, environment and recreation is removing the golf course and restoring a functioning natural ecosystem. Adding the park to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the most common-sense approach for wildlife and taxpayers.”
The report findings clear up some common misconceptions put forth by supporters of the golf course and the Park Department, among them:
  • Laguna Salada was historically a brackish-fresh water lagoon, not a saline tidal lagoon, and it supported thriving populations of the San Francisco garter snake and California red-legged frog;
  • The golf course did not “create” freshwater habitat for the frog and snake;
  • The sea wall is not necessary for protecting endangered species habitat or to prevent flooding of neighborhoods; it is, in fact, contributing to flood risk and the unsustainable character of the existing land use.
The new restoration plan is estimated to cost about $5 million over a 50-year time frame. In contrast, the Park Department preferred plan would drain taxpayers of between $12 million and $18 million in short-term costs (including seawall construction) along with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for infrastructure operations and maintenance, and continuing liability for fines for Endangered Species Act violations.
“The restoration proposed by these experts is the most responsive to modern recreational demands and meets the restoration directive by the city’s board of supervisors,” said Miller. “The Park Department’s 2009 golf enhancement plan would squeeze endangered species between the uninhabitable golf course and the seawall, limiting suitable habitat and forcing freshwater species into the areas most impacted by rising sea levels and salinity. It would also bleed taxpayers indefinitely to pay for expensive and futile infrastructure and cause erosion that would destroy the beach.”
The report was prepared by engineers and aquatic ecologists with expertise in coastal restoration from the consulting firms ESA-PWA and Ecological Studies, along with coastal ecologist Dr. Peter Baye. It was peer-reviewed by experts in historical and coastal ecology at the San Francisco Estuary Institute and San Jose State University.
Read the report and a summary of its key findings and recommendations along with the relevant experience of the report authors and reviewers. For more information on Sharp Park visit the Wild Equity web page.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 320,000 members and activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Wild Equity Institute is building a healthy and sustainable global community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.
Jeff Miller
Conservation Advocate
Center for Biological Diversity
351 California Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 436-9682 x303
Fax: (415) 436-9683

*Blogmaster's note: I've read through parts of the report, and it's merely a rehash of what CBD always says. The report is 213 pages long, and reminded me of papers I used to write in school hoping the teacher would give me credit for quantity over quality. And it was about as convincing as scientific evidence proving Intelligent Design, i.e., not very.

It also looks like the people doing the peer reviewing were friends and colleagues selected by CBD, which makes a mockery of the peer review process. An impartial referee, such as the editor of a scholarly journal, is supposed to decide who does the peer review.

Submitted by Lionel Emde


Ian Butler said...

The report was made by ESA PWA (, Bob Battalio's Coastal engineering firm, with help from Peter Baye. They worked with the city of Pacifica on the Linda Mar flood control project as well as the Beach Boulevard seawall. They are a well-respected nationwide firm with many successful projects under their belt.

Whatever your opinion about the future of Sharp Park, this is a valuable document, because it provides a concrete framework to compare and contrast with the Swaim report.

I don't know whether this report's peer-review process was legitimately conducted, but I do know that the Swaim report was required to be peer-reviewed, but SF Rec. and Park unilaterally decided not to do so at the last minute.

For the record, I am still hoping for a compromise plan, which moves most of the golf course to the east of Highway One but leaves some of MacKenzie's original design, while restoring the Sanchez creek area to useful habitat. Somehow I get the feeling this isn't over yet...

Anonymous said...

these lawyers will do anything to keep work coming their way. I hear the bizness of litigating is way down. Like they really need another thousand dollar suit and mansion. Remember John Edwards? He sure was a rich dude.