Wednesday, December 12, 2012

San Francisco, San Mateo County and Pacifica keep Sharp Park Golf Course

Back to normal, and moving forward with golf course environmental improvements.

Pacifica Tribune, Paul Slavin (Special to the Pacifica Tribune), 12/11/12.  "Environmental groups face setback in fight over future of Sharp Park Golf Course."
 Beautiful, recreational "open space" 

"A coalition of environmental groups suffered another setback in their long campaign to close the Sharp Park Golf Course when Judge Susan Illston dismissed their Federal lawsuit last Thursday. 

The suit was originally filed in March, 2011 by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, and the local Wild Equity Institute. It alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act by the City and County of San Francisco, which owns and operates the course. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that course maintenance activities, including water pumping, were harming some egg masses of the threatened red-legged frog, and that the City did not have the required permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that would allow these activities.

After all that practice, was that a hole in one?
In May, 2011, the City sought consultation with FWS, and submitted applications for the Sharp Park Pump House Safety and Infrastructure Improvement Project. After a lengthy and extensive study, while the trial was put on hold, FWS issued its final report — a "Biological Opinion" — on Oct. 2, 2012.

Included in the report was an "Incidental Take Permit" covering those course operations that were the basis of the original lawsuit. At that point, the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, co-defendants in the suit, asked the court for a Motion to Dismiss, claiming the permit rendered the plaintiffs' complaint "moot". The judge agreed, and on Dec. 6 dismissed the case.

Sharing with wildlife
But the Biological Opinion" held even more bad news for the plaintiffs. FWS, with some restrictions, approved the course's plans for up-dated maintenance, infrastructure improvements and habitat restoration. Contrary to the environmentalist's long-standing contention, FWS believes that golf at Sharp Park "is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the California red-legged frog or the San Francisco garter snake," a sentiment heartily echoed by the popular course's many supporters.

"I applaud the judge's decision, Pacifica Mayor Pro Tem Len Stone said. "Sharp Park is an invaluable asset to our community, and I look forward to working with San Francisco and San Mateo County on its continuing restoration and safekeeping of the protected species."

This latest setback for the environmentalists comes on the heels of their recent defeat in the San Francisco Supervisors' Land Use Committee. A resolution proposed by lame duck Supervisor Christina Olague, and championed by the Wild Equity Institute's Brent Plater, would have severed Sharp Park from an ongoing Natural Areas Environmental Impact Report process and required San Francisco to start from scratch with a new plan for Sharp Park. Critics contended this would have wasted years of effort and expense. The resolution was indefinitely tabled."

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

When Wild Life thrives at the SPGC, a wack enviro losses their mind.

Hutch said...

I am about 2 blocks from the golf course. Over the past 10 years I have heard the frog symphony go from nothing to a deafening rawr. I would say they're thriving.