More Research on Measure FF Will Ensure a NO Vote

Mary McAllister
Sunday November 04, 2018 - 11:25:00 AM

In response to Pam Young’s advice to vote yes Measure FF, I agree that you should “do your own research” before deciding how to vote on Measure FF.

Reading the Park District’s annual Pesticide Use Report is a good place to start: https://www.ebparks.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=30060. This report will inform you that the Park District used 113 gallons of glyphosate in 2017. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum killer of grasses and broadleaf plants. Glyphosate is not a “target-specific herbicide,” as Ms Young claims. It is an indiscriminate killer of any plant it touches. Glyphosate has been categorized as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization of the UN. The man who applied glyphosate for several years for Benicia School District is dying of cancer after wearing all required and recommended protective gear. He was awarded damages by a jury of his peers in his product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of glyphosate.

The Park District used 37.5 gallons of triclopyr in 2017 on the stumps of eucalyptus (and other non-native trees and shrubs) after they were cut down to prevent them from resprouting. Although triclopyr is selective to broadleaf plants, it prevents resprouts by killing the roots. It therefore kills mycorrhizal fungi attached to the roots as well as the intertwined roots of non-target plants. 

In addition to these “General Park Use Pesticides,” the park district uses many gallons of “Special Use” pesticides such as imazapyr to kill non-native spartina marsh grass, at the rate of about 25 gallons per year. Non-native spartina is the preferred habitat of the endangered Ridgway Rail. The population of Ridgway Rail has plummeted since the Park District began eradicating their habitat over 15 years ago. Milestone (aminopyralid) is used for other “resource management projects.” Milestone is very persistent and mobile in the soil. 

And a few other misstatements of fact can be easily corrected in Ms. Young’s opinion piece with a little research: 

“How can native plants and trees never have grown where they are to be restored?” The Park District uses the word “restoration” to describe its projects because they think it sounds positive. Unfortunately, it is not a word that accurately describes many of their projects. Here is one of their massive projects at Oyster Bay that is trying to establish native plants on landfill that served as a garbage dump for decades: https://milliontrees.me/2018/05/08/oyster-bay-a-firehose-of-public-funding-supplies-a-firehose-of-herbicides/ There were never any native plants at Oyster Bay, yet this is a project that the Park District considers a “restoration.” 

“PUPP falsely asserts that Measure FF will provide $66 million over 20 years.” Here is a link to the Park District’s power point presentation at a public hearing about Measure FF: https://www.ebparks.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=30266 It says that Measure FF will provide “~$3.3 million annually.” Do the math: $3.3 million times 20 years equals $66 million and then some. 

“EBRPD has a forest management plan that, in fact, enhances the growth of fire-resistant shade trees, such as oaks and redwoods.” The Park District is planting few native trees where they have destroyed non-native trees because their goal is to recreate the grassland that existed in the East Bay prior to settlement. Their Serpentine Prairie project is an example of their strategy. They destroyed 500 trees, mostly native oaks, in order to restore native grassland. Native trees will not grow where most of the non-native trees are now growing. Redwoods require more water as well as shelter from the wind. Oaks are being killed by Sudden Oak Death. There are over 20,000 dead oak trees in Wildcat Canyon Park alone according to the UCB researcher who is studying SOD in East Bay Parks: https://milliontrees.me/2017/12/22/scientist-says-50-of-oaks-in-east-bay-parks-will-be-dead-in-20-years/ He expects 50% of oak trees in East Bay parks to be dead within 20 years.  

Yes, please do your research before voting on Measure FF. A vote against Measure FF is a vote against unnecessary pesticide use in the East Bay.