Will Newark waste Bay habitat on golf and tract homes?
On Dec. 3 the city released an Areas 3 and 4 Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). It proposes 1,260 tract homes, an elementary school, and an 18-hole golf course. The elementary school and 760 housing units are proposed on Area 3, a site surrounded by existing development. The golf course and 500 upscale, low-density housing units are proposed in Area 4, the former Whistling Wings and Pintail Duck Clubs.
To the east and southwest of the former duck clubs are lands of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and most of Area 4 itself, like Patterson Ranch, is included in the congressionally approved refuge expansion boundary. Area 4 supports important open freshwater habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds, seasonal wetlands, pickleweed marsh inhabited by the endangered salt-marsh harvest mouse, and transitional uplands. The upland areas will be irreplaceable habitat for tidal-marsh species as they move upslope to escape rising sea levels.
Mowry Slough, separated from Area 4 by an old farm levee, is an important pupping area for harbor seals, and the endangered California clapper rail is found in the slough's fringe marshes. The tremendous restoration potential of these lands and the existing endangered-species habitat would be jeopardized by this massive bayfront development.
Area 4 ranges from 0 to 16 feet above sea level. The project proposes bringing in as much as 2.1 million cubic yards of fill to raise building pads out of the floodplain - about 100 dump trucks/day traveling to and from the site continuously for two years! These would have significant impacts on air quality, and the filled land would be subject to liquefaction in an earthquake.
Development of Area 4 is inconsistent with the California Climate Adaptation Strategy. Further it would have significant unavoidable and cumulative impacts on air quality, noise, scenic vistas, and Native American cultural and burial sites. The Draft EIR addresses 15 impacts to biological resources and yet fails to acknowledge the long-term impact on regional biodiversity.
Obtain the Draft EIR from the Newark web site and submit written comments by Jan. 19. Write to the city at:
Community Development Director
City of Newark
37101 Newark Blvd.
Newark, CA 94560-3796.
Urge the City Council to reject the "preferred alternative" in the Specific Plan Draft EIR for Areas 3 and 4, and explain some of the environmental reasons.
To be placed on the mailing list for upcoming hearings in January or February, contact or call (510) 790-7208
To work with the Sierra Club on this issue and to be notified when it is time to speak up, contact conservation organizer or call (510) 848-0800, ext. 312
To learn more, visit the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge web site