July - August 2010
Sierra Club Yodeler
Vol. 73 No. 4
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission will soon decide whether to allow expansion of the Potrero Hill Landfill.
The decision should be easy. According to the Local Protection Plan (LPP) for the marsh's Secondary Management Area, the expansion can be approved only if it will "not have significant adverse ecological or aesthetic impacts on the Marsh".
But the expansion project proposes to turn a valley into a hill. It would move 5,500 feet of Spring Branch Creek and put it into an engineered channel, much of it in a culvert or pipe. This can not be done without severe ecological impacts.
The valley where the landfill would be expanded is home for many plant and wildlife species of special concern. The stream feeds Suisun Marsh, which provides important habitat for the endangered Delta smelt. The expansion would harm at least two pairs of loggerhead shrikes, at least one pair of northern harriers, one pair of golden eagles, wintering long-billed curlews, breeding and wintering tricolored blackbirds, wintering burrowing owls, Western snowy plovers, and California least terns, among affected bird species.
The landfill's answer to this problem is to dedicate conservation easements on land within the Suisun Secondary Management Area. But this is hardly a solution; the land is in a protected area already, and thus this phony mitigation would result in a loss of habitat, without even protecting threatened lands.
It is hard to imagine greater alterations to an environment than those in the proposed landfill expansion - turning a valley into a hill and a stream into a pipe. They would be taking place in an exquisitely sensitive environment with many sensitive species - an environment that is supposed to be legally protected.
WhatYouCanDo - This month's key action
We expect the Commission to make its decision some time in July or August. Write as soon as possible to:
R. Sean Randolph, Chair, and Commissioners
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
50 California St., #2600
San Francisco, CA 94111.
Urge them to deny the expansion of the Potrero Hills Landfill.
If you have questions, call Arthur Feinstein at (415) 680-0643.