Mariposa Woodland habitat modification project

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Mariposa Woodland habitat modification project

Postby Kevin » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:29 am

To: Trevor H. Taylor, City of Eugene
Subject: Mariposa Woodland habitat modification project

Dear Trevor et al.,

It is very discouraging to see the Mariposa Woodland habitat modification project going ahead in the ridgeline parklands, without any notice or further consultation, despite precise and strenuous technical objections from Southeast Neighbors and from well-informed neighbors, including a professional wildlife biologist, a trained environmental planner, an internationally published anthropologist, and a renowned nature photographer.

As neighborhood representatives explained to city staff in detail last June at your Open House - when the "management plan" was apparently already deemed complete, before any opportunity for public comment - this supposed savannah restoration project - a very substantial habitat intervention involving cutting of several hundred trees at taxpayer expense - still does not have a sound, documented technical or scientific basis.

A central challenge in properly designing such a project is to accurately define the historical and potential climax vegetation for the subject site.

The Mariposa Woodland management plan of June 2009...
http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server. ... mtPlan.pdf

...is not a meaningful document, having been assembled largely by reuse of boilerplate material from other projects, leaving it fundamentally flawed in many areas, as we have previously communicated, including:

- misuse of a regional soils survey in a site-specific application

- improper analysis of topographic situation (elevation and exposure)

- resident animal species apparently not surveyed or listed

- indicator plant species not listed, surveyed, or identified, other than oak per se

- physical evidence, including large pre-European fir stumps and surviving ancient trees, simply ignored

- aerial photographic evidence ignored

- impacts analysis for habitat modification, including increased carbon release, non-existent

- long-term maintenance plan for invasive species is ineffective

- landscape design of new trail route is poor


A few years ago, city staff was ready to proceed with drastic habitat modifications in this same area without any written report to support their actions. Neighbors objected, and a mutually acceptable compromise to aid oak survival without drastic overall habitat change was negotiated though a competent staff intermediary.

That compromise was not implemented, and instead, the city later quietly commissioned a project planning report from LCOG, which was developed without crucial site work, and without consultation with neighborhood experts, by staff apparently without appropriate professional standing.

Finally, despite sound objections having been raised, the project proceeded this summer with no notice of any kind or any further conversation with either the neighborhood association or adjoining landowners.

It is difficult to understand the failure of city staff to comprehend the many very basic shortcomings with the study document. These essential problems should be readily discernible to any qualified professional biologist.

Meanwhile, significant, intact, actual oak savannah habitats are being lost in Eugene on a regular basis due to the lack of a substantive upland natural resources inventory, coupled with weak definition and enforcement of local environmental and development regulations.

Perhaps it would be more politic to simply accept this physical insult to our natural landscape quietly. Quiet is difficult to achieve when the solace of the woods is broken daily by chainsaws, clumsily implementing a misguided - even if at some level well-intentioned - project.

Furthermore, the project as is stands today appears to be in violation even of several of its own weak internal standards, such as the situationally ironic "Goal 13: Coordinating with Adjacent Property Owners".

The City of Eugene should do better.

Much better.

Sincerely,

Kevin Matthews
President
Southeast Neighbors






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Southeast Neighbors

Working together to preserve the livability of our most
immediate surroundings, for all the people and creatures
therein, and for generations to come.

Please help save Eugene's threatened Pileated Woodpeckers
and Amazon Creek Otters! Support headwaters stewardship
and upland wildlife habitat protection.

Please help stop destructive infill development. Support
the South Hills Study to help continue carbon sequestration
in our heritage forest and woodlands.

Help us learn to create dense mixed-use redevelopment in
existing commercial areas to reduce our community's car-
driving carbon footprint, and preserve our current UGB.

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Kevin
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