Survey of members–summary of findings

Members Tell Us What They Think - Summary of findings from 2018 Survey (click here to download tabulations).

On November 12, 2018 we began an online survey of members and friends of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy for whom we had email addresses (N=523). We followed up three weeks later by a mailing to non-respondents and additional member households for whom we did not have email addresses. By the close of our survey in January, 2019, a total of 180 persons responded, either electronically (N=105) or by sending in their survey through the mail (N=65). 

President's Message, by Jon Kaufman

At its March meeting, the Conservancy Board of Directors elected new officers—including Marilyn Goldhaber as Vice President, Nancy Mueller as Secretary, Kay Loughman as Treasurer, and myself as President. Tim led this organization with dedication and a steady hand for much of the past 18 years. Fortunately, we are not saying goodbye to Tim; he will remain on the board as a member-at-large.

I begin my term with a shout-out to retiring president Tim Wallace.

Oakland reconsiders vegetation management in biennial budget, by Elizabeth K. Stage

Oakland’s current $4 million funding level for vegetation management, for which the Conservancy and other local organizations lobbied hard, will need our support again soon. In February, the city’s finance director, Katano Kasaine, told the City Council that these funds, to be spread over two years, were a “onetime appropriation” and thus were not included in the baseline budget.

UC awarded $3.6 million grant for its Hill Campus by Jerry Kent

After more than a decade of disappointments in its failure to obtain funding to assist with vegetation management and wildfire protection, the University of California is once again hopeful as it has been awarded a $3.6 million grant from Cal Fire.

UC’s Grant Proposal to Cal Fire: The University of California at Berkeley proposes to treat vegetation in 250 acres in its Hill Campus (upper parts of Strawberry and Claremont canyons) to reduce wildfire hazard to its buildings and nearby homes, targeting areas forested with “flammable eucalyptus and high fuel volume.” UC will also create defensible space within 100 feet of roads, fire-trails, buildings, and homes and increase the reliability of the 150 KV transmission line that supplies power the campus and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Summer Tanager in Claremont Canyon, by Jon Colbert

To bird is to listen. And once you know the vocalizations of the local birds, an unusual bird stands out. That’s how Erica Rutherford and I discovered a summer tanager last fall in the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve. Within minutes of stepping out of our car on the October 30, we heard “pit-ti-tuck,” a vocalization reminiscent of an expected (albeit out-of-season) species, the western tanager . . . but not quite. So, when we heard “pit-ti-tuck” again, we ran.

The failure of planning to address the urban interface and intermix fire-hazard problems in the San Francisco Bay Area, by Joe McBride and Jerry Kent

(Article originally appeared in the International Journal of Wildland Fire, January 7, 2019. Reprinted here with permission from the authors.)

(Many recommendations) for fuel mitigation and architectural changes have not been addressed. In spite of the recommendations for fuel management put forth in more than 30 plans since 1923, no region-wide action has taken place. Individual agencies and local Fire Safe Councils have, in part, followed up on recommendations for fuel management on land they administer, but often a complete adoption of recommendations has not taken place. The failure to enact all of the recommendations of these is due to various combinations of the following reasons:

Managing a Changing Oak Woodland, by Shelagh Brodersen

Workshop attendees on the hillside planting native forbs and grasses after the removal of the old oak which had succumbed to “sudden oak death.”

Workshop attendees on the hillside planting native forbs and grasses after the removal of the old oak which had succumbed to “sudden oak death.”

THANKS TO EVERYONE who made January 12, 2019 such a fun and exciting start to this year’s restoration work in Garber Park. The recent removal of the old oak tree at the Evergreen Lane entrance, due to its earlier demise, gave way to a most timely, information-packed and fun workshop by Lech Naumovich. The workshop focused on the changing ecology of the Evergreen Hillside and was aptly named: Managing a Changing Oak Woodland: Oak Woodland Restoration Post-Climax.

The old oak came down on Thursday, January 10, the first sunny day after a week of down-pours, just in time for the weekend workshop. And what a fantastic workshop it was. From Lech: “ I estimate we planted over 100 plants (plugs, containers, cuttings plus we caged three coast live oak seedlings). What a great group and we got quite a bit of work done.”

Winter Bird Walk, December 8, 2018

Once again our intrepid little group of birders, led by Dave Quady, headed out on a chilly morning in December before dawn to listen for owls. After hearing the hoot of a Great Horned Owl, all retreated home to warm up with coffee and breakfast before regrouping at 8 A.M. at the top of Claremont Canyon. We saw thirteen bird species, all expected in Claremont Canyon at this time of year. We feel fortunate to have Dave as our leader. He is always full of information and good cheer and has birded in our area for many years. 

FEMA update on grant to UC

Directly across the road from Signpost 29 (center of photo) are the remaining eucalyptus slated for removal on UC land in Claremont Canyon. UC is currently negotiating with FEMA to get funds returned so their wildfire safety program can move forward. Trees seen along the ridgeline (top of photo) are on EBMUD property. These are being thinned over time as an alternative to complete removal.

Directly across the road from Signpost 29 (center of photo) are the remaining eucalyptus slated for removal on UC land in Claremont Canyon. UC is currently negotiating with FEMA to get funds returned so their wildfire safety program can move forward. Trees seen along the ridgeline (top of photo) are on EBMUD property. These are being thinned over time as an alternative to complete removal.

Trail Map at Domingo and Claremont Avenues, by Jon Kaufman

Building and maintaining trails in Claremont Canyon is the Conservancy’s way of inviting area residents to experience the joy of living in the wildland-urban interface. We think it will help remind people that responsibility comes with the pleasure of living here. We need to care for our environment by making our wildland accessible and by removing invasive plants and keeping it as firesafe as possible.


May 6 bird walk—an ode to spring, by Kay Loughman

Especially with spring birding trips, our walk was as much about listening as seeing. We identified 29 species (see list below), many by sound alone. Resident singers, American Robins were among the first species we heard. Newly-arrived Swainson’s Thrushes announced their presence with single chips–they’ll be producing their spiraling ethereal song in another week or so.  Then the “what peevesyou?” call of a distant Olive-sided Flycatcher let us know it too had completed its northward migration.