County Parks Presents Proposed Plans for Two Projects at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

San Mateo County Parks is in the early stages of preparing plans to manage the Cypress Forest on the bluff and enhance the habitat of San Vicente Creek at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.  Both projects were recommended in the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Master Plan, which was adopted by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 2004.

This past Saturday, January 25th, County Parks staff and consultants hosted a public site visit to discuss and receive comments on the proposed plans.  This was done to gather public concerns and ideas early in the planning process, prior to completing plans for more formal public review and comment in the permitting phases.

Cypress Forest Management Plan

The County is working with consultants from The Planning Center DC&E on the inventory, assessment and proposed plans for both projects.  The consulting team included a certified arborist who performed a tree assessment of the Cypress Forest to create a plan for restoring the health and improving public safety within the forest.  Of the approximately 1,068 trees, mostly Cypress trees, identified in the forest, 137 trees are dead.   Other trees are in need of trimming.  At this time, project implementation is anticipated to occur in six phases over a five-year period based on priorities.  The highest priority is given to trees which present a hazard to visitors.

San Vicente Creek Enhancement Plan

Another plan being developed in the same area is for the enhancement of San Vicente Creek habitat.  The consultant team included a biologist specializing in “riparian enhancement”.  He inventoried San Vicente Creek to determine opportunities to eradicate or manage exotic non-native plants and facilitate native plant cover. Priorities are being ranked in three phases over a five-year period.

Steps to Date

These two conceptual plans were introduced at the December 5, 2013 San Mateo

County Parks and Recreation Commission meeting where public comment was received.  Department staff at the Saturday, January 25th public site visit received additional comment on the conceptual plans.  The public comment period on the conceptual plans is open through February 3, 2014.  While this comment period end-date is important to make necessary improvements to the plans, we will continue to encourage public engagement as the plans develop.

Next Steps

County staff will use the comments received to make adjustments to both proposed plans as they are developed.  The initial project plans will be placed at www.smcoparks.org for public viewing (estimated mid-February 2014), with the permitting and additional public review process to follow. The San Mateo County Planning Department will be the lead agency for CEQA review and issuance of a Coastal Development Permit.  Federal and state permits will be secured specifically for the San Vicente Creek Enhancement Project.  The San Mateo Parks and Recreation Commission will review the projects prior to implementation.

Implementation of these proposed projects will be based on available funding with a goal to implement initial phases of both projects in the summer of 2014.

Send comments or questions about these proposed future projects to Senior Planner Sam Herzberg at sherzberg@smcgov.org.

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