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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Surfrider Foundation Files Suit for Sharp Park Restoration

Surfrider Foundation filed suit today to promote coastal preservation at Sharp Park. Along with our partners at Wild Equity Institute, Sequoia Audobon Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and National Parks Conservation Association, Surfrider is dedicated to preserving the coastal ecosystem at the park located within the Golden Gate Recreation Area. Surfrider Foundation San Francisco Chapter has challenged this project due to a misplaced sea wall, and proposed $11 million "upgrade" to the financially-troubled golf course, whereas these proposed "improvements" would actually jeopardize the recovery efforts endangered and threatened species in this area. The Chapter is fighting to restore the natural flood-protection features that were destroyed by the golf course and to have the land operated in partnership with the National Park Service, which already owns and manages the adjacent property.

The lawsuit is specifically aimed at protecting coastal resources by protecting the threatened California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. The Endangered Species Act suit pits conservation groups against the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department for illegal "take" (in this instance, killing) of federally protected species. The crux of the issue for Surfrider is habitat restoration which will lead to better beach management practices and a healthier coast.

According to the Chapter's Vice Chairman, Michael Stewart,

"We feel strongly that an interconnected and protective coastal ecosystem (beach, dune and barrier lagoon) must be recognized as a dynamic, integrated unit; you can't save just one part and expect it to work correctly. This would provide the most benefit to local endangered species, an expansion of desired recreational opportunities, and the best (and least expensive) flood protection for the community at Sharp Park - two, four or even zero legged."

According to a peer-reviewed scientific study by coastal restoration experts, restoration of the natural lagoon and wetlands at Sharp Park will provide the most public benefit, since it (a) is the cheapest public option, particularly compared to the San Francisco Park Department plan or the status quo, (b) will provide the best flood protection for neighbors against sea-level rise and coastal storm events, and (c) is essential for the long-term sustainability of endangered species found on the site.

The full Conservation Group Press Release is linked here.

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