Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan
Overview and Background:
The Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan (YBI HMP) is a critical element of the Disposition and Development Agreement between TIDA and master developer Treasure Island Community Development LLC (TICD). The HMP establishes the framework for long-term restoration, enhancement and protection of the natural areas on Yerba Buena Island. The HMP guides TIDA’s near-term and long-term operations, care and maintenance of YBI natural areas with an emphasis on managing for biodiversity. The HMP serves as the touchstone guiding document for TIDA’s planning and operations on Yerba Buena Island related to biodiversity. San Francisco Environment consults and collaborates with TIDA on the implementation of the YBI HMP through an ongoing annual inter-departmental work order between the two agencies.
Development Project and HMP Implementation:
TICD and its master landscape architect, CMG Landscape Architecture (CMG), are engaged partners of TIDA in HMP implementation. TIDA, San Francisco Environment (SFE), CMG and TICD hold monthly meetings around all aspects of technical coordination between development construction and conservation of biodiversity on Yerba Buena Island. TICD and TIDA collaborate to ensure that the Development Project is guided by the YBI HMP and YBI’s natural habitat communities as a whole. TICD has contracted with Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), whose vision and practices align with that of the HMP, to manage the salvage, propagation and growing of YBI native plants for installation in TICD’s infrastructure revegetation areas.
Yerba Buena Island Stewardship Program and Collaboration with Local Partners and Stakeholders:
To implement the goals and objectives of the YBI HMP, TIDA works extensively with SFE, SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), TICD, the SF County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) and various consultants and non-profit organizations on planning, design, implementation, and ongoing on-island operations supporting biodiversity.
The Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island Public Stewardship Program, established in 2017 by TIDA and SFE, provides a variety of opportunities for regular community engagement with the Island’s natural habitat, including:
- Hosting regular monthly Volunteer Days in YBI natural areas and at the LEJ Native Plant Nursery on Treasure Island; all of which are open to all members of the Island community and the larger San Francisco community.
- Hosting special stewardship and natural areas-focused curriculum enrichment activities with faculty and students from the on-Island Life Learning Academy High School and Treasure Island Job Corps Center.
- Providing internship opportunities for youth and young adults interested in careers in ecology, biology, biodiversity and environmental science or policy.
- Hosting the annual Yerba Buena Island Bioblitz, in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences, an on-Island event focused on community awareness of, and engagement with, YBI's natural areas.
- Distributing a monthly newsletter highlighting biodiversity-friendly projects, community-oriented information and information on YBI-native flora and fauna.
- Installing YBI Native Plant Demonstration Gardens at Treasure Island community facilities including TI Playground/Aracely Café/SFGAA Fields, the ShipShape Community Center and Treasure Island Gymnasium.
- Facilitating regional partners’ activities on-Island, including the annual Golden Gate Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count and the Portland-based Xerces Society’s annual Monarch Count.
Rubicon Programs Landscaping Support and Training:
TIDA and SF Environment staff work regularly with TIDA’s master landscape maintenance contractor, Rubicon Programs, to effect trainings and information-sharing on appropriate landscape and maintenance goals and practices within the YBI natural areas and TI/YBI public spaces. TIDA and SF Environment have recently assisted Rubicon Landscape in its development of an expanded on-Island training program, to include new biodiversity-focused elements including, native and invasive plant identification, YBI native plant palette development, alternate Integrated Pest Management solutions, and proper seasonal methods of invasive plant monitoring and removal. TIDA has also worked with Rubicon Landscape over the past several years to practically eliminate pesticide application performed by Rubicon as part of its regular on-Island operations.
Rubicon Landscape supports TIDA’s stewardship of vital YBI natural areas including Clipper Cove shoreline and the natural areas above Clipper Cove Beach, the YBI Western Oak Woodlands, and the native plantings around Yerba Buena Island Quarters 1 (Nimitz House), and has also taken a lead role in the installation and regular maintenance of the YBI Native Plant Demonstration Gardens on Treasure Island.
Ongoing Wildlife Surveys:
An important component of HMP implementation is a quantified understanding of the existing communities of fauna and flora present on-Island, and their health through time. TIDA contracts with local ecologists for seasonal wildlife surveys of Yerba Buena Island and has recently entered into a work order with California Academy of Sciences who will survey marine and inter-tidal wildlife and plant communities. The Authority will continue to contract for seasonal landside, marine and intertidal wildlife surveys, further building data and field-level knowledge of YBI wildlife, its interface with YBI’s native plant communities and the various impacts on wildlife caused by on-Island activities.
Maintaining Consistency with Citywide Programs and Requirements:
TIDA consistently seeks to align its practices and its contractor’s practices with Citywide programs and requirements such as those of the City’s Integrated Pest Management program. TIDA is also currently in the process of analyzing and identifying various appropriate means and methods in developing a sustainable O&M structure for both landscape maintenance and natural areas maintenance with the principles of the HMP serving to guide this process.
San Francisco Biodiversity Policy:
On April 17, 2018, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the San Francisco Biodiversity Policy (Resolution No. 107-18) to elevate biodiversity as a citywide priority and ensure greater collaboration across 15 named City agencies, including TIDA. It established a framework for City departments to convey commitment and inspire action for protecting and enhancing biodiversity. The resolution built on several years of inter-agency collaboration and was co-sponsored by Supervisors Sandra Fewer and Jane Kim, with leading City departmental support provided by San Francisco Environment (SFE) and the San Francisco Planning Department.
View San Francisco Board of Supervisors Resolution No. 107-18
The Biodiversity Resolution outlines a Biodiverse City Vision: San Francisco is a place where our local biodiversity thrives in climate-resilient ecosystems that integrate healthy native wildlife and plant habitats throughout our city's physical environment, connecting ALL San Franciscans to nature daily and inspiring stewardship of our unique natural heritage in every neighborhood.
Resolution 107-18 also specifies three requirements of the City agencies:
- Participation in regular interagency biodiversity working groups
- Completion of a departmental Biodiversity Survey
- Articulation of a commitment to San Francisco’s Biodiversity Vision
TIDA staff has been engaged in the regular interagency biodiversity working group for the past several years. At its May 8, 2019 meeting, the TIDA Board of Directors approved TIDA Board Resolution 19-13-0508, articulating TIDA’s commitment to San Francisco’s Biodiversity Vision and to its own TIDA-specific vision for biodiversity captured in project elements including the Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan.