Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan
Overview and Background:
TIDA’s long-term biodiversity programmatic effort is focused around implementation of the Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan (the “YBI HMP”). The YBI HMP is a critical element of the Disposition and Development Agreement between TIDA and master developer Treasure Island Community Development LLC (TICD), laying out the framework for long-term restoration, enhancement and protection of YBI natural areas. The HMP also guides TIDA’s near-term and long-term operations and maintenance considerations relating to care for YBI natural areas with an emphasis on managing for biodiversity. The HMP serves as the touchstone guiding document for TIDA departmental planning and operations on Yerba Buena Island related to biodiversity.
TICD and its master landscape architect, CMG Landscape Architecture, are engaged partners of TIDA in the implementation of the HMP on YBI. TIDA, San Francisco Environment (SFE), CMG and TICD hold monthly meetings regarding technical coordination among the entities on a variety of projects occurring on Yerba Buena Island, and TICD has proven willing to consider and implement various directions, comments and suggestions from TIDA relating to implementation of the Development Project objectives in a manner consistent with, and mindful of, the YBI HMP and YBI’s natural habitat communities as a whole. TICD has made efforts to engage local entities whose vision and practices align with that of the HMP, most notably their contracting with Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) to manage the salvage, propagation and growing of YBI native plants to be installed in TICD’s infrastructure revegetation areas.
Yerba Buena Island Stewardship Program and Collaboration with Local Stakeholders:
Within the overall context of YBI HMP Implementation, TIDA works extensively with SF Environment, SF Public Utilities Commission, TICD, the SF County Transportation Authority and various consultants and non-profit agencies on design, implementation, and ongoing on-island operations supporting biodiversity.
The Yerba Buena Island 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 Stewardship Work Parties in YBI natural areas and at the LEJ Native Plant Nursery on TI; all of which are open to all members of the Island community and the larger San Francisco community.
- Hosting special Stewardship Work Parties 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.
- Hosting special events focused on community awareness of, and engagement with, the YBI natural areas, including the annual Yerba Buena Island Bioblitz.
- Generating a monthly Stewardship Newsletter highlighting biodiversity-friendly projects, community oriented information and education and native YBI flora and fauna identifications.
- Installing YBI Native Plant Demonstration Gardens on Treasure Island. There are currently two on-Island (at the TI Playground/Aracely Café and on the south end of the ShipShape Community Center) with plans for a third to be installed winter of 2019 at TI Gymnasium.
- Facilitating regional partners’ activities on-Island, such as the annual Golden Gate Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count and the Portland-based Xerces Society’s annual Monarch Count.
The HMP also guides TIDA’s near-term and long-term operations and maintenance considerations relating to care for YBI natural areas with an emphasis on managing for biodiversity, serving as the touchstone guiding document for TIDA departmental planning and operations on Yerba Buena Island related to biodiversity.
Rubicon Landscape 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 maintenance 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 Garden outside the Treasure Island Playground adjacent to Aracely Café and the SFGAA Fields, and on the south end of the ShipShape Community Center.
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. To that extent, 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 perform similar survey work within Clipper Cove focused on survey of 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.
View previous Yerba Buena Island wildlife surveys performed by Habitat Potential/Josiah Clark
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 contents built on almost two 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.
Resolution No. 107-18 outlines a Biodiversity 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 it's 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.