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Original post made
on Jul 2, 2008
Regarding: "Open space district uses weevils to eat weeds
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will be releasing 5,300 hairy weevils today and Wednesday to help destroy the invasive weed yellow star thistle."
As a property owner and resident of the City of Palo Alto Open Space District, I am disappointed with the lack of notification to the property owners.
The possible impact to the property owners of the Palo Alto Open Space District has been overlooked. This area is also designated for agriculture. Does anyone know the impact to vineyards, trees farms, etc?
There is no mention of a possible negative impact by introducing a "Non-Native" insect to the area. This certainly should be a part of the article.
Clearly, the Open Space district is concerned about invasive species. The desire to introduce a non-native animal species, the hairy weevil I am sure was a challenging decision.
From the experience of Australia, it is often very difficult to deal with invasive animal species and various measures have been adopted such as the Rabbit Proof Fence. The classic example in the United States involves wetlands, especially Zebra Mussels in the great lakes.
Right now, their is a concern that Zebra Mussels have been introduced into California and may threaten our fresh water lakes especially where there is significant Bass populations.
In Palo Alto, I think we can ask our government officials to keep us notified of any proposed introduction of non-native animal species. One challenge, is that the department of Planning in Palo Alto has focused almost exclusively upon the residents of the Open Space district as if we are somehow responsible for numerous environmental impacts when in fact the slow hand of local government is often the silent culprit.
We have seen this before with respect to water drainage. Cities around the country promote development in obvious flood plains, are slow in building retaining walls and water treatment facilities, and later blame their populations for not moving out quick enough in a Katrina approach to land use.
The residents of the Open Space district in Palo Alto have worked very hard to maintain their lands with an agriculture sense of priority. This is why the hairy weevil issue is important.
In Palo Alto, we have made no promotional attempts to shape our local laws toward appropriate agricultural land use. This includes promoting agricultural fencing, greenhouses, stables, and properly sized out buildings.
In fact, if Palo Alto could revise its statute to encourage proper agricultural fencing, the installation of greenhouses, and the encouragement of properly developed outbuildings, I think we will see significantly environmental improvements over the next ten years.
Above all, the government of Palo Alto should maintain an active concern for the health, safety, and public values of citizens.
I have no doubt the Regional Open Space District carefully considered all of the options. But the real challenge is that the department of planning in Palo Alto was likely completely unaware of this local land use issue.
In my direct experience, this is because the planning department is more focused on limiting our rights in Palo Alto instead of promoting traditional agricultural development.
Did the ROSD do an EIR?
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