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  Native Grasslands Alive and Well at Point Molate
May 17, 2010

The Point Molate Grasslands hike (Point Molate Conservation Hike - May 16th, May 11, 2010) attracted about 200 people yesterday. It was led by David Amme of East Bay Regional Parks and Lech Naumovich of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS).

Naumovich has been critical of the Point Molate EIS/EIR for completely dismissing the existence of one of the most important remnant coastal prairies in the Bay Area. In an article in the Winter 2010 Grasslands (“Rare S.F. Native Coastal Prairie Site Proposed for Major Casino Project”), Jim Hanson wrote: “In the consultant-prepared project document, the heritage native prairie located within the project boundaries is labeled only as a weedy “annual grassland” (Richmond/BIA 2009, p. 3.5-13, and Habitat Map, p. 3.5-1). The DEIR proposes to mitigate the loss of annual grassland by replanting annual grassland on the project site (Richmond/BIA 2009, p. 5-17). Coastal prairie within the 413-acre project bound­aries, either inside or outside the direct construction area, is not recognized.”

Naumovich said the EIS/EIR was so flawed, he had to write a 48-page critique requesting corrections.

Although the hike started within the Point Molate property, it actually focused on two nearby similar areas within Chevron property because the Point Molate uplands are not accessible to the public.

Amme is an expert on native grasses and has led this hike several times. This is my third time in about 10 years. With the late spring and abundant rainfall this year, grasses were especially lush. And, yes, native grasses were abundant in profusion despite the EIS/EIR.

Right to left, hikers at Point Molate Beach, Danthonia californica (California Oatgrass), Festuca rubra (Molate Fescue) and hikers at heritage native prairie.