I read with great interest Mayor Johnston’s and Revitalization Director Harzoff’s comments regarding possible improvements to the EBMUD easement through the city (The Record,November 23).
Having recently become active with The Friendsof the Lower Calaveras River–a local volunteer group looking at ways to educate residents about the LCR and ways to improve it–I began studying aerial maps of the Lower Calaveras with a view to enhancing urban habitats for wildlife.
I was looking for ways habitat islands might be linked by encouraging a variety of practices within our existing infrastructure that would create more native-like habitat corridors.
My casual investigations led me to other groups and organizations interested in and active in implementing similar goals. Simply by studying aerial views, I have come to understand there exist many largely untapped ways to create what wildlife restoration planners term “wildlife corridors” within existing city i nfrastructure.
EBMUD’s easement had already caught my eye as having great potential both as a parkland and as a potential parallel east-west corridor (complementing the Lower Calaveras River) through Stockton.
I would strongly urge the City to consider this as plans are proposed to “upgrade” and “improve” the EBMUD easement.
If at least some portions of it were restored with more drought tolerant native plantings and removal of invasive species it is very likely it could become more self-sustaining and thereby incur lower maintenance costs.
It could also then be expected to provide cover and resources to support wildlife, views of which would enhance enjoyment of the space.
It seems a great shame that we lament what may happen to our Delta while permitting resources like the Lower Calaveras and EBMUD easement to be managed in ways that may (or may not) be most advantageous to multiple purposes.
The Lower Calaveras and the EBMUD both pass within walking distance of Joh n Muir’s archive at UOP. I share Muir’s spiritual regard for natural places and the entire biota of the planet but I guess I’d call myself a Gifford Pinchot environmentalist in the sense that I know human needs must be considered as we look to preserve our remaining natural spaces.
If we can tend our existing urban landscapes with a clearer view to improving them for our fellow beings then I believe we have risen to both Muir and Pinchot’s ideals. At the same time we will be improving them for ourselves and for generations to come.
Thank you for the position you are taking on re-envisioning EBMUD’s property. Please continue to carefully re-think what sort of “parkland” it might become.