Shelterbelt Builders
Case Studies

Design & Planning
Colma Creek Restoration Plan
Invasive Plant Management Plan
Cape Ivy Containment & Removal
Community-based Restoration Support
Habitat Conservation Plan Implementation
Happy Valley Creek Restoration
Inspiration Point Grassland Restoration
Lake Merced Coastal Lagoon Stewardship
Wildfire Prevention
Tilden Experimental Fuelbreak Project
Vicente Canyon Hillside Foundation Stewardship
Native Plant Landscaping
Mt. Sutro Native Plant Garden
Private Hillside Trail Construction & Native Plant Garden
Lawn Replacement with Native Plant Garden

Tilden Experimental Fuelbreak Project

CLIENT: East Bay Regional Park District, Alameda-Contra Costa County Weed
Management Area, East Bay Municipal Utility District
PARTNERS: Danielson Consulting

The East Bay Regional Park District is challenged every summer to balance wildland fire safety with natural resource protection and enhancement. A rich band of open lands containing native forests, coastal scrub, and grasslands border on the hill communities of Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito, and Kensington. The grasslands and forests support a diversity of native plants and wildlife but also potentially threaten neighboring cities with wildfire danger. Goat grazing is commonly used by agencies to substantially reduce wildland vegetation during the summer months, but this often results in bare earth and increased infestations of exotic weeds.

Removing exotic weeds and encouraging a diverse native flora reduces fire risk.

In February of 2002, Shelterbelt was hired by the Park District and Alameda-Contra Costa Weed Management Area to design and test a new, more sensitive wildland management regime along Tilden Park’s urban interface. For 3 years Shelterbelt managed 21-acres of the fuelbreak with selective, timed mowing regimes and hand pulling to demonstrate that fire safety can be achieved while also enhancing native plant diversity and reducing exotic weeds along the urban interface. Each year the work took place over 8 months, from January to August. Training of workers in plant identification and continuous field observation were central to the strategy. No herbicides, fire or grazing were used for the 3 years to reduce fuel loads. No planting, irrigation or other-than-natural seed dispersal was used to encourage the native flora. Each year the fuelbreak was maintained to the satisfaction of the Park District fire department and invasive plants were reduced substantially in the project site. Professional monitoring revealed substantial increases in native cover along transects, and overall native cover was estimated to have been increased an average of 5 percent a year, or from 10 percent to 25 percent in three years.

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