News

Caretakers of Nature – Environmental Stewardship

3/1/2021

The East Bay Regional Park District's various natural and cultural resources – whether a rare plant or animal, a valley grassland or chaparral-covered slope, an ancient pictograph or bedrock mortar, a panoramic vista or a secluded dell – are all public treasures. The Park District's mission is to preserve, protect, and operate regional parklands in perpetuity for public use, while conserving these lands for the natural resource values they contain.

The Park District’s parklands in Alameda and Contra Costa counties comprise mostly undeveloped, natural, open space that offer a variety of grassland, shrubland, woodland, forest, lake, shoreline, riparian and wetland environments, which provide essential habitat for a diverse collection of wild plants and animals. The diverse assortment of birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates that dwell in the Regional Parks is an integral part of the San Francisco Bay Area's ecology and an aesthetic natural feature of the parks that visitors greatly enjoy.

These precious lands require protection, preservation, and supervision, i.e., environmental stewardship. To this end, the Park District includes a Stewardship Department consisting of biologists, ecologists, and botanists with the goal of managing, conserving, and enhancing critical natural resources and wildlife to  ensure healthy and productive ecosystems. Over the past 10 years, the Stewardship Department staff have published more than 20 scientific studies on local protected species as experts in their field.

Wildlife Management/Habitat Enhancement:
The terrestrial wildlife found within the parks occupies a variety of habitats. Most species are native and adapted to the California landscape and climate. The Park District manages animals that are not native to the region or are feral (domestic animals that have returned to a wild, untamed condition) to minimize conflicts with native species. The Park District is responsible for the protection of all wildlife, including animals that are state and federally listed as rare, threatened, and/or endangered, and others that are of local concern.

Wildland Vegetation Management/Fuels Reduction:
Regional parks contain a diverse mixture of native and non-native trees, shrubs, and annual and perennial herbaceous plants. Although the flora has changed considerably as a result of non-native plant introductions and increased urbanization, numerous native plants remain. Land use and vegetation changes have irreversibly altered the landscape over the past two centuries, making it necessary to use management techniques to maintain an ecological balance between native and non-native vegetation and achieve wildland fire safety objectives.

Water Resources:
Stewardship staff routinely monitors all District water resources to maintain water quality and comply with local, state, and federal water quality standards intended to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Cultural Resources:
The lands managed by the East Bay Regional Park District have a rich history and diverse cultural background, including archaeological, historical, and scientifically valuable sites, areas, and objects. The parks also contain many historic features, including buildings, corrals, springs, and foundations in use today, that serve to educate citizens about the early settlers who carved an existence out of the land in the East Bay.


Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor
510-544-2217
dmason@ebparks.org

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