Lake Merced Task Force - an organization of lake stewards and advocates
Lake Merced Task Force
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Lake Merced Task Force
Lake Merced Task Force
California Dragon Boat Association
California Park and Recreation Society
California Trout
Civilian Marksmanship Program
Committee to Save Lake Merced
Daly City Department of Water and Wastewater Resources
Dolphin Clubb
Golden Gate Audubon Society
Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association
Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association
Janet Pomeroy Center
Lake Merced Hill Recreation and Management Association
Lake Shore Acres Improvement Club Lakewood Tenants Association
Nature in the City
Olympic Club
Olympic Club Rifle Team
Pacific Rod & Gun Club
Pacific Rowing Club
Park Merced
San Francisco Beautiful
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
San Francisco Rifle Association
San Francisco State University
San Francisco Tyee Club
South End Rowing Club

California Native Plant Society - Yerba Buena Chapter
California Waterfowl Association
City College of San Francisco
Friends of Lake Merced
Merced Manor Property Owners Association
National Park Service, GGNRA
Neighborhood Parks Council
Office of District 7 Supervisor
Office of District 8 State Senator
State of California 12th Assembly District
Office of the Mayor
Pacific Junior Rifles
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
San Francisco Police Dept., Youth Fishing Program
Sierra Club, San Francisco Group
The California State Coastal Conservancy
USF - Athletic Department
West of Twin Peaks Central Council

Lake Merced Task Force


  • In August 1999 San Francisco Beautiful and Friends of Lake Merced hosted a meeting of Lake Merced advocates. All agreed that the growing public alarm over Lake Merced's rapid deterioration must be addressed, and that a comprehensive stewardship program was needed to address its sustainability as one of San Francisco's most valuable natural and recreational areas.

    San Francisco Beautiful, Friends of Lake Merced, and San Francisco State University
    took the lead in forming the Lake Merced Task Force (LMTF). With the endorsement of
    the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the SF Recreation and Park  Commission,
    and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representatives of over 40 Task Force
    affiliates including environmental organizations, neighborhood associations, recreational
    groups, educational institutions, government agencies, and elected officials began work
    in February 2000.
  • The Task Force was organized into three working groups which coincided with the focus areas of the Lake Merced Comprehensive Management Plan - Nature, Recreation, and Water. A Resources committee was created to identify funding. A Steering Committee was formed to have a proactive, coordinating role and to act as the conduit for the exchange of information to and from the Task Force.

  • To build upon existing plans, policies, and programs, implementing short term actions while creating a long-term sustainable program for the stewardship of Lake Merced.

  • The workgroups (Recreation, Nature, and Water) each produced reports with goals and recommendations, they are summarized here:
  •           Nature -       1. Conduct studies of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems at Lake
                                      Merced; encourage on-going research on the ecology of the lake
                                      and surrounding environs.
                                  2. Enhance public opportunities for education and involvement.
                                  3. Maintain and enhance biodiversity in critical areas.
              Recreation - 1. Create and improve educational, recreational, and
                                      environmental opportunities for local and regional visitors.
                                  2. Preserve, protect, and enhance Lake Merced's scenic and
                                      natural character.
                                  3. Provide adequate and safe vehicular and pedestrian access and
                                      circulation of all people to the educational and recreational
                                      features of Lake Merced.
                                  4. Provide an adequate number of well-trained staff to maintain Lake Merced
                                      and its amenities. Encourage park stewardship through volunteer efforts.
                                  5. Provide appropriate signage to inform the public of park regulations. Increase
                                      awareness of environmental issues related to Lake Merced.
             Water -        1. Raising water levels in Lake Merced to 25 to 27 feet while
                                     taking into account impacts on the natural habitat, if any, that
                                     might result from raising the lake's level.
                                 2. To restore the Westside Basin Aquifer to a level that will
                                     eliminate the imbalance between the amount of groundwater
                                     being removed and the amount of water being recharged to
                                     the aquifer.
                                 3. To implement water management practices that will restore,
                                     enhance, and sustain the long-term beneficial uses of Lake
                                     Merced and the Westside Basin Aquifer.

    The reports, goals, and action recommendations of the three workgroups were unanimously approved by the full Task Force on January 25, 2001.

    The Initial Report and Stewardship Proposal of the Lake Merced Task Force, a document containing the reports, goals, and action recommendations along with an executive summary and supporting documents was published in June 2001. The Proposal has been presented with positive results to both the San Francisco Recreation and Park and the Public Utility Commission and is being used to attract funding for the recommended projects.


    • EDUCATION:The Nature Workgroup produced 5 signs which will be placed around the Lake to provide visitors with information about its natural history as well as the restoration projects which are underway.
    • HABITAT RESTORATION: The Recreation and Park Department's Natural Areas Program is working at Lake Merced to restore critical habitat areas. Restoration is focused on Impound Lake, the Mesa, and Sunset Circle, three areas of high native biodiversity. Working with community volunteers and local school groups the Natural Areas Program has been responsible for removing several acres of invasive non-native ice plant and cape ivy and planting eight thousand native plants. Erosion control issues at Sunset Circle are being addressed and an intern has been hired to work on habitat enhancement involving a new population of Wood Ducks in Impound Lake. Monitoring of the effects of management actions is an ongoing project of the Natural Areas Program.
    • IMPOUND LAKE TRIANGLE PROJECT: The Recreation and Nature Workgroups have been meeting with staff of SF Recreation and Park, and SF Public Works to make recommendations on improvements in recreation facilities and parking at the south end of Lake Merced. Five projects have been identified and are, in priority order: John Muir Drive Fishing Pier, John Muir Pier Parking Area and Pathway, Bufano Statue Picnic Area, Brotherhood Way Parking Lot, and a Floating Boardwalk along the southeast edge of South Lake. Funding is available for the John Muir Drive projects and work is scheduled to begin summer of 2002.
    • LAKE MERCED CENTER: The Stewardship Proposal includes recommendations for improved aquatic and boating facilities and a recreational/environmental education/nature center. The Task Force's Lake Merced Center committee has been working to develop a plan for the Center program components and its location/s at the Lake. Possible funding for the aquatic facility from the California Department of Boating and Waterways. The proposal will be presented to the full Task Force at the May meeting.
    • WATER RESOURCES: It is unanimously agreed that Lake Merced is an important, potential water resource for San Francisco and a significant natural resource. Water levels in the Lake have decreased as a result of urbanization of the watershed and changes in ground water flow directions. The SFPUC has been working with its Westside Basin partners, the LMTF, and the community to identify and implement solutions to manage Lake Merced water levels and basin-wide ground water resources. These solutions include:

    Vista Grande Storm Water Diversion Project - An investigation into the feasibility of diverting, treating, and discharging storm water from the Vista Grande Storm Water Canal to Lake Merced in an effort to raise lake level. Pilot treatment facilities are under construction and will be operational beginning September 2002.

    Aquifer Recharge Study - The SFPUC and the City of Daly City are negotiating an agreement to allow the delivery of supplemental surface water from SFPUC to Daly City so that Daly City can reduce its ground water pumpage from the Westside Basin. Concurrently, an aquifer recharge study will be conducted to evaluate the effects of reduced ground water pumping on water levels in Lake Merced and the underlying aquifer. On April 8, 2002 the proposed agreement was submitted to the SF Board of Supervisors for approval and is now in committee.

    Sale of Recycled Water - The SFPUC, Daly City, the Olympic Golf Club, the Lake Merced Golf Club, and the San Francisco Golf Club (all members of the Task Force) are negotiating an agreement for the sale of recycled water by Daly City for purchase by the golf clubs for irrigation purposes. The SFPUC will contribute financial resources toward the capital costs of the recycled water facility in exchange for the right to develop and operate ground water injection and recovery wells at each golf course. The wells may be used to inject imported surface water into the aquifer for later recovery during droughts and emergencies. On April 8, 2002 the proposed agreement was submitted to the SF Board of Supervisors for approval and is now in committee.

  • RECREATION: Task Force members America True, SF State University, and SF Recreation and Parks will work together to offer community based sailing programs on Lake Merced starting Summer 2002. America True is also about to launch, at the Lake, its free Learn to Sail Program for inner city youth. America True is an organization advocating sailing which believes that by offering classes and recreational opportunities at Lake Merced they help to lay the groundwork for a lasting learning center and to also create support for the Lake and its advocates.


      $475,000 Coastal Conservancy for 1) Trail Feasability Study 2) Fish Community Study 3) to restore natural habitat 4) trail improvements.


      $2,500 from Villas - Parkmerced for LMTF operating expenses.


      $550,000 Coastal Conservancy Grant to develop a trail that links project areas and to restore natural habitat. In addition, the grant funded the design and installation of signage around the lake to link this regional facility with regional trails, including the Coastal Trail and the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

      $1,290,500 from Bond funds and Assemblyman Kevin Shelley's office for the
      John Muir Drive fishing pier, pathway, and parking area.

    $150,000 from SF Board of Supervisors for studies of the Lake.

    $5,000 from Villas - Parkmerced for LMTF operating expenses.


    Monies for meeting space rental, food, printing costs, and other essentials
    from San Francisco State University College of Health and Human Services.


    The Task Force has agreed that the important work for Lake Merced is not finished and will continue to work with an expanded committee structure.

    TECHNICAL COMMITTEES: Nature, Recreation, and Water groups will continue to work to implement the recommendations in the Lake Merced Stewardship Plan.

    ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEES: The Resources group will continue to look for funding. Membership and Member Relations is a new committee which will work to involve more local organizations in the Task Force, and the new Publicity committee will act to get the word out about the work of the Task Force and will create and maintain the LMTF website.

    STEERING COMMITTEE: The work of the Steering Committee will continue in its coordinating role as defined.

    The Mission Statement for the forthcoming years of the Lake Merced Task Force is:

    In order to insure the continued stewardship of Lake Merced the LMTF's mission is to work with community groups and local and state governments to implement programs, policies, and practices that will restore, enhance, and maintain the natural, educational, and recreational resources of Lake Merced.

    April 2002

    Lake Merced Task Force
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