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.
- 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
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.
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
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,
environmental opportunities for local and regional visitors.
2. Preserve, protect, and enhance Lake Merced's scenic
3. Provide adequate and safe vehicular and pedestrian
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
5. Provide appropriate signage to inform the public
of park regulations. Increase
awareness of environmental issues related to Lake Merced.
- 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
eliminate the imbalance between the amount of groundwater
being removed and the amount of water being recharged
3. To implement water management practices that will
enhance, and sustain the long-term beneficial uses of
Merced and the Westside Basin Aquifer.
reports, goals, and action recommendations of the three
workgroups were unanimously approved by the full Task
Force on January 25, 2001.
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:
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.
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
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.
Coastal Conservancy for 1) Trail Feasability Study
2) Fish Community Study 3)
to restore natural habitat 4) trail improvements.
from Villas - Parkmerced for LMTF operating expenses.
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.
from Bond funds and Assemblyman Kevin Shelley's office
John Muir Drive fishing pier, pathway, and parking area.
from SF Board of Supervisors for studies of the Lake.
from Villas - Parkmerced for LMTF operating expenses.
for meeting space rental, food, printing costs, and
from San Francisco State University College of Health
and Human Services.
Task Force has agreed that the important work for
Lake Merced is not finished and will continue to work
with an expanded committee structure.
COMMITTEES: Nature, Recreation, and Water groups will
continue to work to implement the recommendations
in the Lake Merced Stewardship Plan.
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
COMMITTEE: The work of the Steering Committee will
continue in its coordinating role as defined.
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.