Lake Merced Task Force – Meeting #4

September 28, 2000

5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

San Francisco State University

Seven Hills Conference Center - (Nob Hill Room)


Action Notes



Dick Allen                                 Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association

Sheldon Baccus                         Guest of Gary Ehrsam (Dolphin Swimming & Boating Club)

Anna Marie Bratton                         City College of San Francisco

Tim Colen                                 Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association

Joan Cooper                              Lake Merced Hill

George Durgerian                      GGNRA - Fort Funston

Gary Ehrsam                             Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club

Robert Farrell                            Lake Merced Boat House

Dave Frietag                              SFSU

Carolyn Gates                           SPEAK

Suzanne Gautier                         Office of Assemblyman Kevin Shelley

William Green                           Papadopulos and Associates

Eric Giessler                              St. Ignatius College Prepatory (Rowing Coach)

Elizabeth Goldstein                      General Manager, SF Recreation and Parks Dept

Ruth Gravanis                           Sierra Club

Ron Hamilton                            Recreation Center for the Handicapped

David Hochschild                    Office of the Mayor

Pete Holloran                            California Native Plant Society

Barbara Holzman                       SFSU - Dept of Environmental Studies

Linda Hunter                             Neighborhood Parks Council

Ginny Jaquith                            SFSU – Recreation & Leisure Studies

Robert Karis                              San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Michael Leo                              Friends of Recreation and Parks

Laura Louttit                             SF Zoo – Director of Youth Programs

Bob Maddow                            Olympic Club

John Mahoney                           Lowell High School

Dan Murphy                             Golden Gate Audubon Society

Victoria Narkewicz                     SFSU  - CHHS

Craig Perez                               CSU Aquatic and Boat Safety Center

John Plummer                           Friends of Lake Merced

Jessica Ring                               Office of Supervisor Mabel Teng

Kevin Rushton                          Pacific Rod and Gun Club

Howard Strassner                       Sierra Club

Patrick Sweetland                     City of Daly City

Phil Ting                                   SFSU – Government & Community Relations

Michael Vasey                           SFSU – Biology Department

Isabel Wade                              Neighborhood Parks Council

Lisa Wayne                               San Francisco Re

Bud Wilson                               West Twin Peaks Central Council

Cat Woodmansee                Friends of Lake Merced

Dee Workman                           San Francisco Beautiful

Marvin Yee                               San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department

Flora Zagorites                          Lake Shore Acres Improvement Club

Randy Zebell                             California Native Plant Society

Don Zingale                              SFSU – Dean, College of Health and Human Services


Meeting Hosts:                         John Plummer, Friends of Lake Merced; Dee Dee Workman,

San Francisco Beautiful; Don Zingale, San Francisco State University


I.              Announcements and Introductions:

Don Zingale welcomed all attendees and introduced several new members including Phil Ting, San Francisco State University, Government and Community Relations and Victoria Narkewicz who replaced Aliza Kohn in the administrative position for the College of Health and Human Services.


All attendees were asked for introductions including organization name and affiliation with Lake Merced. 


II.               Overview of Meeting and Expected Outcome:

Dee Dee Workman gave a brief overview of the agenda and expected outcomes

including: Presentation of Committee reports; Addressing Issues regarding Committee reports; Presentation on Harding Golf Course at the end of the meeting


III.            Workgroup Presentations: 

a)  Nature Work Group – Lisa Wayne

Lisa Wayne summarized the Nature work group report.  The Nature work group consists of 18 members.


Recommendations and action items include the following: 

- Conduct study of aquatic ecosystem:

-Evaluate the status of aquatic invertebrates including macro and micro-invertebrates, phyto and


-Develop a predictive model of the relationship between lake water level and habitat distribution

 in order to assess impacts of proposed changes in lake water levels. 

-Identify the effects of storm water runoff on the lake, including sources, input volumes, and

 treatment  levels. 

-Assess levels of pesticides, heavy metals and other possible contaminants and their impact on

 aquatic organisms. 

-Once the studies identified above are completed, develop and implement management

 recommendations that will improve the ecological health of the lake. These actions may include

 raising the lake level.


 1.2 – Conduct study of terrestrial ecosystem.

                         -Create detailed map of plant communities, soil and erosional features; systematically sample

              vegetation, conduct surveys for reptiles, amphibians, mammals and terrestrial invertebrate 

                         -Prepare a detailed restoration and management plan

-Conduct pilot marsh enhancement study to assess effect of increase channel edge on birds and

aquatic insects.


1.3– Encourage ongoing research on the ecology of the lake and its environs.

             -Collaborate with local colleges and universities to identify potential faculty and student research

 projects and provide the funding opportunities.


 2.1 – Enhance public opportunities for education and involvement. 

                         -Create a brochure about the lake.

                         -Increase environmental education activities in classrooms and at the lake itself.

                        -Develop a training program for docents, who will assist NAP in providing educational   

                         stewardship, and outreach activities at the lake.

                         -Enhance interpretation about the lake at appropriate sites using wayside exhibits.

             -Create unobtrusive signs designed to educate public about human effects on wildlife.

                        -Create an environmental center containing classrooms and a wet lab to offer environmental







3.1- Maintain and enhance biodiversity in critical area. 

            -Remove invasive exotic plants in and adjacent to critical areas, restore with

             appropriate native vegetation, and monitor annually for new invasions.

            -Ensure that management activities don’t negatively affect birds: conduct survey

             to identify active nests prior to initiating any vegetation management activities

             during nesting season, avoiding any nests if found.


-Enhance western pond turtle habitat at East Lake by identifying potential nesting

             areas and potentially restricting public access

            -Take all necessary measures to protect California red-legged frogs at Impound Lake

            -Design and implement an annual monitoring program that will assess the

             progress of management actions on all plant and wildlife species in all identified

             critical areas, including western pond turtles and California red-legged frog.       


3.2 – Expand native plant habitats outward from critical areas.   

            -Expand native habitats by removing invasive plants and planting across up, and

             down slopes in areas adjacent to critical areas.


3.3- Control erosion caused or induced by humans. 

            -Implement erosion control measures to improve human safety, reduce

             sedimentation into the lake, and minimize reinvasion of weedy species.

            -Minimize erosion by removing invasive plants only during the dry season.


3.4 – Native wildlife are negatively affected, often severely so, by domestic and non-native animals. 

            -Develop a city wide policy and plan to deal with is issue.


There were a total of 38 Recommendations completed by the Nature group, 10 of the recommendations were high priority and are currently underway.  17 of the 38 recommendations need to be funded and worked on.  


b) Recreation Work Group – Ginny Jaquith

Ginny Jaquith reviewed the mission of the Recreation Work group.  The group still needs to prioritize items and identify cost for each. 


Recommendations and action items include the following: 

Goal 1:  Create and improve educational, environmental and recreational opportunities

for local and regional visitors. 

-Establish a healthy fishery and improve fishing opportunities

-Develop visitor amenities, which are compatible with educational and recreational uses and enhance the natural environment of the lake.    

-Create aquatic related opportunities which are compatible with the natural environment of the


-Create visitor activity areas/pedestrian activity nodes at several locations with active and passive

  recreational experiences, interpretative opportunities, picnicking and comfort stations.

-Provide a safe, attractive and compatible trail system for walkers, joggers and cyclists.

-Establish an educational/environmental/recreational facility which brings together the resources

 of the university, city community agencies and organizations and the community at-large to

 maximize educational and recreational opportunities at Lake Merced and create an identity and

 focal point for Lake Merced.

Goal 2:   Preserve, protect and enhance Lake Merced’s scenic and natural character 

-Establish trail systems that preserve and protect the natural environment while maximizing

 educational and recreational experiences.

-Support efforts to reestablish and maintain natural areas and native vegetation around Lake


-Recognize and value the unique vistas and natural areas at Lake Merced and the wildlife

              populations it supports.

-Support and create links to neighboring habitats, ecosystems and resources, which highlight

            the region including Fort Funston, Zoo and Beach.


Goal 3:  Provide adequate and safe vehicular and pedestrian access and circulation of all people to the educational and recreational features of Lake Merced.  

-Provide adequate and attractive parking areas at locations including Brotherhood Way, John

 Muir Way, Boat House, Sunset Circle.

-Establish safe and identified automobile, bicycle and pedestrian access routes

-Establish safe access routes from surrounding areas to Lake Merced

-Encourage use of public transportation

-Link Lake Merced to regional trails


Goal 4:  Ensure quality maintenance of the entire Lake Merced area and its future improvements.

-Provide adequate number of well-trained staff to maintain Lake Merced and its


-Provide adequate maintenance equipment and supplies

-Encourage park stewardship through volunteer efforts

-Intensify maintenance activities in areas of high use to ensure safety and environmental



Goal 5: Provide educational and interpretative opportunities to the public that focus on the appropriate use of and sensitivity to the Lake Merced environment.

-Provide appropriate signage to inform the public of park regulations

-Establish interpretative programs which describe and explain the natural areas and habitats

 Of Lake Merced

-Increase awareness of environmental issues related to Lake Merced

Additional Recommendations:

Other recommendations made by the Recreation work group included creating a 12-foot wide path to control pedestrians and bicyclists.  Establishing trail systems that preserve and protect natural environment.  Creating outlook points. 


c.)  Water Work Group  - Dick Allen, Tim Colen and John Plummer

A revised report, dated September 28th was distributed by the Water group. The report replaces the September 25th version that was distributed in meeting packets.  Dick Allen reviewed some of the items listed in the Lake Merced studies handout.  John Plummer highlighted some important points that were included in 40 years of data survey including average rainfall per year and water level information. A complete list of projects completed by the group are on the Lake Merced website. 


d)  Fund Committee – Jessica Ring

The Committee has met monthly, but the work is just beginning.  $400,000 was

received to replace the fishing pier at Lake Merced.  Committee needs to identify           

major priorities and attach price tags to priorities. 


IV.            Questions and Discussions ensued regarding the reports including:


Recreation Work Group Report:

-Questions were raised regarding structure and order of reports and will there be a detailed list of

             costs for  projects. 

-Questions were raised regarding the possibility of a shorter course for rowing.

-Questions were raised regarding landscape buffering between walkways and roadway.



Nature Work Group:

Concerns were raised regarding the following:

-If lake is restored, what is the impact on species of birds that depend on shallow water?

-What are potential implications if level of water is raised?

-Is the lake a natural system or not?  Will it be managed as natural or not? 


Water Group:

- Question was raised regarding the Committee working with Daly City? 

- Question was raised regarding preferred water range of water level?


Other Concerns:

-More information is needed on baseline of lake and food environment.

-Address issue of Health of aquifer. 




Workgroup Reports:

The Task Force agreed to send all reports to the Steering Committee for review and will bring back to the Full Task Force in January with recommendations.  Reports will be integrated and specific conflicts identified.


Health of Aquifer Project:

Ginny Jaquith asked for Task Force approval to allow the Recreation Committee to take on the project of investigating current health of aquifer including obtaining some community comments and endorsements.  The Task Force approved this request with a caveat that all individuals involved understand and are in agreement with the environmental issues involved.


V.        LMTF Position on Harding Golf Course


Dee Dee Workman introduced Chris Himmel from Harding Golf Course.  Chris Himmel invited all attendees of the Lake Merced Task Force meeting to attend an upcoming meeting on October 5th regarding Harding Park Golf Course development of a new range.  A one-time request for exemption for pesticide use will be addressed.  Palmer Golf will be working with Lisa Wayne closely in the future on all future developments. An environmental consultant will be present at the October 5th meeting to answer specific questions. Task force members suggested that LMTF and Harding Park team work closer together in the future. 


Motion for Approval:

Don Zingale motioned and Kevin Rushton seconded to take  “No Position” on the Harding Park Golf Course issue at this time.  The Task Force will take information to work groups for future discussion.  




The meeting was adjourned at 10:00pm.



             Respectfully submitted by:





Victoria Narkewicz