President's Message, by Jon Kaufman

At its March meeting, the Conservancy Board of Directors elected new officers—including Marilyn Goldhaber as Vice President, Nancy Mueller as Secretary, Kay Loughman as Treasurer, and myself as President.

I begin my term with a shout-out to retiring president Tim Wallace. Tim led this organization with dedication and a steady hand for much of the past 18 years. Fortunately, we are not saying goodbye to Tim; he will remain on the board as a member-at-large. We will continue to look to Tim as a strong voice in conservation and renewal of native, fire-safe vegetation in our canyon. I know that he will be a great help in moving our projects forward. I am happy to say he has recovered almost entirely from injuries sustained in a car collision last fall, as reported in our last newsletter.

A lot is going on in Claremont Canyon. As Jerry Kent points out in a recent posting, the University of California is embarking on its planning process for a grant from the State to make our canyon more firesafe. Our board is putting together a team to follow UC’s progress closely and provide input and feedback as needed. Results of our member survey (click here) make it clear that Claremont Canyon area residents want fire-prone eucalyptus trees removed and support the limited use of herbicide to prevent them from resprouting. We are also working with other like-minded organizations on state legislation to provide expertise, direction and funding for the formation of regional wildfire prevention districts.

We know that wildfire does not respect political boundaries. A regional approach makes good sense, rather than leaving vegetation management and other issues related to California’s wildlands and open spaces up to individual local jurisdictions. The city of Oakland is currently completing its own wildfire prevention plans. Along with other local groups, the Conservancy is pressing the City to move forward to fund and staff its vegetation management department—without further delay.