January 17, 2017

Altamont fund enables open-space purchases

View of steeply sloped oak woodland on the Castleridge property, acquired by the East Bay Regional Park District.

View of steeply sloped oak woodland on the Castleridge property, acquired by the East Bay Regional Park District.

A fund started as the outcome of a Sierra Club Bay Chapter lawsuit has once again enabled public agencies to protect valuable open space.

The Altamont Landfill Open Space Fund was established in 1999 as the result of a suit brought by the Sierra Club and several other plaintiffs. The operator of the Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility on Altamont Pass Road in Alameda County provides the fund with a fee for every ton of landfill deposited. The Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives from the Sierra Club, Alameda County, and the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore, recommends expenditures from the Fund.

On Oct. 18 the Advisory Committee approved grant applications for three purchases.

The largest grant is partial funding for the East Bay Regional Park District to purchase the Castleridge property adjacent to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. The 231-acre piece of largely wooded land is west of Foothill Road in Pleasanton and reaches up to Pleasanton Ridge. This purchase will protect the park’s critical contiguous habitat corridor. The property could support a much-needed trailhead off Old Foothill Road for access to the northern part of the park. The Fund will contribute $1,000,000 toward the $2,200,000 purchase price.

Another grant to the Park District is for the purchase of “Eddie’s Flat”, 79 acres next to Brushy Peak Regional Preserve, between Vasco Road on the west and Laughlin Road in Livermore. The purchase will protect the preserve’s boundary and potentially provide trail linkages into the park. The purchase will also permanently preserve important natural resources including seasonal wetland, vernal pools, and other sensitive habitat. The Fund will provide $250,000 of the $550,000 purchase price.

The third grant goes to Livermore to purchase an 81-acre parcel in Doolan Canyon next to space the city already owns. The property is about 0.75 mile north of North Canyons Parkway north of I-580. This acquisition helps preserve open space in Doolan Canyon and is part of designated critical habitat for the California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander. The Fund will provide half the $840,000 purchase price.

Werner Schlapfer, Sierra Club representative to the Alameda County Altamont Landfill Open Space Fund Advisory Committee

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