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San Francisco Residents To Have Say On Red Legged Frog And San Francisco Garter Snake Habitat

Public Hearing on San Francisco's Sharp Park Scheduled for Oct. 6

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A public hearing is scheduled October 6 in San Francisco to determine whether a 79 year old golf course built on wetlands should be transferred to the National Park Service and shut down. The 18 hole Sharp Park course was built on a wetland, and is the subject to flooding during heavy rains, causing the city to pump out the rainwater to make the course playable. However, the park is also home to the federally protected red-legged frog and the endangered San Francisco garter snake. San Francisco supervisor John Avalos wants the golf course shut down and the area returned to its natural state, which is wetlands. Supervisor Avalos introduced a plan September 6 that would close the golf course.

According to a report in the San Mateo County Times, the Sierra Club has also weighed in, filing a motion last week that seeks a temporary halt to mowing several greens on the course because they are probable habitat for the San Francisco garter snake. The motion also seeks to prevent workers from draining ponds that flood every winter because doing so would dry out egg masses laid by the California red-legged frog, the frog made famous in the Mark Twain book "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Both the frog and garter snake coexist, as the snake relies on the frog as a food source. The city has proposed removing one hole in the course and cutting areas from two other holes in an effort to help the snakes, frogs, and golfers to coexist. The city also said that of the 159 egg masses that were discovered at Sharp Park in 2010, just one egg mass was stranded and had to be relocated.