Back to EBPA/DSC Home

toxic stump in creek Skyline clearcut EBRPD pesticide notification
Photos from Hills Conservation Network

7/31/15 7 pm Event with David Maloney and David Theodoropoulos with hills trees slideshow by Ken Cheetham:
Meet a Firefighter called on by local mayors after the 1991 hills fire, and a Conservation Biologist discussing species migration and acclimation throughout history

VIDEO: Trees and Pesticides Forum July 31, 2015, Berkeley, California, U.S.A.


Hosted by MAXINA VENTURA (00:19)
Chronic Effects Researcher, East Bay Pesticide Alert

Conservation Biologist; Author: Invasion Biology - Critique of a Pseudoscience; Slideshow Presentation

KEN CHEETHAM (1:09:17)
Forest Photography; Bay Area Progressive Directory

Retired Oakland Fire Department; Chief, Fire Prevention, Oakland Army Base; appointed to 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Mayors' Task Force on Emergency Preparedness and Community Restoration
Read David's 2016 hills fire danger paper for nuts and bolts wildfire info

Plus updates from

Hills Conservation Network

TANYA SMITH (1:55:39)
Forest Action Brigade

TreeSpirit Project"

Are eucalyptus, acacia, and Monterey pines invasive non-native fire hazards, or carbon sequestering habitat and natural treasures? Do we want Dow and Monsanto profiting more than they have already with UC's pesticide use on clearcuts done in the hills over the past decade? Are our East Bay Lungs being sold off for wood pellets for Europe, biomass for China's coal plants, toilet paper for Japan, logs for the fracking industry? Longshore workers confirm wood chips are being shipped out of West Coast ports.

Community discussion of the FEMA-funded tree removal projects in the East Bay Hills, from Richmond to Hayward, which are opposed by 90% of the 13,000 comments on FEMA's Environmental Impact Statement.

Both the Sierra Club and Claremont Canyon Conservancy, which are actively promoting the downing of nearly half a million East Bay Hills trees (Sierra Club is even suing FEMA to demand that more trees are killed faster), were invited to participate on a panel of both proponents and opponents of these projects. Neither organization responded to East Bay Pesticide Alert's invitation.

FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2015, 7:00PM
Historic Hall, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley, California

Co-sponsored by East Bay Pesticide Alert
( see wildfire pages)
& the Social Justice Committee of BFUU ( )

Also check out:

Death of a Million Trees
Save the East Bay Hills
Save Mount Sutro Forest:
San Francisco Forest Alliance
Save Our Dimond Park Trees
Get involved with the Coalition to Defend East Bay Forests:
Sign up for Alerts:


Video of the July 14, 2013 presentation debunking 'Invasion Biology'. You may show this set of videos of the presentation at community gatherings and may contact Don't Spray California to request speakers on wildfire and pesticides issues.

New from EON
Debunking 'Invasion Biology
On our Planetarian Perspectives Blog:

What's the connection between the "native plants restoration movement"and the pesticide industry?

Who is behind the deforestation and pesticiding of the East Bay Hills, killing over 486,000 trees from Richmond to Hayward, and doing the same to San Francisco’s beautifully forested Mt. Sutro?

Who benefits from a war on "non-native" species?

In this edition San Francisco Bay Area residents explore these questions with evolutionary biologist David Theodoropoulos in a public forum co-sponsored by and the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists –

David Theodoropoulos debunks the pseudoscience – and reveals the corporate agenda – driving the “native plants restoration movement”. He is the author of Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience Published by Avvar Books, Blythe, California. ISBN 0-9708504-1-7

For facts, photos, and analysis of wildfire, tree decimation, pesticide issues, and who pulls the strings of the “native plant restoration movement,” visit the following websites:

Introduction with
Maxina Ventura, East Bay Pesticide Alert,
Madeline Hovland,
Rupa Bose,

This is the First Half of David Theodoropoulos’ Presentation

The second half of David Theodoropoulos’ presentation.

Closing remarks with
Maxina Ventura, East Bay Pesticide Alert,
Connie Barker, Environmental Health Network,
Steve Jacobson,
Marg Hall, Communities United in Defense of Olmstead,
Discussion with David Theodoropoulos,

Compilation of FEMA comments that serve as a good primer for the history and details of these projects.
FEMA comments - compilation.pdf


This is only one of many of these projects planned for the hills, and for Mt. Sutro in San Francisco. The reality is that about 1/2 a million trees in the East Bay Hills are on the chopping block and even if the FEMA grant is stopped, the plans are to remove the trees and pesticide for 10+ years, affecting every living thing in the hills, and downstream. That's all of us.

*****Join us July 14, 2013 at BFUU, 1924 Cedar St., Berkeley (one block east of MLK, Jr. Way) 6:30 p.m. David Theodoropoulos, author of Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience, will present power point with discussion to follow. His presentation will include many photos and much information specific to the East Bay Hills, and the '91 fire*****

DTHEO Event 4-up Flyer

To learn details of UCSF's similar "native plant restoration" project, their plan to remove 30,000 trees from Mt. Sutro in San Francisco, and use pesticides, see:


(posted 5/24/13)
To learn a lot, quickly, about the true nature of the native plant restoration movement which is fueled by the pesticide industry, go to the Milliontrees blog where you see a lot of photos, history, facts, and input from independent biologists and arborists:


UC Berkeley has applied for FEMA grants in collaboration with the City of Oakland and East Bay Regional Park District which would remove close to one hundred thousand non-native trees from nearly 1,500 acres of public land. Thousands of gallons of herbicides would be used to prevent the non-native trees from resprouting and to try to eradicate what they call non-native vegetation. Twenty percent of the project area would be covered in as much as 2 feet of wood chips in addition to the trunks and limbs of the large trees that are destroyed. Prescribed burns would be done to burn excess wood and eradicate what they call non-native vegetation.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on proposed hazardous fire risk reduction activities in the East Bay Hills is now available for public review and comment. Comments on this document must be submitted by June 17, 2013.

You can access the draft EIS on the project website (

FEMA is welcoming public comments on the draft EIS through June 17th, 2013. You may submit written comments in several ways:

Comments received on the draft EIS will be included in and addressed in the final EIS. Reviewers have an obligation to structure their participation in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process so that it is meaningful and alerts the agencies to the reviewers’ position and contentions. Comments on the draft EIS should be specific and should address the adequacy of the statement and the merits of the alternatives discussed (40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1503.3)

Here is an article on the Milliontreees' blog that describes these projects in more detail:

Here is a brief outline of Milliontrees' assessment of this project:

These projects are more likely to increase the risk of wildfires than to reduce that risk.
  • By distributing tons of dead wood onto bare ground
  • By eliminating shade and fog drip which moistens the forest floor making ignition more likely
  • By destroying the windbreak that is a barrier to wind driven fires typical of wildfires in California.
  • By expanding the oak-bay woodland being killed by Sudden Oak Death, thereby adding more dead wood
These projects will damage the environment by releasing hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the destroyed trees thereby contributing to climate change
  • Endangering the public by dousing our public lands with thousands of gallons of toxic herbicides.
  • Erosion is likely on steep slopes when the trees are destroyed and their roots are killed with herbicides.
  • Non-native vegetation such as broom, thistle, and hemlock are more likely occupants of the unshaded, bared ground than native vegetation which will not be planted by these projects.
  • Prescribed burns will pollute the air and contribute to the risk of wildfire, endangering lives and property.
These projects are an inappropriate use of the limited resources of the Federal Emergency Management Agency which are for the express purpose of restoring communities destroyed by disasters such as floods and other catastrophic events and preparing communities for anticipated catastrophic events. Most of the proposed projects in the East Bay are miles away from any residences.

In May 2013, FEMA held three meetings in the East Bay where the public could learn more about the proposed projects, review information about the draft EIS and speak directly with federal, state, and local government representatives. The public could also provide oral or written comments at these public meetings.

UPDATE FROM THE HILLS CONSERVATION NETWORK, one of a few groups organizing to stop this destruction: The massive outpouring of support for the fight to prevent the deforestation of the Berkeley/Oakland hills has been truly phenomenal.

Folks showed up in huge numbers at last Saturday’s FEMA public comment meeting and made it incredibly clear that the public does not want massive clearcutting and poisoning of trees. We think that FEMA heard the message loud and clear!

Please join us in opposing this fraudulent waste of taxpayer money.

If you agree that cutting down close to 100,000 trees is a terribly misguided policy in times where the rest of the world is busy planting and conserving trees, please take a moment to send FEMA a comment letter.

Remember, what FEMA needs to hear are reasons why you think the EIS is flawed. To give FEMA some ideas about what needs to be fixed, you've got to try to be as specific as you can.

Here are what we believe are some strong arguments against accepting the EIS as currently written:
  • The FEMA Draft EIS for UC, Oakland, and EBRPD vegetation management projects in the hills is unacceptable because is does not meet its own stated goal of reducing flame lengths to 2 feet. The proposed treatments will result in an environment with flame lengths of between 14 feet and 69 feet, based on the same data set that was used to construct the EIS. This flame length is worse than what could be expected with the trees that exist currently. We ask that you retract the EIS and rework it to develop a proposal that actually fixes the problem.

  • The FEMA Draft EIS for UC, Oakland, and EBRPD vegetation management projects in the hills is unacceptable because it does not adequately address the effects of these projects on Greenhouse Gas emissions and the ongoing reduction in carbon sequestration capacity. The analysis not only uses an inappropriate baseline, but also fails to adequately consider the loss of ongoing carbon sequestration that will result from these projects. We ask that you retract the EIS and rework it to fully consider all the Greenhouse Gas implications of cutting down 100,000 tall trees.

  • The FEMA draft EIS for UC, Oakland, and EBRPD projects is unacceptable as currently written in that it does not adequately address the cost or the risks associated with the herbicide use that is being proposed. We ask that you retract the EIS and rework it to fully consider all the implications of the expected herbicide use not only to kill eucalyptus trees, but also the hemlock, broom, thistle, and poison oak that will emerge as a result of the loss of shade canopy.

  • The FEMA Draft EIS for UC, Oakland, and EBRPD vegetation management projects in the hills is unacceptable because it does not adequately analyze reasonable alternatives proposed for fire risk mitigation. Far less costly, far less environmentally damaging, and far more effective methods have been proposed, but the EIS fails to consider them. The EIS needs to be retracted and reworked to analyze reasonable alternatives rather than simply dismissing them without any serious analysis.

  • The FEMA Draft EIS for UC, Oakland, and EBRPD vegetation management projects in the hills is unacceptable because it does not adequately analyze the effects on air quality resulting from the proposed plan. We ask that you retract the EIS and rework it to fully consider all the implications of the proposed projects on air quality.

  • The FEMA Draft for UC, Oakland, and EBRPD vegetation management projects in the hills is unacceptable because it relies on a fire model that is fundamentally flawed in that it compares the risk of the current environment with the environment that will exist the day after 100,000+ trees are cut. This is a meaningless comparison, as the EIS does not specify any means by which the project proponents will maintain the environment in this condition. Because of this, shortly after the projects are completed the fire danger will begin to increase. We ask that you retract the EIS and rework it to include a fire model that analyses the expected end result vegetation rather than an essentially irrelevant state.
Please feel free to base your comments on these statements and email them to:
and if you want to, please cc your comments to HCN @

Thanks so very much for your support of this important cause!


East Bay Pesticide Alert

Under the guise of fire safety, several agencies, including the University of California (UC) and the City of Oakland, are undertaking massive clearcutting of the East Bay Hills, involving extensive use of pesticides. The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Report for Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management, contributing further to the use of toxics and deforestation in our hills. The blue ring around the edge of the tree stumps in the picture above, is an example of such pesticide applications running off into the creek at the base of the stumps.

East Bay Pesticide Alert / Don’t Spray California’s Fall, 2010 opposition response to FEMA grant requests by UC; East Bay Regional Park District; and the city of Oakland for funds for what these agencies call ‘wildfire prevention projects’ which are, once again, ‘native plant restoration’ projects. This is a good overview of the relationship between tree decimation and pesticide use.

EBPA,DSC FEMA, UC, EBRPD,Oak.doc(Word document)

Up to one hundred thousand trees would be taken down, and pesticides applied, if these agencies had their way. We say: NO WAY! On April 20, 2010, the EBRPD Board voted to certify the EIR and prepare for implementation of their toxic plan, opening a 30-day window to legally challenge the EIR. Please support the Hills Conservation Network legal action:

Hills Conservation Network Request for Support

Tax-deductible contributions to the HCN Legal Fund may be sent to Hills Conservation Network, P.O.Box 5027, Berkeley, CA 94705, or contact

EIR comments regarding herbicide flammability testing, provided by Cheriel Jensen of Protect Our Valley, Saratoga, CA

EBRPD Environmental Impact Report

EBRPD Wildfire Plan 

Overview of UC Berkeley's Fire Mitigation Program at Strawberry Canyon 

Residents of the East Bay Hills wonder if UC's clearing of land is done only under the guise of fire mitigation, with the real reason to make room for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory expansion:

Map of proximity of UC's project to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Maps of UC and EPRPD fire programs in the East Bay Hills 

UC is also involved in a similar toxic logging project in San Francisco: Save Mount Sutro Forest    

UC has a longstanding relationship with pesticide companies, such as Novartis, and Tom Klatt, the Manager of the UC Berkeley Office of Emergency Preparedness has steadfastly urged agencies and cities to use pesticides in the East Bay Hills. The latter was widely exposed in 2005 when both Tom Klatt, and Nancy Brownfield, EBRPD IPM Specialist, were urging the City of Oakland to add yet another exemption to the Oakland's sham of a pesticide ban, and use pesticides on the 1,000+ acres it oversees in the city's Wildfire Prevention Assessment District. Unbeknownst to us, while city officials were seemingly backing off their contested plans, they were quietly preparing to collaborate with UC Berkeley in an extensive "Fire Mitigation Program", contributing financially to a project that apparently violates the city's own regulations:

UC Berkeley's Fire Mitigation Program 2005 Annual Report (pdf)

Overview of some of the Fire Programs in the East Bay Hills

A Million Trees Reports on deforestation projects around the Bay Area, including clearcutting under the guise of fire prevention

In 2005, the City of Oakland, with the support of representatives of UC Berkeley and the East Bay Regional Park District, proposed the use of Roundup (glyphosate) and Garlon (triclopyr) for wildfire prevention. At the time, we provided all representatives with copies of toxicological profiles for these two pesticides, outlining their dangers to human health and ecology.

The following links are to toxicological information of some of the pesticides mentioned in the EBRPD Fire Plan:

Skyline spraying Pesticide being sprayed in the EBRPD
Triclopyr Toxicological Profile (Garlon) (pdf)

Glyphosate (Roundup) Toxicology

Clopyralid Toxicological Profile (pdf)

Dicamba Toxicological Profile (pdf)

Additionally, as witnessed on UC pesticide notification signs, imazapyr may also be used as part of their project:

Imazapyr Toxicological Profile (pdf)

The pesticide use of these supposed fire prevention projects, is in addition to routine pesticide use by the EBRPD IPM Program:

EBRPD 2008 Annual Pesticide Report (pdf)

All of these pesticides also contain so-called "inert" ingredients, which are kept undisclosed, protected as "proprietary" by trade secret laws, are frequently even more toxic than the "active" ingredients listed on the label, and are specifically designed to interact synergistically to achieve greater toxicity than each chemical by itself.

Unidentified Inert Ingredients in Pesticides: Implications for Human and Environmental Health - Cox and Surgan (pdf)

The Impacts of Chemical Mixtures - Our Stolen Future

Synergism by Ingrid Pollyak
While government agencies and pesticide manufacturers downplay the importance of synergism, this essay, by a teen who homeschools, illustrates that understanding synergistic effects of chemicals does not require a Ph.D.

As can be seen on UC Berkeley's pesticide notification signs, as well as the UC Berkeley 2005 program report, pesticides are being mixed together, compounding the dangers.

The dangers of chemical exposure are commonly downplayed with statements that the quantities of their poison are miniscule, with pesticide manufacturers and legislators going to great lengths to agree on just how much poison is legally acceptable to let loose on our environment. But in addition to synergistic and cumulative effects of chemical mixtures, some chemicals have a "nonmonotonic" dose-response, where reducing the dose of the chemical does not result in a reduction, but an increase in toxic effects.

The Low Down on Low-Dose Endocrine Disruptors (pdf)

Rather than contribute to greater public safety, these fire plans actually add greater hazards, including damaging health effects from pesticide exposure on park workers, visitors, and wildlife. Concern about such pesticide exposure on EBRPD lands has been expressed by AFSCME Local 2428, the union of the East Bay parks workers, in their opposition to the LBAM Program. Additional hazards include erosion and mudslides from cleared land, as well as greater fire danger from dying, dry vegetation resulting from the use of herbicides, and flammability of the chemicals themselves.

For many more photos of the environmental damage from the logging and pesticide applications in the East Bay Hills, please see the website of the Hills Conservation Network, another organization opposing the Fire projects:

Hills Conservation Network

We have seen repeatedly that native plant restoration projects are being masqueraded as wildfire prevention projects and more insidiously, taxpayer self-assessments along with tax-supplied grants are being sold to taxpayers as necessary for wildfire safety. We hear ad nauseum from EPRPD in this DEIR about their fixation with getting rid of what they refer to as non-native plants. But Invasion Biologists have differing scientific opinions on when species have reached acclimation, at which point even trying to remove them can pose biological danger.

David Theodoropoulos, an Invasion Biologist who is very critical of his field, and points to the historic involvement of the pesticide industry in establishing invasive species councils to do their bidding, shows photos of eucalyptus in the Oakland hills during the 1991 fire, in areas where the understory had been kept down.

EBRPD claims that "Invasive plants are harmful, non-native plants" and "Invasive species have no natural enemies in the environment". These are irrational, and just plain inaccurate claims. Species become naturalized. Some native plants can be quite invasive. Many predator species are generalists who'll eat just about anything. The irony of largely European descendents and other pilgrims to this country, vilifying "invasive", "non-native", "exotic" species, and claiming that native species must be defended from them by dumping toxics everywhere and killing living things, is not lost on immigrants and indigenous people alike.

Under the guise of protecting the hills from supposed fire danger from non-native, so-called "invasive" species, these projects in fact threaten the biodiversity and native ecology of the hills. While suppressing fires in specific situations can save lives, preventing wildfires in a wildfire zone dooms fire-dependent species, which have evolved there, to extinction.

Wildfire areas, by definition, are potential habitat of fire-dependent species. Pallid Manzanita is native to our East Bay Hills, has evolved there, is listed as an endangered species, and cannot exist naturally without wildfire. As such, wildfire prevention in and of itself, regardless of the methods, has significant impacts on all fire-dependent species, and represents a threat to their continued existence. Wildfire prevention is not a sustainable or ecologically sound practice.

Page last updated 3/14/2016