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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 3

Meeting Date: April 12, 2005

Subject/Title: Approve a recommendation from the Park and Recreation Commission to establish a policy for management of open space and direct the Director of Parks and Recreation to make changes as necessary.

Prepared by: Ken De Silva, Park Services Manager

Submitted by: Craig D. Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation


RECOMMENDATION
Approve a recommendation from the Park and Recreation Commission to establish a policy for management of open space and direct the Director of Parks and Recreation to make changes as necessary.

PREVIOUS ACTION
None.

BACKGROUND
At the August 23, 2004 meeting, the Park and Recreation Commission received the first draft of an Open Space Management Program. The Park Division staff brought back the final comprehensive policy to the Commission meeting of November 18, 2004 for their approval.

This time of year typically generates calls from the public wondering when we are planning to mow the weeds in open space areas that our Department maintains. In anticipation of this, staff felt it may be helpful for the City Council to understand how we manage open space areas. This policy will help answer questions such as “why isn’t anything being done about the weeds in my neighborhood?”.

Open Space Management Program

Relevant Goals and Policies
Open space, owned and operated by the City of Brentwood, is a resource that shall be managed in a manner consistent with good stewardship and sound ecological principles that benefit the citizens of Brentwood by promoting plant habitat, cultural resources, scenic vistas and appropriate passive recreation. It is intended that the differing classifications of open space will require different management policies to provide reasonable levels of protection consistent with the desired uses of the land.

General Maintenance of Open Space Areas

Maintenance standards/practices are:
• Open space is mowed twice per year – early spring and early summer.
• Weeds are abated along fence lines in spring, and again in summer as needed.
• Concrete “V” ditches are cleaned in fall and winter.
• Open space areas are patrolled for litter on a bi-monthly basis but will respond to calls if citizens notice problems in the interim period.
• Areas are disked or mowed, depending on the terrain.
• Flat areas are chemically treated (sterilized) with pesticides, but we try to limit the use of pesticides and favor more natural vegetative management techniques.
• Preference is to mow areas where possible, because this discourages broadleaf weeds such as Russian, or Yellow star, thistle.
• Typically we disc areas that are on slopes because slopes are less stable to mow with tractors.
• Vegetation is allowed to grow tall is so it will produce seed and enable the grass to come back next fall. If we mow the grass down before the seed sets on it, the grass will eventually not come back - it is an annual grass that only grows from seed.
• Firebreaks as per the City’s Code Enforcement criteria (parcels are abated in maximum five-acre blocks).
• If necessary, vertebrate pests (gophers and ground squirrels) are controlled to prevent soil erosion of steep slopes.
• Vertebrate pests will be controlled so as to not impact the integrity of the sites or cause damage to residents adjacent to the sites.
• Improved landscaping usually consists of trees and shrub masses. These will be maintained to our current landscape maintenance standards.

Classifications of Open Space

Currently the City of Brentwood manages three different types of open space areas:
• Trails – typically through an easement. These are mostly flat terrain and are used for recreation purposes.
• Open space parcels adjacent to dwellings or other City of Brentwood easements and streets. These can be classified as buffers.
• Wetland mitigation areas. These can be classified as preserved areas.

Classified Areas of Open Space and the Type of Maintenance Received

Trails:
• Mowed twice per year – early spring and early summer.
• Litter abatement performed on a bi-monthly basis but will respond to calls if citizens notice problems in the interim period.
• These areas are typically mowed.
• Landscaped areas are maintained to the City’s current level of maintenance.

Open Space Parcels:
• Mowed twice per year – early spring and early summer.
• Weed abatement along fence lines in spring, and again in summer as needed.
• Concrete “V” ditches are cleaned in fall and winter.
• Litter abatement on a bi-monthly basis or as needed.
• Disking, or mowing, depending on the terrain.
• Chemically treat areas along fence lines where mechanical weed control would be difficult.
• Firebreaks established as per City of Brentwood - Code Enforcement guidelines.
• Landscaped areas are maintained to the City’s current level of maintenance.

Wetland Mitigation:
• Typically these areas need to be left undisturbed.
• Litter abatement occurs on a bi-monthly basis or as needed.
• No control of weeds (with exception of noxious classification of certain species).

Other Maintenance Practices:

Maintenance of our open space areas is funded through our Park Assessment, Lighting and Landscape Districts, or General Fund. One future management technique that will be considered when funding is available is to mow areas such as this more frequently (e.g. at a height of no more that four inches). This would also require us to re-seed the entire area with annual rye grass every fall. This practice will cost significantly more than our existing treatment so it will be used only when adequate funds are available.

Location of Open Space Areas:

The location of the areas the Parks Division maintains is on the City’s GIS map (attached) for all City employees to access. The attachment indicates locations and the type of treatment they receive.

FISCAL IMPACT
Maintenance procedure as outlined in this proposed policy is within current approved budget.

ATTACHMENTS
City of Brentwood Weed Abatement Map
Location Table

Weed Abatement Locations

Open Space Weed Abatement Funding and Location
Type of Weed Control

Fairview Park - Open space areas on the West side of Fairview /Regent to
existing landscaping on Baldwin 10.0 acres Rough Mow / Perimeter Weedeat
Sand Creek Road Park – Open space at corner of Sand Creek Road and Fairview 7 acres Disc
Creekside Park - Overflow channel; End of Marsh Creek Trail at pedestrian bridge 1 acre Rough Mow / Chemical Mow
95-2 Roseto Court strip by Marsh Creek Rough Mow
97-1 Nextel tower hill - Above Rolling Hills Park 6.6 acres Perimeter Disc
Presidio Drive (behind 2637-2647) Triangle 1.21 acres
Weedeat / Chemical Mow
99-3 Minnesota RR tracks open space 6.2 acres Rough Mow
99-9 Tuscany Subdivision Highway 4 Bypass Open Space Rough Mow
00-4 Arbor View Trail 3.6 acres Rough Mow / Chemical Mow
99-7 Brentwood Hills off St. Regis Drive, north side 6.4 acres Perimeter Rough Mow
Black Gold Park open space 4.8 acres Rough Mow
Open Space along Highway 4 bypass
& south side of St. Regis 3.25 acres
Rough Mow
R Area Sand Creek Road underpasses at Marsh Creek Rough Mow
Deer Creek Trail at Applehill Park Rough Mow
Deer Creek channel south of Central Boulevard in Apple Hill Rough Mow
Dry Creek at Crescent Drive, south side .31 acres Weedeat / Chemical Mow
Old Sand Creek Road triangle at Fairview 7.0 acres Disc
EBMUD Trail – Brentwood Boulevard east to Elkins Way Disc 

 

City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
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Brentwood, CA 94513
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Fax (925) 516-5441
E-mail allcouncil@brentwoodca.gov