Over the last month, we removed and pruned approximately 120 trees and trimmed overgrown shrubs primarily around the northern portions of the Lake to make for a safer pedestrian environment and provision for future improvements. To answer some questions from the community:
- The trees that were removed were deemed hazards to public safety through a report from a certified arborist. These trees had either reached the end of their lifespan or had other structural deficiencies that made them unsafe, given the amount of pedestrian traffic that the Lake has. The species were primarily Eucalyptus, with some Monterrey Cypress.
- Some stumps have been ground down, while others haven’t. Stump grinding will be re-assessed during the future pathway improvements, but isn’t always feasible due to the high cost. Lake Merced is also a sensitive ecological habitat, so often times stump grinding isn’t desired for the following reasons:
- Any vegetative material left to decay attracts insects and other invertebrates. Those in turn become food for vertebrates such as bird and mammals.
- Leaving stumps allows for resprouting for some tree species, such as Eucalyptus.
- Some stumps can’t be feasibly stump ground if they are on slopes or highly erosive soils - either you can’t get equipment to the spot or if in doing it would cause too much erosion.
- Many of the logs have been reused within our system: chips have been spread as much throughout many areas around the Lake and cut stumps are being stockpiled for future use in various nature exploration areas.
Finally, it is important to note that RPD has a 2:1 replacement policy, so we are dedicated to replanting Lake Merced as we move into the next phase of improvements!