Goal NR-1: Protect, enhance, and restore sensitive biological resources, native habitat, and vegetation communities that support wildlife species so they can be sustained and remain viable.
While the urbanized portions of the Planning Area are mostly devoid of native habitats, approximately 60 percent of the Planning Area is undeveloped or undisturbed open space. This includes hillsides, riparian areas, and the Bay shoreline. These natural areas support a multitude of vegetation types and habitats for numerous plant and animal species, including special status species that require special consideration and/or protection under State or Federal law.
The Planning Area’s shoreline and hillsides provide ideal grassland, woodland, and aquatic habitats that are important for a number of special status species. The Planning Area is also near or adjacent to several large undeveloped areas, including Garin Regional Park, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, and Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. While certain plant and animal species have successfully adapted to living within the developed areas of the Planning Area, the native vegetation and creeks within the urbanized areas have been modified to a degree that limits their value as habitat for special status plant and animal species.
The goal and policies in this section identify ways the City can protect, enhance, and restore natural areas so they can become valuable habitat for the Planning Area’s diverse array of native and protected animals and plants, while also allowing these areas to be used and enjoyed by residents and visitors.
The City shall limit or avoid new development that encroaches into important native wildlife habitats; limits the range of listed or protected species; or creates barriers that cut off access to food, water, or shelter of listed or protected species.
The City shall protect sensitive biological resources, including State and Federally designated sensitive, rare, threatened, and endangered plant, fish, and wildlife species and their habitats from urban development and incompatible land uses.
The City shall require qualified biologists to identify, map, and make recommendations for avoiding all sensitive biological resources on the project site, including State and Federally sensitive, rare, threatened, and endangered plant, fish, and wildlife species and their habitats using methods and protocols in accordance with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and California Native Plant Society for all development applications proposed within sensitive biological resource areas.
The City shall coordinate with the Hayward Area Shoreline Planning Agency, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and California Coastal Commission to conserve, protect, and enhance natural and cultural resources along the San Francisco Bay shoreline by balancing uses that support multiple community needs, such as recreation, tourism, cultural resource preservation, and natural resource protection.
The City shall support efforts to improve access to publicly owned large-scale natural areas located within the , including the shoreline, creeks, regional parks, riparian corridors, and hillside open space areas, by allowing them to be open for controlled access to improve public enjoyment and education, while also limiting access to extremely sensitive natural habitat and minimizing human-related environmental impacts.
The City shall support the efforts of the Hayward Area Shoreline Planning Agency and other agencies to preserve and protect tidal flats and salt ponds with low salinity for migratory waterfowl that depend on these areas.
The City shall encourage protection of mature, native tree species to the maximum extent practicable, to support the local eco-system, provide shade, create windbreaks, and enhance the aesthetics of new and existing development.
The City shall coordinate with the East Bay District, Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, and California Invasive Plant Council to identify ways to control invasive, non-native vegetation to the extent feasible in all public parks and open space areas.
The City shall protect and promote native plant species in natural areas as well as in public landscaping.
The City shall identify and create opportunities for “daylighting” existing creeks that are currently contained within culverts or hardened channels to reestablish riparian habitat, provide public access and enjoyment, and improve aesthetics.
The City shall identify and create opportunities for public access to and maintenance of creek corridors and floodplains through the creation of access easements, where practical.
The City shall protect creek riparian corridor habitats by:
· Requiring sufficient setbacks for new development adjacent to creek slopes,
· Requiring sensitive flood control designs to minimize habitat disturbance,
· Maintaining natural and continuous creek corridor vegetation,
· Protecting/replanting native trees, and
· Protecting riparian plant communities from the adverse effects of increased stormwater runoff, sedimentation, erosion, and pollution that may occur from improper development in adjacent areas.