While organizations like POST are buying up some of the area’s most significant undeveloped properties, other properties are already in the hands of developers and, as a result, more difficult to protect. One of these is Gateway Valley, located just east of the Caldecott Tunnel and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. The valley provides a critical wildlife corridor between the San Pablo Watershed and Tilden Regional Park to the north, and the San Leandro Watershed, Redwood Regional Park, and Las Trampas Regional Park to the south. Gateway Valley has two perennial creeks and over 49 seasonal wetlands, and supports golden eagles, native steelhead trout, three species of frog, healthy populations of the threatened Alameda whip snake, California newts, bobcats, coyotes, and over 70 species of birds. Mountain lions have been sighted. The developer plans to bulldoze an entire bay/oak ecosystem of over 3,000 trees and bury more than four miles of perennial creeks in order to flatten the steep valley for an 18-hole private golf course and 225 luxury homes. Public outcry, including opposition by the EPA, has stalled development for over 10 years, but the project is now back on track. Two important public hearings are coming up this summer, and participation by concerned citizens could help save the valley. Find out how you can help by calling (510)548-3928. Information about hikes into the valley is also available.
The Army Corps of Engineers has just released their Public Notice on the Gateway Project in Orinda and announced a public hearing on the issue for October 22, 2001. Now is the crucial time for supporters of the preservation of Gateway Valley to make their voices heard. The text of the public notice (20 pages) can be viewed at http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/regulatory/25907s.pdf. For mor information on the campaign to preserve the valley, contact Greenbelt Guardians, P.O. Box 14, Canyon, Ca., 94516, or visit www.savegateway.org.