I’ve been involved with a little chunk of Richmond California shoreline since 2006. I was employed by the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society to work as an advocate for local conservation.
Since that time period, I’ve spent many days breathing and learning from this Molate block property. As a former Naval Fuels Depot, this land is scarred. It has been dug, paved, scraped and much more. But what I continue to see on this landscape is a remarkable resilience. Many plants here have persisted despite no active management. The invasives are extensive, but they can be managed and native coastal prairie, toyon woodland and coyote brush scrub will recover with little stewardship pushes.
Some developers have sniffed dollar bills in these hills. McMansions, gated communities and a bone for “lower income” people might be one way to describe their proposals. They’ll happily mention the historic Winehaven (which is truly remarkable), but I don’t think it needs 1,200 new homes in order to save it. I think most economic analysts would agree with that.
How do we prioritize these incredible habitats, close to urban areas, and rich with biodiversity? How do we balance the need of a City which often fails to deliver basic community needs regularly? When has privatizing a potential public benefit led to greater good for the impacted community? What type of process is fair to the citizens of Richmond and how where do the plants, wildlife and fishes get a say in process?
I’m sure I can’t fully answer this question, but I do have strong ideas that we need a balanced, community driven process, not one spearheaded by a Mayor who has a tattered history with negotiating on behalf of the greater community while realizing the tactics of the influential (and rich) developers.
Below is a taste of Point Molate. Filming was completed over a couple of years and has only deepened my love for this enigmatic place.