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ROLL-OVER!

Please click here to sign the petition asking for Congressional Oversight of the 2016 GGNRA DMP

About ROLL-OVER!

What is ROLL-OVER! and why does OBDOG advocate for this now?  ROLL-OVER! has become the mantra of OBDOG - a rallying cry, if you will.  ROLL-OVER! is the product of decades of abuse and flagrant disregard for the Recreation Area's enabling legislation by  GGNRA management. It stands for Reversion, Oversight, Litigation and Legislation--until it's OVER (and we have won).  The core principle in play is that this proposed 2016 GGNRA Dog Management Plan, as promulgated by the GGNRA/NPS/DOI, is unlawful and we can utilize any of the above ROLL paths to remedy the situation.  The path taken is up to the citizens of Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties, and their elected representatives in government. 

 

Why is this 2016 Dog Management Plan unlawful? The enabling legislation for the GGNRA imposes a unique limitation on NPS's discretionary power for “management of the recreation area”: the “Secretary of Interior..shall utilize the resources in a manner which will provide for recreation and educational opportunities consistent with sound principles of land use planning and management.”

 

What are these sound principles of land use and management? In this new Dog Management Plan, the GGNRA asserts they must "protect the resources" and consequently they are reducing our access.  Fortunately, for the users of this great National Recreation Area, the GGNRA/NPS/DOI has a very specific process they are required to follow when making public policy changes like this. The process dictates that the GGNRA must:

 

  1. Monitor the resources of the National Recreation Area, so that they may detect the degradation of the resources in their trust.  This is termed "vital monitoring" in the law; and is the prescribed method to document damage to resources.  To see the applicable laws/statutes/regulations that codify the requirement for vital monitoring, please refer to the OBDOG "This SEIS/DEIS is Unlawful" section:  http://oceanbeachdog2.home.mindspring.com/id22.html and OBDOG's "Comments on the GGNRA SEIS"; section "Vital Monitoring"; pages 4-8: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2ezi1v4OYkzT3pNU1hGYXdXV28/view
  2. Conduct site-specific, peer-reviewed studies to establish a scientific basis for proposed changes and confirm the changes they propose will actually resolve or minimize the problem. To see the applicable laws/statutes/regulations that codify the requirement for site specific, peer-reviewed studies, please refer to the OBDOG "Smoking Taser" section: http://oceanbeachdog2.home.mindspring.com/id32.html and OBDOG's "Comments on the GGNRA SEIS"; section "Peer Review"; pages 8-14: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2ezi1v4OYkzT3pNU1hGYXdXV28/view

Did the GGNRA follow their own laws regarding sound principles of land management? The answer is an overwhelming "NO".  In 2006, when the GGNRA publicly stated they planned to change the Dog Management Policy to "protect the resources", OBDOG submitted a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request for the reports, data and studies they utilized to determine dogs were causing damage to the resources of the GGNRA.  The GGNRA's response was remarkable--they had nothing, absolutely nothing.  An appeal to the Department of Interior took five years, and the response was the same--they had nothing. 

 

Further, in their first version of the proposed changes to access for dogs and their guardians (the DEIS) the GGNRA included a 2009 Audubon study they claimed supported their decision to limit access at Crissy Field and Ocean Beach to protect the plover.  The OBDOG Comment on the DEIS attacked the legitimacy of the 2009 Audubon study as if we were conducting peer review.  We established the study was flawed in so many regards that in the GGNRA's next submission to the public (the SEIS), the 2009 Audubon study was omitted entirely.  Additionally, our Comment on the DEIS pointed to a 2007 UC Berkeley Dept Of Environmental Studies Report regarding the plover at Crissy Field and Point Reyes, a study conducted with the GGNRA's cooperation.  The UCB study was site specific, peer-reviewed, and determined dogs and their guardians did not deter the plover from foraging and feeding. Although this UCB study met the scientific requirements for consideration, it did not support the arbitrary policy changes the GGNRA wanted to make.  The UCB study was intentionally omitted in both the DEIS and SEIS.  (see http://oceanbeachdog2.home.mindspring.com/WSP_Recreation_Warren.pdf for a copy of the study.)

 

The GGNRA asserted in the DEIS that dogs were adversely affecting water quality in the GGNRA.  OBDOG pointed out in our Comment on the DEIS that the study the GGNRA referenced to establish diminished water quality did not exist.  Further, OBDOG provided the annual report from Heal the Bay to show that a reputable organization found the water quality unaffected by dogs.  In the SEIS, the GGNRA stated as follows: 

"Although water quality monitoring currently occurs at GGNRA, no site-specific, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted at the GGNRA sites to document impacts to water quality specifically from dogs...water quality has therefore been dismissed as a resource topic in this document due to lack of literature."

 

Further, the SEIS on pages 373 and 376, admits the following:

 

"Site-specific, peer-reviewed studies have not been conducted at the GGNRA sites for

the sole purpose of documenting impacts to vegetation or soils from dogs.... Very few

site-specific, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted at GGNRA for the purpose

of documenting impacts to wildlife as a result of dogs."

 

Clearly, the GGNRA/NPS/DOI has failed to meet the minimum standards under Federal Law to promulgate the sweeping policy changes in the 2016 Dog Management Plan.  These failures were all pointed out to the GGNRA/NPS/DOI during the Notice and Comment process, yet the GGNRA/NPS/DOI failed to rectify their legal and scientific shortcomings and now brazenly proceed to institute these changes which they know are unlawful.

 

The GGNRA further proves the point that they have knowingly failed to document resource degradation, and refused to provide site specific, peer-reviewed studies to support these proposed management changes by using this new DMP to exempt themselves from EVER having to follow these DOI/NPS rules regarding science-based resource management. The Poison Pill (Monitoring-Based Management Program) has again been included in this latest version of the DMP, and it is by far the most dangerous iteration yet. In this version of the Poison Pill, the GGNRA allows itself the flexibility to implement secondary management actions (which can include short, long or permanent closures of dog walking areas) to prevent unacceptable impacts or conditions before they occur. It's all up to the Superintendent-no documentation required! This is a bald-faced attempt to circumvent well established Federal Law to allow GGNRA management to lock dogs and their guardians out of the GGNRA altogether.

The City of San Francisco is legally and morally obligated to use these violations of the enabling legislation, MOU and grant deeds to take back (revert) Fort Funston, Ocean Beach, Lands End and perhaps some additional areas.  If the City refuses, the citizens could sue the City of SF to force them to move for reversion.  The City must be reminded they made promises to protect citizens from potential restrictions upon access or fundamental changes to these properties after inclusion into the GGNRA.  The City made these promises in 1972 to persuade the public to vote for Proposition F which allowed the City to transfer these properties into the GGNRA.  The beauty of reversion is it puts control of prime local areas like Ocean Beach and Fort Funston back into the hands of local officials who are more accountable to the voting public. Please see http://oceanbeachdog.home.mindspring.com/reversion/index.html for a discussion on reversion.

 

Alternatively, the citizens of San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties certainly could undertake litigation in Federal Court to enforce the Federal legal requirements (vital monitoring and site specific, peer-reviewed studies) for a public policy change of this magnitude.  The remedy in that case would be reinstatement of the 1979 Pet Policy, and a requirement for vital monitoring and peer reviewed studies on properties acquired after 1979 to see if historical use is consistent with maintenance of the resources over time. This would not be a permanent fix, but it would be far superior to just letting the GGNRA run roughshod over the rights of the public.

 

Lastly, we could reach out to Congress with a request for oversight and legislation establishing the 1979 Pet Policy as a formal Section Seven Special Regulation which would make it much more difficult for the GGNRA/NPS/DOI to remove our access in the future.  Unfortunately, we can expect the GGNRA/NPS/DOI will try again to take away our recreational access (the current proposed change in the DMP began in 2006 after the Federal Court reinstated the 1979 Pet Policy in 2005).  OBDOG and leadership from other groups have reached out to local Congressional representatives as well as others in Washington in a position to advocate on our behalf with no tangible success at this time.  However, every election holds promise for a Congress more sensitive to our issues.

 

And so, dog groups and dog advocates alike:

 

ROLL-OVER!