A San Francisco Garter Snake like the ones at Sharp Park. Photo: Vabbley on Flickr
A golf course owned by the City of San Francisco has been killing threatened frog species, according to a lawsuit threatened by a coalition of environmental groups.
The course in question is called Sharp Park, and is located in Pacifica. The City allegedly destroyed a wetland in order to construct the park in the 1940s, and the lawsuit claims that the continued operation violates the Endangered Species Act. The federal government has claimed for years that the course interferes with amphibian reproduction.
The worst damage is caused by the draining of ponds around the course. Frogs and snakes lay eggs in and around the water, but they dry out and die when the City drains the ponds. Lawnmowers can also pose a deadly threat.
Two years ago, the groups proposed a similar lawsuit, and the City tried to come up with a solution. Since then they've proposed a restoration project around a nearby lagoon, which would cost in the neighborhood of $10 million while keeping the golf course intact. That's not good enough, say environmentalists.
It is unclear why the City owns a golf course. According to some observers, the golf course loses tens of thousands of dollars every year.
The National Park Service has expressed interest in acquiring the land, but only if it can be converted from golfing to a public park.