May 22, 2007
Office of the Chancellor
200 California Hall #1500
Berkeley, California 94720-1500
Re: Lawrence Livermore Lab and the Ecological Study Area
Dear Chancellor Birgeneau:
In order to determine whether the University should be allowed to manage a nuclear weapons lab such as Lawrence Livermore Lab, it is instructive to look at how well it manages its other important properties. Above the Berkeley campus is a mostly-natural area, part of which is designated an "Ecological Study Area". This area was once managed by the eminent biologist Robert Stebbins. Since he retired, no one has taken over this responsibility.
In this area, exotic species like eucalyptus and French broom, and illegal activities like mountain biking and mountain bike trail-building, are rampant. There is a trail right through the middle of Alameda whipsnake (a federally Threatened species) habitat that is a favorite of the mountain bikers. The trail should be closed to everyone, to protect the whipsnake. The University Police, some of whom are mountain bikers themselves, and sympathetic to them, turn a blind eye.
Is it any wonder that the University can't be trusted to properly manage Lawrence Livermore Lab?
Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.