Richmond environmentalists plan 'Bioblitz', seek to prevent new housing development

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Environmentalists are preparing for what they call a "Bioblitz" in Richmond this weekend.

They want to document the wildlife at Point Molate and they also want to stop the city from allowing a housing development to go up on open space.

Opponents say there should be no developement on the public space and they're planning to document the many species that live there to boost their argument. However, Richmond Mayor Tom Butts said this development will be good for Richmond.  

Elizabeth Dougherty takes photos of wildlife at Point Molate Beach Park and the surrounding open space area.  

She's the executive director of Wholly H20, a not profit.

"I've been coming out to Pt. Molate for 23 years," says Dougherty. 

On Saturday, for the first time, she plans to lead 80 citizens in a gathering called a bioblitz,  to document the variety of life forms that exist at Point Molate.

"This place is so rich in biodiversity," says Dougherty. 

She says the 'Nature Nerd Bioblitz' has two goals: to create an ongoing record of the wildlife there and to fight the city of Richmond's agreement with a developer to build what opponents describe as luxury condos and townhouses. 

"It's got a great view and all of that. They're not considering that there is a dangerous refinery right over the ridge. Housing would be right there," Carol Teltschick of Pt. Molate Alliance, a group that opposes the development said.  

Mayor Butt said the plan is good and that housing is needed. 

"The city stands to make tens of millions of dollars through the sales of it and that's something we desparately need," said Butt.   

He says the  city is planning to sell about 30 percent of the 300 or so acres of open space to a developer. 

Butt said the project would include a minimum of 670 units of housing and a recreational trail along the shoreline. 

"The idea is to put a complete village there that has places for people to live, places for people to work and recreational opportunities," said Butt.  

Opponents say the plans could accomodate as many as 1,100 units.

They want the area to remain as open space, saying the development threatens natural resources, community health and public safety. 

"It just rips my heart out in all honesty," said Dougherty.   

 The Bioblitz takes place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15. 

Organizers say the information gathered and the photos taken will be used in their fight to oppose the housing development.