A Look Back in History: Predatory Animals on Peninsula Watershed

A letter from the San Francisco Water Department dated 1963 addressed to the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) outlines an interesting dilemma. Evidently the DOI is interested in abating predatory animals on the peninsula watershed lands. They have proposed to do so using “steel traps.” And they have requested the Department “take certain positive actions to assist the Bureau.”

In this letter the Peninsula Division Manager, John O’Marie, of the Water Department is declining to sign the Agreement the Bureau has submitted to him. The matter of liability is top of mind here. O’Marie cites concern for the health and well-being of any of the “some 4,000 persons” visiting the watershed lands annually. His description of possible circumstances is worth a read.

San Francisco Water Department Letter to the U. S. Department of the Interior.

O’Marie goes on to indicate he provides a copy of the standard Revocable Permit (RP) which (apparently) notes typical limitations on liability. [RP not included here as it was not attached to the original document.] The Division Manager further extends his reasoning for declining a positive response to the Bureau’s request by indicating that it is not his authority to approve, but rather the Commission’s.

Note: Be sure to enjoy the Department’s letterhead – its logo is quite intricate. It features many services derived from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (center of logo). You’ll find image references to our public transportation (cable cars and electric buses), to the airport, to public buildings, to the Sunol Water Temple, to cross country transmission lines, and of course, bracketing it all, our street lights illuminating the whole. Very clever.