Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager's Office



October 29, 2002



November 5, 2002



Honorable Board of Supervisors


John Maltbie


Sudden Oak Death Syndrome Legislation and Advocacy



1. Adopt a resolution in support of H.R. 2144 regarding the Sudden Oak Death Syndrome Control Act.

2. Adopt a resolution authorizing the County of San Mateo to join the California Sudden Oak Death Coastal Counties Council in support of funding the fight against Sudden Oak Death.



According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, sudden oak death is the name given to an epidemic, first detected in 1995, that affects a variety of oak species. The disease is currently known to exist in the coastal ranges in California, between Big Sur in Monterey County and southern Mendocino County. Sudden oak death has been confirmed in Alameda, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma counties. While the occurrence and frequency of the disease varies from location to location, it is not known if the geographic distribution of infected trees is associated with climatic variables. The numbers of infected and dead trees are suspected to be in the tens of thousands.

H.R. 2144 (Woolsey, D-CA) makes a number of findings regarding the Sudden Oak Death Syndrome and directs the Secretary of Agriculture to research, monitoring and treatment activities relating to sudden oak death. In addition, H.R. 2144 directs the Secretary to conduct a number of management activities including providing grants to local governments. It would also create a Sudden Oak Death Advisory Committee.

S. 997 (Boxer) is the companion bill in the Senate.

In response to this legislation and past state and federal legislation, Marin County has created the California Sudden Oak Death Coastal Counties Council, which is intended to organize the twelve affected (infected) counties with the goal of seeking funding for the fight against Sudden Oak Death. Marin County Supervisor Cynthia Murray is leading the effort.



While San Mateo County's Sudden Oak Death infestation is limited, the County is home to considerable agricultural activities (particularly nurseries). The agricultural quarantine of the County has created significant regulatory workloads for the Commissioner and her staff.

The amount of H.R 2144 grant funding or other assistance to the County cannot be determined. However, the overarching goal of the legislation and its ability to draw over $70 million over five years to the general effort to prevent Sudden Oak death Syndrome will have a benefit to San Mateo County through the legislation's ultimate goal of controlling and eradicating the disease.

Marin County Supervisor Murray's staff indicates that Marin County resources will be used to organize the Council. San Mateo County's responsibilities as a member of the Council will include only educating our Congressional delegation about the issue and the need for their support in seeking additional funds and seek their action at specified times. Congressmembers Eshoo and Lantos are currently co-sponsors to H.R. 2144.

H.R. 2144 and S. 997 are both currently in the House Committee on Agriculture.


Vision Alignment

Adoption of these resolutions furthers the County's commitments to preserve and provide people access to our natural environment and sows the seeds of our future prosperity and supports Goal #14 to preserve important natural resources through environmental stewardship and Goal #18 to maintain leading-edge industries in San Mateo County.


Fiscal Impact

No fiscal impact. Potential revenue from grants and other federal resources associated with H.R. 2144. Fiscal impact related to participation with the Council can be managed with existing staff resources.