On September 12, 2018, the Oak Knoll development project broke ground after nearly decades of planning. WRA’s Amanda McCarthy, Kari Dupler, and Susie Bennett attended the event as guests alongside our client SunCal, government officials including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland City Council President Larry Reid, and local community leaders. The site, formerly a U.S. Navy Medical Center, is poised for transformation into a 183-acre master-planned mixed-use community in the Oakland Hills that will have residential, commercial, public recreation, and dedicated open spaces.
WRA, Inc. is has been involved with the project for 13 years, and is responsible for all biological aspects of the project, from biological surveys to permitting the Rifle Range Creek restoration. To assist the project with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) planning, WRA completed numerous biological surveys, including for rare plants, tree surveys of more than 7,000 trees, and stream and wetland delineations. To evaluate the functional uplift generated by the restoration of Rifle Range Creek and its tributaries, WRA completed a functional assessment using the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) and generated a California Stream Condition Index (CSCI) score based on stream characteristics and the benthic macroinvertebrate community present in the stream.
WRA’s landscape architecture team designed the restoration planting plan for the Rifle Range Creek corridor, which will restore more than 4,000 linear feet of degraded stream that runs centrally through the project area. Designs include an entirely native plant palette with zones based on inundation period.
Among the many restoration and preservation actions completed on site, WRA worked with RECON Environmental, Inc. to salvage and transplant hundreds of Oakland star tulip (Calochortus umbellatus) bulbs to a new location on site where they will be preserved from development activities.
Additionally, the project was designed to avoid and preserve an approximately 2-acre stand of mature coast live oak trees adjacent to the creek. As part of the site restoration planting, staff collected more than 20,000 coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) acorns, thousands of seeds from California buckeye (Aesculus californica), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), and many other plants native to the site and surrounding hills. All of these plants are being grown in an on-site nursery to ensure success of locally-adapted plants post-restoration.
With the groundbreaking complete, work is now underway to clear and grade the site and will continue in three phases over the next few years. On behalf of our entire team, we wish to congratulate SunCal and our project partners for this achievement. We look forward to continued involvement in the restoration of this unique community-oriented project.
- Oak Knoll News Release: Groundbreaking Ceremony Marks Long-Awaited Start of SunCal’s 183-acre Oak Knoll Mixed-Use Community in Oakland
- ABC7News: Groundbreaking for combined housing, retail development in Oakland Hills
- KTVU: Groundbreaking at one of Oakland’s largest housing, retail developments
- San Francisco Business Times: Master developer breaks ground on Oak Knoll, a new neighborhood of more than 900 homes in the Oakland Hills