The $175,000 for relocating the plant came out of a $15.1 million contract for "environmental mitigation" established long before the manzanita's discovery, and funded by the MTC. And while, again, this isn't city money, there are some curious items included under "environmental mitigation."
For example, workers traveled along the entire two-mile span of the future Doyle Drive project, collecting tens of thousands of seeds from the plants now growing in the area. Roughly 45,000 plants will then be grown in the Presidio nursery. Following the completion of the highway, landscapers will place plants along the roadside at the exact locations where their forbears once grew; they will "maintain the precise DNA and genetic correlation to the location where those plants came from," says Saage. The price tag: $600,000.
Saage didn't seem so enthusiastic about this endeavor. But he felt the $175k toward moving the manzanita was a downright bargain. "Look, there have been dams in this country that have been stopped by some very tiny critters. It was entirely possible that discovering a unique plant species in the path of the project could have shut it down for an extended period of time," he said. "It could have been hundreds of millions of dollars. [Getting out of this for $175,000] was wonderful news."
Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly