Eco-Patch Test Garden


Overall Project Vision

The Potrero Gateway Eco-Patch builds on the work done to establish 17th Street , San Bruno Avenue and Vermont Street as the Potrero Gateway . The Eco-Patch features native San Francisco plants with the intention of providing wildlife habitat and restoring biodiversity in San Francisco. This particular piece of land is situated above serpentine bedrock, which underlies portions of San Francisco (see map above).  The selection of plants that survive and thrive in serpentine conditions highlights the natural history of the site and creates habitat for wildlife, such as the Bay Checkerspot Butterfly, which have coevolved with those plants.

This project posits that the Eco-Patch can grow into a demonstration garden to serve as a resource for the greater community that showcases the ecological and aesthetic benefits of habitat restoration. By design, the Eco-Patch encourages imitation, as it seeks to show the positive impact that a network of habitat patches can have on biodiversity. Geographic isolation caused by habitat fragmentation is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss and so a network of patches in close proximity helps remedy this.

In San Francisco there is already a precedent for habitat corridors composed of patches that create stepping stones for wildlife. In particular, the project is inspired by the success of the Green Hairstreak Butterfly Corridor led by Nature in the City. Currently, the habitat corridors needed to get rare and endangered wildlife that depend on serpentine adapted plants from their current locations to the Potrero Eco-Patch do not exist. However, if enough patches are planted, wildlife can access the Eco-Patch and beyond.


Test Patch

The first stage of the Eco-Patch is a 900 square foot test patch that includes a select number of plants from our proposed list. Monitoring of the test patch will determine the site suitability of specific plants and the success of different weed management strategies. Installation, maintenance, and monitoring of the test patch is a volunteer effort with funding for material costs from the Dogpatch & NW Potrero Green Benefit District.

The test patch is adjacent an existing Coast Live Oak that serves as a keystone species. Plant selection is based on the criteria of being native to San Francisco, and of having high habitat value. Additional considerations include being low-water use, wind tolerant, and adapted to or tolerant of serpentine soils. Eight combinations of plants will be tested to ensure dynamic seasonal changes and aesthetic harmony. Each combination of plants is then divided into three different management zones to test alternative management approaches to removing existing vegetation and weed removal. The knowledge and experience gained in the test patch, including cost, time and labor will inform the management approach for the full Eco-Patch project.


test patch and timeframe image

What’s happening now? How do I provide feedback? How can I get involved?

We want this project to be an asset to the neighborhood and so welcome your feedback!   As it is primarily a volunteer effort, we also welcome your participation. Please email if you are interested in volunteering or if you have feedback to share!

Wildlife monitoring will be done through the iNaturalist application.   The project is registered on iNaturalist ( Recording observations on iNaturalist is an easy way for individuals to make meaningful contributions to this project.

Get on iNaturalist and start recording!

We want to document current conditions so that we have a baseline to compare with post-planting. In addition, knowing what butterflies, insects, and birds are already present can help inform the plant selections to fortify the habitat of those already in the area. Since the site itself is not accessible to the public, we are encouraging monitoring of wildlife within a quarter mile radius of the site.

Design work: Field Collective
Photographs: 2020 & Terri McFarland Landscape Architecture (TMLA) 2020 (Stipa pulchra)

Potrero Eco-Patch Test Garden Project Partners:
Potrero Gateway Park Project
Dogpatch & Northwest Potrero Hill Green Benefit District
Field Collective
California Native Plant Society

Project Supporters:
San Francisco Public Works
San Francisco-Marin Food Bank
LYNGSØ Garden Materials

Upgrading the Bike Lane

The team’s goal is to widen 17th Street southside sidewalk to make room for two way pedestrian traffic, add a median to separate cars from bikes and insure that the turn areas used by bikes and cars are safe. The drawing below contains ideas proposed by the team.

Focus on the Rectangle

The MUNA Potrero gateway Park steerind committee decided to reduce the Limit of Work for the project to include only the rectangle defined by 17th Street – Mariposa Avenue-San Bruno Avenue -Vermont street.

The committee has funding for Phase 1 of the Project and is looging toward having a Design Scope of Work contract signed either by a private landscaep company or by SF Public Works.

The committee has been busy determining the priority elements of the Limit of Work.

(9/18/2019) A presentation was made explain this to the Dogpatch & NP Potrero Hill GBD in September :   GBD September Presentation

(10/21/2019) A presentation was made to explain this to the Eastern Neighborhoods CAC in October:  ENCAC October 2019 Presentation

(1/15/2020) A presentation was made to explain this to Shamann Walron in January.  Additionaly Supervisor Walton toured the area with the committee:  Walton 2020 Presentation

BioBlitz with phones

June 23, 2019 Steering Committee members, neighbors and Jennifer Cooper-Sabo, SF Public Works Landscape, spend a warm morning collecting photos of plants, bugs, birds and trees in order to identify what is currently living in the area of the proposed Potrero Gateway Park.  Using the mobile phone app, iNaturalist, we spread out over the Caltrans area and practiced Citizen Science as part of a biodiversity objective.

It was great to be out on a sunny day.  Below are photos and a link to the iNatrualist Website that lists our observations.

Check out the Observations on the iNaturalist Site

Moving Forward

After working for a year on a Scope of Work and Standard Terms and Conditions, the PGP Steering Committee regretfully decided that it needed to find a landscape design company that would sign a contract with the indemnification that the City requires.

Redefining the Scope

After much discussion the committee decided:

  • Reduce the complete park area to the area from Mariposa to 17th bounded by Vermont and San Bruno avenues.
  • Remove the word Loop from the name – Potrero Gateway Park is the full name now
  • Phase 1 is fully funded by ENCAC and is not planned to change.  It will focus on 17th Street  and the corner plazas with hardscape and landscape & widened sidewalk and streetside parkway greening on Vermont Street
  •  Phase 2 will extend into the open space on Vermont Street and San Bruno Avenue as funding and approval allow.
  • Phase 3 will ber Art Under the Bridge on 17th Street.

The committee has prepared an Executive Summary:  Executive Summary

The committee has prepared a Vision and Scope Document:    PGP-Vision and Scope 

The committee used a survey to help determine priorities:    Initial Survey – 10 Steering Committee Responses

Meeting with Jeff Miller, an Annotated Map

Design Workshop 3

On October 22, the third design workshop was held. Marcel and Sarah presented a flushed out version of the vision for Potrero Gateway Park and The Loop.

The next step will be meetings to review these plans with Caltrans, DPW, and San Francisco Parks Alliance and then get both phase and cost estimates for fundraising.

The meeting was held at the Russian Gospel Church and was attended by over 40 neighbors.

Workshop 3


17th Street


San Bruno


Design Workshop 2

The second Design Workshop conducted by Marcel Wilson and Sarah Moos of Bionic was held at the Russian Gospel Church on August 22, 2013 at 7pm. Community members, Jerad Weiner from DPW, Steve Schweigerdt from SF Parks Alliance and Rachel Carpenter from SFMTA contributed to the meeting.

Alternatives were presented for three of the eight identified zones.

The most comprehensive option for 17th Street is the program option:Beneath the Freeway

Option 1 for the Vermont Street right-of-way includes stairs to a view

Design Workshop 1

June 26 – Workshop 1

The first workshop conducted by Marcel Wilson and Sarah Moos of Bionic was held at 7:00pm at the Russian Gospel Church on 17th Street.

Forty participants contributed to the meeting which was designed to get community input.

Marcel Wilson presents analysis
Marcel Wilson presents analysis
Neighbors discuss model of project
Neighbors discuss model of project

Upload Meeting Notes Report: Workshop 1 Report