CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE
TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA
Minutes November 2017
November 8, 2017, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street
The meeting was called to order and a quorum established by attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Connie Gannon, and Christine Heinrichs.
No public comment or questions were presented.
The Minutes of the September Meeting were approved with amendments to the wording of the Cambria Community Council grant application and deletion of the mention of the Chamber app.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the bank balance at $1,151.97, including a $25 donation. She received confirmation of the State Board of Equalization asked for documentation she submitted.
Invasive Weed Guide Publicity. Crosby will check with Kathe Tanner regarding notice in The Cambrian.
Cambria Community Council Grant Application: Laura confirmed with CCC secretary Susan Kennedy that the Forest Committee can sell the Invasive Weed Guide, which was funded by a grant. Sales would require collection of sales tax. The Guide will be available free as appropriate and to donors. Suggested donation at least $8. Connie will bring some copies to the schools.
One board member at the CCC questioned the inclusion of herbicides such as glyphosate in the Guide. The Guide covers generally accepted methods of weed control, including chemical means.
Laura will have more copies of the Forest Committee trifold printed, for the Historic Society kiosk
Christine has found Google Translate is effective in creating a Spanish translation of the Invasive Weed Guide.
CCC grant awards will be made at a meeting at Santa Rosa Church November 27.
Forest Resources Mitigation Measure: Crosby and Laura submitted a letter to the County regarding the Sustainable (Emergency) Water Project Environmental Impact Report addressing the adverse effects of the growth that could be inspired by the plant. Laura’s map illustrates the location of lots under consideration by the Build-Out Reduction Committee.
HOW CEQA DEFINES EFFECTS
Contrary to NEPA, CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines use the terms “effects” and “impacts” interchangeably. The CEQA Guidelines define three types of effects (or impacts):
- Direct or primary effects that are caused by a project and occur at the same time and place.
- Indirect or secondary effects that are reasonably foreseeable and caused by a project, but occur at a different time or place. The CEQA Guidelines state the following:
- An indirect physical change in the environment is a physical change…which is not immediately related to the project, but which is caused indirectly by the project. If a direct physical change in the environment in turn causes another change in the environment, then the other change is an indirect change in the environment (Section 15064 (d)(2)).
- …Indirect or secondary effects may include growth-inducing effects and other effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density, or growth rate, and related effects on air and water and other natural systems, including ecosystems (Section 15358)(a)(2)).
- As stated in Section 2(d) of the Guidelines, a growth-inducing impact could occur if:
- …the proposed project could foster economic or population growth, or the construction of additional housing, either directly or indirectly, in the surrounding environment. Included in this are projects that would remove obstacles to population growth (a major expansion of a waste water treatment plant might, for example, allow for more construction in the service areas). Increases in the population may tax existing community service facilities, requiring construction of new facilities that could cause significant environmental effects.
- A project may have some characteristic that may encourage and facilitate other activities that could significantly affect the environment, either individually or cumulatively. For example, the construction of a new sewage treatment plant may facilitate population growth in the service area due to the increase in sewage treatment capacity, which may lead to an increase in air pollution from man-made mobile and stationary sources. Section 15126.2(d) of the Guidelines concludes by cautioning the planner that “It must not be assumed that growth in any area is necessarily beneficial, detrimental, or of little significance to the environment.”
- Cumulative effects. Section 15355 of the CEQA Guidelines states: “Cumulative impacts” refers to two or more individual effects which, when considered together, are considerable or which compound or increase other environmental impacts.
- (a) The individual effects may be changes resulting from a single project or a number of separate projects.
- (b) The cumulative impact from several projects is the change in the environment which results from the incremental impact of the project when added to other closely related past, present, and reasonably foreseeable probable future projects. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor but collectively significant projects taking place over a period of time.
- Important direction to the practical use of this definition is found in Section 15130 of the CEQA Guidelines:
- (a)(1) As defined in Section 15355, a cumulative impact consists of an impact which is created as a result of the combination of the project evaluated in the EIR together with other projects causing related impacts [emphasis added].
- (b)…The discussion of cumulative impacts shall…focus on the cumulative impact to which the identified other projects contribute rather than the attributes of other projects which do not contribute to the cumulative impact [emphasis added].
- For example, if another project contributes only to a cumulative impact upon natural resources, its impacts on public services need not be discussed as part of cumulative impact analysis.
- Taken together, these elements define what counts for the practitioner and help to focus the evaluation upon other actions that are closely related in terms of impact on the resource— not closely related project types.
Projects can cause significant impacts by direct physical changes to the environment or by triggering reasonably foreseeable indirect physical changes. Physical changes caused by a project can contribute incrementally to cumulative effects that are significant, even if individual changes resulting from a project are limited. You must determine whether the cumulative impact is significant, as well as whether an individual effect is “cumulatively considerable.” This means “the incremental effects of an individual project are significant when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects” (Guidelines Section 15064(h)(1)).
When considering the relationship between the cumulative condition and the incremental effect of an individual project, keep in mind that “The mere existence of significant cumulative impacts caused by other projects alone shall not constitute substantial evidence that the proposed project’s incremental effects are cumulatively considerable” (Guidelines Section 15064(h)(4)).
See footnote: “The CEQA Guidelines define three types of effects (or impacts).”
Minutes November 2017Directors favored submitting a letter from the Forest Committee. Crosby and Laura will discuss with County Planner Airlin Singewald at the next NCAC meeting to determine the appropriate time to submit comments.
Job Description for Forester / Forest Ecologist: Grant funding will be available through Cal Fire’s Community Forest Health grants . A Forest Manager position could be included in a proposal. The fire break on Covell Ranch has been poorly managed: masticating the understory resulted in regrowth of fire-prone weeds such as French broom. The area, formerly open to the public, is now locked. Logs have been stacked instead of being placed in contact with the ground for break down into the soil. Community education can support better forest management.
Cape Ivy Biological Control Test: The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo is participating in a USDA Agricultural Research Service study using the shoot-tip galling fly as a biological control to manage Cape-ivy infestation on the Floodplain Preserve. Christine will inquire for more information.
Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Discussion focused on deficiencies in the Reverse 911 system, which will be the subject of a public workshop in the future. Laura said that building more houses in the forest exacerbates evacuation problems by increasing traffic on limited roads out of town.
JoEllen reported on FFRP’s test plots thus far. It’s too soon to draw conclusions, but three different treatments have been applied, involving thinning of trees, lopping, and chipping the trim and scattering it on the ground. All three are showing new growth of pine and oaks. FFRP is considering inviting James Allen back to evaluate the forest.
The Forest Committee will hold its regular meeting December 13.
Coastal Commission Meeting Report: delayed to March meeting.
Resource Management System Revisions: delayed to March meeting
Appeal of Orellana Building Permit: scheduled for January.
Send Agenda Items for the December meeting to Crosby.
Adjourned at 8:20 pm.
Next Meeting December 13, 2017