CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE
TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA
July 10, 2019, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street
The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler, Andrea Wogsland, and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, CCSD director, and board liaison, Donn Howell, CSD director, Tony Church, Land Use Committee member for NCAC, and Cambria resident Linda Poppenheimer also attended.
Public and Director Comments: Tony Church showed a photo of a tree pruned by PG&E. Little was left. Laura reported that a backhoe was used to remove tree roots from Sandown. No permit is posted. They await to see whether more work is done and whether a permit is involved.
The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and County Fire Safe Council will meet at Cal Poly July 16 and 18, and tour the North Coast from Harmony Headlands to Cambria on July 17. The public is welcome, but reservations through Dan Turner are required. They will be visiting fuel reduction sites along Cambria Pines Road and Highway 1. Broom is already growing back. This is the first time the State Board of Forestry has visited Cambria in 17 years.
Approve Minutes of June Meeting: Approved unanimously with one change.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura reports no change from June: balance of $1,042.60, with no outstanding checks or grant money remaining.
Impacted Tree County Designation: SLO County Senior Planner Airlin Singewald responded to Crosby’s question regarding the definition of an Impacted Tree. A tree is considered Impacted if any part of the new structure is in its dripline. If so, mitigation is required at a ratio of 2:1.
Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Guidelines: No new report. Crosby will continue to be in contact with Fire Chief Hollingsworth as weed abatement concludes in July.
Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: JoEllenButler, Paul Nugent and Crosby and Laura Swartz attended. Dave Pierson reported on the group’s Wildfire Preparedness Day. PG&E spokesman Steve Crawford announced details of future power outages, posted at https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/community-wildfire-safety.page. Possible risks during a power outage include residents cooking on barbeque grills. Traffic will be a problem without regular operation of traffic signals. PG&E will provide portable charging stations for residents to charge cell phones and other devices. The public needs to be educated in safe operation of generators.
CSD Director Donn Howell said he would contact the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Board to find out what their plans are for businesses and hotels. He will ask CSD staff about the backup generator for operation of the WWTP.
Chief Hollingsworth introduced the district’s emergency preparedness website, http://247ncep.com/.
No updates on the fire department’s fuel reduction two grant applications. They are adding a third application.
The FSFG may have an entry in the Pinedorado Parade.
The group is looking for a volunteer to re-apply for Cambria’s Fire Safe Community status.
Cal Fire’s online Property Inspection Guide is now posted on the Forest Committee’s website, http://cambriaforestcommittee.org/documents-2/cal-fire-property-inspection-guide/. Members of the group discussed various ways of preventing fires and reducing damage: protecting houses and the area around them; ember-proofing houses; wetting houses with soaker tubes; improving evacuation routes; educating the public on safe use of generators in power outages. Safe strategies for managing power outages include PG&E’s offer to bring charging stations to town for the public to charge cell phones and devices; using dry ice to keep refrigerated food cold; backup generators for water and wastewater service; gas and propane will be available at the Chevron and Shell stations. Donn Howell offered to check with local hotels and ascertain the status of backup power for public utilities.
Change to Weed-Clearing Ordinance: no action.
Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: Crosby had commented on CEQA requirement that growth-inducing effects of projects in the coastal zone be mitigated. Christine will draft a letter asking the Coastal Conservancy for its opinion on the need to address this issue in regard to the Emergency Water Supply project.
Director Howell asked the Forest Committee to send a letter to the CSD Board asking for clarification of how CSD lots under conservation easement are to be managed.
August Guest Speaker: Kirsten Sheehy, a research specialist in the Riparian InVasion Research Laboratory (RIVRLab), will talk about her work with the Cape Ivy Fly to control Cape Ivy at the August 14 Forest Committee meeting. Cape Ivy Flies lay their eggs inside the newly-growing shoot tips. Round tumors, or galls, form at the end of the tip, stunting growth and reducing the size of the plant.
Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: Revision to reconcile the requirements of the Forest Practices Act. Christine and Crosby will confer.
Future speakers: The fire resistant value of a healthy forest. Fire Safe Gardening, possibly a Master Gardener.
Public and Director Comments
Linda Poppenheimer commented that while the community is rightfully concerned about fire, the health of the forest is being affected by brush clearing. Healthy forest ecology includes an ecosystem of plants and animals. Cambria’s Forest Management Plan recommends hiring a Forest Manager to oversee forest health, but the plan has never been implemented. New sources of funding will be explored. She will report on Patagonia’s grant program as a possible source.
Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.
Next Meeting August 14, 2019