Minutes August 2021



Meeting Minutes August 2021.docx

August 11, 2021, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Bob Fountain, Harry Farmer and Christine Heinrichs. Neil Havlik of the local chapter of the California native Plant Society also attended.

Public and Director Comments  

Harry Farmer said that the State Water Project has cut water allocations to Central Valley farmers. Neil Havlik clarified that the order applies to those who pump directly from rivers and streams, riparian rights. The Public Trust Doctrine requires that sufficient flow be left to support fish and aquatic life.

Harry said well levels are also dropping. North County vineyards pump water from the water table for irrigation.

The Minutes of the July Meeting were approved as amended.

Laura Swartz gave the Treasurer’s Report. The bank balance is $389.60, plus $20 petty cash.

The IRS Business Master File is not yet corrected. Laura will contact the IRS agent she worked with to get that file updated.

Director & Officer Insurance Renewal: Laura will collect information about the renewal and inform directors of the cost. The premium is due in mid-October.

Sub-Committee Reports

          5.1 Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Los Padres ForestWatch Analysis of Bootleg Fire: Crosby sent this document to all directors. The rapid progress of this fire raises questions as to the effectiveness of fuel reduction projects. Ember proofing and defensible space may be more effective in reducing fire spread. Christine will post to the web site.

Swanton Pacific Ranch CZU Fire Analysis: Steve Auten, who is now consulting on Cambria’s Monterey pine forest for the Fire Safe Council, managed the forest at Swanton Ranch. Swanton Ranch was burned down in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in 2020. The Forest Committee will seek independent sources that can analyze what forest management was done in that area, what effect it had on the fire, and how this might affect management of Cambria’s forest. Mr. Auten has offered to attend the Forest Committee’s September meeting.

Forest Management       

Fern Canyon Parcels on CCSD Weed Abatement Contract List:

Crosby and Laura are in contact with Cambria Fire Department Chief William Hollingsworth regarding forested lots that are on the Weed Abatement List. He has removed the lots from the list in the past but they are on the list again. Nothing is being accomplished by having the contractor clear vegetation in the middle of the forest.

New Business

       Discuss US-LT RCD Draft Public Works Plan for Covell & Other Projects:

Neil Havlik sent a comment letter on behalf of the CNPS, see attached. The letter raised questions about the proposed use of shaded fuel break treatments throughout the forest, removal of healthy trees 8” DBH or smaller and the use of mechanical masticator equipment to remove vegetation.  The letter also recommended doing test plots prior to project implementation to demonstrate the effects of proposed treatment methods.

Crosby said that projects fall into two categories: Fire Prevention and Forest Health. Fire Prevention applies only to defensible space, within 100 feet of structures. Forest Health projects apply to the rest of the forest. Fire Prevention standards should not be generally applied to Forest Health projects.

Fire Safe Council representatives and Mr. Auten invited representatives of the Nature Conservancy, USLTRCD, and CNPS for a tour of the Covell Ranch and agreed to set up some test plots before doing the work. The project will go to a public hearing September 16 followed by a hearing before the Coastal Commission before work can begin.

Public money pays for these projects although the Covell Ranch is private property. Recent research questions whether these fuel reduction projects actually improve fire safety.

The Fiscalini Ranch fuel reduction project cut away more understory than was authorized in its permit. The extensive disturbance of native vegetation, after promises of selective removal, leave forest advocates wary of Fire Safe council project management practices.

CNPS has a working group that meets weekly. They will continue to monitor individual projects.

Crosby will draft a letter for the September 16 USLTRCD hearing and circulate it to directors for approval.

Discuss Alternate Date for September Meeting:

Because of Labor Day weekend, the Forest Committee’s September meeting will be on Friday, September 10 instead of Wednesday, September 8, subject to directors, Mr. Auten, and Greenspace availability. The meeting will be publicized to the general public.

Unfinished Business

          Report and Discussion, CCSD Forest Management Ad Hoc Committee:

Crosby attended the meeting of Tom Gray, Harry Farmer and Devin Best, USLTRCD executive director. The CSD and the RCD might be able to share a forester, making it possible to get a grant to support the position. Cal Poly professor Chris Dicus and retired forestry professor Doug Piirto may have individuals to recommend. Harry found the meeting encouraging.

Public and Director Comments

Harry asked attendees to attend the following day’s CSD meeting and offer comments on Item 7D, evaluating the way the CSD is handling Public Comments.

Future Agenda Items and Speakers

Auten Resource Consulting – Crosby will follow up

Chad Hanson webinar – Christine will follow up

The meeting was Adjourned at 8:03 pm.
Next Meeting 10 am September 10, 2021

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Minutes June 2021



Minutes June 2021

June 9, 2021, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was Called to Order and a Quorum established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Bob Fountain and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, Cambria Community Services District liaison, Neil Havlik and Melissa Mooney of California Native Plant Society and John Seed of Greenspace also attended.

Minutes of May Meeting were approved as amended.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swatz reported that the bank balance is $389.60, with $10 in petty cash. She paid CPA Lynn Singer’s bill for preparing the tax return. Crosby continues to check the IRS Business Master File for the correction to the CFC’s status, which had not yet been made.

Sub-Committee Reports

Smokescreen, Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Climate webinar is posted here. The link is also posted to the CFC web site.

Screenshare PBS DVD on Zoom: Crosby is working on setting up the technology to show this video.

 Website Domain Name Administrator: Crosby will make this transfer from Paul Nugent to himself.

Forest Management      

       Upper Salinas Las Tablas Resource Conservation District Public Works Plan:

The plan establishes Best Practices for working in the Coastal Zone. It will be presented at the June 15 NCAC meeting.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

Comments on the Steve Auten report are due by July 1.

The Fire Safe council is seeking approval from Cal Trans to use herbicide on the broom that is growing along Highway 1.

Phos-Chek Wildfire Home Defense is a consumer product that can reduce flammability of vegetation around homes.

New Business

       Draft Comment Letter on Covell Ranch Fuel Reduction Project:

This report, now posted on the CFC web site, raised many questions. Comments are due by July 1. The Coastal Commission may hold a public hearing on this plan. The Nature Conservancy holds the conservation easement on the Covell Ranch. Enforcing it involves this fuel reduction plan. CNPS wrote and submitted comments, led by Neil and Melissa. Crosby will send draft of comments to directors for advice. Julie will take pictures to illustrate the unintended effects of previous fuel reduction projects

This is the environmental document that Cal Fire and others will rely on for this and future projects. It’s important to get it right. Several attendees questioned the assumptions underlying its recommendations of removing 70-80 percent of the trees, mainly those eight inches or less in diameter, reducing tree density to 200 trees per acre.

The forest is not the same and a fuel break and different standards and treatments should apply.

Removing all young trees reduces diversity of tree ages. Younger trees may be better adapted to changing conditions. Removing the young trees opens the older trees to wind damage.

Use of a masticator is destructive to understory and is rarely justified for use in the forest. Projects should rely on handwork, using masticators and bulldozers only as needed.

Removal of native understory plants in the cause of fuel reduction results in loss of habitat for native wildlife. Replacement vegetation is grass, which is more flammable than native plants. Loss of understory vegetation can create open space that makes it easier for burning embers to blow through during a fire.

Thinning and removal of young trees to open up the canopy and allow sunlight in allows the soil to overheat, dry out and encourages weed growth..

Treating Cambria’s Monterey Pine forest the same as Sierra forests is misleading. The Monterey Pine forest requires different management.

Fire prevention should also focus on home hardening as well as forest fuel reduction.

Unfinished Business

Report and Discussion, CCSD Forest Management Ad Hoc Committee: The Ad Hoc committee of Tom Gray and Harry Farmer met with Dan Turner, Steve Auten and Keith Seydel of Rancho Marino. They discussed updating the Cambria Forest Management Plan of 2001. Harry will invite Devin Best, executive director of the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District to a future meeting.

Public and Director Comments:

Julie said PG&E telephoned to say that they will be marking trees for removal. Davey Tree will tag the trees but other contractors may do the work. Monitors are needed to limit destruction and collateral damage, and follow up that the contractors have disposed of cut trees and brush appropriately.

Bob Fountain said that Greenspace has hundreds of Monterey Pine seedlings available. Greenspace will accommodate to place them. He will contact Andrew Boyd-Goodrich, executive director at Camp Ocean Pines, for possible placement there.

Bob also reported that some Cal Poly students have approached Greenspace about the possibility of using drones to survey the forest in Cambria.

Future Agenda Items and Speakers:

Crosby suggested the CFC meeting have informational sessions on specific subjects such as Thinning and Masticators.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Next Meeting July 14, 2021

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Minutes May 2021



Minutes May 2021

May 12, 2021, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was Called to Order and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Greenspace representative Bob Fountain, Christine Heinrichs and Cambria CSD liaison Harry Farmer.

Public and Director Comments:

Harry Farmer recommended the NPR interview with Finding the Mother Tree author Suzanne Simard, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/05/04/993430007/trees-talk-to-each-other-mother-tree-ecologist-hears-lessons-for-people-too .

Crosby reported that Kitty Connolly provided information on a training webinar on How to Use the Cal Vegetation Management Program, May 13 and May 20, 9-noon. Support materials are available on the site.

Christine suggested a Frontline documentary on Fire in Paradise, https://www.pbs.org/video/fire-in-paradise-ncamrn/ Aluminum fire blankets could be useful for protection during a wildfire.

Minutes of the April Meeting were approved with one update from Bob.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura reported that the bank balance is $634.60, plus $10 in petty cash. One outstanding bill is anticipated for Lynn Singer’s tax report, which is due May 17. The IRS spreadsheet status is still not corrected. Laura will pursue.

Sub-Committee Reports


Website Domain Name Administrator: Crosby will transfer from Paul Nugent, small cost involved.

Forest Management

Cal Fire VTP Project Approval Requirements: A Public Works Plan is required in the Coastal Zone. Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District representatives attended Fire Safe Focus Group and reported that they have the authority to put together a Public Works Plan for the Covell Ranch project.

Sudden Oak Death Survey May 15-16:


SOD was reported in water samples from San Simeon Creek. Bob will contact Lisa Emanuelson M.S.
Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator
California Marine Sanctuary Foundation  I  Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Office: (831) 647-4227
Front Desk: (831) 647-4201

to request adding SOD testing to the annual Snapshot Day, the first Saturday in May. Forest Committee directors are uncertain about whether they will participate this year.

The Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Program of the Cambria Fire Department continues to list APN numbered lots that are near properties under Conservation Easement or otherwise not appropriate for weed abatement. Crosby and Laura continue to work with Fire Chief William Hollingsworth to remove them from the weed abatement list. Lots in Fern Canyon are surrounded by conserved lots and should not be cut. This subject has been brought to Chief Hollingsworth for the past four years. They will report back on their progress with Chief Hollingsworth.

Broom is growing back. Harry has continued to remove it from Strawberry Canyon. Crosby and Laura are seeking assistance to remove a large broom plant in Fern Canyon. It will need to be cut down and the stump treated to remove it. Small plants are easily pulled, but larger plants can be controlled by removing flowers and seed heads and placing them in green waste.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

The group continues to struggle with technology to post Steve Auten’s previous report to the public. Mr. Auten gave another report on the Covell Ranch project, focusing on the history of the ranch. The Public Works plan being prepared by the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District for the project has not been presented. FSFG has contacted the Nature Conservancy, which holds the conservation easement on the Covell Ranch.

Harry Farmer has not heard back from his contact with Daniel Bowman at the SLO Land Conservancy. Lack of opportunity for public vetting and comment on forest plans continues to characterize FSFG projects.

Cambria reporter Kathe Tanner has proposed writing columns in The Cambrian on home hardening. She has offered her house as an example.

FSFG applications for grants are due May 19.

The link for State Sen. John Laird’s Virtual Town Hall on Emergency Preparedness and Wildfire Resources with insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara is archived at http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/09-comm/Senator-John-Laird.cfm.

Unfinished Business

Discuss CCSD Forest Management Ad Hoc Committee   The CSD Ad Hoc committee on Forest Management will hold another meeting, with invitations to institutional representatives by CSD director Tom Gray. The CSD’s Facilities and Resources Department may be able to allocate some of its $750,000 budget to hire a forest management consultant. FFRP’s current investments and reserves have reached $5 million, but are restricted. Any potential future investment in forest management by FFRP would be for the Preserve area only.

Volunteers accomplish a lot in Cambria. A forest ecologist could organize volunteers to identify problems with dwarf mistletoe and insect damage for treatment.

Greenspace’s 3,000 Tree Initiative has succeeded in planting trees, which are having a healthy survival rate on State Parks land north of Cambria. Bob said that contacts with Mike Walgren at State Parks have been positive.

Camp Ocean Pines Monterey Pines are in poor condition. The camp has struggled financially during the pandemic. Executive Director Andrew Boyd-Goodrich welcomes assistance and may be open to planting replacement trees.

Director comments:

Harry raised the issue of drought, as documented in two Tribune headlined articles in the past week. The Cambria Pines Lodge’s application for increased activities, and additional water use, at the Christmas Market will be discussed at the May 19 NCAC meeting. The permit application was sent to all directors.

Future Agenda Items and Speakers

PBS Age of Nature, NOAA and State Parks Webinars. Laura Swartz suggested inviting the SLO Land Conservancy’s staff ecologist to speak. The SLO Land Conservancy holds the conservation easement on Fern Canyon.

The meeting was Adjourned at 8:24 pm
Next Meeting June 9, 2021

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Minutes April 2021



Minutes April 2021

April 14, 2021, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm and a quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Bob Fountain, Julie Jorgenson, and Christine Heinrichs. California Native Plant Society member Neil Havlik, Cambria CSD liaison Harry Farmer, and CSD director Karen Dean also attended.

Public and Director Comments

Harry Farmer recounted his experience with French broom in Strawberry Canyon. He saw some and went to pull it, then noticed more growing in the gully. He pulled about 75 plants. The experience impressed him with how fast broom can infest the forest. Crosby Swartz said the broom seeds persist in the ground for years.

Harry reported on the IWMA meeting, at which, by a close vote, the polystyrene ban was kept in place but will not be implemented.

Crosby asked for directors to reach out to appropriate people to serve as CFC directors. Neil Havlik said he will consider serving, and reach out to other CNPS members who may be interested.

Laura Swartz has a frame to fill racks to raise MP trees. She will loan it to Bob Fountain for setting up racks later this week.

Minutes of the March Meeting were unanimously approved with one name spelling correction.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the account balance is $634.60. She continues to pursue correcting the IRS error. The IRS nonprofit forms will be prepared by a professional accountant to meet the May 15 deadline.

Sub-Committee Reports


Update Website Domain Name Administrator: Crosby will handle.

Forest Management

Tree Pruning (Limbing Up) at Grammar School: Crosby will pursue what the reason was for limbing up trees that did not pose any danger of crown fire, and removal of associated brush

 Cal Fire VTP Project Specific Analysis Document (PSA)

This process makes it simpler to proceed with a forest project by allowing approval if the project meets PSA criteria, as established by a programmatic statewide EIR. The process limits opportunities for public oversight. Board members discussed the possibilities for public comment on local projects, such as the upcoming Covell Ranch project. Fire Safe Focus Group meetings may hear comment, and projects in the Coastal Zone may come before the Coastal Commission for comment.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

The meeting focused on house hardening to reduce fire damage. The Fire Safe Council is looking for grants to assist homeowners in making their houses more fire resistant.

The group will invite forest advisor Steve Auten to its May meeting. His recorded presentation from a previous meeting has not been made generally available because of technical problems. Directors continue to pursue resolution of electronic access to his presentation. Forest Committee directors are urged to attend the May Fire Safe Focus Group meeting.

The legislature has approved $500 million for fuel reduction projects in the current Fiscal Year, with plans for another $500 million in the 2022 FY. Fire Safe Council will apply for grants, deadline May 19. FSC business manager Dan Turner said that grants will be available for invasive species removal and removal of hazardous trees. The Covell Ranch project and a project on San Simeon Point, to clear out debris and thin eucalyptus, may be included.

Turner is aware that French broom has replaced the understory vegetation removed along Highway 1 by the fuel reduction project in 2020. He said that permission from Cal Trans, which holds the Right of Way, prevents entry of teams to treat the broom. He is working on getting a Memorandum of Understanding with Cal Trans so that Fire Safe teams can have access. Neil Havlik said that areas along Highway 1 have rich, diverse native vegetation including native orchids that need to be protected. He and other CNPS members are providing CNPS Best Practices to Fire Safe and Cal Fire to bring attention to the plants before projects damage them.

Fire Safe will hold a community chipping event. CERT is giving Covid shots. State Sen. John Laird will hold a Zoom Town Hall meeting April 29, 5:30 pm, about problems with homeowners and fire insurance.

State Farm Insurance is partnering with a private fire prevention company, Wildfire Defense Systems. More information to follow. Christine is looking into it.

Unfinished Business

Discuss CCSD Forest Management Ad Hoc Committee

The Ad Hoc Committee led by Harry Farmer and Tom Gray held its first meeting April 1. Greenspace has written a list of job responsibilities which Crosby will circulate to directors. Harry reported that Tom Gray has proposed another meeting, to invite other stakeholders such as Cal Fire, County Supervisor Bruce Gibson and others. A third meeting could bring differing perspectives together.

How to pay for a Forest Manager/Ecologist remains undecided. Harry reported that FFRP is willing to assist with its own funding and additional fund raising.

Public and Director Comments:

Neil has discussed the possibility of holding a meeting of all forest stakeholders, both local and entities such as The SLO Land Conservancy, State Parks, and the Upper Salinas – Las Tablas Resource Conservation District, sponsored by EcoSLO. EcoSLO is willing to consider hosting such a meeting, with financial support from the attendees.

The scope of a Forest Manager/Forest Ecologist is not limited to land owned by the CSD. Addressing the responsibilities of a Forest Manager/Ecologist, the Cambria Forest Management Plan states:

[p. R-1] …although the Cambria Forest Management Plan emphasizes management for Monterey pine success, it also addresses other species, such as coast live oak, that co-occur and interact with Monterey pines, in order to ensure an ecosystem-based management approach.

[ p. 1-1] The Cambria Forest Management Plan is intended to serve the community of Cambria and its environs and will provide an integrated framework of techniques for the management of the forest. It was created for use by an experienced Professional Forester to ensure comprehensive and effective management of a sustainable forest for the present and future benefit of the North Coast Planning Area’s people, plants, and animals. The Professional Forester would be responsible to the implementation agency (i.e. a Services District). The Cambria Forest Committee may act in an advisory capacity to the forest management implementing agency.

“The goal is the well-being of the forest,” Harry said.

Directors offered to reach out to contacts for recommendations as to the job description of a Forest Manager/Ecologist. Bob will contact Mike Walgren at State Parks, Christine will contact Ben Higgins at Hearst Ranch, Harry will contact FFRP board members, executive director Kitty Connolly and Rancho Marino director Keith Seydel. Crosby will contact The Land Conservancy. They will report at the May meeting.

Bob Fountain reported that Greenspace continues its 3,000 Tree Initiative, handing out racks on 25 April at the Creekside Reserve. They have 15 volunteer growers and 8 or 9 Greenspace board members signed up to grow seedlings. The seedlings will be planted next winter, November through February, on State Parks land, between San Simeon Acres and Lone Palm Road, to create a corridor of Monterey Pine along the highway.

Future Agenda Items and Speakers

PBS Age of Nature: The web site states that videos usually include permission for showing to public audiences for free, such as teachers in classrooms. https://help.pbs.org/support/solutions/articles/5000673755-how-do-i-obtain-public-performance-rights-for-a-show-

NOAA and State Parks Webinars are ongoing. Previous programs are archived. https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/education-at-home/upcoming-and-archived-webinars

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Next Meeting May 12, 2021

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Minutes March 2021



Minutes March 2021

March 10, 2021, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm by Crosby Swartz, and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Bob Fountain, Greenspace representative, and myself, Christine Heinrichs. Cambria CSD Board liaison Harry Farmer and California Native Plant Society member Neil Havlik also attended.

Public and Director Comments and Introductions:

Neil Havlik has been a CNPS member since 1966. He is interested in issues around balancing fire and fuel management with habitat quality and biodiversity.

Christine and Bob both attended the Bay Nature webinar on Chaparral Fire Ecology and Fire Following Plants. One of the points made was that while fire is a natural feature of the ecology, fires too hot or too frequent turn chaparral into weed patches.

Minutes of January and February Meetings were approved with minor changes.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the balance at $634.60. There are no outstanding bills or checks.

Sub-Committee Reports


     Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program:

Crosby sent Christine the TDC references he identified. He will send the Vacant Parcel Assessment Report. Christine will post to the website.

Update Website Domain Name Administrator:

Crosby will transfer the GoDaddy account from Paul Nugent to Crosby Swartz.

Replacement trees: Bob Fountain reported that planting replacement trees for Monterey Pine and Coast Live Oaks is still required, but no one is getting trees from Greenspace. He received some documents from the county relating to tree replacement requirements. He will send to Christine, who will post to the website.

The Hadian and Bookout projects, which have been given permits by the District and have been appealed to the County Board of Supervisors, would, if constructed, remove respectively, 50 and 70 Monterey Pine trees, requiring planting of hundreds of trees.

Greenspace’s 3,000-Tree Initiative continues to raise seedlings. Most are being planted on State Parks property.

Forest Management

     Tree Pruning (Limbing Up) at Grammar School:

Crosby noticed the trees had been extensively pruned as he drove past. He will take photos and pursue information as to who authorized the work and who performed it. Because there is no overstory that could be affected by fire climbing the trees, they did not need to be limbed up.

    Cal Vegetation Treatment Program (VTP) and Coastal Commission Conditions:

Cal Fire intends to use VTP instead of other permits for fuel reduction projects. The Village Lane Project was done under the governor’s Executive Order, according to Dan Turner, business manager of the county Fire Safe Council. He has not yet shown the county’s Letter of Exemption for the project, and county officials have not provided it.

Turner has said that trees will be replaced as needed after observing how many regenerate naturally. Because that requires years of observation, tree replacement requirements can be overlooked.

Neil Havlik said that he and Dave Krause, Melissa Mooney, and Dave Chipping of the CNPS local chapter talked with Turner to advocate for leaving some sensitive areas of the Village Lane Project alone, that vegetation management needs to be carefully considered. They met with Kevin Cooper at the site and asked that areas behind the horse paddock be left alone to protect sensitive plants, and that area was not treated. He felt “they had listened to us.”

Harry Farmer said that the Fiscalini Ranch project that removed understory in 2020 resulted in regeneration of poison oak rather than ferns and native plant diversity. Once the understory is disturbed, it opens the path for invasives. French broom is coming back in the areas along Highway 1 that were cleared last year. Turner has said that he is aware of the need to follow up on broom removal.

Farmer reported piles of French broom removed in 2020 on Covell Ranch have not been removed and are a fire hazard.

The Coastal Commission and the Regional Water Quality Control Board have also expressed concern. Crosby will contact Steve Auten to get a report.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group – None of the CFC directors attended the meeting.

New Business

          Discuss CCSD Forest Management Ad Hoc Committee

This item is included on the CCSD’s March 11, 2021 regular meeting agenda:

Discussion and Consideration of Establishing a Board Ad Hoc Committee for Forest Management Alternatives

RECOMMENDATIONS: Staff recommends that the Board discuss and consider establishing a Board Ad Hoc Committee for Forest Management Alternatives to identify and define viable options to manage and promote the health, regeneration, and vitality of our native tree stands on Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) properties, so they may thrive and prosper for future generations.

FISCAL IMPACT: The fiscal impact of creating a Forest Management Alternatives Ad Hoc Committee would result in an undetermined amount of staff time.

DISCUSSION: CCSD owns and manages properties populated by Monterey Pine trees, which are at risk due to natural and non-natural impacts. Disease and drought have ravaged these magnificent rare trees over the last decade. To better understand the issues and potential options for the Board to consider in maintaining the Monterey Pine stands on District property, the Board should discuss and consider appointing an ad hoc committee to identify and evaluate options and alternatives. Some questions the Board may direct the ad hoc committee to address may include:

  1. What is a clear definition of the problem?
  2. How should the Board consider the alternatives, given that much of the forest does not belong to CCSD?
  3. What expertise is required to help guide the District in forest management?
  4. Where might resources come from for any ongoing District forest management efforts?

As an alternative that holds potential for Cambria, the Board may consider reviewing a model utilized in Santa Cruz, where landowners formed a network to agree on overall management objectives, remain current on forest science, and pursue joint projects. One benefit of such a group is increasing the likelihood of fundraising for forest health projects when an area-wide coalition applies. The Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network website can be found at: http://scmsn.net/. Staff recommends the Board consider establishing a Board Ad Hoc Committee for Forest Management Alternatives.

CFC directors Crosby, Laura and Christine will speak in favor of the subcommittee and appointing Harry Farmer to lead it. Concerns include broadening the scope to include the entire forest, with all owners involved; hiring a Forest Ecologist to advise the district and the community; starting small with a part-time consultant and building on successes; finding funding from the district, FFRP, and other avenues.

[In the event, the ad hoc committee was created and Directors Harry Farmer and Tom Gray appointed.]

Letter to IRS Correcting Business Master File

Treasurer Laura Swartz has spent substantial time on the phone with the IRS to straighten this out. It’s an internal IRS error. She and Crosby will write a letter detailing the problem and how to fix it. The incorrect listing could affect grant funding.

Unfinished Business

List of Tasks for Forest Management Consultant, Outreach to Other Groups:

Directors had many suggestions, including identifying diseases and treatments, organizing volunteers to remove invasives, exploring whether Galling Flies could be released to control Cape Ivy. Keith Seydel, director at Rancho Marino Reserve, suggested assessing the science to determine the overall health of the forest, and whether it is shrinking or growing.

Greenspace is working up its own list of tasks for a Forest Ecologist.

Neil offered to contact EcoSLO regarding their Coastal Summit, held at Camp Ocean Pines in the past. That might be a setting in which to write Best Practices for managing Monterey Pines. The Forest Committee and Greenspace have collaborated on Best Practices and Big Sur Land Trust has its own Best Practices. Christine will send those to all attending.

Public and Director Comments

Hadian, https://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/iip/sanluisobispo/agendaitem/details/12837,  and Bookout, https://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/iip/sanluisobispo/agendaitem/details/12974, applications were approved by the Planning Department and now go on to Board of Supervisors. Christine and others have filed appeals.

Future Agenda Items and Speakers

PBS Age of Nature, NOAA and State Parks Webinars are possible future meeting subjects that could also attract the public to attend.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:09 pm.

Next Meeting April 14, 2021

Minutes March 2021

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Minutes February 2021



Minutes February 2021

February 10, 2021, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was Called to Order at 6:35 pm and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Bob Fountain and Christine Heinrichs. Cambria CSD board liaison Harry Farmer also attended.

Public and Director Comments:

The CSD settled its lawsuit against EWS contractor CDM Smith for $1.75 million. The brine impoundment pond was the disputed issue. Legal fees were around $330,000, Mr. Farmer said. He supported setting some of the money aside to pay for hauling brine waste, now that the impoundment pond idea didn’t work out.

Christine Heinrichs showed the Fiscalini Ranch Field Guide prepared by Santa Lucia Middle School students. SLMS principal Kyle Martin is interested in working with the Forest Committee.

Christine will contact Andrea and Marc of Climatedesigners.org for information about the IRS Business Master File error.

Approve Minutes of January Meeting:

Typos corrected, Christine will send to directors for approval at the March meeting.

Treasurer’s Report:

Laura Swartz reported that out of the $752.60 beginning balance, she paid $118.00 for the PO box, leaving a final balance of $634.60. She continues to attempt to reach the IRS to correct the spreadsheet notation that indicates that CFC is not a tax-exempt organization.

Sub-Committee Reports

Website: Crosby will contact Paul Nugent regarding the domain name registration.


California Wildfire and Forest Resilience Plan

https://www.fire.ca.gov provides interesting reading about California’s future.

Age of Nature PBS Series Screening: Christine will follow up regarding permission for public screening.

     Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program: Crosby and Christine will assemble documents relevant to the TDC program and post to the website. CSD has legal responsibility for conserved lots and the open space of Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

Bob Fountain, who is also a NOAA docent, said the NOAA webinars continue, link on the website. State Parks is also presenting a series of webinars about coastal issues.

Bob has contacted the county regarding what is being required as mitigation for Monterey Pine trees that are removed. Environmental Coordinator Xzandrea Fowler and steven McMasters of the Planning and Building Department have not responded to voicemail messages. He has also discussed replacement trees with Greenspace, on whose board he serves, as Greenspace was historically the source for Monterey Pine seedlings. Tree replacement is often ignored, as the county does not enforce it. The blanket permit for tree removal has been allowed to expire.

The county’s website states: “All parcels in the coastal zone are required to submit a tree removal request form to the Department of Planning and Building before the removal of a tree. The review fee is dependent on the number of hazardous trees requested to be removed.”

Forest Management

Strawberry Canyon and Fiscalini Ranch Preserve sustained some damage during the recent storm, Orlena. Rick Hawley and Harry Farmer worked to resolve downed trees in strawberry Canyon. CSD Facilities Manager Carlos Mendoza and his crew worked on Fiscalini Ranch. The 2020 fuel removal project limbed up a lot of trees and thinned other areas. Whether this trimming made trees vulnerable to storm damage is an open question. Keeping a photo record can help document progress in the forest.

Some homes in Cambria flooded.

PG&E Tree Removals in Fern Canyon Preserve:

PG&E and its contractor Davey Tree removed trees and other vegetation under power lines in Fern Canyon. They left debris behind blocking the creek, in violation of ordinances to protect the watershed. Crosby and Laura notified the CSD’s general manager, fire chief and facilities manager. Julie Jorgenson took photos and contacted PG&E, which, after sending a consulting forester to inspect, sent a crew out to remove the material. Most was removed, some was chipped.

Coastal Zone Barriers for CRPG Projects Letter:

The Coastal Regional Prioritization Group is proposing that fuel reduction projects be exempted from the Coastal Development Permit process. While such projects are not construction, some permit should be required in a process that allows the public to comment before the project is carried out. See attached letter.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

Crosby and Laura reported that the discussion of safety concerns included hiring Zone Haven as a consultant on evacuation. FSFG is preparing for a Wildfire Information Day later in the year.

Unfinished Business

List of Tasks for Forest Management Consultant:

Directors discussed possible tasks that a Forest Ecologist could undertake in the next six months, to present to the CSD Board to support hiring a Forest Ecologist. Carlos Mendoza does a good job of maintenance at Fiscalini Ranch, but he is not trained in forest ecology. Local contractors who are knowledgeable about forest issues are available. The position does not need to be filled by someone with a Registered Professional Forester credential. Projects requiring RPF approval can be submitted to a consultant.

Possible projects include treating Dwarf Mistletoe infestations and disease recognition and treatment. All directors are asked to bring one or two suggestions to the March meeting.

Bob Fountain will work with Greenspace to develop a list from them.

Future Agenda Items and Speakers: Email Crosby program ideas.

The meeting was Adjourned at 8:25 pm.

Next Meeting March 10, 2021

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Minutes January 2021



Minutes January 2021

January 13, 2021, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order at 6:35 pm. A Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Bob Fountain, Harry Farmer and Christine Heinrichs. Julie Jorgenson joined the meeting in progress. Joaquin Quintana also attended.

Public and Director Comments:

Joaquin Quintana explained how he calculated carbon storage using the Forest Vegetation Simulator, free software available.

Crosby said that directors should encourage supportive colleagues to volunteer as Forest Committee directors. Participation of FFRP is missed. Paul Nugent is moving out of state. Crosby will contact him regarding web site domain name registration.

Minutes of the November and December Meetings were approved as amended. The district continues to approve new construction permit applications despite consistent denials of the permits from the Coastal Commission. Christine will send information on upcoming January 22 county planning department public hearings on Hadian and Bookout permit applications to all directors. The Bookout project would remove 70 Monterey Pine trees.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the account balance at $752.50. The post office box rental is due by Jan 24, $118. She will make sure it is paid on time.

Sub-Committee Reports


Invasive Vegetation Removal Timing: January is a good time of year to pull invasive weeds such as cape ivy, French broom and radishes. They come out of the moist soil easily. Spraying emerging weed sprouts with 30 percent vinegar is effective. It is available at Los Osos Valley Nursery.

Age of Nature PBS Series Screening: Directors agreed that showing it at a future meeting would be desirable. Christine will assist Crosby in making arrangements to get permission to show it. Bob Fountain is a docent at the NOAA Discovery Center. Michele Roest took over administration of the center and is offering a series of webinars from the National Marine Sanctuary. Christine will place the link on the Forest Committee website.

Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program: Crosby continues to compile documents to assist the CSD with this program.

The CambriaCa Newsletter and Calendar: This online publication published the Forest Committee’s meeting notice last week. The CFC meeting is also included on their calendar. FFRP had an article about a graduate student who is researching understory plants.

Forest Management

     CRPG Projects List: Crosby sent this Excel spreadsheet list, from Angela Bernheisel of Coastal Regional Prioritization Group, to all directors. It shows projects proposed but not yet funded.

Village Lane Project County Waiver: The Fire Safe Focus Group did not offer any further information regarding its claim that the project received a Letter of Exemption from the county rather than a permit for the project. County Fire Safe Council Business Manager Dan Turner said that the project fell under the governor’s Executive Order and did not require a permit. Crosby has not ascertained whether such a letter was sent from any of the contacts he has made at the county. He will follow up inquiring from Supervisor Bruce Gibson as to the Letter of Exemption and the process of allowing projects without permits, and whether public notice, mitigation, and other processes of permitting are required. Bob Fountain will follow up with Greenspace as to requests for seedling trees. Greenspace has historically been the source for tree seedlings planted as mitigation for trees removed.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Crosby and Laura attended. Fire Chief Hollingsworth reported several chimney fires in the last month and recommended that chimneys be inspected. He is working on a Defensible Space ordinance that would allow CFD to inspect improved property. That’s currently the legal responsibility of Cal Fire, which is unable to address the problems adequately.

Invasive brush that has been removed is piled and ready to burn, awaiting weather conditions and Cal Fire personnel.

The proposed state budget includes some funding for forest resilience and other forest-related issues. Some funding may be made available soon.

CFD is struggling to meet staffing requirements. Reserve firefighters stay only briefly in Cambria as they move on to full-time positions.

Dan Turner is involved with the WUI Institute at Cal Poly, where he is working to get the subject recognized as an area of study.

The Wildfire Preparedness Day, usually held in May, may be postponed until fall due to the pandemic.

No New Business

Unfinished Business

            List of Tasks for Forest Management Consultant: Directors are asked to submit suggestions to Crosby for tasks that a forest ecologist could undertake without delay. Treatment of beetles on Fiscalini Ranch and chemical treatment of dwarf mistletoe are two that don’t require the expertise of a Registered Professional Forester. Bob Fountain will ask Greenspace board members to contribute ideas at their annual retreat.

Public and Director Comments: Crosby suggested that directors submit ideas for 2021, in addition to continuing to make the case for hiring a forest ecologist to the CSD.

Friday January 15 will be the CSD Strategic Planning meeting. The board will meet on Tuesday to write its plan. “We need to keep pushing what the benefits of a healthy forest are. It’s a key draw for the community. It will become more valuable, like Central Park in New York.”

During the pandemic, more people are coming out to use the open spaces such as Fiscalini Ranch and Pismo Preserve. Solutions are being found to make use by both cyclists and walkers safe.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 pm.

Next Meeting February 10, 2021


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Minutes December 2020



Minutes December 2020

December 9, 2020, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

Chair Crosby Swartz called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm.  A Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Bob Fountain, Julie Jorgenson, and Christine Heinrichs. CSD board liaison Harry Farmer and CSD director Donn Howell also attended. Paul Nugent notified Crosby that he will be moving and will not continue as a director or as secretary. Crosby will make Zoom meeting arrangements. Christine will continue to take notes and write minutes until a replacement is found.

Approve Minutes of November Meeting: Minutes for November and December meetings will be reviewed at the January 2021 meeting.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the balance is $762.60. There are no bank charges or outstanding checks.

Sub-Committee Reports


Crosby and Laura have acquired DVD copies of the PBS Age of Nature Series. He will look into showing it at a meeting and can loan it out to individuals.

    Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program: Crosby and Christine will organize documents and links.

The CambriaCa Newsletter Calendar: The calendar lists upcoming meetings. We can also write articles on separate subjects.

Forest Management, Forest Safe Focus Group

Village Lane Project County Waiver: Crosby will follow up with Dan Turner and the county regarding the project description. Dan Turner said at the Fire Safe Focus Group meeting that the Fire Safe Council felt that Governor Newsom’s Executive Order gave them authority to carry out work outside the permitting process, and the county agreed that the project was exempt. Crosby will continue to pursue the Exemption Letter Turner said the county had written.

Regarding replanting, Turner said they will observe how much natural regrowth occurs before replanting. He said that the area is overstocked now. The Forest Committee would like to know who makes that determination. If a county permit had been issued, replanting requirements would have been specified in the permit.

Six private landowners were involved in the Village Lane Project.

Bob Fountain said that the situation illustrates the importance of having a Forest Ecologist who can monitor fuel reduction projects. The county has an Environmental Coordinator. Crosby will contact that person regarding the environmental consequences of fuel reduction projects.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

Small projects are going on around town, removing pampas grass and broom. The cuttings are being kept in piles awaiting favorable burning conditions.

Former Cambia Fire Department Chief Mark Miller, who moved to Colorado when he retired, has died. He was a friend to the Forest Committee and served as a director, attending meetings regularly. Crosby will invite Chief William Hollingsworth to send a CFD representative to Forest Committee meetings.

New Business

Appointment of Interim Secretary: Christine will continue as we look for someone to fill that position.

Unfinished Business

Discussion of Forest Manager Tasks and Qualifications: Discussion of ways to fill the position, such as a CSD Facilities Manager with training in Forest Ecology, or a member of the Fire Department with such training. A consultant could be hired part time to provide initial training, assessment of current diseased trees, and recommended treatments. Cal Poly professors may be available as consultants. Directors are encouraged to reach out for contacts.

Public and Director Comments:

Bob Fountain: Greenspace planted another 1,000 seedlings on the hillside at Washburn Campground. State Parks will provide watering until it rains. Greenspace is arranging to restore Monterey Pine trees to the west side of Highway 1 at Lone Palm Road. Golden Gate Park is happy with their grove of Monterey Pines and ordered another 200 seedlings.

Crosby said that the CSD will meet to elect officers for 2021 on Thursday. The voters support for Harry Farmer indicates community support for respecting the environment and living within natural resources.

Donn Howell said that having a job description and specifics of what a Forest Ecologist would do would support the district in making a decision to fill that position. The district, FFRP, Greenspace and the Forest Committee need to confer to advocate for the forest. The SLO Land Conservancy may be able to assist.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15.

Next Meeting January 13

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Minutes November 2020



Minutes November 2020

November 11, 2020 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

Chair Crosby Swartz called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm. A Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Paul Nugent and Christine Heinrichs. Greenspace representative Bob Fountain and CSD liaison Harry Farmer also attended. Bob Fountain was approved as a Forest Committee director by acclamation.

Public and Director Comments: Christine Heinrichs reviewed the comments made by Coastal Commission members regarding the Settimi construction permit, at 2:37 on the video, https://cal-span.org/unipage/?site=cal-span&owner=CCC&date=2020-11-06. The CSD’s relationship with Coastal is being affected by the district approving new permit applications without proof of additional available water.

The Minutes of the October meeting were approved with some amendments.

Laura Swartz’s Treasurer’s Report showed a balance of $697.60, after directors contributed for insurance. One outstanding check for $20 to the Secretary of State for the biannual filing will bring the balance to $677.60. Thanks to all directors who donated.

Sub-Committee Reports


Christine Heinrichs gave a report on Carbon Neutral Cambria to NCAC.

Crosby Swartz recommended the Age of Nature series on PBS. The series could be the focus of a future Forest Committee program.

Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program: No progress on compiling the relevant documents.

The CambriaCa Newsletter published a meeting advance.

Forest Management

Site Visits – Village Lane Project: The work was finished, removing dead and hazardous trees, invasive weeds, broom, pampas grass and a small amount of Cape Ivy. County Fire Safe Council contracted the work under a PG&E grant, but no project description or permit was made available to the Forest Committee. Mitigation for Monterey Pine trees removed, as required by law, was not addressed. Bob Fountain said that Greenspace has not been contacted for replacement trees in more than three years. Crosby and Laura Swartz attend the Fire Safe Focus Group meetings and encourage others to attend. They will follow up with FSC business manager Dan Turner. Although the project was carried out well, the lack of review of the project description and permit is troubling.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: The meeting was postponed to Wednesday, November 18.

New Business

            Officer Elections: Crosby distributed the slate of proposed officers via email. Christine will move from secretary to vice chair. Paul Nugent will take over as secretary. The slate was unanimously approved.

Unfinished Business

Discussion of Forest Manager Tasks and Qualifications: Members discussed involving FFRP, Greenspace and the CSD in identifying the qualities and requirements needed for a Forest Manager/Ecologist. Local professionals such as Williams Horticulture (diseases and treatments) and McCormick’s Tree (certified arborist) may be able to provide needed expertise.

An ecological approach to managing Cambria’s Monterey Pine forest, considering fire safety, wildlife habitat and watershed protection, is preferable to approaching the forest from a lumber production perspective. Community support is important as well as ability to work with government agencies such as Cal Fire.

Forest Committee directors will research appropriate forestry and ecologist qualifications for candidates.

Public and Director Comments: Discussion of whether to hold a December meeting. Decision deferred.

Harry Farmer expressed his gratitude for the community’s support in re-electing him with the highest vote total ever in Cambria’s recent election. He hopes the changes in the CSD board augers well for better relationships with the Coastal Commission and other agencies.

Crosby Swartz said that the supporting documents presented to the CSD regarding the cost of the Electric Vehicle Charging Station were incomplete. The CSD board approved the project.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:54 pm.

Next Meeting December 9, 2020


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Minutes October 2020



Minutes October 2020

October 14, 2020, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

Crosby Swartz called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm. A quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Christine Heinrichs and Greenspace representative Bob Fountain. Harry Farmer, CSD president and liaison, and John Weigold, CSD general manager, also attended.

Public and Director Comments:

Harry Farmer said that the Forest Committee could sponsor speakers for the public, using Zoom. The technology allows presentations to be recorded and posted online. Possible speakers include Rick Hawley and Paul Williams.

Paul Nugent offered to take over as secretary from Christine Heinrichs. Christine will become co-chair with Crosby.

Crosby gave information on the herbicide Florel to Carlos to treat Dwarf Mistletoe. Carlos has purchased it and will use it on any patches he sees or are brought to his notice. Anyone who notices infestations can alert Carlos. Early treatment reduces damage.

Laura reported that the Cambria Community Council contacted her to encourage the Forest Committee to apply for a grant. Directors are asked to bring ideas. CCC favors projects that involve young people and serve the community. Previous grants have supported the Forest Committee’s signs and invasive weed guide.

Minutes of the September Meeting were approved unanimously.

Laura Swartz gave the Treasurer’s Report: The account balance is $738.60, with one check for $541 for Directors and Officers insurance outstanding. The balance will be $197.60 after that clears. Directors are asked to donate. Paul Nugent reported that the bill for Zoom is $149 for the year. He will donate that payment.

Sub-Committee Reports


Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program: Crosby had no progress to report.

The CambriaCa Newsletter Article: published meeting announcement again.

Forest Management

DefensibleSpace.org Website Recommendations: This web site, referred by Kitty Connolly, executive director of FFRP, has a lot of useful information on hardening homes against fire. Ember-proofing the house is more effective than cutting down trees, as embers can travel long distances. Only trees within 100 feet of structures should be limbed up. Paul has discussed ladder fuels with Steve Bitto.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

Crosby and Laura attended the meeting. Fire Department Chief William Hollingsworth has an account to track volunteer hours in support of grant applications. He will post official information to Nextdoor. He reported on evacuation.

Dan Turner, business manager of County Fire Safe Council, reported on the Village Lane Project, to remove dead and dying trees from the canyon near Tin City and Santa Lucia Middle School. The project is being funded by PG&E to protect its power lines. County Planning has granted an exemption from the normal permitting process. A biologist’s report is expected with the week. California Native Plant Society representatives will walk through to assess native plants. Work needs to be started in October and completed by mid-November.

No project description has yet been made available to the public. This area is private property, unlike Fiscalini Ranch, which belongs to the District. Having a project description the public can review improves public confidence. The Forest Committee will continue to follow the project and review it on the agenda.

Dan Turner is also considering hiring Auten to write the Environmental Impact Report for work on the Covell Ranch and possible work on Hearst Ranch. The report is expected to be available in a few months.

Cal Poly has 110 test plots they are monitoring in Cambria. They are keeping a detailed count of what is growing, what has died, how high, a detailed record of what is happening in the forest.

New Business

Officer Elections: As required by the Bylaws, election of officers is held annually. Crosby will work up a slate of officers in consultation with directors and the slate will be presented at the November meeting. Bob Fountain offered to become a director.

Unfinished Business

Director and Officer Liability Insurance Policy: Contact Crosby for a copy of the policy. The $541 fee covers any number of directors.

Discussion of Forest Manager Tasks and Qualifications: Ability to work with all agencies as a respected voice for the forest is important. The Forest Committee will review Steve Auten’s work with the Covell and Hearst Ranch projects for suitability.

Harry Farmer suggested working with Cal Poly forestry graduates, faculty and other contacts for candidates. Bob Fountain said that the forest manager should understand the whole picture of forest ecology. “The ideal person can act as a referee between environmental interests and firefighting agencies. It needs to be somebody who can find a path forward,” Crosby said.

Public and Director Comments:

CSD General Manager John Weigold reported that the homeless issue is getting worse. He advises working with county resources to remove encampments. Recently, homeless people have been moving substantial assets into the forest on Fiscalini Ranch, including outdoor grills. The county has Community Action Teams to help.

Fire generally is banned, but those who don’t have a place to live use fires for cooking and warming. Chief Hollingsworth has observed that they do not follow warnings not to have fires.

Christine will give a presentation on Carbon Neutral Cambria at the October 23 NCAC meeting. Trees are important in sequestering CO2.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 pm
Next Meeting November 11, 2020

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