Minutes December 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

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

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

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

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

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

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

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

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

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

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

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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Minutes August 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes August 2020

August 12, 2020, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Paul Nugent, and Christine Heinrichs. CSD Board Liaison Harry Farmer; Greenspace liaison Bob Fountain, FFRP Executive Director Kitty Connolly, Ann Wride Jim and Mary Webb, Jim Bahringer, Elizabeth Bettenhausen, Linda Poppenheimer, Walt Andrus, and Susan Loganbill also attended.

Public and Director Comments  

Paul Nugent said that he has taken good photos of seedlings growing in the fuel reduction area along Cambria Pines Road.  French broom is much reduced.

Julie Jorgenson said that Cambria Nursery is willing to sell the Invasive Weed Guide.

Minutes of the July meeting were approved. Approval of the June Minutes was deferred to the September meeting.

Treasurer’s Report: Starting with a balance of $983.60, Laura Swartz reported that several $2 bank charges were deducted and she paid Lynn Singer’s invoice for accounting and tax reporting services, $245, leaving a balance of $734.60.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program 

Crosby continues to compile the documents relevant to the TDC Program, which is not well understood. His work will provide the resources to document the program. Agencies involved include the Land Conservancy of SLO, California Coastal Conservancy, the Land Use Ordinance, the Memorandum of Understanding between the CCSD and the Land Conservancy. Documents available only as hard copies will be reproduced and posted to the Forest Committee web site.

The CambriaCa Newsletter Article

Crosby is providing a meeting announcement to this weekly online publication. Kitty is providing regular reports on FFRP activities.

Forest Management

CFD Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Program

The timeline for owners to cut weeds on vacant lots has passed. The remaining 105 parcels on the list will be cut by contractor Mike Rice by September 18. He is an experienced landscaper who is knowledgeable about native plants and does not cut more than needed.

Monterey Pine Forest Watch

No contact has yet been made with this organization.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

Crosby and Laura attended the August 12 meeting. The group discussed the interaction between wildfire smoke and Covid. Wildfire smoke can increase susceptibility to Covid and other respiratory infections, and worsen symptoms and outcomes. A flyer is posted on their web site, https://cambriacert.com/covid-19/

SLO County Fire Safe Council has received a grant from PGE for fuel reduction in the canyon between Tin City, the Cambria Nursery and the Middle School. Concerns include the steepness of the topography, making debris removal difficult, and how the watershed will be protected from runoff during the rainy season.

New Business

Discussion of FFRP Forest Health Report Update     

Crosby summarized the comments on the Fuel Reduction Project in the report from James Allen commissioned by FFRP.  Allen felt that the project  had not met the goals of the original report in some areas. CCSD Facilities Manager Carlos Mendoza and Fire Safe Council Business Manager Dan Turner did not agree with Allen’s assessment.

The disagreements illustrated the lack of agreement on specific clearing techniques, such as the amount of limbing up that is appropriate. Crosby suggested having written guidelines, such as the Big Sur Land Trust uses, to avoid misunderstanding in future projects. “We need to improve the process for the future, so that everybody is more in agreement with what’s being done,” he said.

Kitty Connolly of FFRP, which commissioned the report and solicited additional comments, said that Mendoza and Turner were the people who supervised the work and were most qualified to comment. She anticipates developing a new Forest Management Plan.

Laura said that Greenspace and the Cambria Forest Committee could have also commented on the report and the project.

Mary Webb said she saw work done that exceeded the limits that were discussed when she served on the Land Use Committee of NCAC.

Christine said that the forest needs a Forest Ecologist who can advocate for the forest as a whole and oversee projects such as fuel reduction.

Kitty offered to provide a hard copy of the report to anyone who asks her for one, kitty@ffrpcambria.org, but she will not make it available digitally.

Unfinished Business

Discussion of Forest Manager Tasks and Qualifications  

A Forest Manager for the Monterey Pine forest is specified in the Forest Management Plan. While the cost of hiring a person full time for this position is out of reach financially now, a consultant might be hired with an eye to future expansion into a full-time job.

Mary Webb suggested working with the other stands of Monterey Pine forest in Santa Cruz and Del Monte to hire a regional forest manager.

All relevant agencies need to have their viewpoints included in managing the forest. Cal Fire has expressed a desire to circumvent environmental review, the Cutting the Green Tape Initiative, which could limit public engagement in reviewing projects. Private property owners need a source of reliable advice on caring for the trees on their property as part of the forest.

Crosby said that doing nothing is not an option. Managing the forest is a continuing responsibility. The consequences of failing to act, such as wildfire, can be even more serious and expensive.

Ability to find grant funding will be important for the Forest Manager.

Future Agenda Items:

Kitty will report on FFRP’s plans.

Public and Director Comments

Link to Forest Stewardship Workshops https://ucanr.edu/sites/forestry/Forest_Stewardship/ForestStewardshipWorkshops/. This program is available to help local citizens learn how to write a Forest Management Plan and promote forest health.

Coastal Cleanup Day: Every Saturday in September will be a Coastal Cleanup Day. Check the web site, https://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/ccd/ccd.html

Mary Webb reported that Greenspace volunteers planted 3,000 trees on state parks earlier this year and 80 percent are surviving. Linda Poppenheimer helped out and has planted trees on her own property. Greenspace is also sending another 250 Monterey Pine trees to Golden Gate park in San Francisco. The park planted 250 trees a few years ago and wants more.

The meeting was Adjourned at 7:40 pm.
Next Meeting September 9, 2020

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Minutes July 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes July 2020

July 8, 2020, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Bob Fountain, Greenspace, and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, CSD president and liaison, David Pierson, CSD director, Kitty Connolly, executive director of Friends of Fiscalini Ranch, Carmen Peterson, FFRP board, Linda Poppenheimer, and Joaquin Quintana, forest technician in Humboldt County, also attended.

Public and Director Comments:

Christine Heinrichs reported confusion about the Fuel Reduction requirements posted in a social media discussion on Nextdoor. Harry Farmer said he would follow up.

Kitty Connolly said that FRP visitors have reported seeing mice on the ranch. They may be voles, which have cyclical population explosions.

Approval Minutes of June Meeting was postponed until August.

Treasurer’s Report:

Laura Swartz reported the account balance at $983.60. The bank is charging $2 a month for service. Lynn Singer’s bill for accounting and tax reporting services, is expected to be paid in the coming month.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

         Transfer of Development Credits / Lodge Hill Restoration Program:

The program is not well understood. Crosby continues to provide information as needed.

The CambriaCa Newsletter Articles:

John Rohrbaugh has published an advance for Forest Committee meetings. This free service can be used to publicize other community issues.

Forest Management

CFD Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Program:

The program is wrapping up for the 2020 season. Deadline for weed abatement is July 15. All lots not cleared by then will be cleared by the CSD contractor, before September 18.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

The free Chipping Event on July 6 & 7 reduced excess brush on as many as 45 properties, about 22 tons of waste. A full report will be available at the July Fire Safe Focus Group meeting.

New Business

          Election of Additional Directors:

The Forest Committee will schedule director elections soon. Bob Fountain demurred from committing to serving as an elected Forest Committee director, due to other commitments. Linda Poppenheimer was invited to serve.

          Discussion of Forest Manager Tasks and Qualifications:

Joaquin Quintana, forest technician, earned his degree in forestry at Humboldt State University in 2016. He is completing the required three years of forestry work to qualify to take the Registered Professional Forester exam. He intended to take the April exam, but that was postponed due to Covid. Cambria has not created a position for a Forest Manager, although that was recommended in the Forest Management Plan.

The Cambria Forest Management Plan anticipated the position would be full-time, professional employment by the CSD. Because that position has never been filled, responsibilities have been carried by CSD Facilities & Resources Department, the Cambria Fire Department, FFRP and Greenspace. Activities are not well coordinated. FFRP hired arborist James Allen as a consultant to update the 2014 forest health assessment and the recent fuel reduction project, but that report is not yet available.

A full time professional would be able to see the forest ecologically, managing it for safety and health. Kitty Connolly said that complex issues including soils, disease, understory and climate change require specialized management. FFRP is exploring hiring a Cal Poly graduate student for a more robust comprehensive solution for the Ranch.

Joaquin suggested grant funding for specific projects could lead to permanent management.

In addition to knowledge of the Monterey Pine forest, a candidate would need the interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with Cal Fire and the other organizations which are currently engaged in managing the forest. Understanding local and state laws, ability to work with other agencies, and grant writing skills are important.

Unfinished Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: The letter will be part of the ongoing permit application for the Emergency Water Supply Project, which has been changed to a Sustainable Water Facility Project for existing and new connections.

Public and Director Comments

Kitty will forward information on the Coastal Cleanup Day, which has been revised this year due to the pandemic. It will be carried out over the last two weeks of September and cleanup at sites other than the coast is welcome. Cleanup kits will be available in August.

The Forest Committee continues to look for additional director candidates.

Linda Poppenheimer suggested making contact with Monterey Pine Forest Watch. Crosby said he will reach out.

Meeting adjourned at 7:43 pm.
Next Meeting August 12, 2020

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Minutes June 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes June 2020

June 10, 2020

6:30 PM, Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Christine Heinrichs and Bob Fountain, Greenspace liaison. Dan Turner, business director of County Fire Safe Council; Carlos Mendoza, facilities manager for Cambria Community Services District; William Hollingsworth, Cambria Fire Department fire chief;; Kitty Connolly, Fiscalini Ranch Preserve liaison; Harry Farmer, CSD liaison also attended.

Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Program – CFD Chief William Hollingsworth explained the program, which notifies property owners of unimproved property in writing that they are required to cut weeds to reduce fire danger. Deadline for weed abatement is July 15. Lots not cut by them will be weed whacked by the district’s contractor, Mike Rice, and billed for the work. The program works with Cal Fire’s program, which is responsible for improved lots with houses.

Branches and trunks less than 12 inches diameter need to be removed or chipped. Larger trunks can remain on the property to decompose naturally.

Crosby and Laura Swartz have worked with Chief Hollingsworth to exclude lots that are under conservation easement, to allow them to grow naturally to foster native foliage.

Contractors have been trained in the past to avoid cutting native plants. Rick Hawley does that training, but it was not offered this year. The fire department keeps a list of contractors who have been certified under that training and refers property owners to those contractors.

Crosby and Laura will take photos of good examples of treated lots, which Chief Hollingsworth offered to include in notifications.

Weed abatement supports fire safety, but houses need to be hardened against fire with exterior siding and ember-proof roofs.

Outdoor wood-burning grills, barbeques, and fire pits are not allowed unless they are equipped with ember screens. Charcoal and gas grills and barbeques are okay. Most Cambrians are aware but visitors sometimes start fires outdoors. Call the fire department to report open fires. They will inform the offenders of the rules and education them about fire in Cambria.

Public and Director Comments: Crosby will discuss adding representatives of related organizations to the Forest Committee. He will report at the July meeting.

California Invasive Plant Council is offering five webinars this week. “The weird and wild world of Phytophthora: Ubiquitous yet unfamiliar plant pathogens. Igor Lacan, Urban Forestry Advisor for the Bay Area, University of California Cooperative Extension on the pathogens behind sudden oak death” would be of interest. If any attendees participate, they may report at the July meeting. The webinar may be posted later to the IPC web site. https://www.cal-ipc.org/

Minutes of May Meeting were approved as submitted.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the account is unchanged at $983.60. Mechanics Bank has not sent a statement indicating whether they will levy the $15 a month service charge. Laura gave the financial records to Lynn Singer to prepare the taxes, which are due July 15.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

         Transfer of CCSD Conservation Easement Parcels: Harry Farmer met with representatives of the SLO Land Conservancy to discuss selling parcels under conservation easement. If the CSD sells lots to private individuals, multiple owners could make enforcement of the easements difficult for state and county agencies. Crosby will make a list of agencies involved for future reference.

The CambriaCa Newsletter Articles: Crosby submitted a meeting announcement. Crosby will write an article on fine points of weed abatement.

Forest Management

         Forest Management Task Force CRPG Survey: The deadline was extended to June 17. They are looking for forest health or fuel reduction projects. Forest Committee projects don’t rise to the level at which the council would be interested. Crosby has a pdf copy of the survey questions.

Dwarf Mistletoe Monitoring and Treatment: Crosby sent information on the herbicide Florel to Carlos. He 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.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Dan Turner reported that insurance agent Stacy Korsgadon of Grover Beach answered questions on fire insurance.  Companies use a point scoring system to determine renewals. Cambria Pines Road is being re-evaluated, and its scores improving. Another forum on fire insurance will be held in the future.

Free chipping of brush will be offered July 6-7. Brush must be piled on the property by July 3.  Sign up by contacting CambriaCERT@gmail.com or call 1-805-900-5152.

A grant in process through PGE would fund removal of french broom and dead trees in the Tin City, Village Lane area on the east side of Burton,

French broom and hazardous tree removal continue in Cambria.  Private arborists are removing dead trees and crews are burning piles of french broom. The Forest Committee will provide information to homeowners on removing french broom from landscaping.

Report from Coastal Commission Meeting: The Coastal Commission staff reversed its 2019 recommendation to deny the 33-unit Peoples Self Help Housing permit application in a new report, which recommends approval. The commission voted unanimously on June 10 to issue the permit, with conditions. The report asserts that water efficient construction will result in the project creating 125 percent water savings. Cambria’s current withdrawals of water from the creeks are already damaging the local environment, which includes the forest and its wildlife.

Unfinished Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: Crosby submitted the letter to the district and the county, regarding the Coastal Development Permit for the Emergency Water supply project. He will continue to follow up.

Public and Director Comments: Add to the July agenda the addition of new directors.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:45pm.
Next Meeting July 8, 2020

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Minutes May 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes May 2020

May 13, 2020, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Paul Nugent, and Christine Heinrichs. FFRP executive director Kitty Connolly, David Krause and Melissa Mooney, president, of California Native Plant Society, Harry Farmer, president of the Cambrian Community Services District board and CSD liaison, and Bob Fountain, Greenspace director also attended.

Public and Director Comments: Crosby Swartz suggested considering Dave Krause a director emeritus, as he is one of the founders of CFC.

Minutes of April Meeting were approved with one amendment.

Treasurer’s Report:  Laura Swartz reported that the balance remains unchanged at $983.60. Preparation of taxes has been deferred due to Covid-19 deadline extension. Mechanics Bank sent her paperwork that does not allow for a no-charge nonprofit checking account category. The alternative Business category carries a charge of $15 a month. She will inquire of the branch manager whether charges can be waived.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Transfer of CCSD Conservation Easement Parcels

Several property owners have offered to purchase undeveloped conservation easement lots from the CSD. Although that would relieve the CSD of maintenance responsibility, the cost savings would be minimal and having multiple owners would make easement enforcement difficult. Harry Farmer will confer with District Counsel Tim Carmel and SLO Land Conservancy deputy executive director Daniel Bohlman. Crosby will compile a list of agencies involved and relevant documents to be posted to the Forest committee web site.

 Permit Referrals

NCAC is now posting links to current permit applications on its web site, https://ncacslo.org/may-2020-land-use-committee/. The two new applications do not involve any tree removal.

DRC2020-00017 MINABERRIGARAI

DRC2020-00053 SANDOVAL

Settimi, Hench, Kausen and Bookout permit applications remain pending. The Settimi permit application for new house construction has been appealed and is scheduled for a hearing before the Board of Supervisors July 14.

The CambriaCa Newsletter Articles

John Rohrbaugh has started a weekly online newspaper, https://www.cambriaca.org/. Paul and Crosby are contributing articles about the Cambria Forest Committee. Deadline Wednesdays for Thursday publication.

Forest Management

Forest Management Task Force CRPG Survey

The Forest Management Task Force Coastal Regional Prioritization Group (CRPG) is soliciting information about forest health and fire prevention projects that participants are interested in initiating in the next one to three years. The Forest Committee could participate by suggesting hiring a forest ecologist to manage the Monterey Pine forest. Christine and Crosby will pursue it. Deadline June 10.

The CRPG will have a Q&A conference call in two weeks for people to discuss the survey and ask questions.  This Q&A conference call will be on Friday May 29, 2020 at 10:00 am via Zoom.  You can connect via the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85315214170 or call in number: (669) 900-6833, and enter Meeting ID: 853 1521 4170.

 Dwarf Mistletoe Monitoring and Treatment 

Crosby and Laura Swartz used a treatment, the growth regulator brand Florel, that works well to discourage Dwarf Mistletoe on Monterey Pine trees. They have observed it growing on Fiscalini Ranch Preserve trees. Kitty Connolly suggested informing Carlos Mendoza. Dwarf Mistletoe can damage pine trees and even kill small ones. More information about mechanical and chemical control of Dwarf Mistletoe is available from the University of California at ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7437.html.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

Kitty reported that the FSFG is not holding live meetings during the Covid-19 crisis. Dave and Melissa met with Dan Turner for a field tour of several French Broom treatment sites in Cambria. The Fire Safe Council has a multi-year plan to remove French Broom infestations, including follow-up inspections and treatment.

New Business

Sudden Oak Death Survey May 16th – 18th. 

Those who want to participate can pick up information packages on Saturday in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero. More information at https://nature.berkeley.edu/news/2020/03/call-citizen-scientists-2020-sudden-oak-death-blitzes.

Unfinished Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure 

The Forest Committee letter addresses the impact on the forest of constructing 400-500 new houses in forest areas of Cambria. Crosby sent it on behalf of the Forest Committee to the CCSD board president, the CSD general manager, County Planning Department, and the Coastal Commission, to include it in the consideration of the Coastal Development Permit for the Emergency Water Supply Project.

Crosby also sent the Forest Committee’s survey comment letter to Cal Poly graduate student Erin Lucett, elucett@calpoly.edu, and her advisor, Dr Yamina Pressler, ypressle@calpoly.edu. No response from either.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:22 pm.

Next Meeting June 10, 2020

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Minutes April 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes April 2020

April 8, 2020, 6:30 PM

Zoom.com Video Teleconference

The meeting was called to order at 6:39 pm and a Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Christine Heinrichs and CCSD liaison Harry Farmer. Dave Krause, treasurer of the SLO Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and Cambria CNPS member Linda Poppenheimer; CSD director Don Howell; CSD facilities and ranch manager Carlos Mendoza; Dan Turner, business manager for SLO County Fire Safe Council; and Cambria resident Greg Randall.

Public and Director Comments

Greg Randall commented that signs at the Tipton Road Fiscalini Ranch trailhead are being vandalized.

Crosby Swartz said that this is the Forest Committee’s first remote meeting on Zoom. Paul Nugent set it up.

Dave Krause reported that the CNPS submitted a letter to the CSD board regarding the recent fuel reduction project on the Fiscalini Ranch and the Cambria Fire Mitigation and Forest Health Survey being conducted by Cal Poly graduate student Erin Lucett. Dave, along with Rick Hawley, Galen Rathbun and Linda Warren Seek were among the founders of the Forest Committee. He is a naturalist and botanist, and loves looking at flowers.

Minutes of the March meeting were approved unanimously as submitted.

Treasurer’s Report:  Laura Swartz reported that the account balance remains the same, at $983.60. There are no outstanding checks and no donations to report. The next anticipated financial expense will be to CPA Lynn Singer for income tax filing. The date for that has been extended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

                    Transfer of CCSD Conservation Easement Parcels

Crosby reported that some Cambrians whose property is adjacent to undeveloped lots under Conservation Easement have asked whether they can purchase the lots from the CSD. Board President Farmer said that the legal considerations of selling the property make it impractical for the district to sell any lots. Crosby said that the lots would remain under conservation easement administered by the Land Conservancy of SLO, but having multiple owners would make enforcing the easements practically impossible. Crosby will provide information in the event that this matter is brought before the CSD Board.

Permit Referrals: Under the coronavirus crisis, the county is not processing permits. Christine is staying in contact with County planners on the issue.

Forest Management

Forest Management Task Force Conference Call Report: Andrea Bernheisel circulates summaries of the Coastal Regional Prioritization Group conference calls. The calls focus on reports from Cal Fire units in the coastal zone but allow others to listen in. Mr. Turner reported on the PowerTainer gasification/pyrolysis unit that converts wood waste into electricity and/or biochar. A unit is now in place and working in Mendocino County. Kim Bernheisel, CAL FIRE Fuels Management Captain reported on curtain burners being used in Monterey County to dispose of wood waste.

Invasive weed removal grants: Mr. Turner is not aware of any grants available.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group (meeting cancelled):

The Town Hall meeting on fire prevention scheduled for May has been postponed indefinitely.

Mr. Randall reported that he had observed a gas-powered utility cart at the Tipton trailhead, and noted damage to the footbridge after that. Carlos Mendoza said that his maintenance staff uses a vehicle like that. He said he would check on the bridge.

New Business

       Cambria Fire Mitigation and Forest Health Survey Comments

https://arcg.is/5XGu1

The survey was included in water bills sent to Cambria ratepayers with the most recent bill. The inclusion was approved by the CSD board, before the survey was written, so the board did not have the opportunity to review it.

Crosby said that the survey items were so confusing that he found it impossible to respond to them.  Linda Poppenheimer said that it was so poorly written that it misses an opportunity to elicit public opinion and educate the public about the forest. She sent comments to Ms. Lucett and her advisors, but their answers were unresponsive to her concerns.

Mr. Turner said that despite the title, Cambria Fire Mitigation and Forest Health, the survey’s goal is information about public opinion regarding forest aesthetics. He said results would not be used to decide on forest treatments, which would be made on scientific recommendations, but would be used to educate the public.

Crosby and Christine will write a letter to circulate to CFC directors for approval before sending to Ms. Lucett and her advisors.

Unfinished Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure Letter

Christine was the only director who responded to Crosby’s request for directors’ advice on sending the letter to the Coastal Commission and county planners. Despite the current coronavirus crisis, directors favored submitting the letter now, and following up later as needed. Crosby will send the letter again to the directors and submit the letter.

Earth Day Fair (cancelled): no further action.

Public and Director Comments

Crosby said that not meeting in the bank relieves the CFC of meeting after bank hours. Meeting times can be adjusted to participants’ convenience. Remote meetings allow others to participate. Remote participation may be possible in the future during in-person meetings.

Thanks to Paul Nugent for setting up the Zoom meeting.

Welcome to CNPS to engage with the CFC. Mr. Turner said that the CNPS letter was not accurate in its criticism that understory clearing is not followed up. He said that broom sprouts are treated with herbicides, depending on getting permission to treat private property. He said that understory treatment is a multi-year process.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 pm.

Next Meeting May 13, 2020

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Minutes March 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes March 2020

March 11, 2020, 6:30 PM

Mechanics Bank, 1070 Main Street, Cambria

The meeting was called to Order and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Ralph Covell, Oliver Curley representing Greenspace, and Christine Heinrichs. Also attending were Harry Farmer, CSD board president, the Cambria Community Services District; Alan Peters, Cal Fire unit forester, and John Gee of Cal Fire; Dan Turner, business manager of SLO County Fire Safe Council; Carlos Mendoza, facilities and ranch manager for CCSD; and Cambrian Greg Randall also attended.

Public and Director Comments  

Crosby Swartz raised the question of holding virtual meetings in the event Coronavirus cancels meetings in person. Paul will look into Skype in case we need a remote meeting.

Minutes of January and February Meetings were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the account balance at $983.60. She paid for the post office box.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

FFRP released its new Volunteer Handbook. It will be available to FFRP volunteers.

Crosby shared a Viewpoint published in the SLO Tribune March 6, 2020, by David Brodie and Allan Cooper: What’s the Easiest Way San Luis Obispo Can Save the Planet? Plant a Lot More Trees, https://www.sanluisobispo.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article240822261.html. The article promotes the value of trees for absorbing CO2. Harry Farmer said that trees illustrate our intimate relationship with the natural world, what they breathe in what we breathe out.

In an email response, Alan Peters said that he hopes Cambria will plant 15,000 trees a day for six consecutive days in 2023 or 2024. Rick Hawley, operations manager of Greenspace, said that organization is prepared to help.

Crosby, Laura and Alan Peters discussed management of the Monterey Pine forest. Because the species is fire-dependent, the forest usually is composed of single-age, single-canopy trees, unlike a mixed conifer forest. Commercial growers plant with the intention of thinning trees every five years. Dan Turner said that the intent is to replicate a natural forest. He said that the Fire Safe Council of San Luis Obispo is the lead agency doing the fuel reduction work, being carried out by contractors, the California Conservation Corps and Cal Fire crews under Cal Fire supervision.

Alan Peters said tree planting will be done in two or three years, after observing how much natural tree regeneration occurs. They will monitor the recent prescribed burn area on San Simeon Point for natural regeneration of Monterey Pines.

Paul Nugent asked whether tree seedlings naturally growing on Fiscalini Ranch could be transplanted, but Alan Peters said survival is poor among transplants. Dan Turner recommended using seeds from healthy trees showing no symptoms of disease.

Problem of Smoking in Forest Areas 

Harry Farmer will follow up at the next FFRP Board meeting.

In his position as ranch manager, Carlos Mendoza said he has ordered more signs for the ranch trails. He feels a cigarette butt collector encourages smokers. As ranch manager, he is concerned about homeless people living in the forest using stoves and butane tanks.  Call the Fire Department if you observe any burning in the forest.

Permit Referrals

Christine has permit referral packages for Settimi, Bookout, Hench and Kausen permit applications. The county’s website makes them difficult to locate. Contact her for packages.

Forest Management

Forest Management Task Force Conference Call 3-12-20

California Forest Management Task Force Coastal Regional Prioritization Group will hold another conference call March 12. Crosby and Laura, Dan Turner, Alan Peters, Oliver Curley and Andrea Wogsland will participate. Minutes will be available.

Laura Swartz asked whether the amount of disruption by the fuel reduction project will result in growth of more invasives. Alan Peters said he will look for studies on the subject.  Broom has been reduced by 60 percent.

Dan Turner said that 700 acres have been identified for treatment between Harmony and San Simeon. The project includes Covell Ranch, Fogs End and Hearst Ranch.

Coalition letter

Dan Turner said that the letter Greenspace wrote, signed by a coalition of organizations, to the Coastal Regional Prioritization Group contained numerous factual errors and he disagreed strongly with the idea that he used poor judgment in managing the fuel reduction project. He will discuss the matter with Greenspace after the meeting.

He denied using the phrase “cutting the green tape,” which suggests evading regulations, on the previous conference call. After the meeting, Alan Peters directed attention to the website, “Cutting the Green Tape,” a state initiative to improve permitting and funding efficiencies for ecological restoration and stewardship projects, https://resources.ca.gov/Initiatives/Cutting-the-Green-Tape

Alan Peters said that as a Registered Professional Forester, he complies with all regulations, including Department of Transportation, the Minor Use Permit, the Mitigated Negative Declaration, California Environmental Quality Act, the Coastal Land Use Plan, and others. He said that he is guided by Cambria’s Forest Management Plan. He said the level of treatment done was less than the Forest Management Plan recommends.

Specific points Peters sent in a message after the meeting include:

Understory species composition remains the same as it was prior to the fuel reduction project, except for removal of invasive French broom.

The chain saws used for cutting and limbing trees do not require cleaning between uses as they are not vectors of pathogen spread. The heat generated by friction is considered adequate to kill fungal spores.

Tree planting is not included in the fuel reduction project, but is part of the comprehensive plan of which the fuel reduction project is part. Significant tree planting will be the last phase of the plan.

CAL FIRE is the Grantor and Lead Agency. The grant was made to the County Fire Safe Council, which is working with CCSD, private contractors, private landowners and State Parks.

The governor’s Executive Action applies only to removal of dead and dying trees. Other applicable regulations governed the fuel reduction project.

Crosby said that County Fire Safe Council and Cal Fire need to communicate with the community. He said he respects their experience and asked them to come to Forest Committee meetings to discuss the project.

They agreed to invite Keith Gilles of the Board of Forestry at UC Berkeley, who chairs the Science Advisory Panel, to visit Cambria this summer.

A Cal Poly graduate student is developing a community survey of attitudes toward the forest. The CSD has agreed to send it to all residents in water bills. How the questions will be worded can influence the responses. How results will be used in future forest management projects was discussed. While the results reflect public opinion, forest management decisions should be based on science.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

Dan Turner is working on Frequently Asked Questions to be posted to the Fire Safe Council’s website. Submit questions to him or Jim Neumann,

They plan a Town Hall meeting for May 16 at the Vets Hall.

New Business

            Forest Committee Booth at Earth Day Fair

Cambria Forest Committee will share a booth with FFRP as we have done for the last several years. Crosby and Oliver will coordinate.

Unfinished Business

            Forest Impact Mitigation Measure to CCSD

Crosby will email the letter to Forest Committee directors for electronic approval. Moved by Laura Swartz, seconded by Paul Nugent, unanimous approval.

Public and Director Comments

Volunteer day Saturday March 14 at Greenspace’s Native Plant Garden, organized by Amanda Gowdy. The daffodils are beautiful.

The meeting was adjourned 8:31 pm.

Next Meeting April 8, 2020

 

 

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Minutes February 2020

Minutes February 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Meeting Minutes

February 12, 2020, 6:30 PM

Mechanics Bank, 1070 Main Street, Cambria

The meeting was Called to Order by Crosby Swartz at 6:30 pm and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Julie Jorgenson, Greenspace executive director Andrea Wogsland, and Christine Heinrichs. CSD liaison Harry Farmer, Greenspace intern Oliver Curley, Cambria resident Greg Randall also attended.

Public and Director Comments

Crosby and Laura reported that they hiked the trails in the new Pismo Preserve and it is beautiful. It offers miles of trails and scenic views.

The CFC web site needs to be updated so that it works better on cell phones. Paul said he can advise on improvements.

An email from Benevity, which allows businesses to make matching donations, gives directions for updating the CFC’s posting. Crosby and Christine will address.

Approve Minutes of January Meeting

Approval of the January Minutes was deferred for further discussion.

The discussion raised issues concerning what laws apply to Cal Fire, under the governor’s executive actions. The orders were intended to expedite tree removal. Andrea checked and determined that Cal Fire is required to abide by local code with regard to tree replacement.

The Monterey Pine Tree Mortality Project mentions the CFC in its section on public participation, but the CFC was not consulted. The consensus was that the CFC needs to approve the use of its name in grant applications if it is to be cited as a collaborator.

Treasurer’s Report

Laura Swartz reported the account balance as $1091.60. She paid $118 for the CFC post office box, which is not reflected in that balance.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations 

Invasive Weed Guide Sales: Blake Thorin, park maintenance supervisor for State Parks, Blake.Thorin@parks.ca, 805-927-2016, cell 805-458-1650, is leading a new group of volunteer weed pullers for Moonstone Beach Boardwalk. Manya Brett bought one and Blake accepted two as references for the group.

Permit Referrals:

The Swift house construction permit was withdrawn from the Coastal Commission agenda after a staff report recommended denial.

DRC2020-00005 Kausen permit application for construction of a new dwelling unit and removal of five Monterey Pine trees is in process at the county. Crosby will check on whether NCAC has reviewed it yet.

Grants: CDFA Weed Management, Beautification and Infrastructure grants are available annually. Applications due March 19. They support one-time projects, not continuing maintenance. Keep ideas in mind for next year.

Fire Safe Focus Group has $20,000 available for invasive weed issues. Julie suggested focusing local attention on invasive weeds by publicizing a Weed of the Month. Greenspace features an Invasive Plant Spotlight on its website.

Greg Randall reported seeing people at the Fiscalini Ranch Tipton trailhead coming out of the forest smoking. Signs are not readily visible. He will attend the FFRP meeting to raise the issue. Harry Farmer will report at the CSD meeting. Cigarette butt collection tubes help reduce discarded butts. The Tourism Board may be willing to help fund collection tubes at the hotels. San Simeon CSD can advise on discarded fishing line.

Forest Management

Report from Coastal Regional Prioritization Work Group of the Forest Management Task Force Conference Call:

Contact is Angela Bernheisel, State Forest Manager, RPF #2602, CAL FIRE, San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit, Soquel Demonstration State Forest, 4750 Soquel-San Jose Road, Soquel, CA 95073
(831) 475-8643, www.fire.ca.gov/czu/

Dan Turner said that fuel reduction was only 25 percent completed in Cambria. Bernheisel has hired a scientist to evaluate the effects of the Vegetation Management Plan in Monterey County. It’s possible that the vegetation removal is making fire danger worse.

Participants discussed “cutting the green tape,” suggesting that officials are seeking ways to evade environmental regulations. The Chaparral Institute has sued Cal Fire for destroying habitat while failing to address the issue of flammable homes placed in flammable terrain, the main causes of fire loss. Press release posted here, https://californiachaparralblog.wordpress.com/. Additional material posted here, http://www.californiachaparral.org/helpcalfireeir.html.

Greenspace Tree Planting Project: 27 families have participated in planting 3,000 trees in the State Parks land north of the San Simeon campground. Greenspace members will continue to monitor the trees.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

A Cal Poly graduate student is conducting a survey in cooperation with the CSD. Greenspace will stay in communication with her.

Harry suggested reviving the possibility of hiring a Forest Manager.

Unfinished Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: Crosby has a draft of comments on the requirement that growth impacts of the Emergency Water Supply Project on the forest be mitigated. He will confer with Christine to write a final draft.

Best Management Practices Letter: The Big Sur Land Trust has specific prescriptions for fuel reduction projects. Crosby will request Cal Fire’s Best Management Practices document. If Cal Fire does not have one, the CFC will write one, so that all parties have a written document as to what they are working toward.

Public and Director Comments

Andrea said that she will take maternity leave in March, so Oliver Curley will be her deputy at the March meeting and until further notice.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:20 pm.

Next Meeting March 11, 2020

 

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