CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE
TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA
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.
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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, but she will not make it available digitally.
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