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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Minutes January 2020

Minutes January 2020

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Meeting Minutes

January 8, 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, Kitty Connolly, Andrea Wogsland, and Christine Heinrichs. Also attending were: CSD Board President and liaison Harry Farmer and CSD Director Donn Howell; Dan Turner, business manager for county Fire Safe Council, Alan Peters, SLU Unit Forester for Cal Fire, and Jim Neumann of San Luis Obispo Fire Safe Council; Oliver Curley, Greenspace intern; and Cambrians Greg Randall, Allison Dallmann, Linda Poppenheimer, and Tory Poppenheimer.

Public and Director Comments: Linda Poppenheimer took a group photo to use with her blog on environmental issues.

Minutes of December Meeting were approved after several amendments. Laura Swartz abstained.

Treasurer’s Report:

Laura Swartz reported that she deposited, $266 to the account, from directors’ donations to defray insurance and sales of Invasive Weed handbooks and a license plate frame bringing the $826.60 balance up to $1,091.60.

She reported that although another organization had reported that the Cambria Forest Committee’s nonprofit tax status had lapsed, she checked and found it in good standing.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations 

Invasive Weed Guide Sales: always looking for additional places to sell them.

County Permit Reviews: Andrea Wogsland will forward permit applications she receives.

Forest Management

       Fuel Reduction Project Guidelines:

Dan Turner said that the Monterey Pine Tree Mortality Project, a fuel reduction project, is conducted under the guidance of a Registered Forester. He said that native vegetation was cut back, not removed, and will grow back. The goal is a healthy forest.

Trimmed vegetation was chipped and placed on the forest floor to prevent erosion. Harry Farmer asked whether so much vegetation needed to be removed. Alan Peters said that the project removed broom and invasives such as eucalyptus and jubata grass. Broom was placed in piles and later burned. Other brush was chipped and placed on trails. Chipping the ladder fuels changed the fuel arrangement from vertical to horizontal, reducing fire hazard. He said that native plants will begin to grow in the spring, and will return in the same species composition as before.

Cal Fire crews will return to pull and use herbicides on invasives.

Both Mr. Turner and Mr. Peters said that written comments from the Forest Committee and the public are welcome.

 Executive Orders vs Permits:

The governor’s Executive Orders direct Cal Fire to find ways to accelerate fuel reduction projects. Crosby Swartz said that the public’s opportunity to comment on projects was lost in that process. Mr. Peters said he believes all the work has been conducted in compliance with all local regulations. He said that his team does not follow tree replacement guidelines where the intent of the project is to thin out dense stands of trees.

The Fire Safe Focus Group meetings are the main venue for public information. Kathe Tanner writes articles for The Cambrian. Cal Fire is restricted to Twitter as its social media outlet. Mr. Peters said informal venues are more effective than formal processes.

Mr. Peters announced that vegetation piles on Ramsey will be burned before the rain next week. Smoke from controlled burns upsets residents, who comment to agencies.

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

Thursday, January 9, 1-2:30 pm. 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/

Call in number is 1-888-363-4734 code 728352. Updates from CAL FIRE Unit Foresters and Los Padres NF on

2019 summarized accomplishments and 2020 projects planned.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

The county’s Office of Emergency Services participated in a presentation on evacuation planning for Cambria. The meeting was well attended. Estimated time to evacuate from Lodge Hill is four hours.

Unfinished Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: Crosby located a letter dated March 22, 2018 relevant to evaluating the impact of the Emergency Water Supply project on growth and thus on the forest. Former CSD Board presidents Dave Pierson and Amanda Rice are the CSD board’s ad hoc committee on the EWS application, which has not yet been completed and submitted to the county.

Andrea Wogsland reported that Daniel Bohlman of The Land Conservancy of SLO, who manages the Fern Canyon Preserve conservation easement for Cambria CSD, is monitoring compliance with the easement and will share the next LCSLO report when it is complete.

Public and Director Comments: Allyson Dallmann, a volunteer for the Center for Biological Diversity, invited all those attending to meet at her home Sunday January 12 to discuss moving forward to save life on Earth.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:07 pm.

Next Meeting February 12, 2020

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Minutes December 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes December 2019

December 11, 2019, 6:30 PM

Mechanics Bank, 1070 Main Street, Cambria

A Quorum was established by attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler, Andrea Wogsland, executive director of Greenspace, and Christine Heinrichs. Cambria CSD Director Harry Farmer, CSD board liaison, and Cambria resident Gregory Randall attended.

Public and Director Comments: 

Gregory Randall, who recently moved from Hollywood to Cambria, is an urban wildlife ecologist. He recommended iNaturalist for plant and wildlife identification.

JoEllen Butler invited all to the FFRP Songs for the Season event at Fogs End Barn on Saturday, December 14, 2-4:30 pm, $20.

JoEllen reported that the FFRP tree planting event was a success, despite the threat of rain. One woman attended to celebrate her 62nd birthday. Over 300 trees were planted. The event was blessed with a rainbow at both ends of the ranch.

New FFRP executive director Kitty Connolly will move to Cambria from Pasadena in December and take over the position in January. JoEllen will invite Kitty to attend Forest Committee meetings. JoEllen will take a break from community activities after she retires.

Harry Farmer is a candidate for CSD board president at the Thursday board meeting. If he is elected, he would be the first environmentally-oriented board president since Art Van Rhyn three decades ago. He will continue as Forest Committee liaison.

Laura said SLO is planting trees, on Chorro Street and other locations. Paul Nugent will invite a speaker on the subject of urban trees.

Minutes of November Meeting were approved with one amendment.

Treasurers Report: Laura Swartz reported that between directors’ donations to cover insurance brings the account balance to $826.60. Book sales will likely push the balance over $1,000.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations: Christine sold four Invasive Weed Guides via social media, Julie Jorgenson has been sick and not able to contact nurseries to sell the books. Andrea will add it to the Greenspace table at the Farmers Market. Sale price $10.

County Permit Reviews: Tree removals need to be mitigated by tree plantings. Andrea sells trees through Greenspace and provides letters attesting to mitigation.

The county has a new code enforcement officer.

The Bookout project, which would have taken down 70 trees, has been denied a permit by the Coastal Commission.

Laura said that a tree died several years after construction of a garage and driveway due to impact. The Forest Committee will look for examples of permeable concrete.

Andrea will forward the county new construction permit referrals to the Forest Committee.

Forest Management

Fuel Reduction Project Guidelines: Andrea has contacted the Forest Management Task Force, chair of the Science Advisory Panel Keith Gilless of the Board of Forestry at UC Berkeley. She will invite him to visit Cambria.

Cambria can work more closely with Cal Fire on tree planting. Alan Peters has said that grant money can be used for tree planting. Andrea said that the contractor is supposed to do an inventory of native plants and flag them before removing dead vegetation.

The Forest Committee will identify a native plant list. Plants such as coffeeberry and toyon are not protected but are significant native vegetation.

Fire Safe Focus Group plans to hold stakeholder meetings. The Land Conservancy should be included, because it holds conservation easements on land in Cambria.

​​ Urban and Community Forest Grants: EcoSLO applied and got one grant. Greenspace has not yet applied.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: next meeting will be in January

Unfinished Business

​              Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: Crosby will send materials disputing the EIR statement that buildout of 1,000 homes will have no impact on the forest.

Greenspace / Forest Committee Guidelines Letter: The letter should focus on specific guidelines of what to remove and what to protect.

Public and Director Comments:

Andrea met with Hearst Ranch Manager Ben Higgins. She suggested having a mixer for all the new environmental leaders in the Cambria area.

Andrea reported that she has talked to the senior vice president of an insurance company that insures land trusts.  Homeowners who are denied fire insurance have recourse and can file a complaint with state department of insurance.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:21 pm.

​​​  ​​Next Meeting January 8, 2020

 

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Minutes November 2019

Minutes November 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Meeting Minutes

November 13, 2019, 6:30 PM

Mechanics Bank, 1070 Main Street, Cambria

Call to Order and a Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Julie Jorgenson, Andrea Wogsland, JoEllen Butler, and Christine Heinrichs. Cambria Community Services District board liaison Harry Farmer, Cambrians Linda Poppenheimer and Jeff Walters also attended.

Public and Director Comments: Christine reported that Sarah Bisbing, assistant professor, Forest Ecosystem Science  at University of Nevada – Reno, who has studied Cambria’s Monterey Pine forest, is planning to visit to view the fuel reduction done by Cal Fire. She has not set a date.

Mr. Farmer suggested the NSPR series California Burning, https://www.mynspr.org/programs/california-burning-solutions-californias-wildfire-problem#stream/0, on the forest fire situation. He suggested having a Native American speaker who could address Native American use of fire. Crosby said that Fire Safe Focus Group discussed doing controlled burns. They await rain to complete pile burns of vegetation.

JoEllen invited all to join FFRP to plant trees during the Thanksgiving weekend, November 30. They have 350 trees to plant, mulch and water. Families are encouraged to participate. 9 am – noon, Huntington Road park entrance.

Minutes of the October Meeting were approved with some revisions.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the balance in the account is $526.60, but the $100 check to Kirsten Sheehy, the Galling Fly speaker, was not cashed. Christine will follow up with her.

Sales of Invasive Weed Guides could recover the costs of printing them and raise awareness of the problem. Julie will approach Cambria Nursery and the Garden Shed to assess their interest. Linda will bring one to the Native Plant Society next week.

The holidays are coming and Invasive Weed Guides make a good stocking stuffer.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations  

Crosby and Christine continue to work to get the Cambria Forest Committee added to the County Permit Review distribution list. Hilary Brown is the contact at the county planning department. Andrea reported that permit application DRC 2019-00214 for a 3100sq ft house, two garages, and a shop on a six-acre parcel at Cambria Pines Road and Buckley proposes to remove 70 trees.

The county has jurisdiction over AirBNB rentals. Julie said that momentum is swinging away from them. Visitors may not be aware of Cambria’s fire danger, could light up a grill out on the deck. Other problems include noisy parties and making pornographic movies. Conversion of long-term rentals to AirBNBs reduces available housing. Real estate brokers advertise using properties as AirBNBs as an asset to property value.

Forest Management:

In response to the extent of brush removal in the Fuel Reduction Project, the Forest Committee will develop guidelines for native plant protection. The confusion surrounding the Fuel Reduction Project indicates that the community and Fire Safe Council and Cal Fire need to find agreement on what trimming and removal are desirable. Crosby will work up a draft.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

Crosby, Laura, JoEllen and Paul attended. They discussed the Fuel Reduction project and developing guidelines, above. Cal Fire uses Timber Harvest Plans instead of CEQA, but also needs to comply with the Local Coastal Plan. Monterey Pine isn’t a good fit for Timber Harvest because it has no economic value.

The confusion over the Fuel Reduction project indicated that better communication with the community is needed for future projects. The Forest Committee will stay in contact with Turner to be available for public meetings and information.

The Nature Conservancy’s conservation easement on the Covell Ranch was brought up as an example. The public lost access, the Nature Conservancy has not communicated well with local residents, and although fire prevention was one of the goals, the area is not particularly threatened by fire.

JoEllen said that James Allen is writing his report on the Fuel Reduction Project. It will be available to the public and the Forest Committee.

Jeff Walters said that the removal of understory hurts the forest by interfering with underground plant communication and water use. Crosby said that Cal Fire describes the understory fuel reduction as trimming, not removal, because the roots are still there and the plants will grow back. Whether invasives will grow back faster remains to be seen. JoEllen said that the workers are not using glyphosate to kill plants.

Andrea is connecting with the Forest Management Task Force Working Group. Forest management projects involve multiple treatments paid for by multiple funding agencies with overlapping interests.

Fire Safe Council business manager Dan Turner suggested the Urban and Community Forest grant, application due November 27, might be suitable for Greenspace and the Forest Committee.

Paul reported that the AM radio communication system was discussed, and evacuation traffic congestion on Highway 1.

Fire Safe Focus Group will meet monthly in 2020.

Holiday Meeting Schedule:           

The Forest Committee will have a regular meeting December 11. Crosby will present a draft of suggested guidelines for fuel reduction projects.

Unfinished Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure:

Crosby continues to work on the need for mitigation for the Emergency Water Supply project. Mitigation for the impact on the forest was overlooked and has not been addressed.

Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: This will be addressed with the Forest Impact Mitigation letter and the Fuel Reduction Guidelines.

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm.
Next Meeting December 11, 2019

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Minutes October 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes October 2019

October 9, 2019, 6:30 PM

Mechanics Bank, 1070 Main Street, Cambria

  • A Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler, Andrea Wogsland, and Christine Heinrichs. CCSD liaison board vice president Harry Farmer attended.
  • Public and Director Comments: Two events are coming up:

Thursday October 24, 5 pm, Unitarian Universalist Community of Cambria, 786 Arlington Street. Local California Department of Fish and Wildlife game wardens Jason Chance and Richard Roodzant will talk on wildlife feeding.

Sunday October 27, 3 pm, Mechanics Bank: Biologist Joe Burnett, sponsored by Greenspace, will speak on Condors. Six juveniles will be released in San Simeon in the coming weeks.

3.0  Minutes of September Meeting were approved as written.

4.0  Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the account balance of $942.60, with no outstanding checks and no remaining grant money. The invoice for Directors &Officers insurance annual renewal, $516, arrived, due by Oct. 17. Directors usually donate $100, but it’s not required.

5.0  Sub-Committee Reports

5.1  Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Crosby and Christine continue to work to have the Forest Committee included in regular permit application notifications.

5.2 Forest Management

The Fuel Reduction Project along Highway 1 and on Fiscalini Ranch has trimmed all vegetation under the Monterey Pines and limbed the trees to clear the understory. JoEllen Butler, FFRP executive director, said that the project sought to balance preserving and protecting ranch with community safety.

Invasives were removed in accordance with the Fiscalini Ranch Management Plan. James Allen of Santa Cruz will assess the work and provide a written report that will be available to the public.

The work conforms to that done on Test Plot Four on Fiscalini Ranch. After removal of the understory, new trees sprouted.

Additional  homeless encampments were removed as they were discovered. One was 100 feet long and included several rooms.

Greenspace executive director Andrea Wogsland said that Cal Fire is testing the boundaries of conservation easements in recent projects. Big Sur Land Trust has written Specific Project Descriptions to monitor fuel reduction projects for compliance. She followed up by sending that document to Forest Committee directors attending the meeting.

“We have a unique forest that requires additional care,” she said.

Laura Swartz said that conservation easements need to be defended. Crosby Swartz said that the Minor Use Permit authorizing the work includes six biological monitoring conditions. He said the work has focused on the trees rather than the forest, which includes unique understory plants that create the forest ecosystem.

Documents related to the projects are difficult to locate. Public awareness has been limited.

Paul Nugent, who also serves on the Resources & Infrastructure Committee, said the grant funding, through the county Fire Safe Council, was welcome. Ms. Wogsland said that the Cambria Fire Safe Focus Group, which is accepted as a community organization by regional and state agencies, is not representing the range of public opinion.

Christine Heinrichs said that a Forest Manager would be a central figure to oversee such projects and provide information to the public. The Implementation Plan suggests routes to fund a Forest Manager position.

Mr. Nugent said that keeping insurance rates low is another consideration. Director Farmer said that real estate brokers have told him property sales are complicated by difficulty getting fire insurance in Cambria.

Crosby has taken photos of the work, to monitor the areas as they regrow over time. The Cambria Fire Department has two other fuel reduction grant applications in process, one for the ravine next to Tin City.

Crosby will draft a letter, using the Big Sur Trust document as a model, for comment on future fuel reduction projects.

6.0 The Fire Safe Focus Group meeting is rescheduled to Oct 23 at the Fire Station. William Hollingsworth will chair the meeting in chairman Dave Pierson’s absence. He will be on vacation.

7.0  No New Business

8.0  Unfinished Business

8.1 Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: Crosby will draft a letter requesting attention to the impact of the Emergency Water Supply project on the forest. The Environmental Impact Report said that it will have No Impact, but the subject has not been evaluated. The Forest Committee will prepare a letter.

8.2  Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: The Forest Committee will revise the Dead Tree Removal statement to address specifics of the Fuel Reduction project.

9.0  Public and Director Comments

Laura Swartz reported that the Forest Committee sign near Black Cat Bistro is delaminating. She is repairing it, no cost to the committee. The signs require occasional maintenance.

10.0 Future Agenda Items

Ms. Wogsland suggested public education activities to increase public awareness of what constitutes a healthy forest. Speakers and materials could cite benefits such as carbon sequestration. Greater appreciation of the forest will support better forest care.

11.0 The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm.
Next Meeting November 13, 2019

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Minutes September 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes September 2019

September 11, 2019

TIME:  6:30 PM

LOCATION:  Mechanics Bank, 1070 Main Street, Cambria

  • Call to Order and Establish a Quorum

Directors Crosby Swartz, Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Andrea Wogsland, Harry Farmer (CCSD Liaison).  Guests Allyson Dallmann, Linda Poppenheimer, Tori Poppenheimer, Laurel Stewart.

  • Public and Director Comments

Guest Allyson Dallmann presented information about government and industry attempts to bypass the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, Minutes September 2019 Protect ESA flyer .

Chairman Swartz emailed link to LA Times article about fire fuel reduction and ember proofing homes (https://www.latimes.com/projects/wildfire-california-fuel-breaks-newsom-paradise/).

Director Farmer recommended recent Your Call Radio program “One Planet: The Threats to America’s Public Lands”.

Director Wogsland had information about the upcoming Beach Cleanup event on the 21st.  Greenspace is organizing the cleanup at Moonstone Beach / Santa Rosa Creek.  FFRP is organizing the cleanup at Otter Cove and the Ranch Preserve beach.  The event organizers are looking for a site captain for the Pico Creek cleanup.

North Coast Advisory Council and Land Use Committee member Laurel Stewart reported on new comment period on Ragged Point Inn expansion project.

  • Approve Minutes of August Meeting

Approved.

  • Treasurer’s Report

Balance $942.60.  No remaining grant balances.

5.0  Sub-Committee Reports

5.1  Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Greenspace Native Plant Garden

Several Directors attended the open house at the new Greenspace Native Plant Garden.  Thanks for the excellent design and construction of the garden by Amanda Goudy and others.  Open Saturdays 1 to 3 through October, then Sundays 12 to 2 beginning in November.

Grant Opportunities

Guest Linda Poppenheimer presented information about environmental grants from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and Patagonia.

Discussion about New Yorker article “A day in the Life of a Tree” and potential applications of precision wireless dendrometers and the EcoSensor Network to monitor trees in the Cambria forest.

Rabobank is now Mechanics Bank.  Meeting room still available to CFC.

5.2 Forest Management

Fuel Reduction Project – Hwy 1 below Ramsey

Discussion of current fuel reduction project on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and surrounding forested areas adjacent to Hwy 1.  Several directors have inspected completed areas and have expressed concern about the excessive trimming/removal of understory vegetation and excessive pruning/limbing up of live trees.  Chairman Swartz passed around photographs of completed areas.

  • Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

Meeting re-scheduled to 9-18-19 at 3:00 PM.

7.0  New Business – No New Business

8.0  Unfinished Business

8.1   Forest Impact Mitigation Measure

Nothing new to report.

8.2  Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter

Discussion about revising draft Greenspace / Forest Committee letter to focus on specific recommendations and practices for the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve fuel reduction project.

9.0  Public and Director Comments

10.0  Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 7:55 PM.  Guest Allyson Dallmann remained to answer questions about the Endangered Species Act and distribute a petition.

Next Meeting October 9, 2019

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Minutes August 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes August 2019

August 14, 2019, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, Julie Jorgenson, JoEllen Butler, executive director of Friends of Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, Andrea Wogsland, executive director of Greenspace, and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, Cambria CSD liaison, and John Weigold, Cambria CSD general manager also attended.

A short business meeting was held after guest speaker Kirsten Sheehy gave her presentation “Cape Ivy Flies for Biocontrol of Invasive Ivy.” About 20 people attended.

Public and Director Comments: Beautify Cambria Association sent a letter thanking the Forest Committee for its support for Dark Skies Initiative.   BCA thank you letter.

Minutes of July Meeting were approved as written.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the balance is unchanged, $1,042.60. She wrote a check to the speaker for $100 honorarium.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations:

Greenspace executive director Andrea Wogsland reported that Greenspace had sent a letter of comment on the Program Environmental Impact Report for the proposed California Vegetation Treatment Program. That EIR is scheduled for approval by the end of the year for use on projects in 2020. Cambria’s Monterey Pines require special consideration, compared to the forests of the Sierra, the main focus of the plan. Cambria’s Forest Management Plan provides specific advice.

Andrea attended the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and County Fire Safe Council tour of fuel reduction sites along Cambria Pines Road and Highway 1. Fuel reduction projects are focused on restoration areas, fuel breaks and the Wildland Urban Interface, were the forest is intermixed with houses. A new grant cycle is coming up.

Forest Management

Fuel Reduction Guidelines in Fern Canyon Preserve:

Crosby has been in discussions with Fire Chief William Hollingsworth. The chief understands that weed whacking is not appropriate in Fern Canyon.  The lots under protection are in good shape. Workers are not doing unnecessary damage to those lots. Mike Rice is the contractor who will be doing weed abatement on lots that have not yet cut their weeds.

“I’m satisfied they are doing the right thing there,” Crosby said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.”

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

Cal Fire SLU Unit Forester Alan Peters discussed the fire center at Camp SLO, used to stage the fuel reduction and management projects and carry out those plans. Fire Safe Council has a new chipper.  A new app for smart phone, Pulse Point, can dispatch information in real time. Fire Chief Hollingsworth will present it to the community.

Unfinished Business

            Forest Impact Mitigation Measure:

Crosby will draft a letter adding details to the comment letter he sent to the Coastal Commission regarding the adverse effects of the impact of growth on the forest. He will ask the Commission to suggests mitigation for those effects.

Greenspace/Forest Committee Letter:

The legalities of the Forest Practice Act have stalled this effort to align the Cambria Forest Management Plan and the FPA. The Cambria Forest Management Plan is written in more understandable language. Organizations such as the Chaparral Institute, which has staff to analyze the documents, has found Cal Fire practices in some cases counterproductive.

Andrea offered to contact Cal Poly to offer the project to a student as a Senior Project.

Public and Director Comments

CSD General Manager Weigold reported on the continuing efforts to clear up homeless encampments on Fiscalini Ranch. Some are extensive and remote, making them difficult to clear. Discussion of whether SLO County should assist Cambria financially to clear them up.

Fire danger in the forest makes it a public safety concern.

CSD Facilities Manager Carlos Mendoza patrols the ranch three times a week to reduce re-establishment of camps. Weigold said costs are between $25,000 and $30,000 thus far.

Cambria lacks services for the homeless. The nearest location for services is SLO.

Forest Committee director Ralph Covell is reported to be very ill. The Forest Committee may reach out to his daughter.

Greenspace’s Native Plant Garden will hold its Open House Saturday August 17, 1-4 pm. Public invited.

Meeting adjourned at 8:14.

Next Meeting September 11, 2019

 

 

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Minutes July 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes July 2019

July 10, 2019, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler, Andrea Wogsland, and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, CCSD director, and board liaison, Donn Howell, CSD director, Tony Church, Land Use Committee member for NCAC, and Cambria resident Linda Poppenheimer also attended.

Public and Director Comments: Tony Church showed a photo of a tree pruned by PG&E. Little was left. Laura reported that a backhoe was used to remove tree roots from Sandown. No permit is posted. They await to see whether more work is done and whether a permit is involved.

The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and County Fire Safe Council will meet at Cal Poly July 16 and 18, and tour the North Coast from Harmony Headlands to Cambria on July 17. The public is welcome, but reservations through Dan Turner are required.  They will be visiting fuel reduction sites along Cambria Pines Road and Highway 1. Broom is already growing back. This is the first time the State Board of Forestry has visited Cambria in 17 years.

Approve Minutes of June Meeting: Approved unanimously with one change.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura reports no change from June: balance of $1,042.60, with no outstanding checks or grant money remaining.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Impacted Tree County Designation: SLO County Senior Planner Airlin Singewald responded to Crosby’s question regarding the definition of an Impacted Tree. A tree is considered Impacted if any part of the new structure is in its dripline. If so, mitigation is required at a ratio of 2:1.

Forest Management

Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Guidelines: No new report. Crosby will continue to be in contact with Fire Chief Hollingsworth as weed abatement concludes in July.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: JoEllenButler, Paul Nugent and Crosby and Laura Swartz attended. Dave Pierson reported on the group’s Wildfire Preparedness Day. PG&E spokesman Steve Crawford announced details of future power outages, posted at https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/community-wildfire-safety.page. Possible risks during a power outage include residents cooking on barbeque grills. Traffic will be a problem without regular operation of traffic signals. PG&E will provide portable charging stations for residents to charge cell phones and other devices. The public needs to be educated in safe operation of generators.

CSD Director Donn Howell said he would contact the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Board to find out what their plans are for businesses and hotels. He will ask CSD staff about the backup generator for operation of the WWTP.

Chief Hollingsworth introduced the district’s emergency preparedness website, http://247ncep.com/.

No updates on the fire department’s fuel reduction two grant applications. They are adding a third application.

The FSFG may have an entry in the Pinedorado Parade.

The group is looking for a volunteer to re-apply for Cambria’s Fire Safe Community status.

Cal Fire’s online Property Inspection Guide is now posted on the Forest Committee’s website, http://cambriaforestcommittee.org/documents-2/cal-fire-property-inspection-guide/. Members of the group discussed various ways of preventing fires and reducing damage: protecting houses and the area around them; ember-proofing houses; wetting houses with soaker tubes;  improving evacuation routes; educating the public on safe use of generators in power outages. Safe strategies for managing power outages include PG&E’s offer to bring charging stations to town for the public to charge cell phones and devices; using dry ice to keep refrigerated food cold; backup generators for water and wastewater service;  gas and propane will be available at the Chevron and Shell stations. Donn Howell offered to check with local hotels and ascertain the status of backup power for public utilities.

Change to Weed-Clearing Ordinance: no action.

New Business

Forest Impact Mitigation Measure: Crosby had commented on CEQA requirement that growth-inducing effects of projects in the coastal zone be mitigated. Christine will draft a letter asking the Coastal Conservancy for its opinion on the need to address this issue in regard to the Emergency Water Supply project.

Director Howell asked the Forest Committee to send a letter to the CSD Board asking for clarification of how CSD lots under conservation easement are to be managed.

August Guest Speaker: Kirsten Sheehy, a research specialist in the Riparian InVasion Research Laboratory (RIVRLab), will talk about her work with the Cape Ivy Fly to control Cape Ivy at the August 14 Forest Committee meeting. Cape Ivy Flies lay their eggs inside the newly-growing shoot tips. Round tumors, or galls, form at the end of the tip, stunting growth and reducing the size of the plant.

Unfinished Business

Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: Revision to reconcile the requirements of the Forest Practices Act. Christine and Crosby will confer.

Future speakers: The fire resistant value of a healthy forest. Fire Safe Gardening, possibly a Master Gardener.

Public and Director Comments

Linda Poppenheimer commented that while the community is rightfully concerned about fire, the health of the forest is being affected by brush clearing. Healthy forest ecology includes an ecosystem of plants and animals. Cambria’s Forest Management Plan recommends hiring a Forest Manager to oversee forest health, but the plan has never been implemented. New sources of funding will be explored. She will report on Patagonia’s grant program as a possible source.

Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.

Next Meeting August 14, 2019

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Minutes June 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Meeting Minutes June 2019

June 12, 2019, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler, Andrea Wogsland, executive director of Greenspace, and Christine Heinrichs. CSD Liaison Harry Farmer, Donn Howell, CSD director and chair of the Resources & Infrastructure Committee, and Andrew Boyd-Goodrich, executive director of Camp Ocean Pines also attended.

Andrea Wogsland was officially elected unanimously to the Forest Committee board. She holds a position as executive director of Greenspace.

In Public and Director Comment, Chair Crosby Swartz said that the unstructured committee discussions may go off topic, but that he will keep everyone focused on the business at hand. Comments from the public are always welcome.

Minutes of the May meeting were approved with several amendments, on a motion by JoEllen seconded by Laura.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura reported a balance of $1,042.60 after FFRP reimbursed the Forest Committee $53.43 for the Earth Day banner.

Sub-Committee Reports

       Education/Planting Mitigation/Operations

Website Domain Name Registration issue: Paul Nugent will accept billing for the domain name. He will provide password information to Laura for access.

The Monterey Pine seedlings Paul is growing for Greenspace are doing well. About half have sprouted. He protects them from birds and rodents with chicken wire and quarter inch mesh. Harry Farmer announced that SLO Master Gardeners offer a regular monthly presentation and keeping predators out of your garden will be the subject of the June presentation.

Ideas for projects for Cambria Community Council grants:

Laura had three suggestions:

  1. Collaborating with Greenspace on one or more of their projects
  2. Invited speakers
  3. A community campaign against invasive weeds. Broom Busters is a successful community weed management program on Vancouver Island, BC.

Crosby suggested presenting videos for the public.

Directors will research speakers and videos.

Forest Management

Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Guidelines: Laura had nothing new to report. Fire Chief Hollingsworth understands the issues of differential standards required for developed and conserved lots. Paul reported that Dave Pierson and Michael Calderwood are working to resolve the issue of divided agency responsibility. Cal Fire is responsible for developed lots, and CSD is responsible for undeveloped lots. The CSD is the logical agency to enforce weed abatement on all lots, but how to pay for the inspections has not been resolved.

Invasive Borer Workshop: Christine reported on the invasion of the Gold Spotted Oak Borer and Shot Hole Borer from a workshop held in May by US Agriculture and Natural Resources. Information is posted on the Forest Committee website and at gsob.org and pshb.org. These insects have killed trees in Southern California and have been found in SLO County. They spread through transport of infested firewood. Buy It where you Burn It. The community needs to be cautioned not to transport firewood.

Galling fly: This insect may be effective in controlling Cape Ivy. USDA scientists have released some in Bay Area and SLO County locations. USDA is working with Jon Hall, stewardship director for the Land Conservancy of SLO County. Christine will invite Tom Dudley of UCSB, who may be looking for release locations in SLO County, to speak at a Forest Committee meeting. Crosby will contact Jon Hall. The Forest Committee may make a field trip.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Paul and JoEllen attended. JoEllen passed around flyers for Wildfire Preparedness Day, June 29. Results of the evacuation study will be explained and advice for coping with power shutdowns offered. JoEllen reported that Cal Fire will start using 30 percent vinegar, as recommended by Laura, on broom along Cambria Pines Road.

Old Business

Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: Needs to be aligned with the Forest Practices Act. Christine and Crosby will confer to resolve.

Dark Skies Initiative Support Letter: Laura’s comment on the beauty of the forest in natural moonlight will be included and the letter forwarded to Claudia Harmon Worthen of Beautify Cambria Association to show the Forest Committee’s support for the Dark Skies Initiative.

Public and Director Comments: Andrea  raised the issue of the new definition of ‘impacted tree’ used in the recent Minor Use Permit for a guest house, requiring replacement at a 2:1 ratio, rather than 4:1. Crosby will pursue the question with Airlin Singewald, county planner.

Andrea reported that at the ReLeaf conference she attended, speakers encouraged nonprofit members to develop relationships with planners. She also heard about tools to help trees survive in urban settings, such as panels in sidewalks to accommodate root growth. Airlin Singewald is the county planner who handles Cambia issues and Art Trinidade is the county code enforcement officer. Supervisor Bruce Gibson holds open hours at the library on the third Wednesday of the month, before attending NCAC meetings.

Andrew Boyd-Goodrich discussed Camp Ocean Pines’ role in conserving the forest. Camp Ocean Pines has 13 acres of forest, subject to often conflicting missions: residential, ecologic and educational. “We are educating the people who will be around this table in 25 years,” he said. “We want to be a responsible steward of the forest as well as an educational site.” One of the Forest Committee’s informational signs is located at Camp Ocean Pines.

The meeting adjourned at JoEllen’s motion at 8:24 pm

Next Meeting July 10, 2019

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