Minutes January 2019



Minutes January 2019

January 9, 2019, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler of FFRP, and Christine Heinrichs. Cambria CSD director Harry Farmer, liaison to the Forest Committee, and Gordon Heinrichs also attended.

The meeting began with Rick Hawley speaking on “Importance of Planting Monterey Pines.” About 20 people attended. See separate report.

Minutes of the December Meeting were approved as written.

Laura Swartz gave the Treasurer’s Report: $750.04 in December was increased to$1,204, by directors’ $450 in donations to defray the cost of insurance.

Sub-Committee Reports

Website Domain Name Renewal: Paul contacted Amanda to change the account to the Cambria Forest Committee. There will be a small cost to create a GoDaddy account.

Fire Safe Focus Group meeting: The Fire Safe Council has been successful in getting grants: The SRA Cambria East Village Tree Mortality grant in the amount of $199,976, which expires 3/10/2019 and is nearly completed at this time, intended to maintain the fuel break above Bridge Street; The Greenhouse Gas Cambria Health Care grant, which began 12/01/15 and expires 12/30/2019. This grant total was $498,736 and as of 11/10/2018 there is $253,423 remaining. This grant funded the broom removal and will continue to do so until 12/30/2019 or the money is expended; and the Monterey Pine Tree Mortality grant, $1.8 million. Fire Chief William Hollingsworth has been invited to apply for two additional grants, totaling about $80,000, to remove dead vegetation (fuel) from the other side of Highway 1 corridor, east side Burton to Cambria Drive, and the canyon area between the low income housing and Tin City.

Timber Harvest Permits for the work will be issued under the Forest Practice Act. The Forest Committee will pursue information as to when public hearings will be held.

Cambria CSD is considering whether the Cambria Fire Department should take over responsibility for inspecting developed lots from Cal Fire, as well as its current responsibility for vacant lot weed abatement. Discussion as to how the CFD can handle additional responsibility. Fire hydrant inspections have not yet been completed. Lots are inspected once a year, when twice could result in better weed reduction. CSD Director Harry Farmer suggested funding could come from Cal Fire, SRA fees and the Cap & Trade funds.

Farmer noted that larger houses, approved by the County, which receives fees based on square footage, require more trees to be removed. Director Julie Jorgenson reported that he insurance company rates fire risk based on population density. Director Paul Nugent said, “Paradise redefined how people look at wildfire,” referring to the Camp Fire, which burned during November 2018, destroying the Northern California town of Paradise.

New Business            

Mel Dorin has appealed a Planning Commission MUP approval of a separate structure. A public hearing will be held before the Board of Supervisors February 5. See attached documents.

Beautify Cambria Association has applied for a grant to improve the lot around Rabobank. The application does not account for continuing maintenance. With additional support, this project could be worthwhile. It needs a clearer plan with follow-up.

JoEllen Butler reported that the county may be contemplating changes that would prohibit logs being left on the ground. Logs could be required to be cut into sections and set on end. How the piles of waste on Winsor Trucking property will be disposed of needs to be determined. The Forest Committee will ask Supervisor Bruce Gibson’s new legislative assistant, Blake Fixler, bfixler@co.slo.ca.us, for further information.

The meeting, shortened because of the special speaker, adjourned at 8:45.

Next Meeting February 13, 2019

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Minutes December 2018



Minutes December 2018

December 12, 2018, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

Meeting was called to Order with a Quorum of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler, Nancy Anderson and Christine Heinrichs. Also in attendance were Laurel Stewart; Tony Church, Peter Frey, Mike Walsh representing the Fire Safe Focus Group, Alan Peters of Cal Fire, Dan Turner, business manager of the county Fire Safe Council , Donn Howell, CCSD director, and Harry Farmer, CCSD representative.

Public and Director Comments

Tony Church said that the Cambria Fire Department has serviced only five fire hydrants this month, a disappointing lack of progress. Fire hydrants that are newly painted indicate that they have been serviced.

Minutes of September and November Meetings were approved unanimously with one addition to September, Nancy Anderson as representative of Greenspace.

Treasurer’s Report:

Laura Swartz reported the account showed $805.38 last month. Two checks were written, one to Amanda Rice to reimburse her $35.34 for the domain name, and $20 to Crosby to reimburse for state filing, leaving $750.04. Directors are encouraged to donate to the Forest Committee to defray the cost of our Directors and Officers liability insurance premium.

Sub-Committee Reports


Distribution of Invasive Weed Guide: The concerned Leimert residents who got involved over the pile burning may be interested in acquiring the Guide. Mike Walsh has a list of names and contact information from the Cambria Fire Safe Focus Group.

Website Domain Name Renewal: Paul Nugent will investigate to get the domain name renewal billed to The Cambria Forest Committee.

Forest Management

Fuel Reduction in Protected Forest Areas: the guidelines will be rolled into the CCSD Fuel Reduction Program, for lots not near a structure.

Dead Tree Removal Practices Letter: Alan Peters commented that some points were not fully accurate; Two additional grants provide a total of $2.5 million for fuel reduction and boundaries can be extended as a result, with three different performance periods. Over 700 acres will be treated, from Highway 46 to Hearst Ranch. Millable trees will be stacked on the ground, and others chipped, masticated, or burned. As much wood as possible will be turned into lumber, to sequester the carbon. Peters will contact private land owners to get their permission and cooperation.

An additional definition of diseased trees should cover more pests and pathogens, such as western gall rust and dwarf mistletoe. Another definition for Infested tree could be added.

Treatment for French broom includes retreatment with selective herbicides in a two-year cycle for ten years, until it is eliminated. The range is being reduced. He disputed the claim that French broom had gotten worse after the fuel break was masticated. Harry suggested pulling in the spring, after rain has softened the ground.

All methods of invasive plant removal will be considered, including controlled burn and goats.

The goal of a healthy forest will be pursued with restocking, using seed form UC Davis’ collection and Rick Hawley’s Greenspace stock. Peters wants to work with Greenspace to plan for seedlings to be available. Grant money is available for seeds and seedlings. Seed scattering will also be used.

Dan Turner said that the project requires that a Registered Forester supervise the project, which will comply with the Forest Practice Act, the equivalent of CEQA. “The project is not to log the forest,” he said. “It’s strictly forest health and public safety.”

Laurel Stewart suggested planting understory shrubs, such as toyon, coffeeberry, sticky monkey flower, poison oak. French broom and a thick layer of pine needles prevents native shrubs from revegetating the forest. Fire is the most effective at killing the seeds and allowing native plants to grow. JoEllen Butler reported that FFRP has planted thousands of pine trees on the Ranch. Volunteers pull weeds there. The Forest Committee may be able to encourage residents not to plant invasives and to organize volunteer groups to pull weeds.

“I hope we can keep the pine forest propagating itself,” Peters said. “It’s converting to oak woodlands. We’re trying to keep it in pine forest.”

Report on Pile Burning, Cambria Pines Road

Dan Turner met with concerned local residents regarding the burn piles. Cambria Pines Road was chosen for treatment because they determined that it is an evacuation route that was not survivable in the event of fire unless it was cleared. Rain and cooperative winds allowed the piles to be burned without incident. Laura had a photo of singed trees, which Peters said would almost certainly survive. “It’s an aesthetic issue, not a tree health issue,” he said. “If a tree dies, we can fix that. Put the blame on french broom.”

Peters said crews are also falling hazardous trees, first around the perimeter and then in the interior. Wood is left in places available to the public for firewood.

New Business

Discuss CCSD Fire Dept Defensible Space Program:

This issue is on the CCSD’s Agenda, to consider whether the Cambria Fire Department should take over defensible space inspections and enforcement that are now Cal Fire’s responsibility. Crosby will speak on the subject at the CCSD meeting.

This item led to discussion of other subjects. Fire insurance availability and costs are affected by community conditions as well as individual fire risk. New construction materials and methods are more fire-resistant. Existing houses can be made more fire-resistant by retrofitting to prevent embers from entering, replacing wood shakes, siding and roofs with fire-resistant materials. Fiscalini Ranch’s access road can be opened and assist in evacuation. Proposed new residential construction raises the issue of evacuation, as most of the lots on the Water Wait list are on Lodge Hill, which has only two evacuation routes, and they intersect.

Dan Turner reported that Cal Poly is creating a traffic model of how residents might evacuate from Lodge Hill.

Cutting weeds twice a year could reduce infestation if the weeds were cut before they set seeds.

Agenda Items and speakers: Rick Hawley will be the speaker for the next meeting, January 9, 2019.

Meeting adjourned 8:50 pm.

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Minutes November 2018



Minutes November 2018

November 14, 2018

TIME:  6:30 PM

LOCATION:  Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

  • Call to Order and Establish a Quorum

Director Swartz nominated Paul Nugent as director.  Elected by ballot 5-0.

Directors present:  Crosby Swartz, Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgensen, Paul Nugent, Harry Farmer (CCSD), Art Van Ryan (Greenspace)

Guests present:  Casey Nugent, Donn Howell, Peter Frey, Tony Church, Karen Dean, Glynda Hopkins, Brenda Gale, Elizabeth Ehlers, John Ehlers, Susan Kersey, Bill Machado, Marilyn Machado, Bill Seavey

  • Public and Director Comments

Discussion of Cal Fire pile burning of 450 piles of French Broom in progress along Cambria Pines Road and adjacent neighborhoods.  Residents expressed concerns about safety, inhaling smoke, scorching adjacent trees and piles left smouldering or burning unattended.  Alternate disposal methods discussed included hauling away, use of burn cages and use of air curtain burners.  Glynda agreed to contact Chief Hollingsworth (Cambria Fire), Alan Peters and Alex Greg (Cal Fire) and Dan Turner (Fire Safe Council).

Concerns also were expressed about the proposed use of Roundup herbicide to control French Broom resprouts in the future.

  • Approve Minutes of September Meeting

Tabled to December meeting.

  • Treasurer’s Report

Beginning balance: $1435.60, minus $114 for order of trifold flyers and $516 for Directors and Officers liability insurance premium.  Closing balance $805.38

5.0  Sub-Committee Reports

5.1  Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Distribution of Invasive Weed Guide – no report

Educational Projects – no report

5.2 Forest Management

Dead Tree Removal Practices Letter – no report

6.0  Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

6.1   Grant Projects Planning

No meeting this month.  Shirley Bianchi stepping down as chairperson.

7.0  New Business

7.1  New Tri-fold Printing Order

Complete.  See Treasurers report.

8.0  Unfinished Business

8.1  Nominating Committee / Officer Elections

Elected the following by ballot:

Chairman:  Crosby Swartz 6-0

Vice Chairperson:  Jo Ellen Butler 6-0

Secretary:  Christine Heinrichs 6-0

Treasurer:  Laura Swartz 6-0

8.2  Director Liability Insurance

Complete.  See Treasurers report.

8.3  Fuel Reduction in Forest Areas

Tabled to December meeting.

9.0  Agenda Items and Speakers for Upcoming Meetings

Rick Hawley will speak at the January meeting.

10.0  Public and Director Comments

Chairman Swartz announced the passing of Don Canestro, Rancho Marino Manager

11.0  Adjournment

Next Meeting December 12, 2018

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Minutes September 2018



Minutes September 2018

September 12, 2018, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

The Meeting was called to order at 6:40 PM with a Quorum: Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler and Julie Jorgenson. Also attending were Donn Howell, candidate for Cambria CSD board; Harry Farmer, CCSD Liaison to the Forest Committee; Laurel Stewart, NCAC representative; Nancy Anderson, Greenspace representative; Brad Seek; Peter Frey; and new resident Paul Nugent.

August Meeting Minutes were approved with some changes, to be forwarded to Secretary Christine Heinrichs for revision.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz, Treasurer, reported the account balance is $1,435.60 Balance with no outstanding debits, and no grant money left from the Community Council.

Sub-Committee Reports


  1. Director and Officer Liability Insurance: The application was sent off today.     Crosby plans to get together with the insurance agent to discuss.
  2. Cambria Community Council Grant Application: We will thank them for what they have done in the past – they fund a lot of projects.

A future grant application could be submitted to fund reforesting the plot.

Considerable discussion on this topic with directors and community suggestions. Among the comments/suggestions:

An educational project would tie in with an environmental class at the middle school. Such a project would need to fit with the school curriculum and qualify for credit. We should ask teachers and students what they would like, perhaps offer choices, such as collecting seeds.

Forest Management

Dead Tree Removal Practices Letter:

Fire Safe Council has 4 grants, one for Cambria.  Rick Hawley (Greenspace) and Christine working with CFC are preparing position paper on good practices for tree removal. Forest management: concern about and suggested focus on French Broom, dead tree removal. Most of the work is scheduled for Covell Ranch. Heritage trees need to be preserved. A biological survey should be done first.

FFRP completed work on road uphill toward Huntington

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

Grant Update

Dave Pierson, Cambria CSD liaison to the Fire Safe Focus Group reported that weed abatement should be done twice a year, and better methods must be found.

Cal Fire and Cambria Fire Department work together. Cal Fire handles enforcement, including developers, for reasonable enforcement.

At the October meeting, we will discuss exemptions, including individual requirements for wetlands conservation easements, which are not “one size fits all;” the requirement for 100 feet of defensible space 100 feet. Director Julie Jorgenson noted that in Cambria houses are closer to each other than that.

Reminder letters need to be sent to property owners

Removal of invasive plants

Dan Turner gave the Fire Safe Focus Group an update on new grants, targeting a two-month window.  Some retired firefighters are available to do inspections for flexible ember proofing and to spot fires.

The grant requires a new timber harvest plan, for which public meetings will be held and public comments accepted. A new policy allows the State to advance money rather than reimburse.

Members discussed adding new red flag warning signs or placards that could be displayed at West Main and Highway 1, indicating Fire Danger warnings, None to Extreme.

Focus on French Broom:  Some residents are planting French broom. The Committee could place an outreach ad warning people not to plant it.

New Business

Nominating Committee should be formed to organize Officer Elections and review the bylaws.

Unfinished Business

Director Liability Insurance: Crosby will meet with the agent.

Fuel Reduction in Forest Areas for developed lots. Fire Chief Hollingsworth agrees this doesn’t apply in Fern Canyon:  Poison Oak issue, addressed after fire season is over. Homeowners need simple and straight-forward instructions

Agenda Items and Speakers for Upcoming Meetings:

Rick Hawley – need to decide on topic, could speak on current grant application

Others:  Cal Poly?

October 4th 218 protest: The Forest Committee can address how the Rate Increases will affect tree-related issues

North Coast Area Plan:  The Forest Committee an provide information on tree planting.

Public and Director Comments :  Those attending asked Donn Howell questions about his platform and related issues.

The meeting was Adjourned at 8:50 pm.


Next Meeting October 10, 2018

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Minutes August 2018



Minutes August 2018
August 8, 2018
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

Meeting was called to order at 6:38 pm. A Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, CSD liaison Harry Farmer and Christine Heinrichs, NCAC member Tony Church, also attended.

Public and Director Comments:

The CSD is hesitating about accepting three lots on Dovedale for retirement as part of the Buildout Reduction plan, due to concern over who should pay for removal of three trees that are leaning. One dead tree does not threaten any houses.

“They don’t have to take down every tree,” Crosby Swartz said. “They should at least make a token show that they are supporting the Buildout Reduction Plan. There’s almost no cost involved in accepting these lots. The agencies will not think they are serious about retiring lots if they don’t accept any lots.”

Laura Swartz reported that the hours directors and community members spend in meetings can be assigned a financial value and contribute to Matching Funds for grant participation. Volunteer time is valued at $24 per hour per person.
Minutes of the July meeting were approved with one deletion. Moved by Laura Swartz, seconded by JoEllen Butler.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the bank balance is $1,435.60, same as last month. Grant money has all been spent.
Sub-Committee Reports

​​​            Liability Insurance Application: Laura and Crosby will meet with the local insurance agent to get details. Directors will contribute to pay.

Forest Management
​​Draft Guidelines for Fuel Reduction
​​​            Crosby continues to meet with Fire Chief Hollingsworth to create guidelines for weed abatement on preserves, especially Fern Canyon. The CCSD Guidelines now specify marking tree seedlings and native plants, some progress on preserving native vegetation.

String-trimming can be effective in reducing non-native grasses, but timing is crucial. Trimming after seed heads have set will scatter seeds. Properly timed, trimming can reduce the amount of seed heads developed and subsequent regrowth.

Lots that have previously been weed-whacked are now grass and trees. Those that have not been cut are normal, undisturbed forest.

Prescribed Burns

Crosby presented Chaparral Institute’s report on wildland fires, now posted to the Forest Committee website under Forest Related Documents, which the Institute sent to Governor Jerry Brown. The report emphasizes strategies other than removing fuel to reduce fire danger, such as external sprinklers, ember-resistant vents, and replacing flammable roofing and siding with fire-resistant Class A material. The report points out that excessive fire treatments can damage native habitats and result in more flammable landscapes.

Crosby will explore a connection with the Chaparral Institute to join with them on future reports.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group
​            Cambria has been awarded a California Climate Investment grant for $1,816,304, supported by $85,000 in partner matching, for a total of over $1.9 million. The grant application, Scope of Work, and map are posted on the website. The project proposes to remove 700 acres of dead trees and French broom. The Scope of Work cites the Fire Safe Focus Group as the organization of community support, of which the Forest Committee is mentioned as a member.

The Forest Committee will pursue additional involvement with this grant, to advise regarding best practices in tree and brush removal.

A Chipping Event will be held September 18-19. Sign up by September 15 for the crew to come to your property and chip waste.

Review New Permit Applications​: The county has a new system. Crosby will check into getting The Forest Committee back on the list.
Agenda Items and Speakers for Upcoming Meetings
Rick Hawley is a possible speaker for September or October.

Harry will speak about The Forest Committee at Dinner Church on August 14.
Public and Director Comments:

Christine Heinrichs will send Hearst Ranch tour report to all directors and Harry.

She will look into the advantages and disadvantages of getting Monterey Pine listed as an Endangered Species.

Meeting adjourned at 7:25

Next Meeting September 12, 2018

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Minutes July 2018



Minutes July 2018
July 11, 2018, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer attended as CCSD representative, Nancy Anderson of Greenspace, and private citizen Brad Seek.
Public and Director Comments
The June meeting at which Dr. Matt Ritter spoke was well attended by over 80 people. An account of his talk is posted on the Forest Committee web site, http://cambriaforestcommittee.org/documents-2/californias-iconic-plants/.

The Minutes of the May Meeting were approved with two corrections: The name Lynn Soborn in Pasadena, and the balance in the Treasurer’s report, which should be $1,457.60.
Treasurer’s Report Laura Swartz: Current balance $1,435.60. A check for $100 was sent to Judy Martinez for her assistance on the Spanish translation of the iNaturalist Guide to Invasive Weeds. Attendees at the June meeting donated $78.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations: Dr. Ritter’s talk report.

Forest Management:

The County informed the Forest Committee of routine tree trimming, message follows. They do a good job and the Forest Committee is pleased to be included. We will maintain these contacts for future communication.

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Public Works will begin routine tree trimming and vegetation removal alongside County-maintained roads in Cambria.  Work is scheduled to begin this week, by County road crews, and is expected to continue throughout the summer.  No road closures are anticipated.

This routine trimming work is being done, in part, to support the County’s scheduled surface treatment project in 2019, in addition to providing clearance for over-size vehicles such as delivery trucks, school busses, fire and emergency vehicles.

All trees and vegetation on County-maintained roads are being inspected for maintenance, in compliance with County Public Improvement Standards, M-5a. Trimming and removals are made on a case-by-case basis.  All work will be done under the direction of an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Master Arborist. County Best Management Practices (BMP’s) will be followed, including measures to restrict the spread of pathogens.

For more information, please feel free to contact Mark Tabares at (805) 781-4354

Joshua Roberts   
Transportation Division   
Public Works, County of San Luis Obispo
Tel: (805) 788 – 2345 | An APWA Accredited Agency

Forest Manager Duties and Funding
: The grant in which funding was included for a Forest Manager was not approved. We will continue to seek opportunities to create this position.

Draft Guidelines for Fuel Reduction:

Most of the existing guidelines for the 2018 Weed Abatement Program do not apply to Fern Canyon. As written, they could allow workers to weed-whack all vegetation. The CCSD web site has incorrect information posted. Weed Abatement should leave tree seedlings and ferns and cut the grass around them. Crosby drafted comments that describe more appropriate methods for Fern Canyon posted here. He has discussed with Fire Chief Bill Hollingsworth, who is amenable to the refinements.

Prescribed Burns: Cal Fire has discussed doing more prescribed burns. They add tons of CO2 and particulates to the air and damage the understory. The Forest Committee asks members and other interested residents to review the Vegetation Treatment Program Environmental Impact Report, http://bofdata.fire.ca.gov/board_committees/resource_protection_committee/current_projects/vegetation_treatment_program_environmental_impact_report_%28vtpeir%29/.

An organization critical of the EIR posts its alternative view at http://www.californiachaparral.com/threatstochaparral/helpcalfireeir.html

The goal is to reduce catastrophic fires. Although no burns are planned locally, the Forest Committee should be knowledgeable about the report and prepared for future discussion.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: No Forest Committee members attended. The Fire Safe Focus Group’s agenda is reduced and the group will meet only once a month in future.

New Business

Review New Permit Applications: The Forest Committee is still not receiving new permit applications. NCAC’s Land Use Committee is good at reviewing them and sharing information with the Forest Committee.

Unfinished Business

Director Liability Insurance: Laura Swartz will contact Matt Clevenger, local  agent who works with nonprofit insurance. Macky and Macky 772-1799 ex 202 matt@mackey-insurance.com

Agenda Items and Speakers for Upcoming Meetings:

Crosby suggested that the Forest Committee could feature short presentations using his new projector at future meetings. All suggestions welcome.

Members are encouraged to propose projects suitable for Cambria Community Council grants.

The Cambrian hasn’t posted local meeting dates recently. Christine Heinrichs will check on that and post meetings to social media.

Christine Heinrichs distributed copies of the Cary Institute on Ecosystem Studies Tipsheet on Tree-Smart Trade, to reduce importation of forest pests, https://www.caryinstitute.org/science-program/research-projects/tree-smart-trade

Public and Director Comments:

ECO-SLO is hosting upcoming networking events: “The goal of these networking gatherings is to provide a platform for leaders of environmentally-minded organizations to connect, network, and share ideas about collaboration.”

The next event will be September 12, followed by November 14, 7:30-9am at French Hospital’s Copeland Pavilion (3rd floor).

Free online RSVP: https://bpt.me/3522449. Please RSVP online.  Your RSVP ensures enough breakfast treats & coffee.

Contact: Mary A. Ciesinski, Executive Director, ECOSLO – Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo, (805) 544-1777, cell ​(​805) 550-2952, ecoslo.org.

Possible future speakers: Jenn Yost, director of Cal Poly’s Robert F. Hoover Herbarium; Don Canestro of Rancho Marino; Miranda Canestro of Cuesta College; Rick Hawley of Greenspace.

Ralph Covell would like additional copies of Tales of the Cambria Woods. The publication is available as a free download on the Forest Committee website, http://cambriaforestcommittee.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/TalesCambriaWoods.pdf. Greenspace has some copies.

Nancy Anderson has noticed signs of pitch pine canker on her pine trees. Lack of water weakens trees.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:26 pm.

Next Meeting August 8, 2018

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Minutes May 2018



Minutes May 2018
May 9, 2018, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, and Christine Heinrichs. Nancy Anderson of Greenspace, and CSD director liaison Harry Farmer, Tony Church of NCAC, and Cambria resident Peter Frey.
Public and Director Comments:

Peter Frey shared the Viewpoint he wrote and submitted to The Cambrian.  Discussion of finding a path forward for the forest, hiring a professional forester, and finding the money to pay for forest maintenance.

Harry Farmer reported that he and CSD Director David Pierson met with CSD General Manager Jerry Gruber and District Clerk Monique Madrid to discuss forest maintenance. GM Gruber said he would place the subject of hiring a forest manager, to be paid by a combination of funds from CCSD and FFRP, on the agenda for the May or June CCSD meeting.

San Simeon Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer Recruitment event on May 16 is not suitable for the Forest Committee. Members may attend as individuals.

Laura Swartz suggested encouraging the public to focus on fire safety in the forest: no smoking in the forest, keeping a fire extinguisher available in the kitchen and when using a barbeque.

Minutes of April Meeting were approved as written.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that as of May 9, the bank balance was $1457.60 including $109.63 from grant, and $185 in sales at the Earth Day event. She paid $135 for the tax report.

Sub-Committee Reports:
Report from Earth Day Fair: Nancy Anderson reported that the event was successful, with over 500 people attending. The Forest Committee shared a booth with FFRP.

Forest Management
Forest Manager Duties and Funding On hold

Sudden Oak Death Survey Report: Christine Heinrichs has listed all the properties surveyed this year, for use in 2019. All trees look great this year. No SOD has been positively identified in SLO County.
Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Peter Frey reported on a tabletop exercise in disaster response in which he participated in Colorado. First responders and key organizations such as hospitals and service clubs can work with the public to create a plan for all residents to be helpful

Peter has proposed such an event to Fire Chief Bill Hollingsworth and Fire Safe Council Business Manager Dan Turner.

New Business

Fuel Reduction in Forest Areas: Crosby and Laura Swartz are concerned about the Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction list approved by the CCSD at the April meeting, which includes 122 parcels not previously on the list. Most have conservation easements on them. The district does not have a clear consensus on methods of weed removal and disposal. If weeds are whacked too close to the ground, native plants are eliminated and invasives take over.

Greenspace will not hold its Native Plant Workshop and Certification this year.

Unfinished Business

Director Liability Insurance: Laura got a quote from Lynn Soborn in Pasadena which exceeds the $100 a year directors of other local nonprofits pay. She will continue to pursue and answer.

Agenda Items, Speakers and Publicity for Upcoming Meetings:
Matt Ritter Talk and Book Signing, June 13th: Cal Poly biology professor, his new book is California Plants: A Guide to Our Iconic Flora. Christine will write a press release for The Cambrian and post to social media.
Public and Director Comments: Christine will work with Judy Martinez on getting the iNaturalist Guide to Invasive Weeds translated into Spanish.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:07 pm.

The next meeting will be June 13, 2018. The featured speaker will be followed by a short business meeting.


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Minutes March 2018


Minutes March 2018
March 14, 2018, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, JoEllen Butler, Nancy Anderson of Greenspace and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, Community Services District liaison, attended. Tony Church and Peter and Ruth Frey attended.
Public and Director Comments

Laura Swartz and Julie Jorgenson noted that smoke from a neighbor’s fireplace pollutes local air.

Crosby Swartz has information about the SOD Blitz, scheduled for April 20-22. He will add it to the April meeting agenda.

Christine Heinrichs will discuss the State Parks project to expand Monterey Pine forest north of the San Simeon campground with Mike Walgren and report.
Minutes of the January meeting were approved with two changes.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported a total of $1,723.99 in the Forest Committee account. Sales of the Invasive Weed Guide added $176 in the past month, including $156 sold at the January meeting when Sarah Bisbing spoke. A donation of $140 was received to defray Dr. Bisbing’s costs.

Sub-Committee Reports

Laura will order 50 more copies of the Invasive Weed Guide and additional copies of the trifold brochure for use at the Greenspace Earth Day event April 22.

The cost will be $400, to be paid from the Cambria Community Council grant for that purpose, leaving $156 remaining. Moved by JoEllen Butler, seconded by Laura Swartz. Unanimous approval.

Website Update Suggestions: Crosby Swartz suggested updating the website section on the Buildout Reduction Committee by removing the progress reports and posting the final report.

Forest Management
Forest Manager Duties and Funding: JoEllen Butler reported that the fire chief has submitted seven grant proposals, including one for a forest manager. Crosby will contact Chief Hollingsworth and send him the Forest Committee’s Job Description for a Forest Manager.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group

JoEllen Butler reported that Dan Turner, business manager for the county Fire Safe Council, has written grant applications, including one for a biomass plant. The problem with funding projects by reimbursement is being addressed in a bill sponsored by State Senator Bill Monning, SB 1079, for which he is seeking support.

Cal Fire burned piles of vegetation cut to reduce french broom along the east side of Bridge Street during the rain in the past week. They are also widening the fuel break up toward the cemetery.

The Fire Safe Focus Group will hold another forum March 27, 6-8 pm, featuring County Office of Emergency Services director Ron Alsop. The forum will focus on what commercial, business, and other organizations and churches can do after an emergency event to help the community recover.

Report from Coastal Commission Meeting
Crosby and Laura attended the Oxnard meeting. The significant local issue on the agenda was the appeal of the Vacation Rental application. The County Planning Commission had recommended the application be denied, but the County Supervisors approved an exemption for it. The permit application was denied in a 6-4 vote.

Harry Farmer commented that Air BNB and Vacation Rentals reduce the amount of long term rental units. They are often owned by absentee owners who are making money but are not committed to the best interests of the community. Businesses are affected because employees are unable to find local housing. Julie Jorgenson said that neighborhoods are changed by short term rentals. Tony Church said that the county has sent letters to short term rental unit owners requiring them to comply with the law, but not many owners have yet responded. Over time, county enforcement could reduce the problem. Crosby Swartz said that having a Vacation Rental License increases the value of the property, raising the cost of surrounding properties. The 6-4 vote indicates that the issue was not settled among the commissioners.
The San Simeon Wastewater Treatment Plant application was postponed to a future meeting.

New Business

Earth Day Fair April 22nd: Crosby applied for Greenspace Earth Day Fair. Tony and JoEllen offered to loan the Forest Committee a table.  Christine will bring the large screen iPad to show the Invasive Weed app. Crosby will request a place in the shade. The table will included a sign-up sheet and accept donations.

Unfinished Business

Forest Resources Mitigation Measure Letter: Crosby shared a draft of a letter county planners, county supervisor, CSD general manager and the Coastal Commission, noting that the SWF Project EIR does not adequately address the impact of the SWF. The letter asks for a Forest Resources mitigation measure be added. JoEllen moved and Christine seconded to approve sending the letter.

Director Liability Insurance: Crosby’s insurance agent has not fully addressed the issue of liability for actions taken. Directors can be sued as individuals. Laura will research the issue in a book on the subject and report at the April meeting. Julie Jorgenson said that taking action in good faith with due diligence is a factor. Crosby’s insurance agent said they are covered. Not sure whether they are covered for actions taken.

Agenda Items and Speaker for Next Meeting:

Laura proposed inviting  Cal Poly professor Matt Ritter to speak on the broad benefits of the forest to the community.
Public and Director Comments:

Peter Frey and his wife Ruth moved to Cambria from Colorado. Peter Frey is concerned about the amount of dead wood and debris in the residential areas.  He had difficulty finding an insurance company to insure his home due to fire rating. Discussion of the issues, conflicting responsibilities among agencies and private property owners. He will continue advocating for fuel reduction.
Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm

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Minutes January 2018

Minutes of the January 2018 meeting. PDF posted here.



Minutes January 10 2018 .pdf

January 10, 2018, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler and Christine Heinrichs. Dan Turner, business manager for county Fire Safe Council, Kermit Johansson of PROS, and Harry Farmer, CCSD liaison, also attended.

Guest Speaker Sarah Bisbing, Ph.D, spoke on “Drought and disease shape demographic processes in endemic Monterey pine.” Over 60 people attended. Slides and notes to be posted separately.

Minutes of November Meeting approved as amended.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the balance is $1,601.97. $100 was paid to Dante Garcia for his translation of the Invasive Weed Guide into Spanish. Dr. Bisbing was paid $200 to defer expenses for her travel from Reno, Nevada.

Sub-Committee Reports


Invasive Weed Guide Spanish Translation: The text is translated but the iNaturalist Guide is not yet done.

Forest Resources Mitigation Measure Letter: Crosby will write and circulate a draft for directors’ approval.

Display for Sandy’s Deli: The Forest Committee could provide a small version of the Forest interpretive sign. The Forest Committee, Greenspace and FFRP could work together to keep the showcase attractive.

Forest Management

Job Description for Forester / Forest Ecologist: Dan Turner said that finding a Registered Professional Forester is difficult. A RPF could consult and supervise a less qualified individual.

Cape Ivy Biological Control Update: The USDA study of the effect of the shoot-tip galling fly is being conducted in The Land Conservancy’s Lower SLO Creek Floodplain Preserve in San Luis Obispo. Tests have shown a 30-60% reduction of Cape Ivy stem length after a single generation. USDA researchers have released the fly in 10 locations in California, from Humboldt to Santa Barbara, after nearly two decades of extensive lab studies on its effect on native and agricultural plants and a peer-review permitting process. It could be a tool in controlling Cape Ivy, a serious invasive in Cambria.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group —  LHMP

CSD General Manager Jerry Gruber has asked Dan Turner to rework the grant application for a biomass cogenerator, to submit to the Cal Fire grant category Forest Health. Grant payments are done as reimbursements, so funding must be in place prior to receiving the grant. Phoenix Technologies has a biomass cogenerator being installed in North Fork, CA. Christine Heinrichs reported that All Power Labs has changed its business plan for its Powertainer. The company leases their equipment in exchange for part of the energy produced. The company representative was not confident that Cambria would be an appropriate location for its Powertainer. The Powertainer is not yet operational. The requirements of the grant used to produce it dictate that the first unit(s) be sited in Northern California.

FEMA has Hazard Mitigation grants available. Government units must be the applicants. CCSD and CCHD are planning to apply. Cambria could qualify for flood protection funds.

The Fire Safe Focus Group will hold its first of four community meetings on preparedness on January 31, 4-6 pm at the Vets Hall. Sandra Millers Younger, author of “The Fire Outside My Window,” which recounts her experience in San Diego’s 2003 Cedar Fire, is the speaker.

New Business

Director Liability Insurance: Forest Committee directors’ exposure is low, as the Forest Committee has no employees and owns no vehicles. Directors will check with their insurance agents to determine whether they are covered on their homeowners’ policies.

Unfinished Business

Comments on Coastal Commission Agenda Items: The Orellana appeal was scheduled, but since the meeting, Mr. Orellana has withdrawn his application. The Coastal Commission meets in Cambria February 7-9.

Send Agenda Items and Speaker suggestions to Crosby.

Meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm.

Next Meeting February 14, 2018

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Minutes November 2017


Minutes November 2017
November 8, 2017, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

The meeting was called to order and a quorum established by attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Connie Gannon, and Christine Heinrichs.

No public comment or questions were presented.

The Minutes of the September Meeting were approved with amendments to the wording of the Cambria Community Council grant application and deletion of the mention of the Chamber app.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the bank balance at $1,151.97, including a $25 donation.  She received confirmation of the State Board of Equalization asked for documentation she submitted.

Sub-Committee Reports

Invasive Weed Guide Publicity. Crosby will check with Kathe Tanner regarding notice in The Cambrian.

Cambria Community Council Grant Application: Laura confirmed with CCC secretary Susan Kennedy that the Forest Committee can sell the Invasive Weed Guide, which was funded by a grant. Sales would require collection of sales tax. The Guide will be available free as appropriate and to donors. Suggested donation at least $8. Connie will bring some copies to the schools.

One board member at the CCC questioned the inclusion of herbicides such as glyphosate in the Guide. The Guide covers generally accepted methods of weed control, including chemical means.

Laura will have more copies of the Forest Committee trifold printed, for the Historic Society kiosk

Christine has found Google Translate is effective in creating a Spanish translation of the Invasive Weed Guide.

CCC grant awards will be made at a meeting at Santa Rosa Church November 27.

Forest Resources Mitigation Measure: Crosby and Laura submitted a letter to the County regarding the Sustainable (Emergency) Water Project Environmental Impact Report addressing the adverse effects of the growth that could be inspired by the plant. Laura’s map illustrates the location of lots under consideration by the Build-Out Reduction Committee.



Contrary to NEPA, CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines use the terms “effects” and “impacts” interchangeably. The CEQA Guidelines define three types of effects (or impacts):

  1. Direct or primary effects that are caused by a project and occur at the same time and place.
  2. Indirect or secondary effects that are reasonably foreseeable and caused by a project, but occur at a different time or place. The CEQA Guidelines state the following:
  3. An indirect physical change in the environment is a physical change…which is not immediately related to the project, but which is caused indirectly by the project. If a direct physical change in the environment in turn causes another change in the environment, then the other change is an indirect change in the environment (Section 15064 (d)(2)).
  4. …Indirect or secondary effects may include growth-inducing effects and other effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density, or growth rate, and related effects on air and water and other natural systems, including ecosystems (Section 15358)(a)(2)).
  5. As stated in Section 2(d) of the Guidelines, a growth-inducing impact could occur if:
  6. …the proposed project could foster economic or population growth, or the construction of additional housing, either directly or indirectly, in the surrounding environment. Included in this are projects that would remove obstacles to population growth (a major expansion of a waste water treatment plant might, for example, allow for more construction in the service areas). Increases in the population may tax existing community service facilities, requiring construction of new facilities that could cause significant environmental effects.
  7. A project may have some characteristic that may encourage and facilitate other activities that could significantly affect the environment, either individually or cumulatively. For example, the construction of a new sewage treatment plant may facilitate population growth in the service area due to the increase in sewage treatment capacity, which may lead to an increase in air pollution from man-made mobile and stationary sources. Section 15126.2(d) of the Guidelines concludes by cautioning the planner that “It must not be assumed that growth in any area is necessarily beneficial, detrimental, or of little significance to the environment.”
  8. Cumulative effects. Section 15355 of the CEQA Guidelines states: “Cumulative impacts” refers to two or more individual effects which, when considered together, are considerable or which compound or increase other environmental impacts.
  9. (a) The individual effects may be changes resulting from a single project or a number of separate projects.
  10. (b) The cumulative impact from several projects is the change in the environment which results from the incremental impact of the project when added to other closely related past, present, and reasonably foreseeable probable future projects. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor but collectively significant projects taking place over a period of time.
  11. Important direction to the practical use of this definition is found in Section 15130 of the CEQA Guidelines:
  12. (a)(1) As defined in Section 15355, a cumulative impact consists of an impact which is created as a result of the combination of the project evaluated in the EIR together with other projects causing related impacts [emphasis added].
  13. (b)…The discussion of cumulative impacts shall…focus on the cumulative impact to which the identified other projects contribute rather than the attributes of other projects which do not contribute to the cumulative impact [emphasis added].
  14. For example, if another project contributes only to a cumulative impact upon natural resources, its impacts on public services need not be discussed as part of cumulative impact analysis.
  15. Taken together, these elements define what counts for the practitioner and help to focus the evaluation upon other actions that are closely related in terms of impact on the resource— not closely related project types.


Projects can cause significant impacts by direct physical changes to the environment or by triggering reasonably foreseeable indirect physical changes. Physical changes caused by a project can contribute incrementally to cumulative effects that are significant, even if individual changes resulting from a project are limited. You must determine whether the cumulative impact is significant, as well as whether an individual effect is “cumulatively considerable.” This means “the incremental effects of an individual project are significant when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects” (Guidelines Section 15064(h)(1)).

When considering the relationship between the cumulative condition and the incremental effect of an individual project, keep in mind that “The mere existence of significant cumulative impacts caused by other projects alone shall not constitute substantial evidence that the proposed project’s incremental effects are cumulatively considerable” (Guidelines Section 15064(h)(4)).

See footnote: “The CEQA Guidelines define three types of effects (or impacts).”

Minutes November 2017Directors favored submitting a letter from the Forest Committee. Crosby and Laura will discuss with County Planner Airlin Singewald at the next NCAC meeting to determine the appropriate time to submit comments.

Forest Management
Job Description for Forester / Forest Ecologist: Grant funding will be available through Cal Fire’s Community Forest Health grants . A Forest Manager position could be included in a proposal. The fire break on Covell Ranch has been poorly managed: masticating the understory resulted in regrowth of fire-prone weeds such as French broom. The area, formerly open to the public, is now locked. Logs have been stacked instead of being placed in contact with the ground for break down into the soil. Community education can support better forest management.

Cape Ivy Biological Control Test: The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo is participating in a USDA Agricultural Research Service study using the shoot-tip galling fly as a biological control to manage Cape-ivy infestation on the Floodplain Preserve. Christine will inquire for more information.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Discussion focused on deficiencies in the Reverse 911 system, which will be the subject of a public workshop in the future. Laura said that building more houses in the forest exacerbates evacuation problems by increasing traffic on limited roads out of town.

JoEllen reported on FFRP’s test plots thus far. It’s too soon to draw conclusions, but three different treatments have been applied, involving thinning of trees, lopping, and chipping the trim and scattering it on the ground. All three are showing new growth of pine and oaks. FFRP is considering inviting James Allen back to evaluate the forest.

New Business

The Forest Committee will hold its regular meeting December 13.

Unfinished Business

Coastal Commission Meeting Report: delayed to March meeting.

Resource Management System Revisions: delayed to March meeting

Appeal of Orellana Building Permit: scheduled for January.
Send Agenda Items for the December meeting to Crosby.

Adjourned at 8:20 pm.

Next Meeting December 13, 2017

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