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 (information sheets attached).

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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Minutes May 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes May 2019

May 8, 2019, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Andrea Wogsland, executive director of Greenspace, and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, CCSD liaison, Peter Frey, and Tony Church also attended.

Public and Director Comments:

Christine will follow up to check on the status of the Cape Ivy Galling Fly project.

Peter Frey suggested using goats to clear vegetation. JoEllenButler used goats on a section of Fiscalini Ranch, cost $20,000. Terrain, type of vegetation, and fencing are concerns, but she is willing to use them again. They do not eat all the invasives, especially French broom, but do eat all the native plants.

Minutes of April Meeting were approved with one correction.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the balance at $ 1,221.04.  She paid for purchase of two banners that were used at the Earth Day celebration. FFRP will reimburse $43.43 for one.

Possible Cambria Community Council grant idea: add landscaping with native grasses around the Forest Committee sign. Directors will come up with other ideas for CCC grant funding projects at the June meeting.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Report on Earth Day Fair: The Fair had a beautiful day, but fewer attended than last year, perhaps because it was Easter Sunday. Laura and Crosby made contact with Robin Chase at State Parks and Bill Thornton, Outdoor Education Director at Camp Ocean Pines.

Rick Hawley enlisted families to grow Monterey Pine seedlings. He now has 4,000 potential starts set up. The goal is 10,000 for fall planting. Excellent music, arranged by Dulcie Taylor and using her sound system. Soto’s will continue to participate. Greenspace welcomes feedback.

Website Domain Name Billing: Paul has gotten it transferred from Amanda’s account so that it is under Forest Committee control.

Forest Management

Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Guidelines: Crosby and Laura continue to work with Fire Chief Hollingsworth to modify Weed Abatement to be sensitive to different needs in different areas. Special Project Area 1 has conservation easements that need to be observed. Special Project Area 2 has viewshed issues. A single policy is not appropriate for all undeveloped lots.

Cutting twice a year, before seedheads develop, would reduce spread of invasive weeds and is recommended, but not mandatory, because of additional cost.

“I’m trying to impress on the fire department the importance of timing,” Laura Swartz said.

Cal Fire and CCSD continue to negotiate on transferring responsibility for developed lots from Cal Fire to CCSD. Funding would have to be found to offset the CSD’s additional costs of enforcement.

“The goal ultimately is that people need to maintain their property all year,” Harry Farmer said.

Invasive Borer Workshop May 9th: Christine Heinrichs will attend and report to the Forest Committee at the June meeting.

SOD Blitz: Crosby and Laura, Christine, and Duffy Burns participated from Cambria. Results in the fall.

County Permits: Crosby has not been able to get the county to send permit applications to the Forest Committee, but Tony Church of NCAC’s Land Use Committee said that no applications have been submitted for the past two months. Discussion of the problem of no enforcement or follow-up on planting and maintaining mitigation trees. Greenspace’s new executive director Andrea Wogsland suggested the nonprofits can support each other in following up tree mitigation. Those required to plant trees to mitigate for trees removed usually contact Greenspace to buy replacement trees.

The Coastal Commission did not take tree loss into account in issuing a permit for the O’Sullivan Guest House. Christine will send the Staff Report to those attending. It is posted on the Coastal Commission website at https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2019/5/W22a/W22a-5-2019-report.pdf

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group:

PG&E will turn off power during high winds. Because of the technical complications of turning it back on, power could be off for several days. Fire Safe Focus Group is looking into planning for a power outage.

Broom Pile Burns along Hwy 1 have been completed. Laura is concerned about the living trees that were singed by the fires. Damaged trees may die, then have to be removed.

Unfinished Business

Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: Crosby continues to review the Forest Practices Act for how it applies to dead tree removal. The Forest Practice Act and Rules can be accessed at www.calfire.ca.gov/resource_mgt_forestpractice. Select 2019 Forest Practice Rules and Act under Forest Practice More Info. Interesting sections include Fuelbreak / Defensible Space on page 55, Harvesting Practices and Erosion Control on page 64, Wildlife Protection Practices on page 112, and Coastal Commission Special Treatment Areas on page 119.

Dark Skies Initiative Support Letter: Christine will rewrite and send to Crosby for approval.

Public and Director Comments:

Directors are asked to come up with ideas for projects that could be funded with CCC grants.

Will the proposed wind farm off Cambria affect fog? Monterey Pine trees are dependent on fog drip. Research this question for future discussion.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm
Next Meeting June 12, 2019

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Minutes April 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes April 2019

April 10, 2019, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler Julie Jorgenson and Christine Heinrichs. Cambria resident Linda Poppenheimer, Harry Farmer, liaison from the CSD Board of Directors, and Carlos Mendoza, Facilities and Maintenance manager for the CSD also attended.

Public and Director Comments:

Linda Poppenheimer recounted an experience with a tree that was removed from her property by County Public Works. One tree had fallen over in the wind, but without notifying her, the crew also removed a tree she had planted 12 years ago. She asked for specifics of the County’s Tree Removal Ordinance (23.05.060 – Tree Removal In the County Municipal Code,

https://library.municode.com/ca/san_luis_obispo_county/codes/county_code?nodeId=TIT23COZOLAUS_CH23.05SIDEST_23.05.062TRREPERE; Blanket permit, https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/community/cambrian/article39063303.html). She has a picture of the fallen tree and the healthy tree. She was advised to contact the county and ask why the healthy tree was removed.

Carlos Mendoza reported on the work he and his crews have done to clean up homeless encampments on CSD property. The issue has received substantial local interest recently. A committee has been formed, led by Theresa Desmond, to bring solutions to the CSD Board. They meet the first Wednesday of the month, 10 am at Pacific Premier Bank.

Minutes of the March meeting were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported $1,221.04 balance in the account. An invoice from Lynn Singer for review of the taxes is expected, $150.

Sub-Committee Reports:

            Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Materials for Earth Day Fair: Crosby and Laura will bring license plate frames, books, flyers. Crosby will get a banner made to display across the top of the tent to identify the Forest Committee and FFRP. Volunteers will work the booth, 11-3 pm Sunday April 21.

Website Domain Name Billing: Paul is working with Amanda to resolve the issue. He has a video to use for future changes

Forest Management

Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Guidelines: Crosby will discuss with Fire Chief Hollingsworth making the list of properties requiring weed abatement show clearly which are owned by the CSD. Practices for weed abatement were discussed. Laura Swartz has found an outlet for 30 percent vinegar, an effective weed killer, especially for Oxalis, that is not toxic to wildlife or the soil.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: JoEllen attended. The agenda was not well distributed and few attended. Lack of a speaker for the Emergency Preparedness Day on May 18 may be remedied by Craig Ufferheide, who will invite the FEMA speaker from the Disaster Preparedness Workshop May 15-16 to stay on and speak.

New Business

Sudden Oak Death Survey: will be May 3rd – 5th. Attending the training is not required, but helpful. Survey materials are distributed there. Check SODMap app for locations. Crosby and Laura Swartz will do San Simeon Road. Christine Heinrichs will use the list she has compiled in town. Bay Laurels are the trees being sampled. They transmit SOD to oaks.

Unfinished Business

Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: Crosby wants to compare language in the Forest Practice Act with the Cambria Forest Management Plan to determine whether there are any significant differences.

Dark Skies Initiative Support Letter: Christine will draft a letter of support relevant to forest concerns.

Public and Director Comments

Kim Corella, CALFIRE, RPF#2916, Southern Region Forest Pest Specialist/Forester II, Cell – 805-550-8583 invited all interested people to a workshop on invasive shot hole borer (ISHB) and goldspotted oak borer (GSOB), to be held in San Luis Obispo on May 9th from 9:30-2:30.  More information at www.pshb.org.

“These insects have not been found yet in our County but they are very close and we are especially concerned about the ISHB which can attack over 110 tree species. Many of these are native riparian species such as Sycamore, Cottonwood, Alder, Willows, Box Elders and this insect also attacks coast live oak and valley oaks.

“Please come and attend this local workshop so you can learn how to identify these invasive insects and report them if you see them in our county. We’ll cover these topics in the classroom, then have a hands-on lab to learn how to identify signs of shot hole borer damage, set up a monitoring program, and sample trees.”

Meeting was adjourned at 7:51 pm.

Next Meeting May 8, 2019

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Minutes March 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Meeting Minutes

March 13, 2019, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by the attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler and Christine Heinrichs. Cambria CSD liaison Harry Farmer, CCSD director Donn Howell, NCAC member Tony Church, new Cambria resident Cynthia Snell, and resident Peter Frey also attended.

Public and Director Comments: Crosby announced that ECOSLO’s regular quarterly econetworking meeting will be held Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7:30 am at the Matchfire office in San Luis Obispo.

Beautify Cambria: Claudia Harmon Worthen, president of Beautify Cambria Association, presented information on BCA’s initiative to achieve certification as an International Dark Sky Community for Cambria. She asked the Forest Committee to write a letter of support.

She also asked for support to create a Demonstration Native Plant Garden on the property owned by the CCSD along Cambia Drive next to Rabobank. Responsibility for continuing maintenance is an obstacle to creating a garden there. Claudia suggested Cambria’s environmental and service organizations could jointly commit to providing maintenance. She can get money to pay for initial plantings, which could include oaks and toyon. Crosby asked her to work up a site plan and return to the Forest Committee.

Minutes of the February meeting were approved as written.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the account balance at $1,221.04. An upcoming expense will be for Lynn Singer for a professional review the finances.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Website Domain Name Billing: Paul Nugent will get the Forest Committee account transferred to his GoDaddy account, then create a billing for CFC. The Forest Committee needs to maintain the account to preserve the domain name.

Forest Management

Fuel Reduction in Protected Forest Areas: Crosby has not had a response from Fire Chief William Hollingsworth to his inquiry regarding fuel reduction in protected forest areas.

County Log Removal Requirements: Alan Peters of Cal Fire responded to the inquiry regarding log removal via Bruce Gibson’s new assistant, Blake Fixler:

“As far as logs left on-site, PG&E has their internal policy on how they address tree residue but this does not involve the County or the FSC as far as I know.  I’m fairly certain that County Roads removes the whole tree whenever they remove trees from their right-of-way, but you would have to confirm with them.  CCSD Fire would establish the standard as part of their annual weed abatement program.  It’s possible that Chief Hollingsworth could require parcel owners to remove logs as part of that program, and you could ask him.  Other than PG&E, County Roads, and CCSD weed abatement, it’s usually up to the landowner.

“It’s possible that Windsor continues to collect wood residue.  For years they have collected dead trees from arborists and landowners, and they periodically have it ground up into mulch which they can then sell.

“BTW, downed logs will not usually stop a grass fire unless they are saturated.  Fires may not spread as fast as grass when burning downed logs, but all vegetation is still combustible fuel.  The worse thing about logs is that they can catch embers and smolder for a period of time and sometimes smoke is not visible for days.  In general, dead fuel of any kind increases the fire hazard and should be removed from the “lean/green” 30′ zone immediately around buildings.  This is not County policy, this is State law – PRC 4291.”

Crews often leave wood at the side of the road for people to pick up for their own use. Peter Frey said people sometimes add wood to piles in the forest.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Christine Heinrichs reported that:

The Focus Group is planning a Community Preparedness Day May 18. JoEllen Butler is recruiting 60 volunteers for an Americorps forest cleanup project April 6 and 7, 30 for each day. Contact her through the FFRP website to volunteer.

County Fire Safe Council Business Manager Dan Turner reported that the plan from the $8,000 grant for evacuation planning on Lodge Hill will be completed by Cal Poly by June 30. FSFG Chair Dave Pierson said that the CCSD applied for another $100,000 FEMA grant to evaluate evacuation planning for the entire community.

Forest cleanup of dead and dying trees and invasive plants will continue from Cambria Road south on the east side of Highway 1 in mid-April. The corridor from Tin City up toward schools will be done after that.

They discussed using goats for forest cleanup. They are effective but can be expensive because of the need for fencing and goatherders. They do not eat everything. They avoid poison oak and French broom is poisonous to them.

A FEMA course in disaster survival will be offered free May 15-16. Contact CambriaCERT@gmail.com for information.

Cal Fire Chief Alan Peters will resume controlled burning in April with new fire crews.

Jeremy Main showed a kit for fire suppressants that can be sprayed on a house and landscaping for short duration protection. When used by others in a neighborhood, fire could be limited.

Community Alarm system: An emergency AM radio frequency is available to supplement other warning systems. Reverse 911 systems require advance registration of phone numbers with the sheriff’s office.

Cal Fire’s Community Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation Report includes 19 recommendations and a list of projects that are immediate, short-term, and long-term. Governor Newsom is authorized funding for wildfire protection.

A Wildland-Urban Interface Institute has been established at Cal Poly.

New Business

Earth Day Fair April 21st, 11-3 pm: The Forest Committee with share a table with FFRP as we did last year, subject to FFRP Education Committee approval. Crosby will submit the application.

Unfinished Business

CCSD Fire Dept Responsibility for Fuel Reduction on Developed Parcels: The financial question of how Cambria will pay for taking over this Cal Fire responsibility has not been resolved. The Fire Safe Focus Group has set up a subcommittee to work on it.

Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: Dead Tree Removal Practices: Forest Committee directors are asked to review the Forest Practice Act for items that do not apply to Cambria and compare its provisions to the Cambria Forest Management Plan.

The Forest Practice Act and Rules can be accessed at www.calfire.ca.gov/resource_mgt_forestpractice. Select 2019 Forest Practice Rules and Act under Forest Practice More Info. Interesting sections include Fuelbreak / Defensible Space on page 55, Harvesting Practices and Erosion Control on page 64, Wildlife Protection Practices on page 112, and Coastal Commission Special Treatment Areas on page 119.

Public and Director Comments:

Crosby referred those attending to the Forest Committee website for information.

JoEllen announced that the annual Wildflower show will be held April 13-14 at the Vets Hall.

Paul said that it’s easy to pull french broom at this time of year, after the rains. JoEllen offered FFRP’s pullers, weed wrenches, which are available to the public. Crosby pointed out that before it develops viable seed, it can be left on the ground. Otherwise, seed heads can be clipped off and disposed of in plastic bags in the garbage. Laura said that oxalis can be pulled now before it forms bulbs.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm
Next Meeting April 10, 2019

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Minutes February 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

Minutes February 2019

February 13, 2019, 6:30 PM Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

The meeting was called to order and a Quorum established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler of FFRP, Julie Jorgenson, and Christine Heinrichs. Also in attendance were Harry Farmer, CCSD liaison, Donn Howell, CCSD director, Brad Seek, director emeritus, and Cambrians Tori and Linda Poppenheimer.

Public and Director Comments: Linda Poppenheimer said she read notice in the paper about Rick Hawley’s talk at the January meeting After attending his talk, she bought 20 seedlings and wrote this blog post, https://greengroundswell.com/mother-nature-needs-our-help-lets-plant-trees/2019/02/11/.

Christine Heinrichs reported that she attended the Eco SLO Networking event in January. Over 75 groups are working on various environmental issues. Although the meeting is in SLO at 7:30 am, it was well worth attending. She will send details of the next meeting, March 13, as they are posted.

FFRP will hold a Ranch walk with Cal Fire speaker Alan Peters February 16, weather permitting. Call 927-2202 to reserve a spot, limit 25 people. The annual Wildflower Show will be April 13-14. Americorps volunteers will do a project for the Ranch.

Minutes of January Meeting were approved with one change.

Treasurer’s Report: Account balance $1,221.04.  Rick’s talk brought in $117. All grant money has been spent. Directors should keep projects in mind for next year’s Cambria Community Council grant application.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

Website Domain Name Renewal: Paul Nugent will report at the March meeting.

Forest Management

Fuel Reduction in Protected Forest Areas: Crosby and Laura Swartz have discussed enforcement of those regulations on lots under conservation protection. Wetlands are protected under separate regulations, as addressed in Section 4, Forest Treatment Prescriptions and Techniques, of the Cambria Forest Management Plan, http://cambriaforestcommittee.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Cambria_Forest_Management_Plan_4_02.pdf Governor Gavin Newsom has promised $1 billion in grants for forest health. The focus is on fire danger.

CFD has applied for a grant to remove invasive vegetation from the canyon along Burton Drive.

County Log Removal Requirements: JoEllen expressed concern that Cal Fire will prohibit leaving downed trees lying on the forest floor. Alan Peters of Cal Fire responded to an email inquiry that CFD is responsible for policy in Cambria, but that state law PRC 4291 specifies that “dead fuel of any kind increases the fire hazard and should be removed from the ‘lean/green’ 30′ zone immediately around buildings.” JoEllen will continue to pursue the question.

New Business

Discuss Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter:

Crosby felt the draft letter regarding Dead Tree Removal was too general. Cal Fire works under the Forest Practice Act, writing a Timber Harvest Plan rather than a CEQA Environmental Review to guide their project. He requested directors compare the Forest Practice Act and the Cambria Forest Management Plan for items that do not apply to Cambria.

The Forest Practice Act and Rules can be accessed at www.calfire.ca.gov/resource_mgt_forestpractice. Select 2019 Forest Practice Rules and Act under Forest Practice More Info. Interesting sections include Fuelbreak / Defensible Space on page 55, Harvesting Practices and Erosion Control on page 64, Wildlife Protection Practices on page 112, and Coastal Commission Special Treatment Areas on page 119.

Unfinished Business

CCSD Fire Dept Defensible Space Program: The Cambria Fire Department and Cal Fire continue to discuss transferring Cal Fire’s responsibility for inspection of developed lots to the CFD. Cal Fire doesn’t have enough men and money to inspect lots, and its enforcement power is weak, with a maximum $100 fine. CFD has a Weed Abatement Program for undeveloped lots and better enforcement capability. CFD can hire contractors to perform work and bill the lot owner. CFD would need additional funding to take on the additional responsibility. Transferring authority to enforce can raise legal questions. The subject will be on the Fire Safe Focus Group agenda.

Agenda Items for Next Meeting

Beautify Cambria Association: BCA president Claudia Harmon Worthen will present the Dark Skies Initiative and a possible landscaping project at the March 13 meeting. Laura will contact.

Public and Director Comments: Crosby will distribute information on the FFRP docent walk. Christine Heinrichs will attend the Fire Safe Focus Group meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7:42 pm.

Next Meeting March 13, 2019

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Minutes January 2019

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

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

CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE

TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA

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

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations

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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