Minutes 14 September 2016


Download a pdf here: minutes-14-september-2016

September 14, 2016

6:30 PM, Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by directors attending: Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Julie Jorgenson, Christine Heinrichs. Don Canestro of Rancho Marino and his intern, Nicholas Pieper, Tony Church, Nancy Anderson, and Kathe Tanner also attended.

The Minutes of the August meeting were approved as written.

The Treasurer’s report by Laura Swartz is unchanged. All bills are paid and the balance is $2,149.98, including $495.13 of the Community Council grant.

Subcommittee reports:


Community Council Grant Application: Laura Swartz would like to apply for a grant to publish a local invasive weed guide. Christine Heinrichs began the project as a Capstone for her California Naturalist certification. The goal is a bilingual hard copy and a downloadable digital version, with an app possible in the future. They will meet to work on the application prior to the October 10 deadline.

Website Report: Domain Name Renewal: Christine will contact GoDaddy directly to transfer ownership of the domain name to the Forest Committee.

At Home in the Forest Brochure: Christine will contact Vari to create a downloadable version of the brochure.

Forest Management

Endangered Species Status for Monterey Pines: Julie Jorgenson reported on discussions with Connie Gannon, executive director of Greenspace. Discussion of the pros and cons of Endangered Species listing through the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Listing can add a layer of difficulty in managing the species, but could focus attention on them and strengthen efforts to fund a Forest Management Plan. The Coastal Commission’s Environmentally Sensitive Areas already gives substantial protection. Other listed species that are native to the Monterey Pine forest require that the forest be protected as habitat. Julie will continue to reach out to the California Native Plant Society and groups in Monterey County for information. The process could help collect data and information on the Monterey Pine forest that would be helpful. She will bring a timeline of the process to the next meeting.

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Fuel Reduction and Forest Restoration Project: JoEllen Butler reported that Test Plot 3 (cut/chip/scatter) was completed.  Dennis White was hired to do Test Plot 1 (cut/lop/scatter) and Test Plot 2 (cut/pile/burn) because the CalFire crews were busy. Some planting will be done in the first plot after the rainy season. Cones will be scattered in the lop and scatter plot. Volunteers moved the piles of chips.

Strawberry Canyon Dead Tree Removal Project: Nancy Anderson reported that the work was done. Rick Hawley may be doing some finishing work. Homeowners are working with Greenspace to keep land cleared.

New Business

Discussion about Draft Environmental Impact Report on EWS: Crosby is not convinced that the draft EIR resolves the issue of lots retired under the Buildout Reduction Plan. He and Laura serve on the current Buildout Reduction Committee. He will convene and electronic meeting for directors to discuss composing a letter of comment regarding issues that pertain to the forest.

Unfinished Business

Discussion about Cambria Community Wildfire Protection Plan: The Forest Committee’s concern is that the plan is being used as the basis for the Timber Harvest Plan being written for Cal Fire. The plan has questionable data and was never subjected to peer or community review. It’s a fire hazard plan being used as a basis for forest management. The plan will be posted to the Forest Committee web site.

Buildout Reduction Committee: Laura reports that the committee is relying on inconsistent information regarding which and how many lots have been retired from development. The Buildout Reduction Plan is supposed to be what is conserved in the future, not what has been conserved in the past.

Discussion of Weed Abatement Program in Forest Preserve: Although no real agreement has been reached on weed abatement on lots mistakenly listed and mowed, many lots have been removed from the list. instead of mowing the hillside lots, they mowed an eight-foot strip down the center. Further action deferred until next year.

County Permit Referrals: The Forest Committee is no longer receiving permit referrals. Tony Church said that NCAC had received at least four in the last month. Crosby will pursue getting the Forest Committee reinstated for permit notification.

Forestry professor Doug Piirto will speak at the Lions Club meeting September 27 at Joslyn Center 6:30 pm.

Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.

Next meeting October 12, 2016.

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Minutes August 2016



Minutes, August 10, 2016


Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

The meeting began with guest speaker Dr. Sarah Bisbing, assistant professor, Forest Ecology & Silviculture, NRES Department at California Polytechnic State University. She spoke on research report, Integrating social & ecological needs when managing endemic species: A case study of Cambria’s Pinus radiata forest, written by Dr. Bisbing and two graduate students, Kevin Hurt, and Matt Terzes. Her PowerPoint presentation is posted on the Forest Committee web site. About 50 people attended.

The business meeting was held after Dr. Bisbing’s talk. A Quorum was established by attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Connie Gannon, Julie Jorgenson, JoEllen Butler, and Christine Heinrichs. Nancy Anderson, Ann Cichowski, Vari MacNeil, and Kathe Tanner of The Cambrian also attended.

Minutes of the July Meeting were approved with minor revisions.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported no changes from July: All bills are paid and the balance is $2,149.98, including $495.13 of the Community Council grant.

Sub-Committee Reports

Website Report: Christine will connect with Vari to get the At Home in the Forest brochure in a format that will be downloadable from the web site.

                   Forest Management: Information for Dr Douglas Piirto speech to Cambria Lions Club: Christine will contact Dr. Piirto again and ascertain whether he needs audio-visual equipment for the September 27 Lions Club meeting, 6 pm at the Joslyn Center.

                 Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Fuel Reduction and Forest Restoration Project: JoEllen Butler reported no work is going on because all the Cal Fire personnel are off fighting fires. She has planned a seed collection day September 17, 9-noon, to be led by Holly Sletteland. They will discuss the ethics of collecting in the wild and how to process and store the seed.

Strawberry Canyon Dead Tree Removal Project: Connie Gannon reported that Buddy Campos has completed five days of the ten-day work project. He is clearing a total of 50 feet around the trails. Erosion control is included. More planting will be done, probably in the spring. The work is being paid for by $23,000 from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant

New Business

Discussion about Cambria Community Wildfire Protection Plan: All Forest Committee members have been sent electronic copies and are asked to review it prior to the September meeting for discussion. Connie Gannon raised questions as to whether incorrect data has been included because the plan was written by Cal Poly students who based their conclusions for the entire forest only on Liemert and did not talk to Greenspace or FFRP. No formal comment period was held to solicit comment.

Unfinished Business

Discussion of Weed Abatement Program in Forest Preserve:  Crosby Swartz continues to work with Fire Chief Hollingsworth and Fire Engineer Ryan Maloney to get lots properly identified and improve weed abatement practices to reduce invasive weeds and encourage growth of native plants.

The Tree Mortality Task Force: Connie Gannon reported that it is an organization of counties and other government agencies. Cambria does not need to be a member to participate in grant funding. Supervisor Bruce Gibson has met with Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian and State Senator Bill Monning to discuss applying for grant funding.

Public comment:

Connie Gannon reported that in the Fire Safe Focus Group meeting CSD Director Greg Sanders suggested that all dead trees be designated as Public Nuisances. Dan Turner cautioned that declaring public nuisances without funding to address them could have unintended consequences.

Agenda Items for September:

Ann Cichowski suggested that the Forest Committee explore the possibility of having Monterey Pine recognized as an Endangered Species. Dr. Bisbing noted in her talk that Monterey Pine is one of the few plants on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Adjourned at 9:10 pm.

Next Meeting September 14, 2016


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Minutes July 2016



Minutes July 2016

July 13, 2016, 6:30 PM

A quorum was present: Laura and Crosby Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Connie Gannon, Julie Jorgenson, Christine Heinrichs. Also attending were Nancy Anderson, Tony Church and Jim Bahringer.

Public Comment and Ask the Experts Q&A

JoEllen asked Connie Gannon for the exact location of the property for which she wrote a grant to the California State Department of Natural Resources for funds to purchase. It’s between Strawberry Canyon and Rancho Marino and, together with those properties, will provide 537 acres of habitat and wildlife corridor. The money, if granted, will be available in March 2017. The significance is that the property is habitat for two rare native grasses.

Christine Heinrichs reported that Camp Ocean Pines is having a course for training as a Certified California Naturalist. The week-long course is held twice each year, in August and February.

Minutes of June Meeting were approved without amendment.

Treasurer’s Report

Laura Swartz reported that all bills are paid and the balance is $2,149.98, including $495.13 of the Community Council grant. She will use some funds to buy plastic containers for brochures to be placed on the Historical Society kiosk. Connie will check the Forest Management Plan to see if language from that can be adapted to the brochure. Jim Bahringer suggested that she apply for a grant from the CTB to pay for that.

Sub-Committee Reports


 At Home in the Forest Brochure Distribution: Bahringer offered to share the brochure with the marketing people at the  Cambria Tourism Board for possible inclusion in its marketing materials. Discussion of tourism led to exploring building an app for natural history in Strawberry Canyon that families could use.  Bahringer suggested applying to the CTB for funding to pay to develop an app. Connie Gannon suggested having a Family Picnic Day in Strawberry canyon.

 Website Updates – Domain Name Registration

Christine Heinrichs is still working to get the user name and password for the GoDaddy account to secure the domain name for the CFC.

Forest Management

Info for Dr Douglas Piirto speech to Cambria Lions Club

Christine will follow up with Doug Piirto as to whether he has the information he needs for his talk. He will speak at the September 27 Lions Club meeting, 6 pm at the Joslyn Center.

 Cambria Forest Health / Greenhouse Gas Project Implementation

Bahringer is concerned that CSD management has not pursued the Biomass Cogeneration project. Gail Robinette reported to the Fire Safe Focus Group that she did not contact the company. He will follow up.

  Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Project

Treatment of two plots was deferred due to nesting birds. Wood has been chipped and will be spread on trails.

  Endorsement Letter for Greenspace Grant Project

The letter supporting the grant to purchase property was sent.

Report From Fire Safe Focus Group

All Power Labs in Berkeley is accepting applications to locate a portable biomass unit. Cambria could have one at the wastewater treatment plant, which would use the power generated by converting wood chips into electricity. Bahringer said he will have the general manager follow up when he returns from vacation in two weeks.

The Fire Safe Focus Group is working to include Cambria in the state Tree Mortality Task Force. Crosby will contact Cherie McKee and Bruce Gibson to be included in meetings. Connie will research background information on it and distribute to CFC members.

New Business

Consideration of new Director Candidate

Discussion was deferred to August meeting.

Unfinished Business

Guidelines for Annual Weed Abatement Program in Forest Preserves

The contract has been awarded to Bushwacker for a second year. Connie said Greenspace will hold bilingual training workshops next year for workers. Crosby and Laura will check the list of lots scheduled for weed abatement next year. They will question lots listed as non-compliant.

Laura questioned whether the 52 lots designated to be retired from development were ever transferred to the CSD. Bahringer said he will check on them

County Approval of Orellana Building Permit During Water Emergency

Christine and Mary Webb both requested a hearing on the permit before the Board of Supervisors. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Additional development is happening in Cambria, without permits. The Rod & Reel Trailer Park was demolished today, without care being taken to dispose of asbestos in the house on the property. Kathe Tanner said a Stop Work order was issued. Bahringer said that the permit for development of a manufactured home development comes under state regulations.

State Legislation to Waive CEQA and Coastal Act for Affordable Housing   

Trailer Bill 707 has not been acted on. CFC members have sent letters and made phone calls to legislators.

Agenda Items and Speaker for Next Month

Connie suggested adding the Tree Mortality Task Force to the agenda.

Laura suggested discussing forming a new assessment district to fund the Forest Management Plan. LAFCO probably will not approve a new district. Connie suggested working with the organizations protecting the two other Monterey Pine forests to form a special State Protective District.

Adjourned at 8:52 pm.

Next Meeting August 10, 2016

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Minutes June 2016



Minutes June 2016

June 8, 2016

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

Call to Order 6:30 pm. In order to establish a quorum, Vari MacNeil was invited to sit in as a temporary director. Other directors in attendance were Crosby and Laura Swartz, Bruce Mumper and Christine Heinrichs. Laurel Stewart and Tony Church of NCAC attended.

Public Comment and Ask the Experts Q&A: Vari brought up the bunch of Pampas grass that is growing at the north end of Strawberry Canyon. Removing it now will prevent this invasive weed from moving into the canyon. Tony Church asked about Cal Trans trimming along Highway 1. The broom has not been removed. The Shaded Fire Break along Covell Ranch which was cleared with a masticator two years ago has regrown with invasive weeds, especially broom. Bruce Mumper attended a meeting there with representatives of The Nature Conservancy, Ralph Covell, Alan Peters, Dan Turner and Sarah Bisbing earlier in the day. Laurel Stewart said that Cal Fire promised to maintain the fire break. They enforce rules on defensible space on property owners but now are not maintaining Cal Fire’s responsibility. Laura Swartz said she talked with Alan Peters about it earlier in the day at the Fire Safe Focus Group meeting but he did not give her a starting date for clearing it. Crosby will email Alan Peters about it.

Minutes of May Meeting were approved as amended, with one change, from ‘reserve’ to ‘preserve.’

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that there are no outstanding checks or bills. The balance is $2,149.98, including $495.13 from CCC grant.

Sub-Committee Reports


    At Home in the Forest Brochure Distribution: Crosby and Laura brought the brochures to the NCAC meeting. Crosby will ask the Fire Safe Focus Group to offer them on their table at the 4th of July celebration.

Website Updates – Domain Name Registration: Remains to be concluded. Christine will renew efforts to connect with Amanda Rice to accomplish this final step.

Forest Management

 Info for Dr. Douglas Piirto speech to Cambria Lions Club: Dr. Piirto has been invited to speak to the Cambria Lions Club in September. Crosby will address his questions. We look on this as an opportunity to attend a Lions Club meeting and forge new bonds.

Weed Abatement in Forest Preserves: Crosby continues to work to raise awareness of the difference between native and invasive non-native plants. The present policy of weed-whacking everything down to four inches prevents all plants from growing. Bruce Mumper made the point that illustrations are needed to help residents know the difference. Laurel Stewart will look into whether Cal Poly or the Native Plant Society has a resource. Christine will check with Carole Adams, who has fought invasive weeds at the lighthouse.

Cambria Forest Health / Greenhouse Gas Project Implementation, Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Project: The projects were discussed at the Fire Safe Focus Group earlier in the day. Cal Fire is making progress on the test plots at Fiscalini Ranch. Nesting owls on one plot will not be disturbed, with work on that plot deferred until the birds have fledged.

Report From Fire Safe Focus Group:  Ken Topping advocated for including the Forest Management Plan in the Local Area Hazard Management Plan now being addressed by the CCSD. Members of the Forest Committee will thank him for his support.

New Business

Discussion of State proposal to over-ride CEQA and Coastal Act, Trailer Bill 707: This proposal would allow local government to approve housing developments if they include affordable housing without CEQA review or meeting Coastal Act requirements. “Local jurisdiction could rubber stamp projects,” Crosby said. “It’s a terrible idea. If they start chipping away at CEQA, then protection will be gone.” He will write a letter to the governor and other legislators and circulate it to directors before sending it to them.

Unfinished Business

Approval of letter to County about Orellana Permit: Crosby will circulate the updated draft of the letter and submit it to the county. A hearing has been set for 9 am Friday, June 17 at the county courthouse in San Luis Obispo. Laurel Stewart will forward the hearing notice to Forest Committee directors. This permit application for new construction violates the Stage 3 Water Emergency, the Building Moratorium and other local ordinances, but the CSD is prepared to approve it.

Guidelines for Annual Weed Abatement Program in Forest Preserves: Kermit Johansson, who is now on the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Committee, wrote a Viewpoint for the Cambrian and sent a letter to the Forest Committee suggesting more effective ways to control invasive weeds. Crosby will send out a letter for review. Vari suggested Monterey County may have some suggestions for improving the program.

Agenda Items and Speakers for Next Month: Sarah Bisbing is tentatively scheduled to speak at the August 10 meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7:52 pm.

Next Meeting July 13, 2016

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Minutes 11 May 2016

Meeting Minutes
Download a pdf here Minutes 11 May 2016
May 11, 2016, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street
Call to Order and Establish a Quorum: Directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Connie Gannon and Christine Heinrichs. Vari MacNeil of NCAC and BCA; Laurel Stewart, NCAC environmental alternate; Tony Church, Kathy Seaman, Kermit Johansson. Kathe Tanner of The Cambrian. 
Public Comment and Ask the Experts Q&A: no questions were raised.
Approve Minutes of April Meeting: approved as amended.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the current balance is $2,199.98. $101.05 was spent on the At Home in the Forest brochure. $495.15 is left on the CCC grant. One outstanding bill for $50 remains, to Lynn Singer, who prepares the annual financial filing.
Sub-Committee Reports
     Fire Safe Fair: Laura, Crosby and Christine Heinrichs worked an information table with the interpretive sign, brochures and a sign-up sheet. Although it was an interesting event with good exhibitors, attendance was low. Crosby and Laura enjoyed talking with other exhibitors, including CSD director Jim Bahringer and Supervisor Bruce  Gibson.Over 100 attended. 
     At Home in the Forest Brochure: Everyone admired the work Vari MacNeil did to design an attractive and useful brochure. Laura had several hundred copies printed up. Forest Committee members will distribute them to the community and explore other avenues to reach the public: Realtors, architects, neighbors.
     Website Updates: The web site is up and working, but the general email for requests delivers only to Crosby, not Christine. The domain name still needs to be transferred to Crosby and Christine. We will continue working with Amanda Rice to conclude the transaction.
Forest Management
     Weed Abatement in Forest Preserves: Kermit Johansson is concerned about the invasive thistles that are having a good year. He is cutting and spraying them where he can. He suggests having two weed abatement cuts, one in March to cut the thistles before they bloom, then a second cutting later to eliminate second bloom of thistles and grasses. Connie Gannon said that early spring cutting can interfere with low-nesting birds. Thistles are easy to recognize. Individual property owners can be encouraged to remove thistles. Kathe Tanner encouraged committee members to write Letters to the Editor and Viewpoints explaining what thistles are and why individuals should remove them.
     Crosby and Laura noted that all the lots in Fern Canyon are on the CSD’s weed abatement list, even though many of them are protected by conservation easements. They have observed weed abatement down to four inches on lots that are exempt by virtue of their preserve status. Weed whacking on native vegetation can allow invasive weeds to grow. Crosby will confer with Dan Bohlman of the Land Conservancy as to the legal protection of their conservation easements. The new fire chief, William Hollingsworth, has run the Weed Abatement Program in the past but will probably assign it to someone after he takes on his new responsibilities later in May. 
     In the pasts, Greenspace has held workshops for vegetation workers to help them identify native plants and do their jobs better. Executive Director Connie Gannon said she will explore whether funding for bilingual workshops is possible from the current grants.
     Cambria Forest Health / Greenhouse Gas Project Implementation: The Western States grant has been received. Cal Fire will implement fuel removal.
     Fiscalini Ranch Preserve: FFRP has gotten permit approval for the trees already taken down and proceed with the rest of the project description. Cal Fire will send crews out to work on the three one-acre test plots.
Report From Fire Safe Focus Group: Requests for Proposals will be sent out for the LHMP in hopes of getting a contract signed before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. They also hope it can be done for less than $25,000 so that it does not get delayed by having to be considered by the Board of Supervisors. 
     The CSD has changed course and is now willing to allow the All Power Labs prototype Biomass Generator to be located at the wastewater treatment plant site.
     They continue to work to increase fire safety awareness in the community.
New Business
          Guidelines for Annual Weed Abatement Program in Forest Preserves: deferred to June meeting.  
Unfinished Business
     Recommendations to NCAC on Orellana Permit Application: The Forest Committee will submit a letter recommending that this permit not be approved due to water restrictions and current restrictions, including the Building Moratorium. Draft will be written and circulated to directors in the coming month.
Agenda Items and Speakers for Next Month: Sarah Bisbing has not confirmed as a speaker for June 8. 
Adjourned at 8:04 pm.
Next Meeting June 8, 2016
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Minutes April 2016

Minutes April 2016



April 13, 2016 MEETING MINUTES

6:30 PM, Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

Attending: Quorum of Directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Bruce Mumper, Connie Gannon, Christine Heinrichs.  Vari MacNeil and Nancy Anderson. Kathe Tanner, Cambria reporter.

Ask the Experts Q&A: Crosby Swartz proposed adding Public Comment to the beginning of the meeting, so that those who have something to tell the committee don’t have to wait until the end of the meeting. Approved by general agreement.

Vari MacNeil presented information on the upcoming Greenspace and Beautify Cambria Association Save the Trees, Save the Bees Weekend, April 30-May 1. Greenspace will hold an Arbor Day Concert featuring the Zen Mountain Poets on Saturday April 30 and BCA will hold its first Bee Faire Sunday May 1.

Minutes of January and March Meetings were approved. January minutes as amended regarding Amanda Rice’s resignation announcement. March minutes approved as written.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported little change from March. The bank account balance is $2,301.03, of which $596.18 is the Cambria Community Council grant. Lynn Singer still working on the tax statement. CFC has used $4 from the grant.

Sub-Committee Reports


  Website Hosting change has been completed.  Christine Heinrichs will obtain information on billing for the domain name. She will set up contact information for volunteers to connect with the Forest Committee. A donation page is planned for the future.

Living in a Forest Brochure: Vari MacNeil presented a final draft. Connie Gannon objected to the name, as Greenspace already has a brochure by that name. The brochure will be titled At Home in the Forest. Vari will circulate to directors for final approval.

 Historical Society Kiosk Exhibit: Laura worked with Consuelo Machado to complete the display. The glass is frosty and will be replaced. Laura proposes making a trifold brochure with the CFC sign on one side and Forest Committee meeting dates, ways to volunteer and donate, and pine life cycle on the other, to be available at the kiosk.

The Wildland Urban Interface event to be held May 5 will include a Fire Safety Fair at the Santa Rosa Catholic Church. The committee decided by consensus to participate. Laura will contact Suzy McDonald to inform her that the Forest Committee would like to have a table there. Laura will  get the At Home in the Forest flyers ready, have Tales of the Cambria Forest, use the sign as a backdrop. Christine Heinrichs will staff the table, others welcome.

Forest Management

Forest Committee Projects / Grants: Crosby suggests being alert to grant possibilities for the Forest Committee. Possible projects could focus on invasive weed control in areas not covered by FRP or Greenspace, such as county and CSD easements and PG&E and Cal Trans rights of way. Cape Ivy is overrunning some areas. Laura has contained it by pulling from zones. Connie reports that Fish & Wildlife is looking at developing biocontrols.

Report From Fire Safe Focus Group

Grant Status, SRA and Western States Forestry:  Connie Gannon reported on the grants. The county Fire Safe Council has received the GHG grant of $500,496. The Western States $250,000 has been received. No funds have yet been disbursed, as the council awaits final decisions on other possible funds. Cal Fire and the Council are researching the status of the $1.2 million grant application for funds from the $8 million statewide funds. Alan Peters displayed lumber and an Appalachian chair made from the lumber milled from downed trees. Flooring could be made, but a different mill will have to handle that.

The Biomass prototype plant is still under consideration. The noise level it produces will be examined, reported at 60 dB at 30 feet.

Two Cal Poly grads reported on Dr. Sarah Bisbing’s forest research project. They are collecting data from plots they are marking on FRP, Covell Ranch and Rancho Marino.

The general consensus is that the El Nino predictions for rainfall were not fulfilled. Rainfall for the are was 16 inches, less than average 20 inches. Growth of grasses will add fuel to dry forests and create high fire danger conditions.

Report From CCSD Special Meeting: Crosby Swartz was appointed, with Laura Swartz as alternate, by Greg Sanders to serve on the Buildout Reduction Plan Citizens Committee. The committee will hold open meetings. Connie said that at least two lots that were retired are now under consideration for development. She will send those lot identifications to the Forest Committee.

“Having a BRP that has a chance of working is the best hope for the forest,” he said. “In the long run, the biggest threat to the forest is development, not fire, disease, or drought.”

New Business

Recommendations to NCAC on Orellana Permit Application: CSD General Manager has referred a permit application for construction of a new two-story house at 930 Drake, without a previous water connection, to NCAC. NCAC has not made a determination on what to recommend for this application yet. Forest Committee members are asked to visit the site and consider it. Two large oak trees and one Monterey Pine will be removed. One of the oaks is at least 80 years old.

“It’s home to all kinds of migrating birds,” said Vari MacNeil of the NCAC Land Use Committee. “We are on the Pacific flyway, and should be working harder to protect habitat.  We cut one tree here and one tree there, and habitat is going away one tree at at time. It will take 80 years  to replace that habitat.”

Cambria remains under a Stage 3 Water Emergency and Building Moratorium pending adequate water supply.

Unfinished Business

Environmental Representative Endorsement Letter to NCAC: was written by Crosby Swartz, circulated to directors and mailed to NCAC chairman Bruce Fosdike, who thanks the Forest Committee for it.

Agenda Items and Speakers for Next Month: No speaker is yet scheduled for May. Dan Turner may be available. Cal Poly professor Sarah Bisbing will speak at the June 8 meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Next Meeting May 11, 2016

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Minutes March 2016

Cambria Forest Committee

To conserve and manage the native forest of Cambria

Minutes March 2016

March 9, 2016, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

Attending: Directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, Christine Heinrichs, Alan Peters, JoEllen Butler, Bruce Mumper. Community members Jim Webb, Jason Anderson, Laurel Stewart, Tony Church, State Parks Mike Walgren, George Kendall. Cambrian reporter Kathe Tanner

Ask the Experts Q&A: Jim Webb asked: Since CCSD has elected to retain the Cambria Fire Department, will they still be a member of the Forest Committee? Crosby Swartz responded that  the CFC will invite the new fire chief to attend when one is chosen.

Minutes of the February meeting were approved. Approval of January meeting was deferred for further consideration of Amanda Rice’s resignation.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the CFC’s account balance is $2,301.03, which includes $596.18 of Grant 3 from the Cambria Community Council. She spent $118.57 on the Historic Society kiosk. She closed out grants 1 and 2, leaving the remainder of Grant 3 in the account. a bill from Lynn Singer, a CPA who is reviewing the books, is the only outstanding bill, which will be $50 or $75.

Sub-Committee Reports


Website Hosting Change: Webmaster Amanda Rice has not yet conveyed the user name and password needed to complete the Web site migration to Digital West. Alternatively, the domain name could be changed. Kathe Tanner will ask her. Laura Swartz will continue to request the information.

Living in a Forest Brochure: Vari MacNeil not attending to give a report

Historical Society Kiosk Exhibit: Laura has cropped out the sign so it fits into glass case and is protected. She has created a display of the Life Cycle of Pine tree and embellished it with a pine cone and seed.

Review of EIR Comments: The Forest Committee submitted comments regarding the growth-inducing effect of increased water resources. Those comments should be addressed in the EIR. The Build-Out Reduction Plan should be included. The Land Conservancy contract, which addresses Transfer Development Credits, is on the CSD’s agenda for discussion at the March 24 meeting, 6 pm at the Vets’ Hall.

Forest Management:

Cambria Forest Health / Greenhouse Gas Project Implementation: Alan Peters reported that fifty dead trees, in the form of 15′ 6″ logs, were delivered to Pacific Coast Lumber, which has a new owner. He will monitor how much usable lumber can be milled out of the dead trees and made into products such as flooring and Adirondack chairs. The Forest Health Project continues to install plots on Covell Ranch, which will collect baseline data on how many trees are available.

Alan Peters is working on a Timber Harvesting Plan, which will have a restocking requirement. Most areas rely on natural restocking for a year or two before taking other steps. Ideal range is 150-300 trees per acre. Fiscalini Ranch has 1,250 trees per acre, more than the carrying capacity of the land. Professional foresters have a points system based on size. Prescribed burning can be used to clear brush, which helps seedlings take permanent root in mineralized soil. Dr. Sarah Bisbing of Cal Poly has calculations to determine the amount of carbon that will be sequestered. “The problem I see is way, way too many trees,” he said. “We need to stabilize the situation first before planting more trees.”

Western States Forestry Grant Status: No change in status, still expect to receive a grant.

Forest Committee Projects / Grants: Dan Turner is reporting on grant opportunities, some of which relate to forest health rather than fire. Information on Web site: http://www.fire.ca.gov/resource_mgt/resource_mgt_urbanforestry_grants#,  http://www.fire.ca.gov/grants/grants.   “Nothing is stopping us from applying for a grant,” said Crosby Swartz.

Report From Fire Safe Focus Group:

Crosby Swartz reported that they are working on the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, which requires approval of the Board of Supervisors. Bruce Fosdike is working on forming an emergency team. Dan Turner reported on Greenhouse Gas grants. Alan Peters reported on the prototype BioChar unit that they hope to use to generate electricity from the tens of thousands of tons of chips from dead trees. The CSD board no longer wants to locate it at the wastewater treatment plant site. smaller units would not consume enough wood chips. The larger unit will produce more power than most locations can use, and sharing power opens the unit to regulation as a public utility. Kathe Tanner suggests telling the CSD board to reconsider placing the unit at the wastewater treatment plant site.

Alan Peters is a member of the Tree Mortality Task Force, which is funding mitigation of high hazard areas, into which category Cambria falls. Resources could be available for portable sawmills, logging equipment, masticators and other equipment. “While they are figuring out how to handle millions of acres, we’ve got this one forest,” he said.

Report From CCSD PROS Commission:

Crosby and Laura Swartz attended the PROS meeting. Stan Cooper is the new PROS Commissioner. Kermit Johanson and Terry Lord are alternates  CSD has a new employee, Andy, who has a background in trees or forestry. The PROS committee is being more inclusive and  connected. GM Jerry Gruber commented that in future they will look at better ways of funding maintenance of FRP and other forest areas the district owns. Funding now comes out of the General Fund, which is not intended for that. “It’s good that we can come together to talk about the forest, even if we don’t agree all the time,” Laura said.

New Business

Recommendations to NCAC on Grommisch Permit Application: two oak trees will be removed. NCAC’s Land Use Committee is reviewing.

Endorsement of NCAC Environmental Representative:    Bruce Mumper, Laurel Stewart and Mary Webb have applied. One representative will be appointed and an alternate. The Forest Committee hasn’t made a recommendation in the past. Discussion included what the environmental representative does — gives a report on environmental impact of issues under consideration — and votes. Bruce Mumper said he has learned about environmental issues from serving on the FRP board. He said if he is selected, he will rely on the experience of the alternate to assist him. Each will give a statement at the April NCAC meeting. JoEllen Butler said the FRP board will discuss the appointment at its meeting Thursday March 10 meeting.

The board voted unanimously to send a letter recommending all three as competent. Crosby will draft a letter and circulate to the directors.

Agenda Items and Speakers for Next Month: Dan Turner could be invited to speak on GHG grants. He has been out of town a lot. Dr. Sarah Bisbing of Cal Poly could be a speaker with Dan, or on her own. Crosby will contact her.

Public Comment: Jim Webb asked Mike Walgren of State Parks how much of the Prop 84 grant for $184,000 has been used for fuel reduction and for the California Conservation Corps to treat the forest, and how many acres have been treated. Mike said the grant was $80,000 and they have used CCC people to treat about five of 80 acres behind Centrally Grown. the trees and brush have been chipped and sterilized by Windsor and used as mulch in vineyards.  He’s working on dead and dying trees. The lower road up to Washburn has 12 more dead trees since last year.

Monterey Pines are migrating into the area at the junction of San Simeon Creek Road and Highway 1, on the inland side of Van Gordon Creek. Mike has thrown cones out there and hopes to have a small  experimental broadcast burn there. He would welcome trees being planted there. He has funding for the San Simeon Forest through June 2017. The Forest Committee welcomes locations for tree planting and will move forward on this opportunity.

Adjourn at 7:54 pm.

Next Meeting April 13, 2016

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Minutes February 2016

February 10, 2016 CFC Minutes



Meeting Minutes

February 10, 2016,6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A quorum was not present. Those attending included: Crosby and Laura Swartz, Jim O’Neil, Nancy Anderson, JoEllen Butler, Vari MacNeil, Kris Fox, John Rolmbaugh, Bob and Ann Cichowski, Kathe Tanner of The Cambrian.

Ask the Experts Q&A:

Kris Fox and John Rolmbaugh presented their concern about wood being stored at the boundary of their backyard, next to Covell Ranch. Crosby Swartz referred them to Alan Peters of Cal Fire and Dan Turner of the Fire Safe Council.

Minutes of January Meeting could not be approved due to lack of a quorum.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the current balance of $2,419.60, $714.75 of which is grant money.

Cambria Community Council gave the Forest Committee a $600 grant, included in the above figures.

Sub-Committee Reports

Website Hosting Change: Crosby Swartz continues to request the user name and password need to migrate the web site to Digital West from Amanda Rice.

Living in a Forest Brochure: Vari will present the revised brochure and possible paper selections at the March meeting.

Historical Society Kiosk Exhibit: Laura Swartz reported that she is working on a new display for the Historical Society kiosk, Expenditures not to exceed $200.

Forest Management:

Cambria Forest Health / Greenhouse Gas Project Implementation: Carbon sequestration is required in this grant. Dan Seawater may be able to convert some of the wood to useable lumber. A portable sawmill may be placed at Covell Ranch. A cogeneration project is under consideration. The power could be used for the CSD’s Emergency Water Project, now being called the Sustainable Water Facility. Electricity must be generated within a 30-mile radius..

Western States Forestry Grant Status: No word, remains in abeyance.

Forest Committee Projects / Grants: Laura Swartz suggested seeking grant funding to help the Fire Safe Council in its mission while protecting the forest.

Report From Fire Safe Focus Group: Kathe Tanner reported that the Fire Safe Focus Group may hold Chipping Workshops and other ways to use the dead wood that has built up as hazardous fuel.

Report From Coastal Commission Hearing: About 600 people attended, most supporting executive director Charles Lester. The Commission fired him in closed session after the public hearing.

New Business

Recommendations to NCAC on Verizon Permit Application: Vari MacNeil reported that the new tower being installed on Oxford Street will raise the existing tower about four feet. Some neighbors are upset about the proposal. No trees will be affected.

Please contact Crosby Swartz with agenda items for next month


Next Meeting March 9, 2016

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Minutes January 2016


January 13, 2016,  6:30 PM

Rabobank, Cambria, CA

Call to Order and Establish a Quorum: Attending: Directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Alan Peters, Vari MacNeil, Connie Gannon, executive director of Greenspace, Christine Heinrichs.  Tony Church, Mike Lyon, Alan and Bambi Fields, San Simeon CSD. Kathe Tanner of The Cambrian 

Crosby Swartz presented a letter from Amanda Rice, CSD director who has participated both as a CFC director and as a member of the public. She wrote that the CSD board has decided not to have a presence at the CFC and that she will not attend any further CFC meetings. Ms. Rice’s participation has been valuable and she will be missed.

Ask the Experts Q&A: Tony Church asked about the Cal Fire invasive weed project. Alan Peters reported that two Cal Fire crews of three members each have cleared about 3.5 acres of an 8-acre parcel. They are removing french broom, pampas grass and other invasives on Cal Trans property. Cal Trans will restore the terraces, which were engineered for drainage, at some future time.

November and December minutes were approved with corrections. So moved by JoEllen Butler, seconded by Laura Swartz.

Treasurer’s report: Laura Swartz reconciled the books at the end of the year, to a total including cash remaining on the grant of $1,051.60. She paid $14 for PO Box 82. Three donations totalling $850 were received, bringing the balance to 1819.60.

Sub-Committee Reports


     Website Hosting Change: Web passwords and other technical details remain to be resolved with Amanda Rice to accomplish the migration to Digital West. When that is done, Volunteer and Donation pages will be added.

     Living in a Forest Brochure: Vari MacNeil sent a draft brochure to directors. Connie Gannon and Galen Rathbun had comments, which will be incorporated into it and a final draft reviewed in February.

     Photos for Historical Society Kiosk: Laura has been invited by Consuelo Machado to update the CFC’s display in the Historical Society’s kiosk. It’s a locked cabinet, so photos are safe and protected. Laura plans to create a collage of photos old and new for the display.

     Guest Speakers:  Suggestions for speakers included Wayne Attoe, for a history of the Build-Out Reduction Plan; Dan Turner on the Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Reduction grants; Mel Barker of State Parks; Rick Hawley on successful tree planting.

Forest Management

     Cambria Forest Health / Greenhouse Gas Project Implementation: Alan Peters reported that environmental review for the Greenhouse Gas Grant of $498,000 has begun, but legal requirements, subject to the governor’s Emergency Proclamation, are unclear. Enthusiasm for a sawmill to turn Monterey Pine into lumber is waning, due to the deterioration of the wood and its instability for uses such as furniture. The goal is to sequester carbon, a requirement of the grant, by reusing as much of the wood as possible. Dan Turner of the Fire Safe Council is pursuing a prototype portable biomass unit developed by a Berkeley firm that can generate 150 kwh, 24/7, from wood chips. The cargo-container sized unit uses a chemical process called pyrolysis to separate carbon from hydrogen and generate power. It would be located at the CCSD wastewater treatment plant. Because it does not burn wood, the process is carbon-neutral, an important point for the grant, which is aimed at greenhouse gas reduction.

     Western States Forestry Grant Status: A decision has not been made but Cambria remains the top candidate for this grant. Combined with the GHG grant, a lot of dead trees could be removed from Cambria’s forest. Chipping programs, for which grants are running out in March, could also be continued under the grants. The grants could also be used as matching funds for potential federal grants, under the President’s Disaster Declaration for Butte and Calaveras Counties. The federal funding does not have the complicated carbon credit calculations required of the GHG grants. Alan Peters will apply as Cal Fire.

    Other grants: Connie Gannon reported that she was contacted by ReLeaf about other grant opportunities for urban forests relating to educational projects, restoration projects and invasive weeds.

     Transfer Development Credits Program:  Crosby Swartz reported that the TDC program remains viable if an NGO can take over ownership and maintenance of the retired lots, since the CSD now refuses to accept them. Connie Gannon will meet with the executive director of The Land Conservancy to discuss whether Greenspace could be that organization. The Coastal Conservancy might be able to help fund it. “It would be nice to have the conservation done by people who are enthusiastic about conservation,” Laura Swartz said.

     Report From Fire Safe Focus Group: Alan Peters reported on the Cal Fire invasive weed removal project along Highway 1. Phase 1 provides for removal of invasive french broom, pampas grass and dead wood. They are cutting it but not removing roots. JoEllen Butler volunteered FFRP’s Weed Wrenches. Alan will arrange to have a crew pick them up to improve removal.  

The Focus Group discussed general emergency preparedness and will send Bruce Fosdike as the Cambria representative to the county Fire Safe Council. The Coastal Commission responded to the Focus Group’s letter requested a change in the Coastal Plan’s language regarding tree removal. That would require the legislature to change the Coastal Act, but the commission offered to “streamline the coastal development permitting process when a development activity requires a CDP.”  Full text of the letter will be posted to the CFC web site when it is functioning. 

New Business

     Alan Peters reported that next year Cal Fire will enforce a 100′ weed abatement zone around all structures, an increase from the current 30′.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 pm. 

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Minutes December 2015

Minutes December 2015

December 9, 2015, 6:30 PM, Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A quorum of directors was present, with  Crosby and Laura Swartz, Vari MacNeil, Connie Gannon, Julie Jorgenson, JoEllen Butler, Alan Peters, Christine Heinrichs attending. About 20 community members also attended to hear speaker  Daniel Bohlman, Conservation Director, The Land Conservancy of SLO. Dylan Theobold, stewardship manager for the Land Conservancy, also attended. He is the person who drives a black Jeep when he comes to Cambria to maintain the Land Conservancy’s properties.

Mr. Bohlman explained the Conservancy’s function and goals. It is the nonprofit agency that is required for government agencies to operate the Transfer Development Credit Ordinance. The Land Conservancy sells TDCs to property owners to allow them to exceed county development standards when they build on their lots. That money is then used to purchase undeveloped lots and retire them from development, protecting them permanently. The Land Conservancy’s role is to then turn ownership and management of the lots over to the Cambria Community Services District. In 2011, the CSD refused to accept the lots from the Land Conservancy, effectively ending the program. The Land Conservancy continues to maintain the 55 lots it held when the CSD declined to accept its role in the process. It cannot accept additional lots until the CSD or some other agency is able to take over their maintenance.

“The TDC program should be and could be going on still,” Bohlman said. “I hope this is the first of many conversations we have in Cambria to find a way to move forward.”

Crosby Swartz thanked the speaker and allowed the audience to speak with him individually for a few minutes before convening the business meeting. Most of the audience left at that time.

Approval of minutes of the previous meeting was deferred to January to revise the grant section.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported that the account balance is $1051.60, $190 of which remains of the Cambria Community Council grant for the interpretive sign. The Forest Committee is looking for a location to place one additional sign. The bill for the post office box is anticipated, around $100.

Sub-Committee Reports


Website Hosting Change: The web site host will be changed as soon as necessary passwords can be ascertained from Amanda Rice.

Post Tree Removal Letter on Website: additional explanatory information is needed to help the public understand how to use the complaint letter.

Historical Society Kiosk: Additional material is needed to display in the kiosk. Julie Jorgenson offered her husband Tom’s photographs of the forest.

Forest Management

Cambria Forest Health Project Grant Implementation (Greenhouse Gas): Alan Peters reported that a co-generation plant may be used to gassify dead wood into electricity, a carbon-negative process. They are exploring the possibilities of a lease agreement with Covell Ranch and Tim Windsor to locate a temporary sawmill to convert dead trees to lumber. Producing products may place the project under the legal status of the Forest Practice Act, which would make it exempt from permitting requirements of the Coastal Act and CEQA. It would have to meet different environmental standards, including biological surveys as specified in that law, but be a faster process because of not having to meet 30-day comment periods.

“It’s more stringent in many ways,” he said. “The goal will be no significant impacts. It’s a different pathway.”

     Western States Forestry Grant Status: Alan Peters explained that each of the 16 states in the alliance rates its projects, which are then funded. Cambria’s project is rated first in California and funding is anticipated in 2016.

CDP Permit for CCSD Tree Removal Status: JoEllen Butler reported that Fiscalini Ranch will submit its permit application this week. They have removed a total of 190 trees, 160 from the ranch and the rest from behind the sewage treatment plant. The permit will be reviewed by NCAC’s Land Use Committee.

Fire Safe Focus Group will not meet in December.

New Business

Recommendations to NCAC on New Permit Applications: Mary Webb reported that the Anderson permit application for an addition on Adams Street will remove one oak tree. Crosby Swartz has not yet received that application.

Unfinished Business

Homeowner brochure: Vari MacNeil presented the one-page summary she created for homeowners to inform them of required tree policies and how to fulfill them as property owners. That will be circulated among directors and discussed in January.

Agenda Items for Next Month: Crosby asks that all agenda items be submitted to him for inclusion on the agenda.

Adjourned at 8:53 pm.

Next Meeting January 13, 2016

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