Minutes March 2017


Meeting Minutes

March 8, 2017, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

Minutes March 2017

A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz,  JoEllen Butler, Connie Gannon, and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer attended as CCSD liaison. Tony Church serves on NCAC’s Land Use Committee and Traffic Committee. Kermit Johansson also attended.   

Minutes of the February meeting were approved as written.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reports that the accounts are unchanged since last meeting, at $3,208.76. Two grants have remaining balances: $215.91, the other has $750, the full amount, remaining. Laura sent the paperwork for taxes to CPA Lynn Singer for preparation. The State Board of Equalization has sent a standard letter requesting documentation of 501c3 status. Laura will send the requested two years of tax forms filed.

Sub-Committee Reports


     Invasive Weed Guide: Further comments are requested. Laura is exploring printing costs.

County Permit Referral Packages: Crosby is still not receiving them on behalf of the Forest Committee. He is in communication with Laurel Stewart of the NCAC Land Use Committee, which reviews permit applications. No recent applications affect trees, but Tony Church noted that two oak trees on Banbury had county Do Not Remove notices posted on them, but were taken down. Tony and Connie Gannon will follow up with County representative Airlin Singewald.  Tony also received a complaint from Allen Dean that two trees were removed on Pineridge. Tony will follow up.

Web site: Crosby requested that the CCSD Notices of Violations  be removed from the web site.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Connie reported that the Greenhouse Gas Reduction grant guidelines have been released. They are posted on the Cal Fire web site., http://www.fire.ca.gov/resource_mgt/resource_mgt_foresthealth_grants. Dan Turner will submit a concept paper for a backup grant for the Biomass Cogenerator Plant. $22 million is available statewide. Concept papers are due April 7, complete applications by those invited to apply by May 15. Decisions on awards will  be made in June.

Fire Safe Council’s Jim Neumann has a crew of 14 people clearing french broom from Bridge Street and Covell Ranch. They will be working through Friday. They are hand pulling and using a weed wrench, the most effective ways to control broom.

Cambria has updated its Fire Code. Cambria’s General Manager Jerry Gruber said at the meeting that the new Fire Code has teeth to require removal of dead and dying trees from private property. This could have an impact on Greenspace. She will examine it to find out whether conservation reserve land is exempt. “We want to make sure it does not affect reserve properties such as Fern Canyon,” Crosby said.

Fire Wise signs will be posted at the north end of Cambria as well as the south end. Connie says that at 4′ x 8′, they are too big. A sign will be placed on the hillside above the retaining wall at the north end on Windsor. They will be changed seasonally. The Fire Chief wants some fireworks signs.

Report from PROS Committee: Laura and Crosby Swartz attended. PROS is working to establish maintenance costs for lots that will not be developed. 

Agenda items for next meeting: Crosby will examine past lists of Forest Committee members and discuss updated membership.

JoEllen Butler invited all to the FFRP Forest Walk on Saturday. Register on the web site.

Meeting adjourned at 8:21 pm. 

Next Meeting April 12, 2017
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Minutes February 2017

Minutes February 2017



Meeting Minutes: February 8, 2017, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

Meeting called to order and a Quorum established by attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Connie Gannon, JoEllenButler, Alan Peters, and Christine Heinrichs. CCSD liaison Harry Farmer, Fire Safe Council Project coordinator Jim Neumann, Fire Safe Business Manager Dan Turner, Greenspace board member Nancy Anderson, and Cambrian reporter Kathe Tanner also attended.

Public Comment and Questions

Dan Turner introduced Jim Neumann who will be the point person on the ground leading the Fire Safe Council’s projects in Cambria. Contact him at 805-458-5864, type1logistics@gmail.com.

Minutes of January Meeting were approved as written. Christine will send minutes to all directors in future, not only the ones who attended the meeting. Meeting minutes are posted after approval on the web site.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported a total of $3,208.76 in the account. She paid bills of $365 for printing design and the post office box. The Forest Committee received two donations of $700. $215.91 of Grant #3 remains to pay for kiosk flyers and At Home in the Forest brochures. The new grant of $750 for Invasive Weeds has not yet been spent. Penny Church of the Historical Society has copies to re-fill the kiosk there. They are staying dry in the rain.

Sub-Committee Reports


     Invasive Weed Guide: Draft of text and some photos is now available. Comments are invited from all directors. Harry Farmer reports that patches of rare native Pink Oxalis are in Strawberry Canyon, up at the cemetery and at the end of Lancaster Street.

Jim Neumann is working with Alan and Dan to identify priorities for french broom eradication. He presented a map showing areas targeted for eradication. Fire Safe Council grant money will pay for work. Send names of vendors who will perform the work to him. Volunteers could be organized to remove it in some areas. Target for removal is March, while the soil is still wet.

County Permit Referral Packages: Crosby is still not receiving them.

Forest Management:

        Forest Health Grant Meeting: Dan Turner reported that the Fire Safe Council will work with CSD on its grant application for a biomass cogenerator unit. The CSD’s Concept Paper is the only one that requests funding for a biomass cogeneration unit, so he is optimistic about it being funded. Check the All Power Labs web site http://www.allpowerlabs.com/ for information.

       The Greenhouse Gas Fund Forest Health grants are intended for large landscape-scale projects, up to 750,000 acres. He will explore setting boundaries around Cambria, possibly to include part of Hearst Ranch, that have stands of forest. Applications could fund continuing work. Dan will send copies of the previous grant applications for directors to review and consider for updated submission.

Sudden Oak Death Survey Planning: Christine will call Mary Bianchi to find out dates for the SOD Blitz.

Endangered Species Status for Monterey Pines: Connie Gannon and Mary Webb of Greenspace met with Annie Aguiniga of State Sen. Bill Monning’s office. They brought the comments of State Parks and others to her attention. All three stands of Monterey Pine are in his district. Greenspace proposes creating a Special Tax District to fund management of all Monterey Pines. Connie has not yet identified parallel groups in Monterey or Santa Cruz Counties that could advocate for the Pines.

New Business:

       Forest Health Program Grant application was discussed under Forest Management

Unfinished Business: Smartphone Forest Application: Amanda promised a report from a friend who creates apps. She did not attend.

Agenda Items for Next Meeting: Publicize the french broom work day, which could be scheduled for May 6.

Connie suggested exploring citizen science projects such as one-acre surveys of the entire biome. The Forest Committee could sponsor a project to survey one forest acre. Sarah Bisbing’s Cal Poly students and high school students could get involved.

Adjourned at 7:46 pm.


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Minutes January 2017

Minutes January 2017



Meeting Minutes

January 11, 2016  6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Julie Jorgenson and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer of CCSD, Tony Church of NCAC, and Nancy Anderson of Greenspace also attended.

Harry Farmer plans to attend the Forest Committee as a representative of the CSD board for the next four years of his term.  CCSD Director Amanda Rice arrived later in the meeting.

Minutes of the November meeting were approved as written. The short informal report of the December meeting will be distributed to those who did not attend.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported a total of $2,873.95, including $495 in CCC Grant 3. Some bills have been paid. The $750 CCC Grant was deposited and is included in the total. Nothing has been spent from that grant yet. Grant funds require separate accounting.

Sub-Committee Reports


Community Council Grant Award Meeting: Laura Swartz accepted the check for $750 towards educational and public information, specifically the Invasive Weed Guide.

Pine Forest Flyer: has been printed. Laura will place it in the Historic Society kiosk container and leave some with Penny Church at the Historic Society to keep the container filled.

County Permit Referral Packages: The Forest Committee is still not getting them from the County. Tony Church of NCAC’s Land Use Committee reported that no trees were involved in the two most recent applications. Crosby Swartz will follow up with the county to get the Forest Committee back on the notification list.

Forest Management: Crosby will contact Fire Safe Council Business Manager Dan Turner regarding an area below Strawberry Canyon that has trees down and leaning on each other, creating a ladder fuel situation. Turner sets the schedule for hazardous fuel removal under the existing grants. The Forest Committee members are encouraged to identify situations not covered by existing grants as possible projects.

Sudden Oak Death Survey Planning: Citizen Science Project. The Forest Committee will publicize SODBLITZ, https://nature.berkeley.edu/garbelottowp/?page_id=148, when dates have been set.

Endangered Species Status for Monterey Pines: Julie will work with Connie on this long-range project.

Impact of Recent Storms: JoEllen Butler of FFRP reported that at least one bridge on the ranch washed out. Some trees have come down. The erosion control project at Seaclift Estates will need some repairs. The straw berms will have to be replaced. Harry Farmer reports that Strawberry Canyon has more standing and running water than it has had in a long time. “It’s soul-nourishing to hear the water running down,” he said. Julie Jorgenson heard running water in Fern Canyon for the first time since she moved into her home two years ago. Highway 41 is closed, Santa Rosa Creek Road is closed, Highway 1 is closed at Ragged Point. Highway 46 is open. Amanda Rice reported that the well field flooded but wells were not inundated. Some water got into the brine pond.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Flooding in the West Village is affected by high tides, which push water up Santa Rosa Creek. Dan Turner reported that he now has money available for tree removal.  Crosby will check with Alan Peters of Cal Fire regarding the requirements for tree replanting. The biomass cogeneration plant was discussed. Noise levels will be determined and the plant will be constructed to comply with them.

New Business

Smartphone Forest Application: Amanda talked to a friend who makes apps professionally regarding the Invasive Weeds app. She will bring a report and contact information to the February meeting. The Cambria Chamber of Commerce has a Visit Cambria app, which includes hikes and other outdoor activities. Members discussed the possibility of adding a Forest Committee app describing plants and wildlife in the forest to that. Laura suggested that a grant would be possible to fund one or both.

Unfinished Business

State Responsibility Area Grant Application: JoEllen said some grants are coming up. Dan Turner will have a meeting with forest-related organizations soon.

Public and Director Comments: Amanda Rice will discuss asking Fire Chief Bill Hollingsworth attend Forest Committee meetings. She will assign Harry Farmer as the CSD Board official liaison to the Forest Committee at the next CSD meeting.

Christine Heinrichs will attend the annual meeting of the Society of American Foresters in Los Angeles January 19-20.

Amanda Rice will attend the Climate Change Symposium of the Department of Resources at the end of January. She is concerned about changes to the Resource Management System intended to make it more flexible. The changes will reduce the lead time, which is intended to require planning years in advance. She will report at the February meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8 pm. Next Meeting February 8, 2017

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Minutes November 2016

Minutes November 9, 2016

Cambria Forest Committee


Meeting Minutes

November 9, 2016, 6:30 PM

Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, JoEllen Butler, Connie Gannon and Christine Heinrichs. Amanda Rice of CCSD, Nancy Anderson of Greenspace, and Tony Church of NCAC also attended.

Minutes of the October 12 meeting were approved as amended to correct the date of the Cambria Community Council meeting.

Treasurer’s report: Laura Swartz reported $2,149.98 in the account, $495.13 of which is the remains of the 2016 CCC grant. A small bill of $20 to the state is pending.

Sub-Committee Reports


    Community Council Grant Meeting: Laura and Christine will attend the November 14 Cambria Community Council meeting and make a three-minute presentation of the Invasive Weed brochure to support the application for a $1,500 grant to publish it in Spanish and in English.

Website report: Amanda Rice made the transition from GoDaddy and the web site migration is now complete.

County Referral Packages: Crosby is still not receiving them but Laurel Stewart of the NCAC Land Use Committee is sharing them with him. Two applications have been submitted:

DRC2016-00024 VAN BEURDEN – Proposed minor use permit for the remodel of an addition to existing single family residence at 5223 Hillcrest Drive.

DRC2016-00022 FISKE – Proposed minor use permit for the construction of an ADA accessible guest house at 2130 Wilton Drive in Cambria.

Discussion raised issues of damage to trees and merging parcels on Hillcrest Drive.

The Wilton Drive guest house will impact an old oak tree that is on the easement between two properties. Tony Church, who sits on the NCAC LUC, offered to share the LUC’s minutes with the Forest Committee. Crosby will write letters sharing the LUC’s recommendations and circulate to Forest Committee directors.

Two other developments of interest to the Forest Committee are the major renovation of Ragged Point and the construction of 25 campsites at the old Air Force base south of Cambria. The site has three wells but also have a pipeline to the Fiscalini water tank. Amanda Rice, newly re-elected to the CSD Board, said she would research water commitments to the site.

Forest Management

Sudden Oak Death Seminar: UC Extension presented a workshop on Sudden Oak Death earlier in the day. Citizen Science is being used to gather samples for testing. SOD can only be diagnosed by lab tests. The SOD Blitz will be scheduled in the Spring and the public invited to participate. SOD has been identified in bay laurel trees along San Simeon Creek north of Cambria but not in any oak trees yet. Connie Gannon felt her question regarding boot and equipment cleaning was not adequately answered in the meeting, so she will contact Kim Corella, Cal Fire Forest Health Specialist for further details.

Endangered Species Status for Monterey Pines: Julie Jorgenson did not attend the meeting. Connie Gannon has not pursued the issue.

Connie looked into the Cal Fire Urban Forestry grants Dan Turner suggested. One must be administered by a district, so she has a call in to District Engineer Bob Gresens. Laura Swartz said that the Buildout Reduction Committee is exploring the possibility of creating an Open Space District. “We are in the beginning stages of trying to find some tools to use,” Laura said.

Free Chipping days will be held December 1st and 2nd. The SOD workshop said that chips that are spread out and dried do not pose any threat of spreading SOD.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: The first Local Hazard Mitigation Plan planning meeting will be held at 10 am Monday, November 14, at the Fire Station. The LHMP will address fire. It is relying on questionable data in the Cambria Community Wildfire Protection Plan regarding the forest, see below. Bruce Fosdike will attend the County Fire Safe Council meeting next week. Contact him if you have anything you would like him to address.

New Business

State Responsibility Area Grant Application:  Connie reported that this grant is germane to Fire Safe Council. Dan Turner wants to schedule a meeting with the Forest Committee.

Unfinished Business

Comment Letter on Draft EIR for Water Supply Project: The Forest Committee did not send comments as a group, but individual directors wrote their own. Laura noted that the EIR takes account only of the few tees on the Emergency Water Plant site, not the effects of the 750 houses to be built if the plant is approved for growth. At least 450 of the 750 houses are on forested lots. “Mitigation measures are needed to offset the loss of trees and native vegetation in these environmentally sensitive areas,” they wrote in their comments. Crosby will scan and circulate the map Laura made showing where lots to be developed are.

Discussion about Cambria Community Wildfire Protection Plan: Connie will write up a critique of the plan, which was done as a Cal Poly class project. Student visited only Liemert, did a drone flyover and used computer modeling to generate theoretical data. Sarah Bisbing is now collecting data on site. The Plan was never presented in Cambria for comment. The Plan is posted on the Forest Committee web site.

Date and Agenda Items for Next Meeting: December 14. Amanda Rice asked the Forest Committee whether the CSD should appoint a CSD director to the Forest Committee. The CSD will make assignments at its December 15 meeting. The Fire Department could also be asked to send a representative.

The meeting was adjourned at 8 pm.

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Minutes October 2016




6:30 pm, Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street

A Quorum was established by directors in attendance: Crosby and Laura Swartz, Connie Gannon, Julie Jorgenson, JoEllen Butler, and Christine Heinrichs. Nancy Anderson, Tony Church, Dewayne and Joy Lee, Imkelina Nicolai, Amanda Rice, and Laurel Stewart also attended.

Minutes of the September Meeting were approved as amended.

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported no changes to the bank accounts: $2,149.98, total of which $495.13 is the remainder of the Community Council grant.

Sub-Committee Reports

Education/Planting/Mitigation/Operations: Community Council Grant Application. Laura submitted a grant application to the Cambria Community Council for the Invasive Weeds brochure. Christine Heinrichs is compiling the information for the brochure. They will create a sample for the presentation November 14, 5 pm at Santa Rosa Church. Christine has also found two website/apps for citizen science on invasive weeds: iNaturalist, http://www.inaturalist.org/places/cambria, and What’s Invasive, http://www.whatsinvasive.org/index.cfm. She will pursue setting up accounts on those sites.

Website Report: The domain name has not yet been transferred. Amanda Rice believes it has been done. Christine and Amanda will pursue that.

At Home in the Forest Brochure Distribution: Christine will post as downloadable copy to the website. Connie and JoEllen took more to distribute.

County Permit Referral Packages Not Received: Laurel Stewart is forwarding copies of the county applications from NCAC, since the Forest Committee no longer receives them. Crosby will pursue restoring the connection with the county. Tony Church reported that only one application for construction on Kenneth affects trees and that has carefully preserved the mature oak on the lot and will replace the single tree removed with six seedlings. A major project at Ragged Point will be presented at the next NCAC meeting, Wednesday October 19, 6:30 pm at Rabobank.

Connie does not have any way to track whether those who are required to plant trees for mitigation follow through. NCAC has their recommendations on file but the county has the final word. She will follow up.

Forest Management

  Dr Piirto Presentation to Cambria Lions Club: Crosby and Laura Swartz attended. Dr. Piirto gave an inspirational talk encouraging the Lions Club to save the forest. The Forest Committee and Greenspace will invite him to be a speaker in the future. The Historic Guide Association has invited Sarah Bisbing and Mike Walgren to speak to their January meeting about the section of the forest on Hearst property.

Endangered Species Status for Monterey Pines: Julie Jorgenson will pursue a contact she has at the Sierra Club to learn what has been done in the past and how the process can be pursued in the future.

  Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Fuel Reduction and Forest Restoration Project: The work is completed. Piles of chips will be spread in a work day Saturday, October 15, 9-noon. Meet at the Trenton trailhead.

Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Connie Gannon reported that two chipping days have been scheduled, December 1 and 2. The Local Hazard Mitigation Plan has been contracted to Cat 5 Professional Consultants and they will begin work on it soon. Dan Turner said that test plots will be established in the Hearst Ranch section of the forest. Another fuel break will be cut on the north side of East Main and up Bridge Street. Fire Safe Council has applied for grant funding of curtain burners, sophisticated incinerators that burn wood more efficiently.

He met with Connie to suggest that Greenspace and the Forest Committee join forces to apply for grants in the Cal Fire Urban Forest Unit under the State Responsibility Area program. Funding is available for specific tasks to get work done in the forest. Grant funding covers four to five year periods. The application has not yet been released. Connie will follow up.

Public comment: Imkelina Nicolai lives near Covell Ranch. She asked about trees cut down and wood left lying on the ground. Connie said that rotting wood will be left on the ground, freshly cut wood will be reclaimed and milled for lumber, and the balance will either be consumed in the biomass cogenerator or burned in the curtain burner. Amanda said that questions have been raised as to how the biomass will be delivered to the cogen plant. Connie said that Alan Peters of Cal Fire will have responsibility for that and it will be covered by the current grant.

New Business

CSD Candidates Forum: directors were invited to email questions to Crosby to be asked on behalf of the Forest Committee.

Fire Chief Hollingsworth sent a letter regretting that his schedule has a conflict at the Forest Committee’s meeting time but that he is eager to be involved.

Unfinished Business:

Comment Letter on Draft EIR for Water Supply Project 

The previous comment letters regarding the EWS Project are included in the Draft EIR, on the CCSD website. The comment letters are in the section titled “Appendix A Notice of Preparation”. The comment letters start on page 23. Forest Committee page 81. Swartz page 116. Hawley page 122. Heinrichs page 161. Gannon page 163. Webb page 292.

Crosby raised the issue of cost, which is not included in the EIR. “CEQA requires that the public be informed adequately to make a decision,” he said. Laura noted that many of the Wait List positions are in the most heavily forested areas of Cambria. Construction will not only remove trees but will also harm the root systems. Additional infrastructure will also be needed to support increased population. Julie Jorgenson said, “People need to visualize what it will be like.”

Both Crosby and Laura gave public testimony to that effect at the recent public hearing on the EIR.

Discussion about Cambria Community Wildfire Protection Plan: Connie will discuss with Dan Turner the limitations of this document.

Agenda Items and Speaker for Next Month: send suggestions to Crosby.

Adjourned at 8:03 pm

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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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