Posted inEnvironment

Greenspace Asks Forest Lovers to Help Preserve Monterey Pine Stand

Local forest lovers and devoted visitors are stepping up to help pay off the $175,000 emergency loan that allowed Greenspace–The Cambria Land Trust to add more than 13 acres to its existing Strawberry Canyon Preserve.  Together with neighboring forested and ranchland properties, it forms a sizable expanse of native Monterey pine forest and wildlife habitat.  The Preserve has proven to be a remarkable setting for learning forest ecology.  Students from local schools gain insight from sessions held in Strawberry Canyon led by their teachers and Greenspace volunteers.

     Access to some parts of Cambria’s forest is restricted and, thus, the paths at the Strawberry Canyon Preserve are welcome.  Also welcome are donations for maintaining the forest and the paths.  Greenspace Board member Bob Reid asks, “What better legacy to create than the gift of conservation, a gift for today and the future, a gift for our Cambria community, and a gift for the plant and animal communities that still thrive in this undeveloped expanse.”  Greenspace friends and supporters are asked to help make this vision of sustainable conservation a reality, to help preserve another part of our Monterey pine forest and its ecosystem, and to know that together, acquisition after acquisition, these contributions are making a difference in the forest’s future.         

     Donations may be made to Greenspace–The Cambria Land Trust, Post Office Box 1505 (Cambria, CA 93428) with “Strawberry Canyon Expansion” in the memo line.  Information about the Strawberry Canyon Forest or any of the Greenspace preserves can be requested by email (info@greenspacecambria.org) or by phone: (805-927-2866).

Posted inEnvironment

California Coastal Commission Notice of Violation Reaches CCSD

On April 19, the California Coastal Commission issued a formal Notice of Violation to the Cambria Community Services District (CCSD).  The Notice relates to CCSD’s failure to comply with its Commission – issued Coastal Development Permit No. 132-18 and identifies three specific violations.

     First, according to the Commission, CCSD has failed to protect in-stream flows required to support the fisheries and other creek habitat resources on both Santa Rosa Creek and San Simeon Creek.  Second, the Notice states that CCSD continues to issue “will-serve” letters agreeing to provide new water service to property owners in spite of impacts on the creeks that are inconsistent with its Coastal Development Permit (CDP).  Third, CCSD has offered to provide water to properties in Tract 1804, which are specifically prohibited from receiving water from CCSD.  The Commission notes that CCSD’s water operations regularly extract more water than is required for maintaining a minimum stream flow and habitat; and that CCSD has failed to install the irrigation facilities required to maintain riparian vegetation within its San Simeon Creek property, as required under the CDP.

     The full text of the Notice of Violation is posted on the PROTECTCambria website (protectcambria.com).      The Notice of Violation requires that CCSD take several actions.  The CCSD should immediately cease issuing any will-serve letters for any new water-using development, as well as retract any existing letters for projects without a CDP.  The Commission also expects the CCSD to develop and submit a water extraction and resource protection plan explaining how it plans to comply with its CDP with regard to the protection of fisheries, riparian resources, and habitat associated with both San Simeon Creek and Santa Rosa Creek.

     The Notice of Violation requests a response from CCSD by Friday, May 20, and states that the Coastal Act provides several remedies to address violations, including the issuance of cease-and-desist orders and civil fines of up to $6,000 per day for each violation.  The Commission is also authorized to seek injunctive relief through the courts which could result in additional fines.

     In 2014 CCSD constructed a water treatment facility within the endangered species habitat area adjacent to San Simeon Creek. The purpose of the facility, currently known as the Water Reclamation Facility (WRF), was to combine treated wastewater and brackish saltwater from the San Simeon Lagoon to augment Cambria’s water supply and facilitate buildout, that is, the addition of approximately 650 new residences in Cambria.  The facility was constructed under an “emergency” CDP issued during the 2014 drought with the understanding that the CCSD would apply for a “regular” CDP to operate the facility.

     PROTECTCambria is a group of residents and neighbors concerned about the future of Cambria.  We seek to protect Cambria’s existing water supply, protect our natural environment and ensure sufficient water reserves for firefighting.  Additional information regarding Cambria’s water situation can be found at the PROTECTCambria website (protectcambria.com).

Posted inEnvironment

Join the Friends of the Elephant Seal Team

The Friends of the Elephant Seal (FES) currently is recruiting for a part-time Visitor Center/Office Assistant to help staff our newly expanded Visitor Center which will be opening soon.

    FES is looking for a friendly, detail-oriented, and organized team member for a part-time staff role in the FES Visitor Center.  Duties include welcoming visitors, handling retail sales, data entry, online order processing, and inventory control.  The successful candidate will bring to the job their retail experience, computer proficiency, excellent customer service skills, and a love of the ocean.  FES will provide training on the northern elephant seal, other marine mammals and local marine life, and the natural and cultural resources of the area.

     The full job opening announcement, including requirements, qualifications, and application instructions is posted online at:  elephantseal.org/vca.

Posted inEnvironment

Sunshine, Bees and Butterflies

Honeybees were flying in and out of apiarist John Chesnut’s demonstration hive during the four-hour Beautify Cambria Association (BCA) Bee & Butterfly Faire held last Sunday at the Cambria Historical Museum Garden.  Crowds gathered to hear John enlighten attendees about the highly sophisticated hierarchy of hive life and the importance of protecting these furry friends.

     The fifth annual event was magical.  Music and singing were provided by strolling mandolinist Barry Kaufman and guitarist Marcus DiMaggio.  The Native Daughters of the Golden West helped children of all ages make flowered and bee-dazzled May Day hats.  Beekeepers came from as far away as Wasco and Alameda to educate event goers and sell luscious honeys and related products.  The event featured pollinator dependent foods, honey-based mead, and elderflower spritzers.  A couple of highlights were BCA’s own baklava and Jason Anderson’s “Famous Pulled Pork Sliders” bathed in his secret honey-barbecue sauce.  When beekeeper Karl Grossman was asked if he would return next year to sell his honey, he answered with an enthusiastic, “Absolutely!”

     Kim Chicon and Jessica Griffiths of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) spoke to an attentive audience about often misunderstood native bees and monarch habitat and preservation.  Representatives from University of California (UC) Master Gardener Program and State Parks educated people about how important wildlife, especially pollinators, is to humans.  A lepidopterist shared his five-panel, high-resolution display of pollinators from around the world that included bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and a bat.  Most intriguing were the unexpectedly unique and colorful caterpillars.  Vari MacNeil, BCA co-founder and past president, said she fell in love with moths and caterpillars as she searched for the best photos to print.  For those who missed the display, photos will be added to the BCA website at:  beautifycambria.org.

     Children’s activities included a scavenger hunt to find answers to bee and butterfly questions.  Feathered butterflies and rubber caterpillars were awarded to all participants.  Tish and David Breda helped children make plantable seeded paper (messy but lots of fun) and the youngsters left with a goodie bag including planting instructions.  Sharon Young made origami butterflies for all attendees.  The best was left for last–the ever-popular Buzzy Pets Parade.  Adorable pups dressed in bee and ladybug costumes marched around the block with Barry Kaufman and his mandolin leading the parade.   

     Cambria Hardware donated three flats of monarch-friendly milkweed that quickly sold out.  Proceeds from a silent auction filled with artfully packaged pollinator-related items donated by 30 Cambia businesses and residents will go directly towards planting and watering pollinator friendly flowers and bushes in the Main Street medians, Spaghetti Bowl hillside, and the now famous flower-topped trash/recycle receptacles (TRPRs).  Beautify Cambria is thankful to everyone for the amazing generosity shown.  The event was successful because of the tireless effort of the many volunteers behind the scenes.