MARINE TERRACES OF THE SANTA CRUZ AREA
MARJORIE “JORIE” SCHULZ, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Meeting Tuesday, January 12, 2010,
Bonny Doon School
Ice Cream Grade & Pine
Climbing Through Time
The coastal terraces that march up from the Pacific to
Empire Grade tell the story of eons of natural changes that have
occurred in Bonny Doon. Geologists consider them a world-class research
That story will be recounted by geologist Marjorie Schulz, who has been
part of a U.S. Geological Survey research team that has been studying
the soils on the marine terraces in Wilder Ranch State Park and on
nearby private land, at the RBDA Annual meeting January 12. (NOTE: This is a
Tuesday, not a Wednesday as is usual for our meetings, because of our
Ms. Schulz and her USGS scientific team use the different ages of the
terraces to study mineral weathering on a geologic time scale. Along
the way they have discovered remarkable things, says Ms. Schulz, who
will talk about the geologic formation of the terraces and what the
soils forming on them reveal.
Ms. Schulz, who goes by “Jorie,” has been working at the U.S.
Geological Survey in Menlo Park for more than 20 years. She began in
the Branch of Marine Geology, where she studied deep-sea manganese
oxide deposits, then transferred to her current position in Water
Resources Discipline and now collaborates with geochemists and soil
scientists studying water-rock interaction. This group has been
studying the soils of the Santa Cruz area marine terraces for the last
Her talk is called “Marine Terraces of the Santa Cruz Area: A Staircase
Through Time,” and we feel we are on a very firm foundation when we say
that if you have any interest in the natural history of the North
Coast, you will find it fascinating.
Making Bonny Doon Fire Safe
With wildfire season over we can begin, as a community, to
take steps to avert another disaster. Now is the best time to be sure
that you have 100 feet of defensible space around your home and your
access roads are safely passable for fire engines. Clearing now, you
can either chip the slash with some hope that it will compost with the
winter rains and provide mulch, or burn the slash safely.
There are several valuable resources available online about what to do,
e.g. tinyurl.com/4s9yk2. More
importantly, there is also a framework for wildfire protection, a local
Fire Safe Council. There are over 150 local Fire Safe Councils in
California, under the umbrella of the California Fire Safe Council,
firesafecouncil.org/. A local Fire Safe Council is a non-profit
organization whose mission is mobilizing neighbors to protect their
homes, communities, and environments from wildfire. Fire Safe Councils
promote education, pool resources, and apply for grants to fund
community efforts to increase fire safety. A Council can cover an area
as small as the Pineridge neighborhood, or as large as Santa Clara
Since the enactment of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, a
number of federal agencies have been working to reduce the threat of
wildfire to communities like ours. The rubric for doing so is a
Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). In late 2007 CalFire and the
Resource Conservation Districts of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties
began drafting this document. The first draft is slated for completion
in mid-January, followed by a month-long public comment period, and
then submission to the County Board of Supervisors for approval.
With a CWPP in place the way is clear for us to obtain
grant funding. Precedence will be given to projects noted in the CWPP
document. Currently, there are preliminary proposals to allow
landowners to opt into a shaded fuel break program along the main
arteries in Bonny Doon; to develop a neighborhood based outreach and
education program around defensible space and safe access roads; and to
perform wildfire risk assessment along the periphery of Bonny Doon,
where we border wildlands owned by timber and mining companies, State
Parks and local water districts.
The grants are all funneled through the California Fire Safe Council.
To achieve the highest precedence, the applications should originate
from local community organizations. On the evening of Jan. 20 there
will be an open meeting to discuss the Fire Safe Council concept. We
hope to build a community consensus on the wildfire threats to Bonny
Doon and the steps to ease them, and establish a Bonny Doon Fire Safe
Council. A board of directors will be elected at the meeting. This will
be an opportunity for all stakeholders in our community to come
together and be heard. With a consensus and a council we can amend the
Bonny Doon projects in the CWPP and start down the road toward grant
Even without grant funding, there is a very great deal that we can do
to help ourselves as a community. Please join us Jan. 20, at 7 pm at
the Bonny Doon Elementary Multi-Purpose Room, Ice Cream Grade and Pine
If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Famed Explorer at March 2 RBDA Meeting
We are excited to announce that famed National Geographic
Explorer-in-Residence and Wildlife Conservation Society conservationist
Michael Fay has agreed to present a slide show and talk on Tuesday,
March 2 about what he learned during his yearlong, 700-mile hike
through California’s and Oregon’s redwood forests in 2007-2008. Called
the Redwood Transect, his journey and findings were presented in the
October 2009 National Geographic cover story.
Mr. Fay is a world renowned explorer who is perhaps best known for his
Megatransect, a 2,000-mile conservation trek across Africa, which led
directly to influencing the country of Gabon to set aside large tracts
of land in a national park system to preserve the unique fauna and
flora of that western Africa nation.
RBDA Board Elections
At the Tuesday, Jan. 12 RBDA meeting 3 people will be
elected to the open seats on the RBDA Executive Board. The expiring
terms are those of Ben Harmon, who has done such an outstanding job as
our Membership Coordinator for most of the past 10 years and will be
very much missed; Joe Christy, who has done a superb job as our
chairman this past year; and Jan Hilkert, who was forced by increasing
work demands to resign. Only Joe is running for re-election, but the
Board is very pleased that two very talented and committed people, Pat
Morrison and Lad Wallace, whom we appointed in December to fill out
Jan’s term, have stepped up to replace them.
The mission of
the RBDA is “To Keep Bonny Doon Rural and Natural.” Every discussion
with a neighbor brings a new perspective, so I must reconsider what
that mission means, and every issue that the RBDA faces challenges me
to re-examine how best to advance it.
Nature is governed by forces far greater than
anything that humans can conceive, acting over time scales beyond our
comprehension. Our pioneer ancestors showed that we can transform our
environment in a single lifetime, but in the long run, nature will
resume its majestic course. It may be generations before balance is
restored, or the restoration may be catastrophically quick. To keep
Bonny Doon natural, we must have the humility to accept our small part
in the grandeur around us, and realize that we have a responsibility to
live in harmony with the land.
Without people, Bonny Doon would be certainly be
natural, as it was before humans arrived just a few millennia ago, but
it would not be rural. What makes Bonny Doon rural is the sparse
community settled here. Few services are provided us and nearly every
winter we are physically cut off for a time. To live here requires
self-reliance. In my time on the Board, much of the community has been
forced off the mountain twice by wildland fires. To keep Bonny Doon
rural, we must truly be a community, in the most ancient sense of
sharing the gift that nature provides us by allowing us to live here.
To keep Bonny Doon rural and natural we must wisely
balance the needs of our environment and our community when they appear
to conflict, for we are part of nature and it defines our community.
In the ’70s and
’80s, usually in the winter, my husband Karl and I would leave our
creekside home in Boulder Creek in search of sun. These excursions
often took us to Bonny Doon. I know Bonny Doon has grown, but it looks
pretty much the same to me now as it did then. I believe this is due to
the foresight, dedication and sensitive development practices of its
In 1993, looking for someplace bucolic and safe to
raise our son, we bought land on Martin Road. To build on this
environ-mentally sensitive site we had to obtain a development permit
and a building permit. I became familiar with the many components
required to successfully navigate the county permitting process. While
we found it frustrating at times, we came to appreciate the philosophy
and intent behind the requirements. We learned a lot about the
sensitive habitat and the diversity of our area. I have come to
recognize the fine balance between allowing people to live and enjoy
this beautiful area while protecting its natural beauty, resources and
I became aware of the Rural Bonny Doon Association
almost immediately upon moving to the area. I developed an appreciation
for those who volunteer their time to bring information to the
community and ensure Bonny Doon remains rural and natural. I’ve always
imagined that when my son was grown and things slowed down in my life I
would give my time to this organization whose philosophy matches my
own. I find myself at this point now.
I’ve worked in public education most of my life.
Before my son was born I was an Elementary School Counselor in San
Jose. The last 13 years I have been an Instructional Aide and
Substitute Teacher at Pacific School in Davenport. I bring to the RBDA
a strong relationship with many members of the Davenport/North Coast
with whom we share concerns.
I am honored and enthused about serving on the RBDA
My wife Lisa,
son Ben and I have been residents of Bonny Doon since 2002. Lisa and I
left Aptos in 1986 and spent the next 15 years abroad in the Caribbean
and Spain before returning to the only place we could imagine living
I have a broad background in corporate financial
management, starting in 1984 when I was Controller for O’Neill, Inc. in
Capitola. Upon returning to the Santa Cruz area, I became Chief
Financial Officer for Bonny Doon Vineyards during its most robust
period of growth. In 2006 as CFO I took public Akeena Solar, a solar
installation and equipment company. Most recently I have been
consulting for renewable energy and energy efficiency companies in the
area. I also bring years of experience working for community not-for
profits, most recently having served for 3 years on the BOD of Pacific
My interest in environmental protection started in my
youth in Southern California, when I became a member of the Audubon
Society at age 10 and participated in the Christmas Bird Counts for
many years. I look forward to helping the Rural Bonny Doon Association
in whatever capacity best matches the needs of the organization with my
skills and experience.
Community Service Officer for Bonny Doon
At the Nov. 11 RBDA meeting Sheriff Phil Wowak explained
the workings of law enforcement in Bonny Doon, and the impending
assignment of a Community Service Office (CSO) to our area.
He acknowledged that the ever-tightening budgets have prevented
assigning a deputy full-time to the North Coast/Bonny Doon. Instead,
Sgts. Jim Ross and Stefan Fish, who were at the meeting, share
responsibility for our area, combined with their assignments in the San
Lorenzo Valley and Live Oak, respectively.
Since Sgt. Ross works out of the Sheriff substation in Felton, he is
likely to be the first responder to crime reports here. If you see a
crime or a suspicious activity occurring, you should call 9-1-1, and
they will route it to the closest deputy.
Starting in January, according to Sheriff Wowak, a CSO will be assigned
to Bonny Doon. The CSO doesn’t respond to crime calls, but rather works
with chronic situations—a rash of burglaries, for example—to seek
long-term solutions. He/she also keeps track of what's happening in an
area, gets to know residents, and tries to institute policies that will
contribute to overall community safety. The CSO works under the
supervising Sheriff’s deputy’s direction, and will also handle such
things as abandoned vehicle abatement.
For non-emergency situations, Sgt. Ross can be reached at 461-7400 or
email@example.com, and Sgt. Fish at
Finances and Membership Renewals
A year ago, the Board looked at the RBDA’s dire financial
situation and issued an impassioned plea. To our delight and gratitude,
Bonny Doon's citizens came back with a passionate response: new members
joined, we received a record number of renewals and some extremely
Thanks to last year’s outpouring, the RBDA can coast for another year,
but it’s not fiscally prudent to operate at a deficit. Our membership
needs to continue at about 200 people for yearly income to match
Your Board is hoping that if you’re a member, you’ll continue to
support the RBDA by renewing. Remember, unless you signed up for a
multi-year membership, all memberships expire on January 31!
If you’re not currently an RBDA member, we hope that you’ll consider if
our efforts to keep Bonny Doon the place we love, and to bring you news
of matters that vitally affect all of us, are worth $15 (or $20,
depending on your household status) per year.
Our projected annual income with about 200 paid members and some
sponsorships is about $3,400.
Our expenses: printing and mailing The Highlander, approximately
$2,200; meeting room rental, $200 and liability insurance, $770,
printing and mailing renewal notices, $200, totals about $3,400.
That’s why it’s vital to our continued financial viability that members
While we certainly hope for and gratefully welcome donations, we cannot
include them in our estimate.
The Board very much appreciates your thoughtful attention to the RBDA's
situation and asks for your continuing support.
The long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)
for the expansion of City of Santa Cruz water and sewer services to
UCSC’s Upper Campus has been released. This document will play a major
role in whether LAFCO, the Local Agency Formation Committee, approves
UCSC’s and the City’s application to extend these services to the
portion of the campus outside the City limits, in Bonny Doon. Without
LAFCO approval, UCSC will have to either sue or give up the effort to
build on the undeveloped upper campus behind Bonny Doon’s Cave Gulch
In concert with others, the RBDA has been fighting for years to keep
this type of urban development out of Bonny Doon.
The public has until January 19 to comment on the DEIR, after which a
Final EIR will be published for certification by the City, which is
acting (much to our chagrin!) as the lead agency for the EIR. The LAFCO
commissioners will have the discretion to question all parts of the
EIR, not just those pertaining to water and sewer.
But it is water that will be key to their decision. A Water Supply
Assessment done by the City Water Dept., and included in the DEIR,
acknowledges that supplies are inadequate when rainfall is less than
“normal,” which really means “average.” In many, if not most years,
rainfall is well above or well below average. Compounding the problem
is that Santa Cruz has limited storage capacity, so it’s very difficult
to bank the rainfall from the wet years. The result is that quite
often, like 2009, water use restrictions are put in place. If the City
grants UCSC another 300 million gallons a year for its expansion, all
other City users will be subject to even more stringent rationing.
The DEIR is available at ci.santacruz.ca.us/index.aspx?page=1379
Gas from Slash?
At the Dec. 2 RBDA Board meeting, long-time Bonny Doon resident William
Meyer presented his proposal for creating fuels from biomass throughout
Mr. Meyer, who has a background in engineering, envisions
a non-profit entity that would collect tree trimmings from private
landowners and timbering operations—which could improve fire safety in
the county—along with other unwanted or useless biomass that would
otherwise be taken to the landfill, and turning it into fuel like
ethanol or biodiesel. He has done a considerable amount of research and
has talked with a number of groups and individuals to gain support for
the project, which he calls CATARE, Co-operative for Applying
Technology, Agriculture and Renewable Energy.
Mr. Meyer is trying to obtain funding for a feasibility study of his
idea. If this is something you are interested in, contact him at
426-6908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to Protect Our Parks?
Volunteers are needed to collect signatures to place an initiative on
the November 2010 ballot which would create a stable funding source to
protect State parks. 700,000 signatures are needed by mid-April.
If you want to help gather signatures, you can learn how at any of
three local meetings. The first is Wednesday, Jan. 6 from 2 to 4 pm at
Felton Community Hall, 6191 Highway 9. The second is that evening from
6 to 8 pm, at the Louden Nelson Community Center, Room 3, 301 Center
St., Santa Cruz. The third opportunity is Thursday, Jan. 7 at 5:30 pm
at the main branch of the Santa Cruz Library, 224 Church St., Santa
RBDA Board 12/2/09 Actions
1. Approved sponsoring a Jan. 20 meeting about forming a
Fire Safe Council in Bonny Doon.
2. [ ]
3. Accepted the resignation of Jan Hilkert and appointed Lad Wallace to
fill out the remainder of her term.
One of Our Sponsors Sponsorships: $100 a year Send check and text to: RBDA P.O. Box 551, Felton CA
The Rural Bonny Doon Association Newsletter
Sunlit Lane • Bonny Doon, CA 95060
Box 551 • Felton, CA 95018
Bonny Doon's voice in preserving our special quality of
The Highlander is mailed free to Bonny Doon residents prior to
RBDA General Meetings, which are usually held on second Wednesdays
January, March, May, July, September and November.
We encourage you to participate.
Send mail correspondence to the Highlander Editor at the
or by email, below.
If you live in or own property within this district,
Grade to the ocean and from San Vicente Creek to the City of Santa Cruz
border, you are eligible to be an RBDA member.
Please support the
Dues payments count for a full year from date received.
Dues mostly go for printing and mailing The Highlander,
your voice for keeping Bonny Doon rural and natural.
Those who make additional contributions qualify as: