Coming to March RBDA Meeting
March 9 general meeting will feature a talk entitled “The Wild World of
presented by Dr. Kerry Kriger, founder of SAVE THE FROGS!
long do frogs live? How many types of frogs are there? What’s the
between a frog and a toad? Why are frogs disappearing worldwide and
what can be
done to save them? Dr. Kriger answers all these questions and more as
introduces the audience to The Wild World of Frogs. The presentation
many of Dr. Kriger’s photos of amphibians from around the world, and
be a question and answer session following the presentation.
Kriger began his career in Australia, studying chytrid fungus, which
devastating skin disease attacking at least 287 species of amphibians
the world. Over the last 40 years this fungus has lead to over 100
extinctions. That work naturally led him to found SAVE THE FROGS! in
order to promote amphibian conservation globally (www.savethefrogs.com).
Dr. Kriger and SAVE THE FROGS!, in cooperation with the Land Trust of
Cruz County, funded by Patagonia, have been working to restore the
Red-Legged Frog, (Rana Draytonii) habitat at Antonelli Pond. The next
to which all ages are invited, is Sunday, March 6, from 1-4pm.
meet at the pond and help de-weed and plant native vegetation. (Go to savethefrogs.com/
actions/antonelli/~ for more
including what to wear and what to bring.)
Dr. Kriger is organizing a rally on April 29, the 3rd Annual Save The
Day, to sound the alarm about Atrazine, a common pesticide which causes
in laboratory animals, and, even at infinitesimal concentrations,
frogs into females.
has changed since Mark Twain wrote “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of
County.” Twain’s California Red-Legged Frog is now a Federally listed
Threatened Species. Winter has brought the sounds of rain and of the
RedLegged Frog to Bonny Doon. For audio clips of the various sounds of
frog, go to goo.gl/dpyZm.
us in March to for a fascinating glimpse into the lives of frogs today
their frightening future.
on Changes to Zoning Rules
reported last time, the County Planning Department’s “Minor Exceptions
Certain Zoning Requirements “ (ME2CZR) ordinance revisions returned to
Board of Supervisors Jan. 25. After meetings with local environmental
community organizations, including the RBDA and Sierra Club, the
amendments included several improvements.
First of all, the
appeals process for variances granted as minor exceptions by Planning
been brought in line with that for other variances. Appeals can now
from the Zoning Administrator to the Planning Commission and thence to
Board of Supervisors, if necessary.
The issue of the
cost burden of appeals has now been clarified to rest squarely on the
In the interests of
greater transparency, variances granted as minor exceptions will now be
regularly on the Planning Department web site (sccoplanning.com),
the Zoning Administrator’s and Planning Commission’s agendas. We view
this as a
great advance. While initial project notifications are typically signed
the site and sent by mail to neighbors within 300 feet, now, when a
granted without a public hearing, the community at large will be
that all those affected can learn of the decision. If an appeal is
the affected portion of the project will be halted until the appeal is
Planning expects that most of the requests for minor exceptions will be
densely built-up areas like Live Oak and Pleasure Point, and concerns
remain both for the public and for some supervisors about the relevance
ordinance amendments for rural areas, the ordinance will first be
within the urban services boundary. After 24 months Planning will
return to the
Board of Supervisors with a report and proposal before the Board
expanding it to the entire County.
This is not the end
of this phase of the regulatory reform; questions about California
Environmental Quality Act compliance and protection of riparian
persist. Therefore, the Board has sent the proposal to the Planning
for a further hearing, before it holds its own final hearing on the
We are hopeful that
Planning will be able to further rationalize the permit process to ease
burden on citizens, while continuing the new conversation with
and community organizations to ensure that our natural heritage is
and preserved. One noteworthy indication of that direction is Planning
Kathy Previsich’s new proposal to include an examination of
regulations in section 16 of County Code, and the development of a
document to better protect the environment by standardizing the
of code by individual planners.
2008 Martin Fire killed many of the mature ponderosa pines in its path.
Scorching weakened those that survived and left them vulnerable to
especially the western pine beetle. The beetles have killed scores of
ponderosas in Bonny Doon since then and the attack continues,
eliminate two generations of their only local host, Bonny Doon’s unique
single couple of beetles initially attack a tree. During mating they
powerful pheromones which quickly attract hundreds more couples. The
burrow under the bark to lay their eggs, starting about halfway up the
and working their way upward to where the tree finally thins to less
inches in diameter. Their larvae devour the water-carrying layer of
introduce blue stain fungus which further reduces water transport and
ultimately kills the tree.
response, ponderosas produce pitch tubes in order to flush the beetles.
masses are cream colored, the tree was likely successful in pitching
attacking beetles. If the pitch masses are reddish, however, the
prevailed. Unfortunately, most ponderosas in Bonny Doon have been under
stress and have not produced enough pitch to defend themselves. Another
attack is woodpecker feeding that leaves smooth patches without bark.
after the beetles have killed the tree, the tree’s foliage fades in
progressing from green to yellow to brown.
little as two months, thousands of tiny holes will indicate that the
have matured and moved on. In our climate, there can be multiple
trees most likely to be attacked are those stressed by fire damage or
Thinning to reduce competition for water may help. Stand sanitation, in
recently attacked and high-risk green trees are removed before the
beetles have a chance to emerge, attack, and further build their
recommended. The next western pine beetle flight is predicted for April
but may be sooner at lower elevations.
Felling green ponderosa pines may create brood material for another
engraver beetles, to build populations and attack surrounding, stressed
All green pines stems greater than 3 inches in diameter should
treated by reducing to less than 4 foot lengths, removing branches,
scattering in sunny locations or burning.
While thinning and sanitizing, do so conservatively and please keep in
increased danger to the stand from wind. Avoid wounding remaining trees
reduce the threat to them from fungus. Minimize downed fuel build up to
intense fires and schedule your burns to minimize their intensity.
Since the Reserve and surrounding
properties are within two additional Zones of Infestation (Sudden Oak
Coastal Pitch Canker) care should be taken to minimize the risk of
or spreading those pests. Tools, equipment, vehicles, and shoes should
of mud, small woody debris, and/or pitch, and hand tools and shoes
treated with Lysol prior to entering and leaving the forested area.
minimizes the risk for spreading both pitch canker and sudden oak death.
While there are pesticides which may be valuable in combating this
they should be used only after consulting with The Santa Cruz County
Agricultural Commissioner (agdept.com) and in accordance with laws and
regulations controlling their use.
Feb. 28, the Bonny Doon Fire Safe Council held a Neighborhood Meeting
the problem and some possible assistance provided by the California
Improvement Program (CFIP). The salient points of that meeting will be
presented at our March meeting.
would like to read more about the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), you
read the Plant Guide produced by the US Department of Agriculture, at
this is a PDF file. There is also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponderosa_pine
are 2 new members of the RBDA Board. At our January Annual Meeting
Pollock was elected to the seat vacated by Ted Benhari, and Miriam
Hearn and Marty Demare were re-elected. Shortly afterward Miriam Beames
resigned her position and the Board appointed Salem Magarian to her
will have to run for the remaining year at next year’s Annual Meeting.
served on the board for 14 of the last 16 years and, for many of us,
to define dedicated community service. He has generously offered to
helping with the publication of the Highlander, much to the relief of
Wallace, who has taken on the task of editing the newsletter.
we all will miss Miriam’s involvement, we are pleased that Salem is
take up the gauntlet. Tom and Marty will continue to provide the Board
much needed continuity and their deep knowledge of the issues our
Board selected its officers for 2011. Joe Christy continues as chair,
Morrison as vice chair. Tom Hearn as Treasurer and Marty Demare as
Corresponding Secretary. Lad is now Highlander Editor and Jacob Pollock
Lad’s role as Membership Coordinator. Salem will serve as Recording
Search for Fugitive
Prompts Communication Concerns
Feb. 1 a 6-hour manhunt for fugitive Juan Mendoza Cruz ended early the
morning without an arrest, with the authorities believing Cruz had fled
Bonny Doon area. The search included a Sheriff’s Office helicopter, 25
and Santa Cruz police officers, and 2 search dogs.
residents called authorities indicating that Cruz was well known to
that he had done work for them, ranging from watching pets while owners
absent, to yard and handyman work.
reports indicated that reverse 911 calls were sent to neighbors at 2:50
and 4:25 p.m. Monday to notify them of the search, and to ask them to
in place,” meaning that they should minimize unnecessary car trips or
Some very close neighbors reported that they received no call and were
of the potentially dangerous situation.
is a certain amount of concern in the community regarding the manner
effectiveness of communication by the Sheriff’s office. In response to
from our Board, Sheriff Phil Wowak has offered to attend our March
“...answer all questions and take away any suggestions your association
have.” Please take this opportunity to provide Sheriff Wowak with the
of your comments.
aftermath of the Martin Fire, our community was able to work with the
regarding communication with our residents. With the Lockheed fire the
year, we saw a substantially improved information flow which served
very well during that stressful time. We have good evidence that
concerns and constructive suggestions to our local public safety
result in a better informed and prepared community.
LAFCO Water Policy May Affect UCSC Expansion
an attempt by City of Santa Cruz officials to weaken it, the Local
Formation Commission, (LAFCO) on Feb. 2 approved a new Water Policy
have a significant effect on UCSC’s attempts to build on its Upper
commissioners unanimously ignored the City’s request to narrowly limit
policy so that applicants merely had to show “good planning,” in the
City Water Director Bill Kocher, to provide necessary water, rather
commissioners adopted language requiring that a proposed project’s
be “adequate, reliable, and sustainable.” Further, the new policy,
guide all future LAFCO deliberations on whether to approve a project,
that “the project will not adversely affect sustainable yields in
basins, flows in rivers and streams, water quality in surface water
groundwater basins, and endangered species.”
The new policy
raises the bar for UCSC’s application to extend City water service to
Campus, which lies outside the City limits, in Bonny Doon. Without an
desalination plant, and with state and national agencies demanding that
City restrict its diversion of stream sources to provide better
aquatic life, the amount of water the City will have available is far
At the same Feb. 2
meeting, LAFCO Executive Director Pat McCormick told the commissioners
more staff work needs to be done on the UCSC application. As a result,
them that a date for a public hearing on the application couldn’t yet
mid-February, the Community Water Coalition’s attorney, Jonathan
an appeal to a Superior Court dismissal of its suit. The appeal states
LAFCO applications by the University, and an accompanying one by the
extend its water service boundary, were not in compliance with State
A second suit,
brought by the citizens’ group Habitat and Watershed Caretakers (HAWC),
that the Final Environmental Impact Report related to the applications
violates the State’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). That suit is
a Superior Court hearing in April.
New Board Member Salem Magarian
Is Bonny Doon amazing, or what? Here we are in the sixth day of rain,
recharging our aquifers, supplying the forest and our gardens, and
wells happy. But what is this snow? Beauty comes in many forms in our
wonderland. How lucky we are to live in this natural paradise.
That about sums up
my reasons to accept the offer to be on the RBDA Board and fill the
recently vacated by Miriam Beames. I completely share the RBDA mission
preserve the natural and rural setting of our community. Although
of the natural environment and wise stewardship of any building and
is a core advocacy role for the RBDA Board, I am particularly
many new opportunities to enhance and interact with our natural
the upcoming issues are the future use of the CEMEX property, and the
Coast Dairies has of a continuous natural open space corridor from
to Davenport and the north coast. There are many challenges in
these processes that are far beyond the scope of the RBDA, but it is
the RBDA is the voice of our community in matters such as these.
I have lived in
Bonny Doon for 5 years, after 15 years in Santa Cruz. Laurie Patton
and I got married on our property in Bonny Doon 2 years ago. I was born
raised in Florida and have been heading west since age 18, spending 20
Utah getting hooked on nature and outside adventures while becoming a
and pediatrician. I have worked as a pediatrician at Dominican Hospital
1993 and currently direct the outpatient Dominican Pediatric Clinic.
I look forward to
hearing from you about how you would like the RBDA to advocate for
our natural setting and promote our health, mental and spiritual
and caring involvement with nature.
Coast Dairies Update
last issue of The Highlander we wrote that the March meeting of the
Commission here in Santa Cruz might include a decision that would end
dispute over the transfer of ownership of the Coast Dairies properties.
Trust for Public Land, with the County of Santa Cruz on their side, has
disputed the need to obtain a Coastal Development Permit for the
a Feb. 8 letter, TPL reluctantly agreed to apply for a consolidated
would be processed and acted upon by the Coastal Commission, bypassing
usual County permit process. With concurrence from commission staff,
Planning Director had placed the proposal on the Board of Supervisors’
agenda to obtain their approval, but the item was pulled from the
and when the proposal is returned to the Board of Supervisors and they
approval, the Trust for Public Land can begin the permit process and
will have its long awaited opportunity to influence the future uses of
Cement Plant News
will be a Community Meeting regarding the future of the cement plant
Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 pm at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport.
meeting will be led by Supervisor Neal Coonerty and local inventor and
engineer, JoeBen Bevirt of Joby Energy,
RBDA Membership Drops
current paid-up membership for the organization has dropped
the end of January, down from over 200 just prior to the close of last
you may recall that we adopted a new membership policy 2 years ago
memberships expire at the end of January of each year. This move
simplified the task of tracking when memberships lapsed, and the
that it would also be easier to just remind everyone in the Jan./ Feb.
of The Highlander to send in their donation. This also saves the
expense of mailing
reminders out to members who have let their membership lapse. So far,
has not worked very well, so we’re again requesting you send in your
if you have not done so recently.
those of you who are not members: If you support the concept of keeping
Doon rural and natural, and enjoy getting The Highlander and listening
speakers and presentations we sponsor, now is the time to help support
community organization. Just to sustain the organization at the current
200 paid memberships are required, so we truly need your support.
Please see here
membership information and form.