The (Not So) Secret Lives
of Breeding Humpback Whales
Jodi Frediani, naturalist and wildlife photographer
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Bonny Doon School Multipurpose Room,
Pine Flat Road & Ice Cream Grade
The (Not So) Secret Lives
of Breeding Humpback Whales
Each year, humpback whales migrate from their temperate feeding
grounds to the tropics where they breed and calve. However, no one has ever
observed humpback whales mating or giving birth (well, maybe once, off
Madagascar). So what exactly do they do in those tropical waters? At least,
while we're watching!
At the May 10 RBDA meeting, join Bonny Doon wildlife
photographer Jodi Frediani to learn more about humpback whale behavior when
they are far away from Monterey Bay (hopefully, no presidential executive
orders will prevent their returning) and their other feeding grounds.
Jodi will share her knowledge and observations gleaned from
more than 11 months spent on the calving grounds of the North Atlantic and
South Pacific humpback whales. And she’ll tell stories about individual whales
she has come to know. Her presentation will be illustrated with her outstanding
photographic images, taken both topside and underwater. Jodi’s passion for
whales and photography is palpable and contagious.
Come learn about competitive ‘rowdy’ groups, dancing whales,
singers and what moms and calves do during those long months when mom
undertakes a total fast while nursing junior.
Jodi worked for 35 years as an environmental forest and
watershed consultant and animal trainer, but her life-long passions include
photography, animals and anything to do with water. Those of you who were
fortunate enough to attend the January 2015 RBDA meeting will remember her
awesome images of the various marine animals who inhabit Monterey Bay.
For the last 15 seasons Jodi has been swimming with and
photographing the North Atlantic humpback whales in the warm waters of the
Silver Bank Marine Mammal Sanctuary off the Dominican Republic. She has also
spent time swimming with and photographing humpback whales in Tonga.
Her images have been featured in local, regional, national and
international publications, and in TV shows, and may be viewed at jodifrediani.com.
Once again, this will be a great show for the whole family.
UCSC Growth, Impacts to Continue
On April 13 UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal announced
publicly that the process to chart the university’s future beyond 2020 has
begun. The plan is called the 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP).
In a published letter Blumenthal wrote: “What exactly is an
LRDP? Think of it like a city or county general plan. It designates areas for
certain types of use or open space, but in and of itself, it does not mandate
growth or areas of growth. It plans for growth if needed and funded.”
However, it should be noted that every LRDP within memory has
resulted in enrollment growth, which necessitates faculty and staff growth, all
of which has major impacts on housing, transportation and water use in Santa
Cruz. Roughly half the students live on campus, and a much lower percentage of
staff and faculty and their families.
Today there are almost 19,000 students enrolled at UCSC, but
the university claims the number for LRDP purposes is about 18,000 Full Time
Equivalent students, because not all take a full load of classes, and some are
in exchange programs at colleges elsewhere. The original target for the last
LRDP (2005-2020) was 23,000, but after strong public opposition emerged, UCSC
agreed to hold the number to 19,500.
Recently the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved sending
a letter written by Supervisor Ryan Coonerty to Chancellor Blumenthal that
said, “The impact of students, faculty and staff on our community…is a
contributing factor to the high cost of housing…and traffic congestion on our roads.”
The Supervisors requested that because “…the capacity of the community to absorb
campus growth has been reached, … ideally, there should be no further
increase beyond the [2005-]2020 LRDP projections in student population.” That
is, enrollment should be capped at 19,500. The letter went on to request that
“…all increases, including students, faculty and staff, should be housed
The 2005-2020 LRDP called for 3 million square feet of new
buildings, much of which would have been sited on the North Campus, which is in
Bonny Doon. Because of a lawsuit over that LRDP’s EIR, to which the RBDA was a
party, and the Great Recession of 2008, which reduced the money available for
construction, none of the building on the North Campus has occurred. UCSC was
also held up by a second lawsuit that successfully challenged the EIR for the
City’s supplying water to the North Campus, which is outside City limits.
Enrollment at UCSC, as well as other UC campuses, is determined
by the UC Regents through the office of the UC president. Campus chancellors
may try to negotiate reductions, but their power is limited. The process
whereby enrollment targets for individual campuses are set is opaque. Why, for
example, aren’t the local carrying capacity and impacts considered?
The process for creating an LRDP is long and complex and
involves many meetings and studies. Chancellor Blumenthal has promised that
there will be many opportunities for local residents, students and agencies to
participate, but already interested students have told us they have been shut
out of key meetings. There is a lot of discontent among students because of the
increased size of classes, the difficulty in getting classes they need to
graduate, and the conversion of study halls and other spaces into sleeping
quarters to handle an extra load of students channeled to UCSC by the Regents
last September, with another, even larger influx of frosh due next September.
We will be following all this closely over the next couple of
years, and we fully expect that another major political effort, and even
perhaps another lawsuit, will be required to protect the rural nature of Bonny
Doon and keep the North Campus unspoiled.
Growing Cannabis for Personal Use
On April 18, the Board of Supervisors adopted rules for
personal cultivation of cannabis for non-commercial recreational marijuana
cultivation, known as Ordinance No. 5242, which added Chapter 7.134 to the
Chapter 7.134’s provisions:
(1) No more than six cannabis plants may be cultivated at any
one time at a single private residence;
(2) The pot plants must be concealed from public view in a
locked and secured structure or fenced area on the grounds of a private
residence occupied by a person aged 21 or older. The complete text of the regulations
is available (or will be soon) at www.codepublishing.com.
Google “Santa Cruz County Code 7.134.”
Chapter 7.134 declares that the regulations it contains are
exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) “because it can be
seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity may have a
significant impact om [sic😀] the environment.” We hope personal growing doesn’t
have a significant environmental impact, but we are concerned that increased
rodent poison use accompanying outdoor cannabis growing will, in fact, have
serious impact on our predators that eat rodents, including bobcats, foxes,
raccoons, coyotes, pumas and avian predators (especially owls).
Of particular danger are anticoagulant (substances that thin
blood or prevent clotting) rodenticides that appear to be in use by growers in Bonny
Doon and elsewhere. For example, a fox carcass found here last year was sent to
the Wildlife Investigations Lab of the California Division of Fish and
Wildlife. They reported: “While the
cause of death is not certain, it is likely that it was due to anticoagulant
rodenticide intoxication. Residues of 4 different anticoagulant rodenticides
were found in its liver.”
EIR On Commercial Cultivation Ready Soon
The Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the County’s
proposed commercial medical marijuana cultivation regulations should be
available for public comment later this spring, sometime between early May and
early June. Once it is available for public consumption, there will be
opportunity for the public and government agencies to comment by snail mail and
email, and a public hearing. While the County has discretion on how long to
keep the comment period open, and schedule the hearing, it is most commonly
between 30 and 60 days from the date of publication.
The firm Amec Foster
Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. is conducting the
environmental impact study and will prepare the report. The Coalition for
Environmental Santa Cruz (CESC), a group that includes several Bonny Doon
residents and is supported by the RBDA, submitted extensive comments regarding
what should be studied by the preparation firm.
After receiving the written and oral comments, including from
the Board of Supervisors and County departments, Amec will address the issues
raised, after additional study, if deemed appropriate. It will then publish a
Final EIR and submit it for additional public comment and the Supervisors’
North Coast Rail Trail Going Off the Rails?
The dream: an offroad trail running from Santa Cruz’s west side
to Davenport, where hikers and bikers can enjoy the scenery and not have to
deal with Hwy. 1 traffic and the paucity of parking at the beaches. Eventually,
it will be one section of a trail
running the length of the County.
The segment from Westside Santa Cruz to Wilder Ranch State Park
has been in use for years, and money has been raised for “Phase 1” of the
trail’s northern section, an extension to Panther Beach, which could provide
access to as-yet-to-be-developed trails at Cotoni-Coast Dairies National
Monument. The 5.4 miles of Phase 1 has been promised funding from the federal
and state governments, $6.3 million and $950 thousand respectively, plus $3.3
million raised by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.
The surveyors checked the rights-of-way, and the design and
route for a 12-foot paved trail and a parallel packed gravel trail of variable
width, offset from the railroad tracks, has been completed. The trail was on
track to open in 2020 or 2021.
Sounds great, but don’t start pumping up your bike tires quite
yet. There’s a big Oops! It turns out the right-of-way isn’t quite where the
surveyors placed it. A double-check to verify their findings discovered that the
fundamental assumption, that the middle of the existing railbed was the middle
of the right-of-way, was flawed. The deeds describing the right-of-way turn out
to refer to a long-gone track. Another snafu: the recently passed Measure D
transportation sales tax requires an environmental study of the option of
removing the tracks entirely.
Any significant delays endanger the trail’s funding. The
government grants and Land Trust donation require that construction begin by
the end of 2020. A long delay in final certification of the EIR for the tracks
could jeopardize that, as could negotiating new rights-of-way with the State
and farmers, some of whom aren’t fond of the trail and its potential impact on
their operations. It’s further complicated by the fact farmers mostly lease the
areas involved from the State, which appears willing to cooperate, but lacks
the money and staff to do what’s necessary to comply.
We hope, by the time Cotoni-Coast Dairies invites the
public to visit, that the trail is open. Otherwise Highway 1, already congested and
dangerous at popular times, as are the beach parking lots, will be even more
County Parks Department’s 1st Strategic Plan
Helped by community input, County Parks is developing its
first-ever Strategic Plan. Many of us regularly visit Bonny Doon Beach, Scotts
Creek and Greyhound Rock, not realizing they are County parks.
In 1997 there was no legal place in Santa Cruz County to ride
mountain bikes.Mountain bikers were
considered renegades who despoiled environmentally sensitive areas. Today Santa
Cruz is a destination for mountain bikers from all over the Bay Area, a large
bike industry has developed here, and the local mountain bike community has
organized and become more responsible, though a small percentage still go
wherever they want and make a mess by riding muddy trails.
Based on the outcome of a recent planning process held by the
City of Santa Cruz, we can expect that there will be a lot of interest in
creating more multi-use trails, along with partnerships with local
organizations to develop and maintain them.
County Parks has scheduled meetings around the county,
including one in Davenport on Tuesday, May 2, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Pacific
Elementary School, 50 Ocean St. (Depending on postal delivery of The Highlander, this may take place
before you receive this issue.)
Additional meetings are in Aptos Village County Park, 100 Aptos
Creek Rd., Saturday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to noon, and in Live Oak on Thursday,
May 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Community Room at the Simpkins Family Swim Center,
979 17th Avenue.
Susan Mason, Local Hero Honored
Captain Susan Mason of the Bonny Doon Fire Team recently was
honored as the County’s Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.
Susan has been on the Fire Team since 2000, and is its only
captain. She is also certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Besides handling administrative duties, she is responsible for training,
equipment maintenance, and driving the main engine.
Bonny Doon, and many, many of its residents, owe a large debt
of gratitude—and even their lives— to Susan for her services over the years,
responding to medical emergencies, fires, rescues and accidents. We are very
fortunate to have Susan and the rest of the Fire Team to respond when they are
Susan, a Dooner for 30 years, is married to Dennis Mason, who
also gave years of invaluable service to Bonny Doon as a Fire Team volunteer
and captain. He was one of several captains who started retiring beginning
about 10 years ago. “I saw the writing on the wall,” Susan says, “And I started
taking the necessary classes.”
Congratulations, and a very large thank you to Susan, for an
honor very well deserved.
RBDA 60th Anniversary: Did You Serve on
the RBDA Board?
It’s a happy time for America, whose economy is booming, but
clouds are on the horizon.
American made cars with crazy-long tail fins cruise the newly
built Interstate Highways, but Toyota starts selling vehicles in the U.S.
American pride is punctured by the launch of Sputnik.
The Viet Cong emerge in Vietnam.
On the bright side, millions of Americans gyrate happily inside
the newly invented Hula Hoop.
On TV, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Groucho Marx have millions falling
off their couches laughing.
Poodle skirts twirl, and jeans are becoming the pants of choice
for both men and women.
And here in the Dooniverse, local residents who recently fought
off the creation of a trailer park and halted the carving up of ranches into 1-
and 2-acre lots organize themselves as the Rural Bonny Doon Association.
To begin planning our 60th anniversary, we would love
to talk to former RBDA Board officers to gather their remembrances of what was
on Dooners’ and the RBDA’s minds over the various decades. If you ever served
on the RBDA Executive Board, please contact the present board at email@example.com, or call one of the Board
members at the phone numbers on this website.
Offroad Bike Race Will Raise $ for Wilder Ranch Trail
The second annual Santa Cruz Old Cabin Classic at Wilder Ranch State Park will
take place May 13. The cross-country race is aimed at raising funds for
trail improvements and development at Wilder, Put on by Mountain Bikers of
Santa Cruz (MBOSC), this will be “…a throwback to the early days of mountain
bike racing and …a celebration of the sport.”
MBOSC hopes to raise $10,000 through the event for improving trails
at Wilder, and another $20,000 “to be invested back into the community.”
Last year’s Old Cabin Classic, the first mountain bike race in
Wilder Ranch in more than 20 years, drew about 250 racers. MBOSC expects 400
racers this year, and 1,500 spectators, who are admitted free. There will also
be a “kids rodeo” and food and bicycle industry vendors and artists at the Wilder
Ranch farm buildings area.
MBOSC is seeking volunteers to help set things up the day
before, Friday, May 12, and clean up after the race. Volunteers will receive various
perks. For more information see mbosc.org/oldcabinclassic
Heidi E. Hart, President, CEO
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