• Logging Reform: Necessary or Not?
• Waldorf School Expansion
The battle over logging in Santa Cruz County has been raging for years,
Naturally, the timber industry is fighting back. Not only is it opposed
Some light will shine on these differences at the May 12 RBDA meeting.
Also on the agenda is the Waldorf School’s application to expand its
This should be a hot meeting on two topics of great importance to Bonny Doon. Don’t miss it.
Sawing Through the Rhetoric
Not only are the timber industry and its critics at odds over what changes
At the May 12 RBDA meeting representatives of Big Creek Lumber and the
Based on a state Appeals Court decision that the California Supreme
The major rules changes proposed for Santa Cruz include 300 foot no-cut
zones near residences, 50 foot no-cut buffers around streams, protection
The BofF won’t be making a decision on these rules changes anytime soon.
If the BofF doesn’t agree to the new rules changes to a satisfactory
Meanwhile, Big Creek is suing to overturn the court decision that allows
The county also passed a temporary ordinance requiring the 50-foot no-cut
The Waldorf Story: Too Big for BD?
The Waldorf School, a much admired private facility that follows the
Because so many projects grow incrementally, the county never deals
We think that a school of 245 students, let alone one with 400 students,
Waldorf’s Cave Gulch neighbors are concerned about septic and water
The RBDA board has asked the county to consider all these issues before
Logging Bills Making Headway
Two bills regarding logging reforms, both introduced by our local
AB748 forces timber owners to bear the cost of reviewing their cutting
To support these bills, write to The Honorable Carol Migden, California
Beat Back the Broom
By Grey Hayes, California Native Plant Society
French broom is invading Bonny Doon at a frightening rate and needs to be controlled for many reasons.
First, it is a fire hazard. It grows and reproduces rapidly, creating a dense thicket. As plants approach 10 years of age, many of them die, leaving huge quantities of thin, flammable sticks. Also, French Broom has a relatively puny root system: it pulls right out of the ground when the soil is wet. This root system contrasts greatly with the large top of the plant. As the plant gets older it tips over, destabilizing slopes. What appears to be a hillside of vegetation holding the soil in place turns out to be a landslide waiting to happen.
It’s relatively easy to recognize broom: it is blossoming now with many, yellow flowers covering a shrub anywhere from one to 15 feet in height. It often grows alongside roads. Its leaves are hairy and in groups of three. The broom may be pretty, but it is destroying the homes of literally millions of organisms, few of which (a couple of bees and moths) have evolved to feed on it. Deer and rabbits occasionally take a bite. Contrast that with, say, coyote brush or blue blossom (native shrubs) which together support more than 400 organisms. And, those are just two species that are outcompeted when French broom moves into native habitat. French broom is threatening coastal prairie, oak woodland and sand hills habitats, which are the exclusive home to 1,000 native plants and many animals locally, and are all endangered already by lack of management and fragmentation by development.
The plant reproduces so quickly that even if you have just one or two plants now you could have between 500-2,000 plants in the years to come, just from this year’s seed production. The seeds explode from ripe pods, spreading for six feet around the plant. A mature plant makes 1,000 seeds a year. The seeds last at least 37 years in the soil, so every year you wait to kill the few plants may mean years and years of control to come.
The best way to stop the plants is to use what is known as the Bradley method. Start pulling where there are very few plants and work toward the thick patch. Pulling is best accomplished by hand when the soil is very wet. If you have a problem pulling, borrow or buy a weed wrench, which pops the suckers out of the ground with lever action and steel jaws.
When you get to the thick patch, you have a few choices. You could continue to pull, beating the plants back as far as possible each year. Or, you could spray in the same manner, as deeply as you can go each year. You could also chop the bushes down. If you decide to do this, wait until the end of the summer, when it’s most dry and hot. Cutting at any other time is counter-productive, creating luxuriant regrowth and stronger roots. If you cut at the end of summer, chances are good that you will kill around 80% of the plants. Cutting 2" or greater diameter plants almost always kills them. After killing the mature plants, you will be left with an ocean of seedlings the next winter. These are very easy to pull, but very numerous. Easier than pulling is using a hand held propane torch as soon as possible after the seedlings are recognizable. The beauty of this control method is that you won’t kill the grass and won’t have bare soil. You can also herbicide the young plants. If you have left over piles of previous year’s dead broom, burn it where the seedlings are the thickest. This will go a long way toward killing both the seedlings and the seeds in the soil.
The frustrating thing about broom is the ongoing control needed. Breathe
deeply and remember that most of the work is in the first five years. Only
a few plants a year will sprout thereafter...for 30 years. So don’t let
new plants go to seed!
New Wave of Mail Theft
Used to be that the biggest worry about our mailboxes was whether overhormoned teens would decide to play box baseball with them. But now, thanks probably to the surging growth in mail order and credit card buying, Bonny Doon has joined other parts of the country in the growth of a parallel industry, mailbox theft.
A big wave hit last year, then subsided. Now there have been new outbreaks affecting several areas. This is not the work of amateurs, for the most part. The post office police purportedly busted a Russian gang working Bonny Doon last year. One victim had thousands in credit card charges rung up from Fresno to San Leandro a day after the thefts. The thieves’ professionalism was evident in their ability to use a credit card that the victim hadn’t even activated. One method the thieves have been using is to have one person, usually a woman, jogging or cycling, remove the mail and hand it off to another woman following in a brown station wagon.
This is a nationwide trend that is accelerating. The thieves know what to look for, and use sophisticated methods to alter checks and other documents. We can’t stop it, but we can protect ourselves better. If you see a stranger near your or your neighbors’ mailboxes, write down descriptions and license numbers, time and place. Share the information with your neighbors and police. Call the county sheriff (471-1121) and the Postal Inspector (408/938-4802) and make a report.
The post office may be willing to place a neighborhood lock box for you For information, contact Rich Olive at 471-2939. They run about $4,000, so the post office is reluctant to install them. Waiting time is several weeks to several months, if you can get one at all. You can also build or buy a lock box or cut a slot in a large mailbox and put a lock on the door. Call the Post Office at 800/275-8777 for information. Or you can rent a box at the post office. Or you can do nothing and hope it will all disappear. But the only thing likely to disappear is your mail.
According to ear-witness reports, the "mystery sound" which haunted Bonny Dooners for years is virtually gone, thanks to the sleuthing efforts of RMC. Apparently the new parts on the noisy Davenport cement plant fan muffler did the trick. A grateful thanks to RMC for its efforts in restoring our sanity...and our sleep. Now if only they could find a "boomless" explosive, and a way to eliminate the machine noise and shrill back-up beeps at the limestone quarry.
A reminder, too, to write to Mardi Wormhoudt, your local supervisor,
if you have any problems with noise, dust, or other annoyances from the
quarry. If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen. These letters will
become important if RMC ever revives its quarry expansion plans.
Do you think it was just a fluke that the Gray Whale Advisory committee started meeting right after we complained that the state Department of Parks and Recreation was stalling on it? Anyway, the citizens advisory committee is now meeting monthly to help the DPR decide how and where to allow public use in closed areas, and assess the impact in areas already opened.
The Frogs’ "Bud"
Thwarted in its efforts to turn its Highway One quarry into an RV park,
Graniterock has unintentionally done a good turn for the endangered red-legged
frog. When it resumed mining the sand there instead, the company dug ponds
to help wash it before shipping. The frogs loved the pond, so the county
required Graniterock to set up conservation methods for the besieged amphibian.
Now, a series of ponds, fences and the abandoned railroad tunnel under
the highway that lets them avoid becoming road kill has the frogs leaping
for joy. Let’s lift one to Graniterock.
Granite Construction wants to lift the limits on the number of nights it can run its asphalt operations at its Felton Quarry off Empire Grade (near Smith Grade). As part of its routine 3-year permit review, it wants to drop the 20-night a year restriction. Neighbors say the all-nighters cause smelly petrochemical fumes to waft around their houses. In addition, the county requires trucks going to and from the quarry at night to use Empire Grade, so the increase could sharply increase the nighttime dump truck traffic there.
The Planning Commission hears the application May 12 at 9 a.m. To oppose it, show up at the county building, or write to Rachel Lather, Planning Dept., 701 Ocean Street, SC 95060.
Bonny Doon’s voice in preserving our special quality of life, The Highlander, is mailed free prior to the RBDA General Meetings, which are usually held the second Wednesdays of January, March, May, July, September and November.
We encourage you to participate. Send correspondence to The Highlander
Chair, Highlander Editor: Ted Benhari 426-5053
What do you think? Send us an email.
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