Fish & Fire at
Nov. 10 RBDA Meeting
to revive the coho and steelhead
populations of the
North Coast, and an educational forum on fire and emergency medical
Bonny Doon will be the double header at the November RBDA meeting.
Bringing Back the Salmon
Santa Cruz County has the most southern distribution of the
coho salmon population on the West Coast. All coastal streams south of
Golden Gate except Scott and Waddell have lost their natural coho runs.
are that these populations have declined 95% to 98% from the historical
The Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) in Santa Cruz, a
division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
long-term research project into central coast salmon biology on Scott
2002. The watershed is inhabited by endangered southern coho salmon (O.
kisutch), providing an excellent natural laboratory to study life
characteristics. This includes questions relating to adult return
juvenile production, growth and habitat use, population genetics, adult
reproductive strategies, and instream movements (monitored with
Passive-Integrated-Transponder tags), marine survival of fish, avian
and interactions between naturally spawned and hatchery produced
SWFSC collaborates with the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project
which operates a hatchery on Scott Creek and produces coho to
The Waddell and Scott Creek populations would be in even
greater jeopardy without artificial propagation provided by the MBSTP.
coho are kept in captivity throughout their life cycle at the SWFSC to
there are coho to be spawned at the hatchery in the event that fish
return to spawn, as can happen in drought years and extremely wet
recent years brood stock has been collected in fish traps in Scott
Join us Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. when Kristen Kittleson, Santa Cruz
County Fishery Resource Planner, will discuss local efforts to restore
study steelhead and coho populations and habitat. Kristen will provide
overview of steelhead and coho salmon life history and share a map
with other local fishery biologists that shows the current distribution
steelhead and coho salmon in Santa Cruz County.
She will discuss
countywide efforts for steelhead and coho salmon conservation,
the watershed areas of Bonny Doon. She will detail projects, some
private landowners, which have successfully restored and enhanced
function for steelhead and coho. She also will provide an overview of
North Coast activities, including research on NOAA research on Scott
how the MBSTP scrambled to shuttle 1,800 coho from the hatchery in
Santa Cruz, in order to save them from potential mudslides following
November’s RBDA meeting provides yet another great educational
experience for Bonny Doon youth—a career exploration opportunity. It’s
for our children to meet, speak and possibly connect with someone who
something she is passionate about, and something that benefits us all.
Public Forum On
Do you understand the difference between County Fire and Cal
Fire? Between Local Responsibility Areas and State Responsibility
Between responsibility for structure fires and for wildland fires?
Do you know what CSA 48 is? What the WUI is?
Do you know how County Fire is funded, directed, and managed?
How emergency medical service is provided in Bonny Doon? How
volunteer fire departments fit into
At our Nov. 10 meeting, the RBDA will host a public discussion
of all these issues. We will be joined by 3rd District County
Coonerty, Cal Fire Chief John Ferreira and Deputy Chief Kathleen
District Representative to the Fire Department Advisory Commission Tom
and Captain Guy Denues of the Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire District.
Though our community has gathered to discuss fire service
immediately following the Martin and Lockheed Fires, this will be the
opportunity to have a dialog on this vital service with our public
Our aim is to have all voices heard, and more importantly, listened to.
Boarding Houses in
Most of us live in Bonny Doon because it is rural. Helping
those in need and self-help are primary rural values. How many of us
family and friends into our homes during this Great Recession? How many
responded to economic conditions by renting out a room to a student?
agricultural lands of the North Coast includes provisions for
Is 15 students renting 8 bedrooms of a 6,900 square foot house
with a single kitchen, and the owner living over the garage, rural?
to current County zoning regulations, this is a perfectly legitimate
owner-occupied single family home. Actually, the term "single-family"
is a bit of red herring. While most of Bonny Doon is zoned for
dwellings, according to the County Planning Dept., State and Federal
Housing laws preempt the local definition of single family.
This 6,900 building is not even a “monster home,” which
County rules would require an opportunity for public comment from
before a permit is issued. Nowadays, a “monster home” is one over 7,000
feet, up from 4,500 when the County began regulating them in 1993.
While we all have stories about our struggles with County
Planning, one can get a simple, over-the-counter “ministerial” permit
occupy, and rent out such a not-quite-boarding-house, with minimal
without input from affected neighbors, then throw up the structure in
a year. There are just a handful of homes larger than even 5,000 square
Bonny Doon, and virtually all of those have,
for one reason or another, gone through extensive
The Comprehensive Settlement Agreement between UCSC and the
County, City, and community groups, including the RBDA, which ended the
the Environmental Impact Report on UCSC's Long Range Development Plan,
the City of Santa Cruz to begin rigorously enforcing its own
rental housing. The implementation has set off a storm of protest from
landlords. Squeezing the pumpkin seed of student housing in the City
push the students out into the unincorporated County.
Do we want this sort of development? Would you want to live
next door to a student tenement? While the State sets 16 unrelated
the occupancy limit of a “single-family” dwelling, and farmworker
advantage of that definition, it is a County regulation that allows the
construction of homes less than 7,000 square feet with only a
permit and no public comment. It is lack of County regulation that
distinguish between a rental unit built for profit and a
Where do you think the line should be drawn? Would you want the
RBDA to work with the County to change the regulation of
houses for students here? Please contact the board (see masthead on
with your thoughts.
Cemex Misses Quarry
Closure Plan Deadline
Cemex, having ended mining, apparently will not achieve the
final contours anticipated for the abandoned Bonny Doon limestone
Revisions are therefore needed in the Closure Plan, but Cemex has
deadline to submit an application to amend the Plan.
Cemex had done extensive planning for its proposed quarry
expansion, but that effort does not seem to have expedited the needed
as the 90-day deadline to submit an application passed on Sept. 23.
of grace period granted by County staff has still not produced the
the Closure Plan modification.
County staff told us that they planned to send Cemex an
official notice of non-compliance on Nov. 1. The lack of compliance
Mining Code is just one part of a bigger picture overseen by County
Officer Susan Mauriello. Also at issue is Cemex’s unpaid bill for
for pollution monitoring at the cement plant, long delayed mitigation
water rights for Davenport, and the future disposition of the plant and
Doon timberland properties.
It’s time for the County to start exercising its code
enforcement options. The lenient treatment that Cemex has enjoyed from
staff is not bringing results. And with no operating personnel on site
wet season setting in, Cemex and County staff will need to establish
of quarry conditions and settlement ponds during storm events to avoid
environmental damage from catastrophic failures.
Fire District Suit
In the latest setback of the long effort to establish a Bonny
Doon Fire Protection District, on Oct. 4 Superior Court Judge Timothy
tentatively denied Bonny Doon Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Inc.
petition to have the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)'s 2008
Initial efforts to establish the Bonny Doon District began 10 years
ago, and picked up steam in 2006. BDVF/R will have to decide whether to
after the written decision is issued and they and their attorneys have
to examine it. Once submitted an appeal could take another year to come
A more complete report and description of the legal issues
appears in this month's Battle Mountain News.
Feds Help Laguna
Creek Regain Wetland
Arising near Empire Grade, the watershed of Laguna Creek is
home to many Bonny Doon residents. Its habitat value for native species
known too, and improvements were given a high priority in the County’s
Integrated Watershed Restoration Program. When funding became available
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a successful and effective
partnership effort was launched that included State Parks, the Resource
Conservation District, and the California Coastal Conservancy. Timely
cooperation from regulatory agencies expedited project planning so that
implementation could be completed and readied for winter rains.
direction of State Parks Resource Ecologist Portia Halbert, thousands
of soil just inland of Hwy. 1 were removed to create a flood plain
level of the old Laguna Inn property and the adjacent organic
Further excavation created ponds connected to the creek at the summer
level. The beautifully contoured landforms that remain hide much
and engineering. Strategically buried are logs and willow bundles
saved during clearing. These are placed to hold the soil during events
send water into the new floodplain areas. Much effort was made to
invasive cape ivy, and non-reproducing rye grass is sprouting to
disturbed soil while the native plants that were placed throughout the
maturing. Willows and tules planted at the pond edges preserve the
especially susceptible during this first winter. The newly created
ponds contain well anchored root wads that give young fish refuge to
being carried out to sea before they are ready.
Like the recent improvements on San Vicente Creek and Archibald
Creek, this project recreates both ephemeral and permanent wetland
processes that were lost when the railroad line was built, Hwy. 1
and land given over to agricultural use.
As the recent high fish count in the San Lorenzo River
demonstrates, populations can recover when we restore and protect the
that were neglected or destroyed. A blue heron was already spotted
new feeding opportunities at Laguna. A year from now fast growing
plants will be providing cover for his prey and frogs and phoebes and
will be taking advantage of their expanded habitat.
Legal Battle Over UCSC
Expansion Water Supply Continues
UCSC and the City’s applications to supply City water to the
Upper Campus is now tied up by 2 lawsuits.
The newest is a suit by a new citizens’ group, Habitat and
Watershed Caretakers (HAWC), over the inadequacies of the final
the Environmental Impact Report related to the applications to LAFCO.
was certified by the City Council on Aug. 3. We believe that the highly
August meeting was motivated by a desire to limit input on the EIR by
students and concerned citizens, many of whom vacation in August. In
fact, 2 of
the 7 council members were absent.
HAWC’s suit was filed by Attorney Stephen Volker, who
represented CLUE, the Coalition for Limiting University Expansion, in
the suit against
the EIR for UCSC’s Long Range Development Plan. That suit led to the
the landmark Comprehensive Settlement Agreement that now controls
regarding campus housing, traffic and water use.
In the meantime, the Community Water Coalition’s suit claiming
that State law requires the City, not the University, to apply for the
expansion of sewer and water services beyond City limits (that is, to
Campus, located in Bonny Doon) was scheduled at press time to be heard
3 in front of Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkmann. He ruled against
on Aug. 20, but he gave CWC attorney Jonathan Wittwer a month to amend
resubmit his case. Wittwer, a noted environmental attorney and a Bonny
has filed a brief stating that not only was State law regarding LAFCO
applications disregarded, but that the water/sewer service expansion
legally invalid because it violates CEQA, the State Environmental
The lawsuits could delay a public LAFCO hearing on the applications.
Time doesn’t appear to be an issue, however, since UCSC Chancellor
Blumenthal has publicly acknowledged that the grim State financial
makes it unlikely that UCSC will have funds for new buildings any time
The hearing delay may also give the LAFCO commissioners time to
own policy on water district expansions, which has been under study for
Sharing the Road
there are about 800
bicycle-related deaths in the U.S. and another half a million
injuries treated in the nation’s hospital emergency rooms.” -US
Consumer Product Safety Commission
When I first moved to Bonny Doon it became quickly clear that
our roads are beautiful but potentially pretty dangerous. Blind
curves, coupled with suicidal
deer and rain-slicked surfaces, made for frequent opportunities for me
family to become accident statistics. Recently there has been a notable
increase in the number of bicyclists using our roads, adding another
to BD road safety.
We have narrow to non-existent road shoulders, steep hills and
sharp blind curves. Under the best conditions, these are not really
roads. The mix of motor vehicles
and bicycles just adds to the mix.
Most cyclists and motorists are respectful of one another, but
in those cases where there is impatience on the part of motorists, or
inattention on the part of cyclists, both parties are in peril of
injury. A vehicle avoiding an unexpected or erratic cyclist can swerve
road and get into real trouble. Alternatively,
2 ½ tons of F150 will make short
work of 22 lbs of
bicycle and 160 lbs of rider.
Cyclists and motorists are here to stay, and we all need to be
aware of our collective vulnerabilities and make efforts to limit
Firstly, cyclists have to follow some rules of
self-preservation, regardless of what the law or the desire for speed
suggest. Ascending cyclists
should never ride in anything but single file.
This is the single most common complaint of local motorists regarding
behaviors. Riders two or three abreast can cause vehicles obeying the
limit to slam on the breaks or swerve into the oncoming lane with
possible outcomes. Cyclists should stay
as close to the shoulder as possible on curves and keep in mind
are likely vehicles that are going to want to pass at the most
time. When descending pay as close
attention as possible to what is behind you. If possible use helmet
handlebar attached mirrors so that there are fewer surprises. Never
wear earbuds. Not only is their
use frowned on by the police, they effectively shut out the outside
on our roads all senses need to be focused on safety.
Secondly, motorists have to be aware of the conditions cyclists
face going up and down our hills. Ascending cyclists have difficulty
absolutely straight paths given the grade of some of our roads. Even
conscientious cyclist will weave a bit going uphill. Motorists
should give them room and pass only
when passing will not force cyclists off the road. When
descending, cyclists often cannot
hear vehicles behind them. Honking can
startle cyclists possibly leading to crashes that could be pretty
Motorists should wait for clear stretches of road to pass, just as they
passing other vehicles. On curves cyclists often need to be in the
the lane for safety and speed maintenance reasons, and motorists should
until straightaways before attempting to pass.
Both motorists and cyclists can at best get a little
complacent, and at worst exhibit holier-than-thou behavior in their use
road. Ultimately in the case of serious accidents, the matter of who
was in the
right becomes sadly irrelevant. “Share the road” applies not just to
but to anyone on our streets.
RBDA Board Nominations at
the Nov. 10 Meeting
Nominations for the RBDA Executive Board will take place at the
November RBDA meeting. The terms of four board officers expire in
those of board members Miriam Beames, Ted Benhari, Marty Demare and Tom
The election is held at the January Annual Meeting.
The Executive Board appointed Ted Benhari to chair a committee
of three or more persons to nominate candidates for the Board.
additional candidates can also be made at the Nov. 10 meeting. To serve
Executive Board you must have been an RBDA member in good standing as
1. Since the Bylaws state that membership becomes effective 30 days
application is submitted and dues are paid, anyone wishing to run for
must be a member or have submitted an application by Oct. 1.
If you are committed to our community, the general welfare of
Bonny Doon and the RBDA mission of keeping Bonny Doon rural and
contact Ted at 426-5053, or email the board via our web site,
Housesit a Frozen Deer
How would you like to have a buck or some doe in your freezer,
for free? We’re not lyin’. But actually, the freezer will be supplied
by UCSC Prof.
Chris Wilmers’s mountain lion project. Chris has been putting telemetry
on local lions to track their activities. He lures them with road kill
he needs more people to volunteer to keep the carcasses frozen until he
assistants can place them in likely lion paths in the Santa Cruz hills
To volunteer as a
freezer host, contact Paul Houghtaling,
Chris’s research assistant (firstname.lastname@example.org),
to Chris’s website: people.ucsc.edu/~cwilmers/
for more info.