Ad Hoc Environmental Advisory Committee Minutes

Ad hoc Environmental Advisory Committee meeting

Minutes, January 19th, 2018 3pm

Recorded by Patty Mann, Secretary

Board Liasons: David McDonald present.

Absent/ill, Antone Forneris (Vice President, ECIA board).

Committee members attending: Gerry Gulseth (Conservation committee), Paul Drumwright (Homeowner/resident), Robert Blanchet (Road committee), Karen Murry (Facilities and Grounds committee and Road committee), Attending via phone conference call: Patty Mann (Homeowner/resident), Peggy Cooke (Homeowner/resident). Absent, Ann Netzow (Homeowner/resident).

David McDonald, ECIA board liaison directed the meeting.

1. David: Mandate for Environmental Advisory ad hoc committee to look at Integrated Pest Management policy (IPM), the old policy that was developed in 1998. He said it is brief and not much detail and only covers Pest Management. He says the committee is to look at a more comprehensive “Environmental Stewardship Policy” which can include also things like new carpet, new construction, any pesticide application, etc., and that takes into consideration any impact on the environment.

2. David said there are housekeeping issues for the committee.

a. Select a chairperson

b. Select a secretary to keep records of what we discuss and decide.

3. Introduction of members: Members were given an opportunity to introduce themselves and state why they are on the committee:

Paul Drumwright: Owner/resident for 15 years in Eldorado. Is concerned about past events in Eldorado including the poison (Gopher Bait) placed in the Dog Park, the trees at the ECIA that were sprayed with pesticides and the walking trails that had herbicides applied. Paul is a master gardener, organic gardener, beekeeper and wants to address the environmental impact of using pesticides and herbicides.

Robert Blanchet: 10 year resident of Eldorado. An artist, historian and naturalist. He grew up in Iowa on a small farm and lived in Wyoming for 15 years.  In the past 2-3 years he has been involved with pack rats and cleaning up properties related to that. He wants to consider pests and have a seat at the table of this committee.

Karen Murry: Representative from the Facilities & Grounds Committee and Roads committee. A 9 year Eldorado resident, she lives naturally, is a fiber artist and uses no pesticides if she can. She stated she is worried re: trees at the Pool, 3 Siberian elms and one with a Russian Olive sprouting from it that need to be removed as roots are affecting pool decking. It was discussed during Facilities and Grounds committee meeting of November, 2017 and they are talking pesticide used to kill the tree stumps.

Patty asked if stump killer meant herbicides and Karen said yes.

Patty asked who recommended the herbicide use and was told by David and Karen 3 landscape companies.  Karen said the herbicide to be “very localized, drill down inside stumps and seal the top”.

David said the trees are still in place and that this issue was the impetus for (drafting) the Interim Pest Control Policy.

Patty Mann:  A 7 year resident of Eldorado, is a registered Nurse with Master’s degree from University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. She worked in the Newborn Intensive care Unit for many years and also taught Maternity Nursing.  She is on this committee as concerned re: the health of people, children, pets, animals and the environment as a whole.  She was Chemically Injured and as a result became Chemically Sensitive from pesticide application at hospitals and from exposure to toxic chemicals present in new building materials from hospital remodeling and also when a new wing was added on to the hospital. She advocates the use of Alternatives to Pesticides as well as use of non toxic products/materials for ECIA facilities maintenance.

Gerry Gulseth, representative from the Conservation Committee which is mostly about trails maintenance. He said people on his committee are generally opposed to all the “CIDES” (meaning  pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides, etc), opposed generally to any of that use. He said, “in a serious situation which should be well defined use something not as terrible, use something safer. Not Roundup (glyphosate).”  They (The Conservation committee) are working on landscape practices for Eldorado.

Peggy Cooke: Homeowner/resident. We lost the connection with Peggy to the conference call and David and ECIA staff tried to get her back on the call without success.  An email was sent apologizing to Peggy. We look forward to her participation and to having her introduce herself at our next meeting.

David McDonald: Elected to the ECIA Board 8-9 months ago. Is interested  in the whole issue of the Hike/bike paths and cracks and the way it was handled with last minute notice to the community.  He is a friend of Jean Stokes PhD (who drafted original 1998 IPM policy with Dr. Ann McCampbell M.D.) so is aware of the Chemical Sensitivity issue. He said there was a lot of miscommunication with other board members and Dr. Ann McCampbell, who is a leading authority on Environmental Illness. David says he got involved by talking with Jean Stokes.  He spoke of  his “Advocacy on the EICA board to take a position to consider people who have Chemical Sensitivity.” David said he is interested in the human level of this issue and “notification is his piece, i.e. anything that could impact some people and how to make sure it (the information) gets out to the community, to give more than 48 hours notice so people can make arrangements for their life.”

He is concerned, he says they don’t use pesticides (his household) and is he concerned.

Ann Netzow and Antone Forneris were absent from today’s meeting. We look forward to having them introduce themselves at the next meeting.

4. Responsibilities of the Environmental Advisory ad hoc committee:


A. Patty read to the group the Motion to the ECIA board by Antone Forneris of November 20, 2017 which describes the responsibilities of the Environmental Advisory ad hoc committee. 

ad hoc environmental advisory committee minutes

  1. Continued

B. Patty: In view of the Nov 20. 2017 Motion statement that the Environmental Advisory committee will only remain in effect until the policies are adopted by the ECIA board, Patty brought up the need for the Environmental Advisory ad hoc committee to remain in place as an oversight and advisory committee. Patty said that other ad hoc committees such as the Dog Park, Landscape and Pool ad hoc committees continue on.

Patty proposed the following (or some similar) language.

“The Environmental Advisory ad hoc committee shall remain as an oversight/advisory committee after the policies are put into effect to ensure guidelines as approved by the board are followed.” 

C. David said it is “a grey area” as ad hocs are supposed to be “term limited”, they dissolve and are re-created the next year. He said they just talked at the board meeting about this, to be on a subcommittee is to be on a full committee and then so many people it is hard to get a “quorum.”
David said the intent is some more permanent oversight committee to do a yearly environmental audit and “to police the policy”.  He said there is no exact format, these people could be from this ad hoc committee or a different group, this can be put into part of a “comprehensive policy” as to how this can be done.

  1. David asked for a chairperson for the committee. At this time no one has volunteered. David was asked if he would be the chairperson and he stated he is a liaison, that a member of the committee should be chairperson. He will channel information back and forth to the board once committee is set up. David said we need a chair to run the meeting and make sure everyone is heard and is done orderly, to call meetings, set agendas, what’s happening and when next meeting is, etc.
  1. David asked for someone to be Secretary and Patty volunteered. Patty was asked by a member if she would be both Chair and Secretary. She said she is unable to do this as too cumbersome to take all the minutes and also chair the meeting. She stated the chair should be someone who can be present at the meeting (she is on conference call) and David agreed.
  1. David said one of the most immediate things is to address the Interim Pest Policy to cover issues like the tree stumps.

A. David shared with the group the 2nd revision of the proposed Interim Pest Policy that Dr. Ann McCampbell and HOAMCO General Manager (GM) Isabel Ugarte had commented on.

B. There was some group discussion about the Interim policy, David asked for suggestions for any changes the group might want:

Patty gave feedback and suggested Rodenticides be added under definition of pesticide application in first paragraph. The group agreed.

Re: 3.1.1 Patty also asked about whether 21 days notice in Vistas is practical if there is a deadline for Vistas publication which could put off any planned (application)5-6 weeks.

David said also with 3 weeks to consider the action (prior to submitting an announcement in time for Vistas deadline) it could be longer.

No conclusion or decisions were made about this 3.1.1 line in Interim Policy

Re: 3.1.2. Patty asked that in addition to Eblast notifications sent out 2 weeks prior, 1 week prior and 3 days prior to any application that an Eblast also be sent out on the “day of application”. David agreed to this change.

Re: 3.1.4 Regarding a Telephone tree being set up. David asked Patty if she would do the telephone tree. Patty said no as it would be too cumbersome, that many people, not just those with health problems, might want to be on a telephone tree and it would be better to consider something like a group text or a recorded phone call from ECIA to those wanting to be on this list. Patty said. as an example, they do a phone call directly to all people on the list for prescribed burns.  David said he liked the idea of a group text.

No conclusion or decisions were made about this 3.1.4 proposal for a telephone tree.

C. Patty brought up ways to notify school and parents of students. David said it was challenging to get communication with the school in the past. Patty said it is important as parents were upset they did not have sufficient notice of the herbicide application to the Hike/bike trails to keep their children off the trails. This is where their children walk to school, etc.

No conclusion was made about how to notify the school or parents.

E. The group discussed some ways to communicate with community. David said Eblasts. Patty said Eblasts are not reaching everyone, that Isabel Ugarte told her there are approximately 900 residences on Eblast email list and we have over 2,600 residences. Patty suggested we could put on the front page of Vistas a notice to get more people to sign up for Eblasts.

Karen and David discussed posts at Agora, Senior center, Library.  David suggested using Information committee.

David suggested not using “NextDoor” website as a way of communication by ECIA.

  1. David: David to integrate suggestions into the revised Interim Pest Policy and the plan is to then move it to the ECIA board in February for approval.
  1. David asked when to meet again, committee agreed to meet February 16th, 2018 at 3pm.
  1. Robert Blanchet brought up ECIA and properties contained in their jurisdiction are not just the grounds and hike (hike/bike) trails/hiking trails but also include the greenbelts, that ECIA grounds is only a small portion of Eldorado. He commented regarding the Information committee that it is always an issue to give information and education for all of us. We may have specific constraints as an ad hoc committee. He asked “How do we inform ourselves and educate our community as to what is going on?
  1. Paul keeps bees. He is concerned as the have a 6 mile radius and he can’t keep them away from stuff (pesticides). He shared how our land has been overgrazed, how in 50 years we may not see the same landscape due to climate change. Paul stated, “The most important thing is to set the best example, whatever it is, how we live our life and how we behave”. Paul asked, “Do we need to spray 3 weeds on a bike trail before we work on it?”
  1. David said company who did Hike/Bike trail resurfacing would not warranty their work unless weeds were killed.
  1. Paul said “As a community, set a tone, there are other methods of doing pest and herb management. Try to educate people and not have to use Roundup (glyphosate)”.
  1. Gerry said,” People in spite of our best information will still break rules and do this (use pesticides). Give the best and suggest things they can use instead of terrible pesticides”.
  1. David said this is where the information committee comes in, can give information regarding alternatives.
  1. Robert: asked for clarification re: ECIA property and private property.

He asked whether these rules (ECIA Pest policy/Interim Pest policy) apply to private property.

David said no, they do not apply to private property.

Robert spoke of how he learned to hoe/pick weeds, that his property has no weeds, (he mechanically removes them). He said restoration of landscape can be accomplished.

  1. Discussion of getting information about alternatives to pesticides out to the community.
  2. The group discussed the prevalent use of Rodenticides ( poison rat bait, mouse bait, gopher bait) by people in the community and all agreed they should not be used as danger to raptors, pets, get into the food chain, etc. Patty stated that now the ECIA is no longer using Bait boxes at the Community center but instead traps are inside the black boxes and gophers are once again being trapped (no gopher bait is being used) as has been the ongoing policy at the ECIA. She stated she recently saw black boxes with actual poison rodent bait outside the library in Eldorado. The Vista Grande library is a Santa Fe County building (not under jurisdiction by the ECIA policies). She is concerned about the effects of these poison baits on other species (raptors, etc.) and that we as a group may also wish to expand our reach and address Santa Fe County use of poison baits/rodenticides. She also mentioned members of the group may wish to also address use of Pesticides/herbicides in the City of Santa Fe.
  1. The group wants to help educate the community on alternatives to pesticides.

Some ideas were shared:

David: Put policy in front of membership continuously, put articles frequently in Vistas, etc.

Patty: asked How to relay to the Information Committee the information we wish to share so it gets disseminated?  How this would occur is not clear. She brought up Flora and Fauna, a small independent group in Eldorado that writes monthly articles for Vistas and sometimes covers these issues (of alternatives to pesticides).  She asked who on Vistas newsletter approves the Flora and Fauna articles that appear each month.  No one in ad hoc group knows who approves the F&F articles.

  1. Karen: told of the conservation group she started after Herrada Road was paved to protect the wild Sunflowers on Herrada road from the County cutting them. They have gotten cooperation with the county and have gotten homeowners to clean up their culverts and plant seeds, etc. so the Sunflowers can flourish.
  1. Close of meeting
  1. David will send out to group changes suggested for Interim Pest Policy and a copy of the Motion dated Nov 20, 2017 re: Approval of Environmental Advisory ad hoc committee.
  1. For Next meeting David asked the committee to :

Set a goal, an outline of what policy would look like, create an Agenda and identify areas we want to make policy.

  1. David suggested down the road there could be a schedule of articles and topics we would like to see addressed.


Note; members of committee requiring telephone conference calling should let David and ECIA General Manager, Isabel Ugarte know a few days in advance so equipment can be set up, thank you.