Minutes - Conservation Committee

Conservation Committee Meeting Minutes

March 5, 2019

Attending: Members Carol Beidleman, Paul Butt (vice chair), Tom Brimacombe, Mary Clark, Thom Bredenberg, Jim Daniel, John Parker (Chair), Elizabeth Maclaren (Board liaison) Mark Young (HOAMCO liaison)

In celebration of Mardi Gras, Elizabeth graciously provided a delicious N’awlins King Cake with proper silver and crockery.  The Committee’s gratitude is hereby reflected.

  1. Approval of agenda, Paul Butt motion to approve, Jim Daniel second
  1. Appointment of recording secretary, Thom Bredenberg volunteered 
  1. Approval of the February minutes, Thom Bredenberg motion to approve, Jim Daniel second
  1. Excused/unexcused absences (none) and Introduction of guests/open forum.  Jean Crawford, Xubi Wilson, John Paull, Betsy Walker

Discussion of arroyo treatment @ Gavilan Rd; Jean Crawford contacted the Committee that some neighbors were seeking permission to place some cut juniper branches to treat a head cut of about 20 feet width.  The community garden had previously placed garden waste in the same location for the same purpose. Paul Butt said starving the head cut upstream is the preferred head cut treatment.  John Parker cautioned ECIA should not become involved in dumping anything in greenbelt. Tom Brimacombe cautioned nothing should be placed where it could possibly block a downstream culvert and flood the road.  The Committee concluded it was ok to authorize it this time but that the first choice for disposing of cut branches should be the 285 transfer station, which does accept green waste but charges for it.

  1. Report from the Board Liaison; Major Board news is the pool renovation and water leakage at the stables. The Board approved the Committee’s Trail standards and SOP. We will proceed to have them posted on the web site and John will mention it the next Vistas.
  1. HOAMCO report —Ecotone contract: No work can be scheduled for the 401 head cut treatment or the 404 meadow site assessment until the Scope of Work document is executed by all parties.  Paul will forward the revised SOW to Mark for David McDonald’s signature.  When the SOW is properly executed Paul will contact Jan Willem Jensen to complete the 401 head cut treatment plan for consideration at the next Committee meeting. A site assessment of the 404 meadow can also be scheduled once the SOW is fully executed. 
  1. Participation in upcoming events (Explora, Garden Fair, Earth Day, Kids' MTB race)

Thom Bredenberg reported on tending the Committee’s booth at the 03-02-2019 ECIA sponsored Garden Fair. Jan Willem’s Power Point presentation on the wetland restoration and trails and the draft Landscape Practices were projected. Cuttings of invasive/eruptive species in the Preserve; tamarisk, willow and Russian olive were also on display. Maps of the Preserve and the Greenbelts were available and many people asked about updated signs and maps showing the 404 and other new trails.  Spoke with Trond about possible summer Explora youth activities including tamarisk identification and control in the Preserve and possible use as a weaving material, nature photography and wildlife cameras.  Paul and Carol urged caution in handling the tamarisk cuttings to prevent further propagation, e.g., harvest weaving canes prior to flowering and clean up all cuttings.  Elizabeth provided a reference to an indigenous weaver at IAIA.  For Earth Day we decided we can participate as individuals but not as a committee.  MTB race: John and Paul met with Mike Snyder and he will write up a proposal for submission to the Board if he wishes to pursue this activity.  Safety of the riders and condition of the trails and greenbelts are the Committee’s paramount concerns.  The Pueblo Canyon (the Pilot) trail would be safest and least erodible but was not designed for competitive cycling. Gallinas Park, which is a flood plain, would not be appropriate.

  1. Library Trail completion, surveying status update

 Paul talked to Mike Bullock today and sent him the revised site map of the first greenbelt area (accessible from Cuesta Lane and Torreon Place) to be surveyed.   Paul will start making calls and get quotes and will distribute information to Committee. We will concentrate first on this area; verify property boundaries, re-route and groom the trail where appropriate and repair the damage of previous efforts. At that point we can evaluate the project so far and proceed west.

  1. Status of New Trail Procedures document: Carol will send it out to the committee for review and will then submit it to Elizabeth for approval by the Board
  1. Review and discussion of Landscape Practices Document.  Carol will send the entire set of documents to the Committee for review and further discussion at our next meeting, including possible review by an outside party, e.g., Master Gardeners 
  1. Preserve Trail work schedule, JWJ projects and Committee work days:  As soon as Ecotone SOW is fully executed, we will schedule a site visit on the 404 meadow.  We scheduled Saturday April 13th as the next community work day.  We will get out the necessary publicity and at our next meeting decide the scope of the project, likely finishing the 401 bypass associated with the 401 head cut treatment.
  1. Old business; Preserve and greenbelt trails are drying from a moist winter but are still too muddy in places for either recreation or maintenance. Dog feces on the trails and trailheads, bagged and otherwise, are still a problem. No one reports evidence of horses damaging muddy trails this winter.
  1. New Business: Todd Handy asked if we could use the broken concrete from the pool deck demolition.  We decided it is not appropriate for rip rap downstream of culverts discharging into the green belts or for any of our projects in greenbelts or in the Preserve.   Associated Asphalt might want it.

John Parker brought up John Reynolds’ vision of walkability, well documented and discussed at previous meetings. The former GUTS (Grand Unified Trail System) which is now GUSTO (Grand Unified System of Trails) is active again. There also seems to be more community demand for recreational opportunities in the undeveloped spaces.  There will likely be a county-wide public trail system in the future and the Committee will need to consider the trail system we want within our jurisdiction and how the trails we plan and maintain will fit into that greater system.