The Monterey Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest, in partnership with the Forest Fire Lookout Association, will be exploring the possibility of activating the Chews Ridge Lookout and staffing it with local volunteers in order to provide firefighters with early fire detection, as well as other assistance to the National Forest. In many circumstances, catching a fire when it is still young can prevent it from becoming large and destructive. This project gives volunteers the opportunity to help improve fire safety in Monterey County rural areas, the Ventana Wilderness, and the Los Padres National Forest.
GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today announced the release of a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed Forest-wide Invasive Plant Treatment Program. Interested members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments on the draft EA by June 27.
CORRECTION – Los Padres National Forest News Release – We regret the mistake of providing the wrong due date for public written comments – correct date is June 19, 2019
The draft EA evaluates the environmental impacts of implementing a program to control non-native and invasive plants using a combination of mechanical, manual, livestock and chemical treatment methods. With limited capacity to control or eradicate these non-native populations, the Invasive Plant Treatment Program provides necessary tools for improving and restoring native ecosystems and habitat.
Exotic invasive species create a host of environmental effects, including displacement of native plants, loss of habitat and forage, potential loss of soil productivity and reduction in water quantity, as well as a potential increase in the intensity and frequency of wildfires. The program would provide for the aggressive treatment of existing infestations of invasive plants, and would encourage rapid containment or eradication of new infestations before they can become established.
The program is designed with resource protection measures to reduce or eliminate potential impacts to natural resources and the human environment. Following these treatments, restoration actions may be needed to stabilize the area and prevent re-colonization of invasive plants. More information on the Invasive Plant Treatment Program is available on the Los Padres National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=51845.
The administration just announced a proposal to open over 700,000 acres of public land on the central coast of California to new oil and gas drilling. Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Fresno counties are included in the proposal.
Our community is concerned about expanded oil and gas exploitation on the Central Coast. You can share your opinion of the proposal directly with the Administration during the next 27 days, through June 9, 2019.
Tips for submitting effective comments can be found here.
In Congress, I have cosponsored bills that would prohibit oil and gas exploration and leasing on our public lands and off of our coast. I will continue to fight to protect our public land, ocean, and coastlines so that our communities, country, and future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the Central Coast.
I encourage everyone to speak out and participate in this public comment period.
This is an official correspondence from Congressman Jimmy Panetta. If you have any questions please contact my office.
Goleta, Calif. – Yesterday, the Forest Service announced its approval of the second of two commercial logging projects in the Los Padres National Forest. The approval of the 1,600-acre project along Tecuya Ridge comes just five months after the agency authorized an adjacent 1,200-acre project allowing commercial logging in Cuddy Valley at the base of Mt. Pinos.
The agency fast-tracked both projects without preparing a standard environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, instead declaring that the projects were excluded from environmental review under a loophole in the National Environmental Policy Act. A full environmental review examines potential impacts to plants and wildlife as well as alternatives to the proposed activities. The normal review process also provides more transparency and opportunities for the public to weigh in with concerns about the project.
The logging area provides prime habitat for endangered California condors. According to condor tracking data provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly fifty condor roost sites occur within a half-mile of where trees will be cut and removed. These roost sites are typically large dead or live trees that are used by condors for resting overnight between long flights. Federal standards require a minimum half-mile buffer from condor roosting sites to protect them from disturbance, given their sensitivity and importance in condor survival.
Los Padres signs Big Sur Community Fuelbreak Record of Decision
GOLETA, Calif.— Los Padres National Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott signed a Record of Decision on Nov. 13 for the Strategic Community Fuelbreak Improvement project Environmental Impact Statement. The project is on the Monterey Ranger District near the communities of Big Sur, Palo Colorado, Cachagua, and Jamesburg.
The purpose of the Strategic Community Fuelbreak Improvement project is to re-establish and maintain a series of fuelbreaks to enhance protection for at-risk communities and firefighting resources, preserve wilderness character, and reduce suppression costs. These historically-used and effective strategic fuelbreaks extend in and out of the Ventana Wilderness.
This project is a result of collaborative engagement at the community level and will improve effectiveness and efficiency in protecting communities from wildfire. The project will also minimize future impacts to wilderness. Wilderness character is diminished when fuelbreaks are re-opened by bulldozers during emergency suppression of wildfires. By proactively designing and establishing strategic fuelbreaks during a non-emergency environment, the Forest Service can reduce the reliance on mechanized equipment and subsequently reduce the adverse fire suppression impacts on the wilderness landscape.
A notice of intent to prepare an EIS was published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2012. Public scoping and an “analysis of comments” was completed. A Draft EIS was then prepared and scoped for public comment in January 2017 and two public open houses were held in February 2017.
GOLETA, Calif. – In response to the increasing potential for a wildland fire start, Los Padres National Forest officials announced that fire restrictions have been raised throughout the Forest effective immediately. These restrictions will affect the use of campfires, stoves, smoking materials and internal combustion engines, and will remain in effect until the end of fire season in late autumn.
Effective immediately, the following restrictions will be in effect:
No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires will be permitted outside of developed recreation sites or designated Campfire Use Sites (list attached), even with a valid California Campfire Permit. Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel will be permitted, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit, which are available free-of-charge on the Forest website and at any Forest Service office. Forest visitors must clear all flammable material for five feet in all directions from their camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times during use.
Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or a designated Campfire Use Site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Internal combustion engines may be operated only on roads or designated trails. This restriction is in effect year-round. Please make sure your engine is tuned, operating properly, and has an approved spark arrester.
“The moisture levels are approaching a critical threshold. Combine that with warm temperatures and high winds and we have all the ingredients for fire starts,” Los Padres Deputy Forest Fire Management Officer Jim Harris said. “The most important thing is for forest visitors to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution when conditions are ripe for a wildfire.”
For a list of Developed Recreation Sites and Campfire Use Sites in Los Padres National Forest, or further information regarding Fire-Safe Camping, visit www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf or contact the Forest Service district office nearest you.
While the lack of bathrooms on the entire Big Sur Coast is a huge problem, Park Management, who manages several of them, has locked them up, and is no longer providing access, creating a huge health issue as well as a disgusting experience.
Xasauan Today https://xasauantoday.com/ covered this issue just a few days ago. Today, Gail D and Lisa G sent me these three photos of conditions at Mill Creek, one of 3 public bathrooms on the South Coast outside of the campgrounds. The fourth photo is of Willow Creek, and looks to be the same location in Xasauan Today’s shot. Sand Dollar Beach has had its gates closed and locked, so I cannot get in to check the bathrooms there.
Gail D has contacted Jeff Benson, recreation officer of the Monterey District, but not received a reply. Anni Agren has contacted Tim Short, District Ranger of the Monterey District, but he is out of town until next week. I have sent these photo on to Tim Short as well as to Merv George, who is the Acting Supervisor of the Los Padres National Forest and have sent both these four photos.
Someone managed to get this trailer wedged in sidewise on South Coast Ridge Rd in the narrow “chute” where no one could get by, and then drove off and left it there last night. A neighbor had to go all the way back down Nacimiento – with the traffic – and back up Plaskett, through my place, in order to get home. The USFS dragged it out of the chute and to a nearby turnout so that traffic could again use South Coast Ridge Rd. is one story I was told, another is that a local helped others get the damn thing unstuck. It was still there late this am. Wedged in is even more stupid than flipping it.