This is a reply to the “Review the eucalyptus-replacement facts” letter that appeared in the Oct. 6 New Times.
Even though Audubon owns the land, they have to go through the permitting process, which is governed by regulations such as the Estero Area Plan. The project number, DRC2011-00013, was included on the fliers so that people could see it for themselves, because the permitting process does include
The fliers were not intended to divide the community, but rather to make the community aware of what was happening to this famous landmark, enjoyed by numerous people. We need to protect this special, already established ecosystem: “an unusual (though man-made) combination of saltwater marsh, freshwater spring, cypress and eucalyptus grove” (Estero Area Plan words), which is providing active and potential habitat for microorganisms, insects, monarch butterflies, reptiles, birds, mammals, and fish.
The fliers hoped to unite everyone by giving a middle ground solution: Do you support a combination of goals that would include “keeping the high canopy eucalyptus forest and the various habitats that are already established, while developing the veldt grass area with new native plants, ground cover, and smaller native trees for an even greater diversity of birds and animals.”? And another handout adds: Isn’t this the best of both worlds? Plus we preserve the environmental features of a good windbreak, sound barrier, and clean air!
More observations: There are two totally different established “natural parks” in Los Osos: one with wonderful, shorter “native” ecosystems—the Elfin Forest—and one with the amazing “native/non-native” interconnected ecosystems. And we are on the Pacific Flyway with a national estuary! Changes that we make may have far-reaching consequences.
Many trees and bushes in Los Osos have died recently due to disease and insects. When our groundwater table is lowered in the near future, we will see even more changes. We need to keep all the established trees and bushes that we can.
The project document can be seen at http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PL/referrals/coastal/DRC2011-00013_MORRO-COAST-AUDUBON-SOCIETY.pdf.
The permitting process can be followed at http://www.sloplanning.org/PermitView/PermitLookup/Permit/DRC2011-00013.
The Estero Area Plan is at http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PL/Area+Plans/Estero+Area+Plan.pdf.
Let’s work together to preserve nature!