The Morro Coast Audubon Society Board (MCAS) wishes to respond to the Dane Jones commentary regarding Sweet Springs found in the Nov. 24 issue (“Do not tamper with Sweet Springs”). We share Mr. Jones’ concern about the use of herbicides that may endanger the species we are trying to protect; hence the choice of one that poses minimal risks to the environment.
The East Sweet Springs deed tasks MCAS with “restoring the property and protecting habitat that promotes the recovery of threatened and endangered species,” not “protecting the aura and magic of the place” as Mr. Jones suggests.
Mr. Jones states that the plan “flies in the face of transparency.” The deed and the accompanying grant made the restoration goals quite clear. Periodic updates on the project were made to MCAS members via the newsletter, fund drive letters, and announcements at community programs. Public comment would be heard once the Minor Use Permit (MUP) was filed. And the “public relations blitz” Mr. Jones refers to is, in fact, in response to requests from the Los Osos Community Advisory Council (LOCAC), the first group to review the MUP.
Finally, Mr. Jones urges MCAS “to be completely forthright in letting the entire community know its long-term plans for the entire Sweet Springs site and the remaining eucalyptus.” That we can do: Any further tree removal or capital improvements to the site will require another MUP, which the current MCAS Board has neither the funding nor the inclination to pursue at this time. This all-volunteer board, who has collectively contributed thousands of volunteer hours as well as thousands of dollars to this effort, is committed to this project and believes that it has done the best it can to fulfill goals of the project, the deed, the grant agreement, the Recovery Action Plan, and the MCAS mission.