In mid-September, the California Conservation Corps is due to start removing 70 to 80 eucalyptus trees and some cape ivy from Fiscalini Ranch Preserve’s West Ranch in what’s estimated to be a four-to-six week project.
Under the federally funded $90,000 plan administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, native trees and plants would replace vegetation being removed.
It’s a scaled down and phased version of an original Cambria Community Services District project that drew objections from people who felt it was too big, among other issues.
The approved and permitted project would be the first phase of the district’s three-year plan. Crews would monitor the completed phase-one project area for a year. Then, if all goes as expected, they’d replant the area with from 25 to 30 species of native riparian plants, according to Ben Boer, the district’s resource manager.
The project would affect about a quarter acre near the creek, he said, starting about 150 feet downstream of the Highway 1 bridge at Santa Rosa Creek and continuing approximately 700 feet downstream.
“All the work will be done by hand,” he said. “There’ll be no heavy machinery coming in.”
Much of the residue from the cut-down trees is to be recycled and reused, Boer said. Logs are destined to be used in an erosion control project in a deep gully on Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, above SeaClift Estates. Boer intends to have shorter logs and chips for mulch available to the public.
The blue gum “euc” trees and ivy are not native to this area. The goal of the project is to improve the habitat around Santa Rosa Creek, making it more suitable for steelhead trout and other protected species.