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Board approves forest health study

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Association Board of Directors approved a forest health study presented to them by the Committee on the Natural Environment (CONE) at its February monthly meeting. The Board agreed on working with Dudek, a local environmental consulting company. During the course of the approvals, Tree San Diego was also designated as the organization to assess the trees within the Covenant.

The cost of the study is $50,000. While the Rancho Santa Fe Association approved a $30,000 allocation, the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation will provide the remaining balance of $20,000.

“As you know, we have dying trees inside the Covenant,” said RSF Association President Fred Wasserman. “We’ve lost many trees over the last several years from drought and disease, and so this activity that is being discussed and presented is in response to the need for dealing with the serious problem that we have.”

Wasserman then asked board director Rick Sapp to provide further details. Sapp explained how CONE meets regularly on the subject of the natural environment. He went on to say how their planning committee has worked with CONE to establish and finalize the contracts for both Dudek and Tree San Diego. One study will offer a list of deliverable trees while the other will be a data assessment to acquire facts, figures and trends in community.

Included in the study would be comprehensive maps, photos, assessments and summaries of the forest health study relating to topics such as disease, forest density and fire danger. In addition to pointing these areas out, recommendations in addressing the issues would also be made.

“The Board is being asked to ratify the two contracts that the planning committee has approved,” Sapp said. “I move to approve the expenditure of $30,000 and ratification of the two contracts.”

Sapp explained that the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation had already deposited the $20,000.

The board agreed to the contracts.

Following this, Sapp did confirm that there was going to be a distinction made between public property and private property in the study for the entire tree inventory. Sapp shared that there would also be the consolidation of a recommended drought tolerant trees list which would be beneficial.