Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Quiet War against Leucadia's Tree Canopy

Leucadia's logo is an old growth tree.

FYI to all the Leucadia faithful, some of the most influential people in Encinitas are drinking the "Leucadia's trees are at the end of their life cycle so let's cut them all down" kool-aid and spreading it around.

If you meet one of these people do not panic for they are mostly harmless. They tend to be nice people, just misinformed. It's up to all of us to set these folks straight.

The propaganda war against Leucadia's heritage tree canopy seemed to begin with the hired gun from the NCTD (who have a scorched earth policy against Leucadia).

The most common piece of twisted logic you hear is, "We have to cut down all the trees and plant new ones so in 50 years we can have a nice big tree canopy."

This makes little sense, why cut down what you already have-in order to achieve what you already have? And, in 50 years some knucklehead is just going to try and cut down ALL of those trees and the whole sick cycle begins again.

The trees ARE NOT at the end of "their life cycle". Trees are not like humans and other mammals, they don't live for 100 years and then drop dead. Trees have no set end date, trees will live on for hundreds of years if given a chance. Look for more detailed post on this all this week.

There are thousands and thousands of eucalyptus trees older and bigger than Leucadia's trees around San Diego county.

Warning, the majority of anti-tree talk is coming from NON-Leucadians. Why are non-Leucadians piping in on this?

Some of the anti-tree talk is ironically coming from people who have done good work with preservation and with our local historical society. I would rate preserving Leucadia's heritage tree canopy with preserving the Boat Houses and the La Paloma.

The tree canopy is what makes north Hwy 101 unique. We are letting the trees vanish, this means less shade for pedestrians, less ambiance for tourist and locals and a more bleak tone.

Have you walked the non-tree zones of Leucadia in the summer time? It's hot and sweaty my friends.

We need a urban tree management plan for the entire city of Encinitas. We need to protect our classic old growth trees, trim their dead branches, feed and water our trees and plant new ones so we can preserve and improve the ambiance of our hometown.

The only city council candidates for election 2008 who has made preserving our trees a major issue is Bob Nanninga and Rachelle Collier so keep that in mind.

Paul Ecke alerted me to Indiana University professor, Burney Fischer who wrote a paper titled "Street Trees -- A Misunderstood Common-Pool Resource," check it out here.


  1. The city council has as one of it's goals in a goal setting meeting three years ago, to establish a tree management and tree inventory policy for the city.
    This has hence been brought up at council meetings. There has been no action because the majority, (guess who), no not believe it is worthy to pursue.
    Rachelle, Maggie and Theresa support following through with this goal.
    Remember this when you vote.

  2. Saving the trees is easy.

    The proposed roadway will be one lane in each direction at the roundabout intersections.

    Intersection capacity controls the capacity of roadways. If the intersections are one lane southbound the rest of the lanes can be one lane southbound.

    There is no valid reason for the second south bound lane.

    Save the trees and propose one south bound lane through the roadway. The medians should not be moved and we could just add more trees to our existing canopy.

    Problem solved.

  3. Yeah all these trees are happy and healthy except......the one that almost killed Gary Murphy 12 years ago. A happy and healthy tree decided to fall 10 minutes after he parks his car at the park. Crushing the car and nearly taking his life and that of his son.

    Oh yeah JP, all these trees are happy and healthy....NOT!!!

    Another misleading blog posting by our intrepid reporter.

  4. I've posted time and time again that part of having a urban tree management plan is trimming dangerous branches. Comon' they are easy to spot. In fact, the city needs to trim the coast highway trees THIS month in anticipation of the October Santa Ana winds.

    And, this town is always trying to kill Gary Murphy...

  5. JP didn't write that these trees were not eucalyptus. We also have some Torrey Pines trees in the medians.

    Happy and healthy eucalyptus often loose their branches and then continue to live on for decades.

    We should ask that the city water them a couple times a summer.

    The reason why we don’t have a citywide tree plan is because the council majority will have to admit that they want to clear cut Leucadia.

  6. Paul Bunyon-LumberjackSeptember 24, 2008 9:01 AM

    Try 280 N. coast hwy 101, that is one butt ugly dying ecu!! Cut it down before is falls down and kills someone.

    My chain saw and I are ready to cut, just say the word.

  7. The city's failure to maintain the trees in a healthy state and trim dangerous branches is another lawsuit waiting to happen. The city waits until it parched earth policy has decimated a tree and then cuts down the whole tree -- although the tree has been dangerous for a long time due to dead branches. We need a bucket brigade to water these trees.

  8. Some of the trees that look dead are not dead. Those trees will spring back to life if giving some TLC.

  9. 8:26

    The healthy tree that fell in the park suffered the same problem the young leaning one did earlier this year that had to be removed. The park is never dry and it's over watered (strategically to keep outdoorsmen from hanging out there) - but especially saturated when it rains. What should we expect from large trees growing in quicksand?
    Name one person who has ever died from a falling tree in Leucadia and I'll name 50 who have been hit by trains, cars, and fallen off the bluff.
    There is one evergreen tree across 101 from the Plant Lady area that is about 7 years PAST it's life cycle, and nobody wants to bother taking it down (even though it got one of those orange x's from NCTD employees.
    Now more than ever because of the Streetscape plans, I believe the city will have the excuse not be either watering or planting new trees in or around our median as "it might interfere later with the Streetscape". What a way to preserve the canopy, huh?

    Meanwhile however, (at least since the last round of tree removals), our canopy is getting taller and thicker every day! It shows in your pics, JP. Thanks.

  10. I' a lumberjack and I'm OKSeptember 24, 2008 12:07 PM

    Anon12:01- the tree that fell in the park had over 50 years of too much water, why did it fall at that time?? Cause it was dead!!! Lucky for you and me as taxpayers we didn't have to pay for a lawsuit. Do you keep dead trees in your yard?? NO!!! But why do you want dead trees along 101??

  11. The tree that was supposed to die in Cardiff, by the library , is still alive, thanks to a local citizen that defied the odds, according to the arborists. Perhaps we need to speak even more loudly. The NCTimes has an article today about the Humboldt Country treehuggers. They WON! It can be done. We just need a little more active committment. Don't ask the City, it won't happen. A little civil disoedience, MLK style, would not be a bad idea. Any takers?

  12. Whatever we do on No. Highway 101, we need to preserve and enhance the tree canopy.

    When the tree ordinance issue came up before, it was more about preserving the views in Cardiff than about preserving any trees citywide.

    The Courts do not support view ordinances. They do support tree ordinaces to preserve trees with trunks over a certain diameter.

    Save the trees!

  13. The city takes loving, meticulous case of its trees – downtown. As with almost everything else, Leucadia gets a sh!t sandwich.

  14. From Teresa Barth

    Article from the League of California Cities newsletter

    Sustainability Feature Story: Riverside Blankets City with Trees

    In the city of Riverside, an urban forest isn’t so far from reality thanks to the city’s Clean and Green Sustainable Riverside Action Plan. Called the ‘100,000 Trees by 2010 Initiative,’ it was adopted after the success of the city’s Tree Power program.

    One of the reasons the city chose 100,000 as its target is because it’s the approximate number of
    electric meters that Riverside Public Utilities serves. The goal is that there will be one tree per electric meter for every home or business in Riverside.

    Since 2000, more than 67,000 trees have been planted and the city is well on its way to meeting and possibly exceeding its 2010 goal.

    Through the Riverside Public Utilities Tree Power program, customers can get a rebate for planting selected shade trees in certain locations around their home to help save on summer cooling costs.

    The city’s utility estimates that well-placed trees around a structure can reduce air conditioning or cooling costs by as much as 20 percent.

    As part of the initiative, trees are also being planted in parks,
    on trails and paths and in city right-of-ways and easements.

    Trees benefit the environment by improving air quality, reducing noise, providing privacy, adding
    aesthetic and economic value to our public and private landscape, preventing soil erosion and
    beautifying our surroundings. Non-dwarf citrus and other fruit trees are the most commonly planted
    trees through the program. The city is also planting other species including: Chinese Fringe, Golden Rain, Fern pine, Chinese Flame and camphor.

    Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge is a huge proponent of the city’s green initiatives and was an early
    advocate of the tree program.
    “The ‘100,000 Trees by 2010 Initiative’ is important because it sets a benchmark, it commits us to a specific goal. Measuring the greening of our community by number of trees planted reflects our strong commitment to a cleaner and greener urban environment for all residents,” said Loveridge.

    Some areas of Riverside now have over 80 percent canopy coverage. According to the city’s
    Sustainability Manager, Mike Bacich, Riverside has been formally designated as a “Tree City, USA” for the importance placed on its urban forest. The Tree City USA® program is sponsored by the Arbor
    Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State
    Foresters. It provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in 3,216 communities across the country.

    Tree maintenance depends on ownership. Residential customers are responsible for trees on their
    property, where as city trees are maintained by the city. For example the Parks and Recreation
    Department takes care of park trees and trees planted in the city right-of-ways are maintained by the Public Works Department’s Urban Forestry and Landscape division.

    All city trees are on a city wide
    four-year trimming cycle.
    For more information about the Green Riverside Action Plan visit To learn
    more about the benefits of Riverside’s Tree Power Program visit


  15. I am all for restoring the tree canapy, but in my experience, Eucalyptus (sp?) do last about 80-100 years in this area. Can't we get a tree expert to confirm this? Trees and plants do have a life cycle and they do die - just like everything else.

    Going forward, let's plant Torrey Pines - they last around 400 years or so, and California Oaks, which also last a long time.

  16. Great post J.P. I'm glad you keep coming back to this issue. There's another street-scape meeting coming up on the 1st of Oct. at the library. The meeting needs to be overflowing with people for trees demanding we start planting in the median now.Even with this city council majority rules otherwise there would be a large housing project and much smaller greenhouse on Saxony.

  17. Let's say for a minute the big eucs only live 100 years and then die. If they are currently 80 years old then they have a another 2 decades to go. Let them be.

  18. Leftwing Nuttcase!!September 24, 2008 3:18 PM

    I blame George Bush.

  19. TO: "Let's say for a minute the big eucs only live 100 years and then die. If they are currently 80 years old then they have a another 2 decades to go. Let them be."

    I have talked to an arborist about the eucs. She said that 80 years, in the location in the medians with the salt air, is about all we should expect.
    To alter good plans for trees that will die soon does not make sense.
    Eucs are an inappropriate species for this location. Try to keep an open mind about our future.

  20. I have an open mind and a seriously flaming BS detector to boot.

    Don't try to spread "facts" without putting any names out. What was the name of this professional? If this professional is not willing to put their name on the line they must not be very confident about their assessment.

    Let us hear from this professional and tell us how independent this professional is?

    I am now very interested in knowing who is going to financially benefit from chopping down the trees?

  21. Seems we are not the only ones who have to fight to keep our trees. This is from the Marin County IJ>
    Eucalyptus tree removal riles Tamalpais Valley

    Jim Staats
    Article Launched: 09/13/2008 10:24:03 PM PDT

    Worried they'll be left with a barren landscape, Tamalpais Valley residents have put the brakes on government efforts to rid the area of fire-prone eucalyptus trees.
    When word spread months ago of a plan to wipe out hundreds of the towering non-native trees - familiar to motorists traveling along a stretch of Highway 1 - some residents of the Mount Tamalpais hillside launched a campaign to halt plans by the National Park Service and Marin County Fire Department.

    "We're not saying eucalyptus are great trees," said Peter Sorcher, whose view from his Erica Road home reaches across the marked valley. "What people are not taking into account is how it's going to affect the quality of life here. They act as a big wind buffer and the fog gets caught up in there."

    Sorcher, a five-year resident who gathered more than 100 signatures on a petition over the past few weeks, said neighbors feared lack of funds for restoration and an Oregon logging firm's offer to clear the area would have left them with a moonscape. The Tamalpais Valley encompasses about 2,500 households.

    The lack of restoration in the area when eucalyptus trees were removed after a 12-acre fire in 2004 left the hillside "looking like hell," said Sorcher, 42.

    "There has to be a more elegant solution."

    Rich Weideman, spokesman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said the 22 to 27 acres of federal land were targeted by fire officials in 2006 because the trees pose a high fire risk in an area adjacent

    to houses. He confirmed that an Oregon contractor had offered to clear the land for free in exchange for the wood, but that logging plans have been put on hold after the community outcry.
    "We basically took a step back because we need more community outreach and need to put the contract out to bid," said Weideman, noting the idea was mentioned by a park service representative at a May public meeting attended by about 50 people. An environmental impact report has been filed for the project.

    Eucalyptus globulus, or Tasmanian blue gum, was introduced to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1853 from Australia as an ornamental tree. The trees grow fast and tall, but the invasive species poses a severe fire hazard because of its oil content and accumulation of dead, dry leaves and constantly shedding bark.

    Weideman said native plant replacement is part of agency tree removal projects for fire reasons, but budget shortfalls have put such funding in limbo. He said the agency would continue research this winter, followed by community outreach in the spring and possible tree removal next fall and winter.

    Weideman said under the approved fire management plan, the park service has put forward "in the best possible scenario" to clear 500 acres a year in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. But he acknowledged restoration funding to plant new trees in those areas "remains an issue."

    "It's a very emotional issue for people," he said. "Tree removal in a park setting has its very strong advocates and people who are against it. People don't feel neutral about it."

    Actor Peter Coyote, whose Tamalpais Valley home borders the area, said he was pleased to be rid of the eucalyptus before he learned that nothing was ready to replace them.

    "Anybody can say let's cut the trees down," said Coyote, who narrated the DVD "Marin on Fire," a wildfire preparedness film created by FireSafe Marin. "They want to cut it down without really any provision for what will be left. If there are no options, there will be no restoration."

    Jim Kasper, an Erica Road resident of 32 years, has volunteered his time helping the park service restore the fire-damaged hillside. Despite regular mailings, he has seen little neighborhood involvement in the effort.

    "I know there is a limitation on park service funding and personnel, but my objective is to find other ways to supplement (tree removal) rather than not doing anything," he said, suggesting grants, manpower and fundraising. "People understand the hazards of eucalyptus. Don't just say no, but figure out how you complement what needs to be done."

    Sue Fritzke, supervisory vegetation ecologist for the park service and project manager for Tamalpais Valley, said there is no project yet to manage.

    "I think people jumped the gun and thought we'd move forward with something that was not done completely and without doing due diligence in terms of leaving a landscape satisfactorily," she said. "All of those things are incorrect."

    Fritzke said agency restoration will include native vegetation of coast live oak and coastal scrubs similar to 6-inch-tall plants placed in the area after the fire four years ago. The tiny plants need time to get their roots established, she said.

    "The work is happening but it takes a long time."

    Kent Julin, a Marin County forester, said the 2004 fire should have been a wake-up call to the neighborhood.

    "That neighborhood is the highest risk in the county next to eucalyptus trees," he said. "I don't see the eucalyptus forest as being an appropriate neighbor to our communities. We had a near miss four years ago. If you've got potentially explosive eucalyptus next to your home, it would be irresponsible not to do something for yourself and your neighbors."

    He said the park service is committed to doing the right thing.

    "They won't just walk away," he said.


    Fire and park officials have stepped up efforts to combat the invasive eucalyptus.

    The Australian import, brought to the region in 1853, has thrived on the California coast. Oily leaves and dry ground litter have made the tree a potent fuel source for wildfires.

    "Eucalyptus is one of the more volatile trees around due to its oil content and amount of debris that comes off on an annual basis," said county Fire Chief Ken Massucco. "It is very susceptible to major conflagrations."

    Massucco said his department has partnered with the National Park Service to clear agency land of the trees.

    Kent Julin, a forester with county fire, noted state park officials have mounted efforts over the past decade to remove the trees from areas including China Camp and Angel Island.

    The trees don't make the best neighbors.

    "Eucalyptus is an aggressive colonizer," he said. "It inhibits the growth of other plants." Top-heavy branches can fall without warning, prompting the nickname "widowmaker."

    The National Park Service has targeted removal of eucalyptus trees as part of a long-term fire management plan. Rich Weideman, a spokesman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said critics have complained about slow restoration programs and use of the herbicide Roundup to prevent stumps from sending up new shoots.

    "Ideally I'd go in and grind stumps into the ground, but it's an extremely expensive process," he said.


    For a brochure on eucalyptus provided by the National Park Service, visit ment_fireeducation_newsletter_eucalyptus.htm

  22. eucs are not perfect, but properly maintained, they pose minimal fire hazard. Not all eucs shed bark, and not all eucs have oily leaves. There are hundreds of euc varieties, and to stereotype all as fire hazards is overkill. Eucs may not be native to S. Cal but our climate supports these trees as they are drought tolerant. Those who planted them side by side as crops, such as in Rancho, tampered with nature. Obviously, a crop is more susceptible to fire than naturally occuring vegetation. To blackball eucs as a species is short sighted, look at all the South African and Australian flora thriving here. Non native species that contribute to our quality of life should be welcomed. Two hundred years ago this area was scrub oak, coastal sage, infested with rattle snakes and poison oak, and hot as hell in the summer. Encinitas is a coastal plain, not like Torrey Pines State Park that has elevation. Any tree growing in this City is an immigrant. Just like us. Trying to survive.

  23. Thanks JP for the spectacular photos of our tree canopy. Obvious to me, and I am unamious in this, is that part of the canopy's allure is the straight narrow roadway, unfortuantely, many would rather see these stately giants divided by roundabouts with palms and ubiqituous home depot shrubs. I even like the rusted metal traffic barriers protecting the trees. I guess rural isn't cool anymore to those who support moving the median and razing all the remaining trees. I suppose the replacement trees of choice would be liquid ambers. Ughhh -- we don't have four seasons here and don't want to be reminded of it by those who do. In fact, shopping center landscaping has become uniform, is this what we want for our town?

  24. The early settlers here named all the streets after Greek and Roman gods of mythology. The word Leucadia (they also chose) is Greek and means "paradise" or "a sheltered place". But the settler's influence they brought here doesn't end there. Eucalyptus is a Greek word that means "well covered". Cyprus is a Greek word and means "Isle of Aphrodite".
    I'm guessing that the hundreds of trees the first Leucadians carefully chose and planted in alternating rows through Leucadia didn't occur without a lot of thought and public participation. There was no highway then crossing the Batiquitos and Vulcan Ave was probably a more traveled road then, as it was accessed from the east, (allegedly by they Butterfield Stagecoach just before the train.) The train station also faced Vulcan Ave (not 101) and the Derby House was right across from it.

    I like Eukes and Cyprus and would prefere those to be predominant here in perpetuity. Eukes are supposed to live from 150 years to 400. Cyprus up to 2000. Check out the ancient Eukes in downtown Carlsbad sometime. They're like 10' in diameter.
    Just like Quail Gardens samples species from all over the world, the drive through Leucadia can remain unique to what our settlers intended it to be. Though not indigenous, they remain deeply symbolic by design (and stay harmonious with the name of the town and it's streets!) How radical.

  25. Bob Nannigan, I truly believe you to be the most pro-environmentist amoung all of those candidates running for office. Who do you think is more environmentally conscious (enviro by example) Bond or Houlihan? BE HONEST, LIKE I KNOW YOU WIll...

  26. anonymous 12:33, you asked "Who do you think is more environmentally conscious (enviro by example) Bond or Houlihan?"

    It's a toss up really.

    Houlihan's work as an animal rights activist puts her in a class all her own, and Bond's commitment to living a less consumptive lifestyle makes your question a hard one to answer without a comparative carbon footprint assessment of thier homes and habits.

    However, I have noticed Jim Bond's choice of vehicles are considerably more environmentally conscious. And Houlihan is more committed to habitat acquisition and preservation than Mr. Bond.

  27. you judge a person's qualifications by the CAR they drive? What about that heap you were driving around town with no gas cap on it for months?

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Anonymous 10:19,I just answered the question as it was asked of me. No judgement was placed, merely a superficial assessment.

    As for the heap I drive, I assume you mean my 64 Rambler, and not the scooter or the Prius. I have spent 20 grand restoring my classic "heap" including a $75 gas cap. I'm sure you have also noticed I rarely drive the Rambler, for all the obvious reasons.

  30. You have a 64 Rambler? I had a 64 Rambler! My first car in High School and actually, Ralph Nader determined it had the best engine block of it's day. They still get pretty good mileage being small. They're known for over-heating and cracking the head, but I solved that problem with mine by putting in a larger radiator. I loved that car until the day some dizzy driver didn't stop coming off of the fwy on Palomar Airport Rd and totaled Rambi. Insurance only gave me $250 for it!
    The same car was stolen from me in High School. I got it back a few days later. The cops found it at Hippy Hill. But the weird part is 3days after I got it back, I picked up a hitch-hiker and it was the guy who stole it. Neato.
    Sorry to bore everyone else with a car story.

  31. It's okay to drive historic cars on weekends. I've seen Bob cruising in his Rambler, pretty cool.

  32. Its OK to go against our values on weekendsSeptember 25, 2008 10:55 PM

    It’s OK to detonate Nukes on Saturday or Sunday. Its also OK to throw plastic bags in the ocean on Sunday. I've seen Bush nearly push the red button numerous times on Saturday and Sunday. Pretty cool.

  33. Bob Nannigan is the most accessible, evironmental and honest candidate running for office. Way to go, Bob! You have my vote...

    Still considering Tony and Maggie!

  34. Bob -- do you support lights at night at the Hall property park as proposed in the EIR?

  35. Bonddi, I didn't think field lights would included in the EIR. In what section were they mentioned?


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