July 2004

Building on the Periphery of More Mesa

MMPC is deeply concerned about a distressing and dangerous precedent in the making. 

Major environmental impact is being felt on More Mesa from development on its periphery. Two large and elaborate, double-story houses have already been permitted off Mockingbird Lane (northeast corner of More Mesa). The permitting of these houses disregarded more than two decades of precedence concerning the size and height of structures built on the edge of More Mesa. Construction of these, and the eight others in the adjacent Las Brisas project are affecting both wildlife and the magnificent views looking north. That is, there is already significant cumulative impact from the additional ten structures, in construction, or planned. Photos of the construction can be seen here.

Now a new project, Hacienda Vieja, proposes four additional, two story structures … 4000 square feet, and much larger than any previous development in the neighborhood. These four buildings, currently under consideration by the Planning Commission, will be located immediately north of a wetland abutting More Mesa, and a particularly important grove of trees used for hawk roosting and nesting.

MMPC believes that, in order to protect both the environment, as well as the aesthetic qualities of More Mesa:

No additional two-story structures abutting More Mesa should be permitted
The size of one story houses should be consistent with other developments in the neighborhood, and certainly no larger than Las Brisas (3610 square feet maximum).

Therefore, in keeping with the above, the position of the MMPC is that structures in the Hacienda Vieja project should be only one-story high, as well as reduced in size and number. In addition, we believe that the wetland and associated trees should be placed under the protection of a third party; a land trust or other organization, who will be responsible for maintaining this wildlife habitat.

For additional information on the current status of the Hacienda Vieja project, or suggestions about how you can help minimize impact on More Mesa, contact us via the Contact Page.

Invasive Plants
The California legislature has proclaimed July 19-25, 2004 as Invasive Weeds Awareness Week in California. Under the Restoration Section in the More Mesa web site, there is a new menu option “Invasive Plants“. This consists of a list of common invasive plants found on the central coast. Those that are or have been sold in nurseries for landscaping are marked “Used in landscaping”. Invasive plants known to be on More Mesa, are marked as “Present on More Mesa”. This list will be updated as missing pictures become available or when other plants need to be added.

June 2004

Concert For The Coast
The Concert for the Coast, jointly sponsored by the Isla Vista Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the Shoreline Preservation Fund, was held on 15 May in Isla Vista. The objective of this yearly event is to raise awareness of local issues. This year, preservation of More Mesa was highlighted, both in messages from the stage, and at our display table. (Check out the photos in the Special Events section.)

In addition, $450 in proceeds from a raffle, held concurrent with the concert, were donated to the More Mesa Preservation Coalition. Our thanks to Paul Colbert, organizer of the concert, and all the attendees. We truly appreciate your interest and support!

Usage Survey
Many of us are acutely aware of how important More Mesa is to our community. However, we need statistics, based on actual usage data, to accompany powerful messages about how much we care about More Mesa. For this reason, we will be conducting a More Mesa usage survey. Look for several different opportunities to complete this survey in the near future.

May 2004

Earth Day
Over 700 people visited the More Mesa Preservation Coalition booth on Earth Day! It was an extremely successful event. As well as talking to hundreds of people, we collected 75 additional names to be included in our data base of concerned community members. Check out photos in the Special Events section to get a sense of the wonderful Earth Day spirit we encountered.

Concert For The Coast
The Concert for the Coast will be held on May 15th at Anisq’ Oyo’ Park in Isla Vista, from 12:00 to 5:00. This event is sponsored jointly by the Isla Vista Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the Shoreline Preservation Fund. The purpose of the concert is to raise awareness of local issues. Happily, this year the organizers have selected More Mesa as their focus! Because of this, we will be able to bring our message to a large number of people who may not be aware of the issues. In addition, proceeds of a raffle, held concurrent with the concert, will be donated to the More Mesa Preservation Coalition. Please enjoy the day and help More Mesa at the same time.

West Nile Virus
Cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in California, and very close to home. A dead crow infected with West Nile Virus was found on April 21, 2004 in Ventura County. Since many of you are frequently out on More Mesa, and it is home to numbers of crows, it is important to report any similar instances. If you run across a dead crow, do not handle it, but definitely note the location and report that information immediately to the California Department of Health Services at this link or phone 877-WNV-BIRD. Also, to find out how to protect yourself and our community in the presence of West Nile Virus, visit Senator Barbara Boxer’s Web Site here.

April 2004

Restoration Event

Our first restoration session in More Mesa County Park was held on the beautiful sunny morning of March 27th. Thirteen hearty volunteers showed up to hear Stephanie Langsdorf, of Growing Solutions, teach us the basics of the area’s ecosystem, and the particulars of natives and non-natives as well. Then, pitchforks and shovels in hand, we went to work on a hilly rise quite close to the western edge of the park. This area had been previously cleared and planted with various native shrubs and trees; oak, elderberry, coffeeberry, blackberry and bee plant. Our task was to clear the immediate vicinity of each of these plantings of all non natives; most especially Harding grass and thistle. Good News: Almost all of the plants had survived and a large fraction were thriving. Our attention should encourage even more vigorous growth, as well as natural introduction of natives.

Later in the morning, we turned our attention to the creek trail and did some vinca clearing. Stephanie also pointed out quite a large field of our lovely native, fiesta flower. All our volunteers seemed excited about the opportunity to do more of this kind of thing, and we are confident this is just the beginning. Just look at all the smiling faces in the photos!

Earth Day
The More Mesa Preservation Coalition will be participating in Earth Day on April 18th. Come to the Courthouse Sunken Gardens to look at the displays and say hello.

Concert For The Coast
The Concert for the Coast is a free event held in mid May, and sponsored jointly by the Isla Vista Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the Shoreline Preservation Fund. The purpose of the concert is to raise awareness of local issues. Happily, this year the organizers have selected More Mesa as their focus! Because of this, we will be able to bring our message to a large number of people who may not be aware of the issues. In addition, proceeds of a raffle, held concurrent with the concert, will be donated to the More Mesa Preservation Coalition. Details of the concert will be posted as soon as they are available. Thank you Concert for the Coast!

March 2004

Restoration Project on More Mesa County Park

We have had a really gratifying response to our call for volunteers on the Restoration Project on More Mesa County Park!

Where and When: We meet next Saturday, 27 March at 8:45 AM on the west side of More Mesa. To get there, proceed south on Patterson Avenue, almost to the point where the road goes up the hill and becomes Shoreline Drive. There are two dirt parking areas on the left side of the road. We should be able to get all the cars in these two spots. However, if the turnout is overwhelming, additional cars can park near the bike path on the right side of the road, and we will shuttle people to the entrance of the county property.

What To Bring: All the tools and trash bags will be provided. Please bring heavy work gloves to protect your hands, and lots of drinking water. We will be learning and working until noon, when we hope you will decide to bring a picnic lunch and join us in enjoying this beautiful place. It will be a great opportunity to spend some time in the company of fellow More Mesa lovers.

Feel free to contact us if we don’t already know you are coming, or if there are any other questions, via the Contact Page.

Information on the Restoration Project
Santa Barbara County owns 40 acres of the northwest corner of More Mesa; the More Mesa County Park. This is a part of More Mesa that ALREADY belongs to all of us! As part of our 2004 activities, the More Mesa Preservation Coalition has been exploring ways in which members of the community interested in More Mesa can assist in carrying out the Management Plan for that lovely oak riparian section of More Mesa. We decided on RESTORATION as the first step.

Following a recent meeting with folks from Santa Barbara County Parks, we drafted a plan whereby interested volunteers will be able to participate in a half-day restoration session on a section of the north trail in More Mesa County Park. Volunteers will be trained on how to recognize (search) and eradicate (destroy) nonnative plants. We will also learn how to encourage and nurture natives. Trainers will then work side-by-side with us to clear an important section of the trail. After a morning of warring on weeds, we will find a shady spot for lunch and visiting.

Spring is lovely on More Mesa! This event will be an excellent opportunity to learn about local plants and make a beautiful place even more inviting. And, more importantly, those who join us will get to meet others who share a passion for More Mesa, as well as to experience the collective energy that comes from working together with people who care about the same things you do.

This training/work party is envisioned as the first of a continuing series. Once we have trained volunteers, it will be possible to plan other events to maintain the section already complete and add new areas.

We have concurrence from County Parks, and are scheduled for Saturday, 27 March from 9-12. If you would like to come to the party, contact us via the Contact Page.

* [For the whole of More Mesa, you can see what plants can be found and where by season: Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall.]
* You can also become part of our documentation team by reporting plants and animals of note. This can be done by completing and submitting the new SIGHTINGS REPORT.

Hope to see you on the 27th!!
Valerie Olson
More Mesa Preservation Coalition