Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

April 18, 2018


Present: Colleen Mackinnon, Rick Paul, Dick Althouse, Fred Woods, Liz Ridder, Jerry Harmon and Rick Mercurio, and guest Danielle Cupp.


Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Colleen opened the meeting at 7 pm at the Train Depot in Grape Day Park, Escondido. The revised minutes from the March meeting were approved by acclamation. Rick P submitted a print out of his treasurer’s report. Fred deposited the balance of the Akin endowment. We also got another two $50 donations. Rick M requested $413.15 for reimbursement for newsletter expenses. Colleen moved to approve, Jerry seconded and the motion passed unanimously.  Fred presented receipts for lunches at the school trips, with a total of $290.80 for Dan Hippert. Fred also asked to be reimbursed for other lunches that he paid for, totaling $341.45 for EUSD. Fred also requested a check for $3000 to Nancy Conney and $1000 for Diania Caudell’s program. Fred also requests reimbursement for $30.46 for other lunch supplies. Rick M moved approval of all these requests, Colleen seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


School Visits: The final school trip was earlier today, and we had only one rainout that needed to be cancelled. Because of Fred’s commitment and organization the program has flourished this year. Fred and Rick M have written a grant to SDG&E, and a representative from SDG&E came to see the school visits yesterday. She was duly impressed! The Board discussed ways to raise more money, since other than Rotary’s $2000 we have no certain funding for next year’s trips. Colleen said there are companies that sell subscriptions for grant information that is specific for expressed needs. We will wait until we see if SDG&E will provide a full grant to explore that option. Liz said she is willing to use CSUSM connections to check for grants. We also need to find more volunteers to help the program.


Wildlife Tracking: Liz has met with Denise H in order to coordinate efforts to document wildlife presence and movement, particularly on the eastern edge of DR. Liz now has obtained official permission to proceed. Student volunteers are ready to begin helping. They hope to make their first visit this summer.  Liz said Dan H has been very helpful. There is a dearth of data, which will be imperative in the future if we are to make a habitat impact case against the Daley Ranch Resort proposal. Liz has access to remote cameras that could be used at the three wildlife underpasses along Valley Center Road. Liz would like to examine all prior studies of the DR habitat, which include the Merkel Report and James Dillane’s original survey. The Board applauds Liz’s pursuit of this data and her efforts to obtain additional findings.



Cougar Pass & El Caballo Entrance: The new entry gate at El Caballo Park is a short distance away from the existing entrance to Caballo Trail, which may have a kiosk there. Colleen will examine this site to suggest ways to align the trail and entrance features with the new gate. She will also investigate the Cougar Pass entrance for a place to put a Save1000Acres poster.


TECC Intern and Fellowship: Colleen and Rick M participated in a collaborative planning meeting with TECC in March to discuss the “conservation fellowship” grant FODR and TECC have been awarded, in the amount of nearly $10,000. The Board discussed possible uses of these funds. In addition, TECC’s executive director, Ann Van Leer, has made arrangements for her daughter, Rose, who was also at the planning meeting, to serve as an intern for FODR this summer, under the tutelage of Colleen. The Board discussed possibilities. An interpretive trail with informational signs, possibly with QR barcodes, could be one workable goal, helping to educate the public about not only flora, but also other features such as fauna, history, geology and possibly Native American culture. Another part of this vision is construction of a new structure for interpretive display and possible meeting space. We want to find ways to make DR accessible and education-themed with this project, which hopes to work with underserved youth in the community. Potential partners are scouts, church groups, Encuentros, TECC, Native Plant Society, SD Archaeology Center, and Sunrise Rotary. Colleen moved to accept this vision for the grant. Jerry seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Colleen hopes to have a strategic plan in place with Rose’s help by the end of the summer


History Center Book: Colleen said that the Escondido History Center is planning a new book focusing on the 30 years since Alan McGrew’s edition in 1988 for the City’s centennial celebration. The cost of a page in the new book, which could be dedicated to FODR and our “story,” is $1800. The Board decided not to pursue this.


Daley Ranch Resort:  The City has determined that the submitted plans are incomplete. The tentative map for the project includes an access road that crosses Daley Ranch itself. Their plan also involves a massive transfer of density from parcels not owned by the developer. We also seek to document biological impacts to wildlife that may affect the viability of DR as a mitigation land bank.


Utility Building Update: Dick said he is still working with Phil Ewing on acquiring items for display in our utility buildings.


Next meeting: The next regular meeting will be on May 16 at 6 p.m. at Colleen’s home.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio