Friends of Daley Ranch Board

March 19,2014


Present: Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Dick Althouse, Jerry Harmon, Jim Schafer, Rick Mercurio and Don Piller 

Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Fred opened the meeting at 7 p.m. at the home of Dick. Rick P moved to approve the minutes from the February meeting, written by Mike. Jerry seconded, and the motion passed unanimously. Rick P submitted his treasurer’s report, which included four new donations and cash from the iron ranger. Mike moved to reimburse Rick M $279.39 for printing and postage expenses related to the winter newsletter, the utility building flyers, and the receipt postcards. Jim seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

Restoration Project: Dick has been very busy with the foreman’s quarters structure. The Board toasted the timing of the new roof just prior to the big rain. Dick has identified the batting material for the exterior, and suggested a plan to paint the new wood to match the old siding, and to seal it all. Dick is also working on the windows, vents and the interior walls and details. The Board also appreciates Jim’s endeavors to mount a flyer box on one building with information for the public about FODR and the restoration project.

School Visits: Fred said that there have been five trips so far, and all have received positive feedback. The two final trips will be next week. FODR expenses include $2100 for the raptor presentations, $300 for the Native American presentations, and $686 for lunches for volunteers. Fred has already received thank you letters from Bear Valley students. Rick has submitted a $5000 grant proposal to the San Diego Foundation for next year’s visits. Over 90 organizations are in competition for funds, and the Foundation will contact FODR if we make the first “cut.”

Supervisor Roberts Visit: Jim has been working hard to organize and schedule the visit of Supervisor Dave Roberts’ visit to Daley Ranch on March 26. We are pleased that participants will include two of Roberts’ assistants as well as Joyce Masterson and Barbara Redlitz from the City. Head Ranger Dan Hippert will join Jim and Jerry from the Board. Jim shared the specific itinerary for the day with the Board. The group will visit the school field trip learning stations, including the ranch house, then hike to Stanley Peak and back. Thanks go to Jim. 

Newsletter: Rick M reminded the Board that we had agreed to publish our newsletter quarterly, and that the next publication time would be May 1. Wendy needs a few weeks to put it together for us, so our deadline for getting material to Wendy will be April 1. Jim reminded us that FODR’s website address needs to be updated on the back of the newsletter. Newsletter assignments are as follows: Fred, send photos of this year’s school visits; Jim, write an article and send photos about the Dave Roberts visit, plus the most recent photo of the foreman’s quarters; Dick, write a brief update on the utility building project; Rick M, write an article about the school visits.

Dropbox & Website: Don spoke about the viability of our “new” FODR Dropbox. Lots of photos have already been posted there, including over 350 thanks to Mike. Don welcomes all new additions. He will email everyone on the Board the directions. Don also has been doing a great job on our website. He is always looking for news and other items to post. He will include a link to yesterday’s Channel 8 news feature on Dixon Lake, for which Dan Hippert was interviewed. The Board thanked Don for his hard work.

Creek Permits: Peter Benson and Mike have been working hard on obtaining permits for the creek wall project behind the utility buildings. Mike has enlisted the help of a qualified friend to help guide us through the project, and he will forward relevant emails to the Board. These issues include a negative declaration, public noticing requirements, CEQA, and a deficiency permit. We still need a total dollar amount for all required fees, for submission to the City.

Ranch House Shuttle & Docents: The Board was pleased to learn that the City is welcome to our suggestion of providing docents for ranch house showings. We also want to propose a comprehensive plan for shuttle service and interpretive displays. We feel it could be a win-win for the public and the City. Rick M agreed to draft a proposal to submit to the Council, and he will ask for input from the Board before submitting the final version. 

Economic Development Meeting: Fred reported on the recent Escondido Economic Development meeting that he attended. The City reported that weddings and other events at the ranch house may begin when the septic system is completed. The new bathroom facility proposal does not presently have a funding source. Fred reminded the City that the maintenance fund from sales of mitigation credits are to be used for habitat restoration and maintenance, not just building restoration, at the ranch. 

Dying Oaks and Illegal Trails: Rick M hiked the northwest portion of Daley Ranch with Dan Hippert in January. They discussed the problem of some mature oak trees dying. Dan said that he would attend an all day meeting on this problem, hosted by experts, in the near future. Since then both Dan and Jim attended that meeting and learned that two types of pests invade oaks, one more problematic than the other. Dan submitted samples from the dying oaks at Daley Ranch to experts for analysis, and luckily the less-ominous borer was responsible. Apparently this bug is naturally occurring and attacks mature, stressed oaks. There is little to be done about it. If the other pest is discovered, however, there are some removal options, though they are costly. Rick M and Dan also explored several illegal trails. These threaten the status of the conservation mitigation bank status, due to human intrusion onto protected habitat. Dan was very cognizant of the dangers of illegal trails, and he said that his crew addresses them as best as the ranger staff’s resources allow. FODR believes that the City should allocate more resources for this purpose. Single cable fences along the border where illegal trails enter the ranch, more regular surveillance of the trails, as well as more signage, would be a few of the appropriate steps needed to address the problem. 


Next Meeting: The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on April 16 at the Train Depot.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio