The removal of these 29 heritage palm trees, along with at least 6 native oak trees (Alignment A), and 13 eucalyptus trees and their ~ 20,000 ft2 of habitat and shade canopy the MND fails to mention, even though a document obtained through the CPRA (California Public Records Act) proves that the County had this information but omitted it, will do irrevocable harm to the aesthetic quality of what is now a beloved and bucolic scenic road, transforming it into just another sterile, milquetoast Orange County-like, urban street.
No reasonable person would conclude that losing ~20,000 square feet of habitat and shade canopy in an urban forest, without an attempt at mitigation, is not a significant loss to both humans and wildlife, especially given the state of our climate emergency.
One thing that kind of gets lost in the tree count…is the cumulative loss of wildlife habitat…tree canopy…the aesthetic and community benefits such as improved quality of life…etc…
Obfuscation of Habitat Loss Data: The County calculated tree canopy habitat loss resulting from loss of trees along a stretch of Modoc Road for a different portion of the Multi-Use Path project as shown by the following table that CAMP obtained via a California Public Records Act Request (CPRA): But this calculation was not performed in the Revised MND. Why was this important information omitted?
Let’s do the math…
Per CAMP’s own calculation, using the County’s chart for Habitat Loss that they didn’t want you to see.
The following habitat loss would result in the instant project for Alignment A: Phoenix canariensis/Canary Island Date palm: 29 trees x 314ft2 ave. canopy area = 9106ft2
Blue gum Eucalyptus: 8 trees x 707ft2 canopy area = 5656ft2
Lemon gum Eucalyptus: 5 trees x 707ft2 = 3535ft
Total tree canopy habitat loss Alignment A: 9106ft2 + 5656ft2 + 3535ft = 18,297ft2.
Additionally, if we calculate the loss of shade canopy for the missing 6 Coast Live oaks (Quercus agrifolia), that the County still says do not exist, there is an additional 6 x 314f2 canopy area = 1884ft2 of canopy loss.
Total tree canopy habitat loss Alignment A: 9106ft2 + 5656ft2 + 3535ft + 1884ft2 = 20,181ft2.
Still with us here?…;-)
No reasonable person could conclude that losing ~20,000 square feet of habitat and shade canopy in an urban forest is not a significant loss, to wildlife or humans, especially given the state of our climate emergency.
Mitigated plantings are only for native trees, which the County states that 0 native oaks would be removed in Alignment A from the County’s Table 8 Tree Removal Summary …when if fact, there are 6 Coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia).
Since the full complement of oaks trees subject to removal were not identified or addressed in the MND, the MND fails as an informational document. Moreover, the MND fails to provide mitigation measures for the oak trees that would be removed under Alignment A. For these reasons alone the MND should be rejected.