RANCHO SANTA FE — The thick canopy of trees in Rancho Santa Fe has thinned out over the years. In an effort to restore this picturesque memory, the Committee on the Natural Environment (CONE) is launching a collaborative movement named “Reforesting Rancho Santa Fe.”
On March 21, both residents and key members of organizations were present to help champion this cause at a meeting held at the RSF Fire Protection District Station 1. Navigating the meeting was CONE chair, Bill Beckman.
“We are here today because we have a major problem here in the Covenant area,” said Beckman, adding how the trees have changed since his move to the Ranch 15 years ago. He added, “You’re not looking at a leafy tree canopy. You’re looking at a lot of tree trunks with some foliage hanging on to those trees that are still alive.”
Beckman described it as a different experience. And because of this, Beckman hoped the community could come together to reforest Rancho Santa Fe.
“If we do, we make a difference. If we don’t, it won’t,” he said.
Beckman shared that the purpose of the meeting was to take the steps needed to form a group to trigger the push to reforest the Ranch, and possibly, with different trees.
Beckman’s goal was to engage the people present along with any entities they represented for that effort.
“If we don’t do it, who will?” he asked the group.
For the replanting tree effort, Beckman said, he couldn’t think of anything else that was “dollar for dollar” a greater value or with a greater future for the Covenant area.
“It’s just a no-brainer in terms of the property value impact, and the experience that we all look for in the Ranch,” he said.
Taking part in the meeting was RSFA manager Bill Overton, RSFA field operations manager Arnold Keene, executive director of the RSF Garden Club Erin Browne, Conor Lenehan from the RSF Fire Protection District, principal Kim Pinkerton from the RSF School District, and Melanie Conomikes and Laurie Broedling from Tree San Diego, and general manager of SFID Michael Bardin, and more.
One of the many topics discussed was how it was important to continue watering trees to keep them alive.
Conomikes of Tree San Diego suggested implementing a water budget and to use that budget for the best allocation.
Bardin commended CONE and Beckman. Bardin agreed that irrigation practices, choosing the right trees for the objective needed and being water efficient was key.
“That’s why we’re in the room,” said Bardin, noting how reforesting was about the right trees for the future. “So I think you have the right players in this room.”
Beckman thanked Bardin and said from the very start of CONE, they invited Bardin and it has been a very collaborative process.
“We need to work with the irrigation district,” Beckman said. “They are not the bad guys. They are doing their job with the resources they have.”
During the course of the meeting, Beckman also touched upon the success of their Jan. 23 community-wide tree planting event at Arroyo Park. The event was sponsored by CONE, Tree San Diego, and the Stanford Club of San Diego.
Beckman called it an outstanding event with excellent turnout. It was a perfect footprint for more tree planting events to come.
Beckman said that if they are successful with this launch and ramp it up, future planting events would be meaningful.
“We ought to make it a celebration every time we do one of these and make it fun,” he said.