Friday, December 13, 2013

Fairview Park Decomposed Granite Path Remediation Begins

Today, Friday the 13th - which somehow seems appropriate - remediation of the illegally-installed decomposed granite (DG) path in Fairview Park along the fence line that separates Jim Scott Stadium and the Waldorf School from the park began today.

In case you've forgotten, this all began when Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger prodded Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz to "do something" about the user-defined trail that ran along the Waldorf School fence line.  Seems he was concerned about the children navigating through the weeds that bordered that path to get to Estancia High School.    This is what it looked like then:
The city staff then responded to the request and graded the trail and applied an herbicide to kill the weeds and it ended up looking like this:

Then, mysteriously, some "DG Fairies" apparently applied a thick layer of that material to the paths and nobody seems to know who did it.  Men were seen doing the work by park users, but were combative when approached by observers.  The City officially says it did NOT do it and doesn't know who did it.
However, this process managed to encroach onto federally protected vernal pools that are part of Fairview Park.  The city is required to be a good steward of the park and protect those pools.  It didn't.  Now the Federal Department of Fish and Wildlife is involved and, among other things, is demanding that the DG be removed and the vernal pools be properly restored.
(Ernesto Munoz and Christine Medak of US Fish and Wildlife)
 (Medak, Dickson, Nerheus and other biologist)

Today members of the City Staff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and contractors, including biologists, all arrived around noon at the site to discuss the proper method of removal and to begin the work.  Munoz and Parks Project Manager Bart Mejia represented the City.  Barry Nerheus is with the contractor, Endemic Environmental Services, and was joined by one of his biologists, Crysta Dickson, in pink.  That organization has done a lot of work in Fairview Park and is familiar with the sensitive nature of the sites in question.  USFWS was represented by Christine Medak.  Councilwoman Sandra Genis - and avid lover of Fairview Park -  also showed up to observe the process.
Test holes were dug in a couple spots along the DG path and methods of removal and possible restoration was discussed.  Eventually the team from the contractor began carefully removing the DG from the path closest to the Parsons Field/Waldorf School fence line near the intersection with the path that runs parallel to the Jim Scott Stadium fence line, taking the DG down to the original underlayment.  Once the shoveling is complete brooms will be used to remove ALL the DG from the path.  The same process will be repeated on the other leg of the path - with the logs (old telephone poles) that line the path carefully removed before the DG is shoveled away -  and it is hoped that this process will be complete next week - before Christmas.
Once the DG is removed sightings will be made to determine what measures, if any, will be necessary to adjust the level of the pathways so water will, once again, flow into the vernal pools adjacent to them. 
According to the officials onsite today, one thing is certain.  Because the city is required to maintain a 10 foot buffer around the perimeter of the vernal pools, there will be NO ROOM for a pathway along the fence.  The kids will just have to find another way to school - like walking another 100 yards around the pools.

In the meantime, an investigation is under way to determine just who is responsible for the application of the DG on the pathways.  So far, nobody has admitted responsibility for it, although there is much speculation around the community.  And, it is still unclear what, if any, kind of penalties the city faces from the federal government from this broach of its responsibility to properly maintain this natural habitat.  That part of the drama continues to percolate.

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Anonymous Dumbbiker said...

I know this doesn't compare to tearing up a campaign sign but I was surprised that there was no press coverage other than the stalwart Geoff West who thankfully keeps us informed. I was also surprised at the amount of DG put down and the effort that must have gone into this project without proper oversight. I will be happy when this one way mirror that's called transparency comes crashing down and light gets shed on the many inappropriate and illegal actions that are here-to-for unexplained. Anybody know a good electrician?

12/13/2013 04:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Hold em Accountable said...

Where are Mensinger, Riggy, and Fitzy with their hard hats and pretty shovels to celebrate this event.

Clearly they would want the culprit(s) identified, located, and convicted. Isn't this more significant than a campaign sign?

How about a good sized bounty for info?

Once again, the good citizens of Costa Mess get to pay for mismanagement.

12/13/2013 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

I'm sure Riggy and Mensy will be there as soon as Fitzy finishes licking their workboots nice and clean..

12/13/2013 08:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Hey, Hold 'em accountable -- and everybody else!
I've pledged a hundred bucks to go along with the five hundred dollar reward that has been offered. Will any of you good folks out there drop a twenty or a fifty into the kitty? If we really love our park, let's show the city council by some citizen concern -- a hundred of us each posting a hundred would make the kitty significant, if not exactly on the order of magnitude of the state lottery.

C'mon, Y'all -- I'm taking names, and pledges that are worth something (but no money yet).

12/14/2013 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Stevie is 1000% involved in the creation and installation of this dg path from start to finish. Is there any doubt in anyone's mind about this? I only hope the Feds get the evidence to prove this ( I hope they've been checking the sales records of businesses in So Cal that sell dg and comparing the dg on the path with the dg sold by these businesses - possibly matching it to a source of where it came from.) He should be made 100% personally responsible and financially liable for any and all costs incurred by the city to investigate the damages, and removal and remediation. As I've said already - sociopathic behavior - no conscience as to whether it's right or wrong; couldn't care less about the consequences of his actions; just wants to win and control! And of course, there's his lame "for the kids" BS, not my fault, excuse!

12/15/2013 09:15:00 PM  

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