Return to the Friends of Santa Teresa Park
- Attendees: Mike Boulland, Ronald Horii,
Monahan, Sam Drake, Roland LeBrun, Ed Jackson, Woody Collins, Jenel
Vincze, Don Rocha (County Parks), Virginia Holtz (SCCOSA)
- We read and accepted the minutes.
- Ron showed pictures from the Rancho San Vicente hike he
took on 2/28/10, with Carrie Grisenti, Sam Drake, Cait Hutnik, Jan
Shriner, and ranger Bill Burr. Ron is leading a photography/wildflower
hike with Cait Hutnik there on 4/17/10. There is also a hike at the
ranch on 4/10/10, led by POST.
- Ron also showed pictures of the Joice Trail, views from
Bernal Hill, clearing around the drain at the Bernal Ranch, sunset
pictures from the Pueblo Area, and pictures from the Norred Trail.
- We saw pictures from the clearing project around the
Caretaker's House at the Bernal Ranch. Mike and Roland worked on it.
- The rules for fire clearance vary. The city of San Jose
requires a 30-foot clearance around a house and a 10-foot clearance
around the chimney. In severe, high fire zones, it can be 100 feet. It
also depends on the slope. Sloped areas require more clearance.
- Don Rocha, Natural Resource Program Supervisor for the
County Parks, gave us an update about plans for cattle grazing in Santa
Teresa Park (see 5/3/07
- They applied for a federal grant to bring cattle
back to Santa Teresa Park. It was denied, delayed, but they re-secured
funding. They are negotiating with a vendor to start planning in the
next 2 weeks.
- They will be surveying the park to look for areas to
allow cattle grazing, looking at resource protection, identifying
serpentine soil. They may include woodlands and uplands.
- They can build in the infrastructure to match the plan.
The trails won't change much. They will draw the cattle away from the
trails, more towards the middle of the park, mainly in the serpentine
- They mainly want the grazing to be in the areas with
serpentine soil, where it will have the most benefit. Non-native
grasses normally do not grow well in serpentine soil, while native
wildflowers do well. However, nitrogen compounds in the air from car
exhaust fertilizes the soil, allowing non-natives to grow.
- The cattle will reduce thatch build-up and control annual
grasses. The grazing will also reduce the fire danger.
- The planning will look at where fencelines can be placed.
Phase 1 will look at how much infrastructure is needed. Around
May-June, they will apply for another federal grant to put in the
infrastructure. It will take 2-3 years. Water is the limiting factor.
- The grazing will be in 2 main areas: above the Bernal
Ranch and Rocky Ridge. These are designated satellite populations for
the threatened bay checkerspot butterfly, which were last seen in the
late 1990's. The non-native grasses have crowded out the wildflowers
the butterflies need to survive. It is hope that cattle grazing will
control the grasses and allow the wildflowers to thrive, providing
suitable habitat for the butterfly to return.
- The area suitable for grazing covers about 1300 acres.
- The cattle won't be near neighborhoods.
- The county will issue a grazing license. The operators
will be required to respond within 24 hours if the cattle are in the
wrong field or escape. They will use existing roads.
- The Rocky Ridge Trail will not be moved, at least not
immediately. The permitting process makes moving trails in serpentine
- The number of cattle will be set in the plan. The grazing
will be seasonal. It will depend on the amount of water available and
the carrying capacity of the land. The grazing period could be 2-3
months, from late spring to early summer.
- To provide water, they may dig wells, clean out the
ponds, make them deeper, add more ponds, or tap into local water
sources, like the water line to Country View Estates.
- There is no preference for cattle breed. There will be
cows and calves. There may be bulls.
- The permits can be month-to-month spot permits or annual
grazing permits. It takes 3-5 years to get thatch reduction. They may
not graze every year. Licenses can run for 8-10 years. They need to
make it worth the lessees time and investment for putting in
infrastructure. The grazers pay for interior fences and water troughs.
The county pays for boundary fence materials. The grazers install them.
- Cattle graze at Coyote/Harvey Bear Ranch. Because of the
early rains, there was more grass growth, and the cattle were kept in
longer to eat the grass. But because of the rains, they couldn't get
the cows out, which caused trail damage. They plan to rebuild the
trails and put rock on the portions the cows will be using.
- At the Coyote/Harvey Bear Ranch, they did the trail
planning first, but left the cattle in place, without a cattle-grazing
plan. They will later implement a cattle plan, but they need money. It
takes 3-5 years.
- At Santa Teresa, they know where the trails are. They can
put in water infrastructure to keep the cattle away from the trails.
- Prescribed burns are used for weed control, but it is
difficult to do in urban areas, like Santa Teresa.
- Grant has cattle grazing. They are used to control
invasive species, like yellow star thistle and medusaheads. The primary
goal is habitat improvement. The cattle are moved in the wet months.
Twice a year, they monitor the grazing program, looking at the types of
plants and the amount of cover, and evaluate whether they need to
change the grazing regime.
- Cattle also graze at Ed Levin to reduce invasive plants.
Ed Levin is under the Integrated Pest Management plan, which means it
must be pesticide-free. They use cattle and weed whips to control weeds.
- At Rancho San Vicente, cattle grazing will continue until
the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is adopted. The HCP is starting
now. The HCP will be integrated with the cattle grazing plan.
- The NPS is coming to do surveys and GPS work to support
the cattle plans. Karen Cotter is working with them.
- On mountain lions and pigs: ranchers have lost more
calves to pigs than mountain lions. The pig population ebbs and flows
with the acorn crop. There will be an upswing after this year. If
mountain lions attack calves, they won't issue depredation permits.
There have been no coyote attacks on calves.
- There will be an open bid process for the grazing leases.
Cattle will be moved from pasture-to-pasture, then removed from the
park when the grazing seaspon is over.
- The cows will affect the deer population. They will eat
trees above the deer level. The deer population is artificially high.
Deer are browsers, not grazers. They don't eat grass.
- They will not fence off the trails. Fences are ugly. They
have pulled out fences and gates at Grant. Bikes don't like gates. They
will remove old fences. They will not re-use old fences. The rock walls
- There are no plans to remove cow patties.
- Don said he can come back in 3 months with an update on
- Kitty moved to renominate the board of directors. Roland
seconded. Motion approved unanimously.
- Our balance is $455.51. There have been no changes from
- We had 101 volunteer hours for Jan-Feb.
- There will be an invasive species work party at the Bernal
Ranch on Tuesday 3/16. If it rains, it will be moved to the next
- Roland said that Garnetta Annable of the SCCOSA asked the
County Parks to make a presentation about the plans for use of the
Coyote-Alamitos Canal. It was in the master plan for the park between
the Bernal Ranch and the Norred Ranch. The SCCOSA funding went to
help purchase the Pyzak Ranch.
- The Historic Heritage Commission meeting is on the 3rd
Thursday of the month. It will be on 3/18. Santa Teresa is on the
agenda for the old barn. The HHC does not want to change the footprint
of the barn. What to do about the tree at the corner of the barn will
be done as part of normal park maintenance. The correct roof for the
barn is shingles. There are fireproof shingles.
- The volunteer recognition banquet this year will be in
- Sam said there will be a trail maintenance day on the
Norred Trail on 3/13 from 9 am to 1 pm. The Geocachers of the Bay Area
will be working on the trail. They will meet at the Bernal Ranch.
- Mike dropped off our CAP Grant application. We asked for
$1000. It's the same as last year, except we asked for $500 to pay for
entertainment for Fandango. The park's budget for Fandango got cut, so
they can't afford entertainment.
- The lights don't work at Santa Teresa Spring. Julie Lee
said that fixing them is on the list of things to do.
- The interpretive sign at Coyote Peak is on hold.
- Ed said there's graffiti on the walk at Manila Way and
Manila Drive. The homeowner called the graffiti cleanup dept. They know
who did it.
- They are getting quicker response to trouble calls at the
Spring now. The sheriffs and/or rangers are coming out 2 at a time
within a half hour. They are stopping and shining lights up at the
spring. The canal has been clean.
- The City of San Jose will re-paint the graffiti-covered
walls that back up to the canal west of the Bernal Ranch.
- Robin Schaut has been promoted to a manager, managing the
interpretive programs. Sr. Ranger Julie Lee has applied to take her
place as supervisor of the interpreters.
- Jenel said that the Bay Scouts built new planter covers for
the 4H garden at the Bernal Ranch. 4H has no schedule conflict between
the Youth Fair and Fandango this year.
- Roland said we should adopt the canal section between the
spring and the Bernal Ranch. Volunteers get a plaque. They must do 2
cleanups a year, every 6 months.