Natural Resources Commission taking on city’s tree policy

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The newly-formed six-member Natural Resources Commission (NRC) met for their first meeting of 2022 on Jan. 10.

As a newly-created advisory commission to the Winters City Council, the commission is establishing guidelines, developing protocols, setting and understanding member roles while adhering to requirements under the Brown Act.

City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa gave commission members a concise introduction to the Brown Act and necessary compliance for member communications and sharing of materials so as not to violate provisions of the Act.

Two of the commission’s first projects were to set goals and organize a workplan. The commission’s draft workplan that was discussed at the Nov. 15, 2021 meeting included ways to move forward and implement specific project ideas.

Commission Chair Kurt Balasek said the commission discussed taking on the city’s tree policy as “sort of a manageable path to start.” Balasek previously provided commission members with a draft master tree workplan he had prepared. He felt this project would be workable as the “first one out the gate” as the commission aimed toward developing broader goals.

Commissioner Carol Scianna and Balasek were appointed to form an ad hoc committee to create a draft workplan for the city’s tree policy and present it at the February meeting. This entails review and consideration of the city’s master tree list, promoting the tree rebate program, maintenance and community outreach.

Beyond the master tree program, workplan discussions included how the committee could make recommendations to the Planning Commission on projects reviewed by the Design Review Committee, appointing an NRC member as a liaison to the Climate Action Commission and to review and make recommendations to the City on policies relevant to the NRC’s purview.

Other workplan suggestions in various stages of discussion included working with Dry Creek residents to develop a native planting plan to combat creek erosion and wildfire education and outreach. Commissioner Kate Laddish suggested adding to the next workplan draft the topic of air quality and the prospect of acquiring an air quality sensor in the City of Winters.

Balasek spoke of broader issues for future discussion for projects relating to vegetation management and groundwater.

The NRC meets regularly on the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. 

Due to holidays falling on the third Mondays in January and February, the January meeting was moved to Jan. 10 and the February meeting to Feb. 28.

Agendas and announcements can be found on the City of Winters website

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