Monterey County has committed to oak tree preservation by adopting a tree ordinance and forest preservation policies (Chapter 16.60 of the Monterey County Code and Section 21.64.260 of the Monterey County Zoning Ordinance). The County has already set aside approximately 1,572 acres as Habitat for ecosystem-level preservation and restoration of the approximately 3,709 acres of former Fort Ord that come under its land use authority. Approximately 2,103 acres are set aside for development of housing, industry and office parks. Monterey County is working with FORA now so policies and programs are in place to meet the Base Reuse Plan vision for former Fort Ord development areas so that it retains the natural beauty and historical character. The policies and programs that pertain to oaks for Monterey County are:
Biological Resources Policy B-2: As site-specific planning proceeds for Polygons 8a, 16, 17a, 19a, 21a, and 21b, the County shall coordinate with the Cities of Seaside and Marina, California State University, FORA and other interested entities in the designation of an oak woodland conservation area connecting the open space lands of the habitat management areas on the south, the oak woodland corridor in Polygons 17b and 11a on the east, and the oak woodlands surrounding the former Fort Ord landfill in Polygon 8a on the north.
Program B-2.1: For lands within the jurisdictional limits of the County that are components of the designated oak woodland conservation area, the County shall ensure that those areas are managed to maintain or enhance habitat values existing at the time of base closure so that suitable habitat is available for the range of sensitive species known or expected to use those oak woodland environments. Management measures shall include, but not be limited to maintenance of large, contiguous block of oak woodland habitat, access control, erosion control and non-native species eradication. Specific management measures should be coordinated through the CRMP.
Program B-2.2: For lands within the jurisdictional limits of the County that are components of the designated oak woodland conservation area, the County shall monitor, or cause to be monitored, those areas in conformance with the habitat management compliance monitoring protocol specified in the HMP Implementing/Management Agreement and shall submit annual monitoring reports to the CRMP.
Biological Resources Policy C-2: The County shall preserve and enhance the oak woodland elements in the natural and built environments.
Program c-2.1: The County shall cluster development wherever possible so that contiguous stands of oak trees can be maintained in the non-developed natural land areas.
Program C-2.2: The County shall apply restrictions for the preservation of oak and other protected trees in accordance with Chapter 16.60 of the Title 16 of the Monterey County Code (Ordinance 3420).
Program C-2.3: The County shall require the use of oaks and other native plant species for project landscaping. To that end, the County shall collect and propagate acorns and other plant material from the former Fort Ord oak woodlands to be used for restoration areas or as landscape plants. However, this program does not exclude the use of non-native plant species.
Program C-2.4: The County shall provide the following standards for plantings that may occur under oak trees; 1) plantings may occur within the dripline of mature trees, but only at a distance of five feet from the trunk and 2) plantings under and around oaks should be selected from the list of approved species compiled by the California Oak Foundation (see Compatible Plants Under and Around Oaks).
Program C-2.5: The County shall require that paving within the dripline of preserved oak trees be avoided wherever possible. To minimize paving impacts, the surfaces around tree trunks shall be mulched, paving materials shall be used that are permeable to water, aeration vents shall be installed in impervious pavement, and root zone excavation shall be avoided.
Recreation Policy C-1: Monterey County shall establish an oak tree protection program to ensure conservation of existing coastal live oak woodlands in large corridors within a comprehensive open space system. Locate local and regional trails within this system.