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To provide Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and the public with a unique interdisciplinary environment in which to foster the Learn by Doing philosophy by providing educational experiences on a working ranch, supporting diversified agriculture and forest resources while maintaining the integrity of ranch operations.

  —Our Mission

CalVTP & PWP in Practice: Covell Ranch Forest Health Fuels Reduction

Join the Fuels and Vegetation Education team and partners Auten Resource Consulting and Rincon Consultants to learn from this very successful vegetation and fuels management project in California's coastal zone. This webinar explored the planning and permitting pathways of a highly successful project. Experts Steve Auten and Andy Johnson presented about their experiences with the Covell Ranch Forest Health Fuels Reduction project in Cambria, California. They covered the Project Specific Analysis (PSA) for the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) and the Public Works Plan (PWP), a permitting pathway in the Coastal Zone.

Navigating the development of a Project Specific Analysis (PSA) for the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) requires a deep dive into a newly created regulatory world. Many resource professionals are recognizing quickly that creating a solid project vision and description that fits within the Standard Project Requirements (SPR) of the Cal VTP is the first and most important step.

A Public Works Plan is a permitting pathway allowing the use of the new California-Vegetation Treatment Program, a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report for proactive wildfire prevention treatments within the coastal zone. The PWP is a 10-year agreement with structural elements developed within the framework of the California Coastal Commission's guidelines for projects occurring in the coastal zone.

Steve Auten's CalVTP Presentation Slides

Andrew Johnson's PWP Presentation Slides

Link to the Covell Ranch Forest Health Fuels Reduction Project CalVTP Project Specific Analysis (PSA)

Link to the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD Forest Health and Fire Resilience Public Works Plan (PWP)


Steve Auten, RPF #2734, Owner of Auten Resource Consulting 

ARC owner and forester Steve Auten has managed forestland, chaparral, grassland, and riparian habitats on agricultural operations and large landownerships for over 21 years in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mr. Auten is a Registered Professional Forester of 19 years with a master's degree in Forestry, focusing on wildfire tree mortality. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry with a concentration in Wildlife. Both degrees are from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Upon graduation, Mr. Auten worked as a forester for Big Creek Lumber Company for 5 years and then worked as a forester and operations manager for Cal Poly Swanton Pacific Ranch for 14 years. ARC opened its doors on August 5th, 2019 with the intent of making a difference in forestry, fuels, and resource management in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Mr. Auten is well-versed in many aspects of land stewardship and operating on large ownerships under multiple resource disciplines that consider sensitive resources, evaluating operational infrastructure, prescribing and supervising land stewardship treatments, mapping, permitting, agency negotiations, long term planning and budgeting, rural facility and emergency management, sustainability and certification, and carbon analysis. His unique experiences in stewarding diverse and sensitive ecosystems while managing a balance of economic, social, and biological aspects make him and ARC the right choice for Wildfire Risk Reduction Assessments and/or Planning, Landscape Level Forest Health Fuel Reduction, and general forestry and land management services.

Andrew Johnson, Senior Wildfire Planner at Rincon Consultants

Andrew has a B.S. in Forestry and Natural Resource Management from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo with extensive experience in GIS, project design, budget management, project permitting, grant writing, implementation oversight, and sundry field data collection roles. He has managed broad ranging projects including soil health improvement, erosion control, agricultural water use, fire and wildland fuel management, carbon farm planning and more. 

Andrew has served as the co-chair of the San Luis Obispo Weed Management Area, represented the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District on the board of directors of the SLO FireSafe Council, and was the regional representative of the Joint Forestry Subcommittee for the California Association of RCDs. Andrew led the development of the California Coastal Commission Public Works Plan for the northern coast of San Luis Obispo County. The adoption of this plan allowed for the use of the Cal-VTP Programmatic Environmental Impact Report as a tool for proactive fuels reduction and forest health in San Luis Obispo County. 

In their free time Andrew and his wife can be found surfing on the central coast, rock climbing in the Sierra Nevada, or more realistically these days hanging out with their baby in their vegetable garden. Andrew's goal is to work toward resource protection while integrating natural resources management for human involvement. 

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