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Using the Public Works Plan in California’s Coastal Zone

Thursday, January 25th, 2:00 – 4:00pm

This webinar was an opportunity to learn about using the Public Works Plan (PWP) in California's Coastal Zone from representatives at Ascent, CA Coastal Commission, and San Mateo Resource Conservation District. Participants increased their understanding of how to implement fuels and vegetation management projects using the Public Works Plan (PWP) in California’s Coastal Zone. 

Tammie Beyerl, Senior Biologist at Ascent, gave an overview of the California Vegetation Treatment Plan (CalVTP) and provided a consultant's perspective of the PWP process. Jim Robins, Senior Technical Director at the San Mateo Resource Conservation District (RCD), shared some history and salient lessons learned using the PWP. Mary Matella, Environmental Scientist at the CA Coastal Commission, described fundamental elements of the PWP pathway for forest health and fire resilience treatments in the coastal zone. Lauren Garske-Garcia, Senior Ecologist at the CA Coastal Commission, explained the Coastal Vegetation Treatment Standards (CVTS) and how this can be a powerful model for future efforts. David Cowman, Forest Ecologist at the San Mateo RCD, provided a practitioner's perspective of the PWP and CalVTP.

Webinar Agenda
Time Item
2:00pm Webinar begins
  Tammie Beyerl: CalVTP Program EIR – A CEQA Streamlining Tool to Expedite Wildfire Resilience Projects
  Jim Robins: Why a PWP?
  Mary Matella: The nuts and bolts of forest health and fire resilience PWPs
  Lauren Garske-Garcia: The development and evolution of Coastal Vegetation Treatment Standards
  Tammie Beyerl: Analyzing Local Coastal Plan Consistency through Coastal Vegetation Treatment Standards - A Consultant’s Perspective of the Process
  David Cowman: Public Works Plans: A Practitioner’s Perspective
  Group Q&A

Webinar ends


Tammie Beyerl, Senior Biologist, Ascent

Tammie Beyerl is a botanist and vegetation ecologist with 20 years of experience working throughout California. She manages and supports the preparation of environmental impact reports and other environmental documents for resource management programs and led preparation of the biological resources section for the CalVTP Program EIR. She is actively assisting public agencies with CalVTP project-specific analyses, Public Works Plans, and Coastal Vegetation Treatment Standards that expedite the implementation of forest health and fire fuel management projects.

Jim Robins, Senior Technical Director, San Mateo RCD 

Jim Robins is the principal and owner of Alnus Ecological and functions as the Senior Technical Director for the San Mateo Resource Conservation District. Jim has extensive experience in water resource management and conservation planning; riparian, wetland and stream ecology; ecological restoration; and environmental compliance for conservation actions.  Much of his professional experience has focused on the synthesis and application of ecological data and principles to solving complex resource problems ranging from balancing water supply, flood control and biological systems to the development of programmatic permits to facilitate implementation of high priority multi-benefit conservation projects.   Jim was instrumental in developing the Central Coast Integrated Watershed Restoration Program, a collaborative conservation program developed to proactively engage state, federal and local resource agency staff in identification, design, permitting and implementation restoration projects across the region.  In addition to his work as an ecological restoration practitioner, Jim has also been working through the California Landscape Stewardship Network with the Secretary Crowfoot and Deputy Secretary Norris of the Resources Agency on Cutting Green Tape, an initiative focused on working across state agencies to identify and implement efficiencies in permitting and compliance to increase the pace and scale of conservation work across the state. Finally, Jim is also one of the founders and on the advisory Board for the Ecological Workforce Initiative, which among other things, provides educational opportunities for trade workers working in the ecological restoration sector.  

Mary Matella, Environmental Scientist, CA Coastal Commission

Mary Matella is an Environmental Scientist with the California Coastal Commission's Statewide Planning Unit. She completed her PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley, with a focus on climate change and ecosystem restoration. Her work at the Coastal Commission includes supporting planning to prepare for and respond to coastal hazards, including wildfires, and she has experience with Public Works Plans used to increase the pace and scale of vegetation treatment to streamline wildfire resilience projects in the coastal zone.

Lauren Garske-Garcia, Senior Ecologist, CA Coastal Commission

Lauren Garske-Garcia is a Senior Ecologist within the California Coastal Commission’s Technical Services Unit, where she serves as a technical expert supporting analytical review for planning and permitting activities as well as a representative on various technical bodies with agency partners and academics to address critical ecological issues throughout our coast. Her work ranges from ridgetops to offshore seas, though recent years have necessitated particular attention to fire resilience issues. Lauren earned her PhD in Ecology at UC Davis, where her research emphasized interdisciplinary approaches to inform complex socio-ecological challenges in California and across the US.

David Cowman, Forest Ecologist, San Mateo RCD

David Cowman is a Forest Ecologist with the San Mateo Resource Conservation District (RCD). Before joining the RCD, David spent five years with California State Parks in the Santa Cruz district in the natural resource management program. He joined the RCD in October of 2020, following the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. David holds a bachelor's degree from UC Santa Cruz and a Master of Science degree from San Jose State, where he studied the effects of prescribed fire on old-growth coast redwood stands in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Currently, as the forest ecologist for the RCD, David helps to plan, permit, and manage large-scale forest health projects throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains and greater central coast, for both public and private land managers. He has significant experience in prescribed fire, forest ecology, forest and wildfire resiliency, as well as managing all phases of large-scale forest management projects.  This includes navigating complex regulatory systems, managing budgets and contracts, performing and coordinating wildlife surveys, and on-the-ground management of contractors.

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