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Across the street from the library building site, a construction staging area in Frazier Mountain Park has building materials stacked under the driplines of two oak trees. This photo was taken Tuesday, June 29, well after the harm coming from such practices has been demonstrated by loss of two heritage oaks June 12.
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Token tree fences encircle the trunk rather than the dripline of the trees at the construction staging areas in Frazier Mountain Park on Tuesday, June 29.
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A construction lift operator drives his vehicle under the dripline of a large oak tree at the library site on June 29, thirty minutes after the subcommittee meeting. No dripline fence was in place.
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On Thursday and Friday, July 1 and 2, new orange fencing was installed which protects oaks at the construction site from further damage. [photos by Gary Meyer of The Mountain Enterprise]
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New orange fencing around oaks at the eastern edge of the library parking lot was installed Thursday and Friday, July 1 and 2. [photo by Gary Meyer of The Mountain Enterprise]
UPDATE (Saturday, July 3, 2010)–New orange fencing appeared protecting the remaining oaks at the library construction site and at the staging area across Park Drive, on Thursday and Friday, July 1 and 2. The new fencing offers a wide area of protection from vehicle traffic and storage of construction materials which were harming the oaks by compacting the soils over the trees’ roots. See photo numbers 4 and 5, added to the picture viewer at right.
By Gary Meyer and Patric Hedlund
At the very moment that Matthew Pontes from Kern County General Services was meeting Tuesday, June 29 in a community subcommittee about the destruction of two Valley oaks, 200-400 years old at the Kern County Branch Library building site June 12, other similar trees were still being put in danger of being killed by the construction practices at the site.
The contractor, Tilton Pacific Construction, is continuing to operate without employing industry-standard measures to safeguard trees. Photos were taken by The Mountain Enterprise on Friday, June 25, Tuesday, June 29 and Wednesday, June 30 to show that the areas under the boughs of the trees are being used as construction staging zones and to store construction materials, compacting the soil beneath the trees.
According to urban foresters, the area under the boughs is defined as the “dripline,” and the most critical roots underground that allow the tree to breath, secure moisture and nutrients extend out in parallel with the spread of the branches above. The soil within the dripline needs to stay loose to aerate and nourish the oaks.
It appears that Kern County Construction Services is still not holding the contractor to basic standards necessary to protect the trees.
The “tree fences” around the oaks on site and in adjacent areas of Frazier Mountain Park as we go to press are erected close to the trunks of the trees rather than about 15-20 feet out, beneath the dripline, as they should be.
Attempts to speak with Tilton Pacific Construction on Wednesday, June 30 at their Rocklin, CA offices were referred to the job supervisor, Robert Santana. Calls to Santana on his personal cell phone were not returned Wednesday, and an attempt to speak with him Wednesday morning at the building site were met with his statement to our reporter that he did not wish to speak with the local newspaper.
This is part of the July 02, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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