The Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) board approved a proposal from Hernandez Environmental Services to provide focused biological surveys at the Gird Road property the district plans to use as the new location for Bonsall High School.
The BUSD board voted 3-2 Dec. 8 to approve the $38,810 contract, which will be reduced by $8,000 if wetland permit applications are not required, with the Lake Elsinore firm. Timothy Coen, Erin English, and Lou Riddle voted in favor of the proposal while Dick Olson and Sylvia Tucker cast votes against the motion.
“We’ve got to go through some of the seasons to get through the biological impacts,” said BUSD superintendent Justin Cunningham.
Bonsall High School currently utilizes a two-story building on the Sullivan Middle School campus. Contingent upon the prerequisites, including environmental approval and construction funding, the district will build a high school on the 50-acre site off of Gird Road and the two-story building will be used to accommodate middle school growth.
The April 14 BUSD board meeting included a 5-0 vote to approve a contract with School Site Solutions for an initial study to help determine the necessary level of environmental compliance. A BUSD special meeting November 10 included the acceptance of the initial study which outlined the need for focused biological surveys during blooming and nesting seasons.
The Hernandez Environmental Services proposal is divided into 13 tasks along with the potential 14th task of the wetland permit applications. The literature review task, for which up to $200 is authorized, will review the technical reports and environmental documents associated with the proposed project and the surrounding area if applicable.
A rare plant survey costing no more than $5,500 will include a literature search to determine the vicinity’s known locations of plants with protected status, a visit to accessible reference populations, systematic surveys of the site which are scheduled for April and May although precipitation issues may necessitate date changes, and preparation of a report with the results.
The Southwestern Willow Flycatcher focused survey and report will cost no more than $4,550 and will include five sweeps between May 15 and July 17. That is also the maximum cost of the Least Bell’s Vireo survey and report which includes eight sweeps between April 10 and July 31. Four sweeps between June 15 and August 10 will allow for the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo survey and report which has a cost limit of $3,150.
Phase I of the Burrowing Owl habitat assessment will include a walking survey to determine suitable habitat and has a fixed cost of $800. Phases II and III of those surveys will have a fixed cost of $2,400 and will provide four site visits. The survey report has a fixed cost of $800.
The Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat and Dulzura Pocket Mouse habitat assessment and report will cost the school district a fixed amount of $1,200. The fixed cost of $1,800 will provide an assessment and report on the potential presence of bat species. The nesting bird surveys between Feb. 1 and Sept. 30, which will include an evaluation of the effect of construction noise on nesting birds and recommendations for avoidance or noise attenuation, have a fixed cost of $2,100.
The draft environmental document may result in comments which would require responses, and that task which also includes general coordination and meetings with the project team will be performed for no more than $1,360. A study and report assessing the presence of oak trees will have a maximum cost of $2,400.
If wetland permit applications are required, the cost of no more than $8,000 will provide for preparation of permits and coordination including document editing and distribution.
Cunningham expects the environmental document to be a Negative Declaration or a Mitigated Negative Declaration.
“The indicators are pretty good,” he said.
The results of the focused biological surveys will determine whether the presence of any species would require an Environmental Impact Report.
“Those things tend to crop up,” Cunningham said. “There’s all kinds of different things that we’ve got to be aware of.”