San Luis Obispo Chapter


Protect Oceano Dunes

Surfrider SLO is a member of the Dunes Alliance, a coalition of community and environmental organizations active on the California Central Coast and dedicated to the safe and environmentally-sustainable use and enjoyment of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex, which stretches from Pismo Beach to Point Sal and includes the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area and the Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area.

Latest News

6/24/2020 – The public had an opportunity to share comments with the California Ocean Protection Council in an effort to protect the Oceano Dunes from offroading vehicular access.

Snowy Plover populations are beginning to thrive, and residents can access the coast safely. Therefore, we encourage the public to submit comments and speak up about protecting your favorite local landmarks. See the current comments below.

Public Comments

Dunes Alliance Objectives

  • The implementation of all of the California Coastal Commission’s July 11, 2019, recommendations to improve the management and operation of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA) and move toward full compliance with the Local Coastal Plan and California Coastal Act;
  • The implementation of the Stipulated Abatement Order of April 2018 between the SLO County Air Pollution Control District and California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division to reduce dust emissions from the ODSVRA by 50% by 2023 to improve air quality for neighboring residents;
  • The implementation of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the ODSVRA, which will protect endangered animal and plant species within the ODSVRA, including the western snowy plover, California least tern, steelhead trout, and tidewater goby;
  • The continued conservation and protection of the Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area, with no use of its land for any off-highway motor vehicle activity, including a vehicle staging area, entrance to the ODSVRA, kids track, new maintenance facilities, and other activities as proposed in OHMVR Division’s preliminary Public Works Plan (PWP); and
  • The implementation of other measures to ensure that the management and operation of the entire Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex are based on a safe, environmentally and economically just, responsible, and sustainable public access program that respects neighboring communities, citizens, laborers, visitors, and cultural heritage, and complies with the California Coastal Act.

Surfrider SLO encourages State Parks OHMVR Division to implement the following changes to the ODSVRA:

  • Only governmental motor vehicles allowed to operate in the park
  • Pier and Grand Ave entrances closed to non-governmental vehicles and beach/dunes restored at those locations
  • Preservation of Oso Flaco as a nature reserve
  • Enhancement of light-footprint recreational opportunities (e.g. hiking, tent camping, surfing, sandboarding, birdwatching, etc.)
  • Restoration of foredunes, dune vegetation, and healthy beach and dune environment
  • Enhanced protection of culturally- and environmentally-sensitive areas and wildlife.

Oceano Dunes can and should become the environmental gem that’s now hidden beneath tire tracks.

Past News

May 24 2020 – Surfrider SLO does not support vehicular recreation as an appropriate use within Environmentally Sensitive Habitat of Oceano Dunes. The threat of vehicles striking or harassing marine mammals or protected species amongst other local concerns can be reduced or avoided with consideration of alternative access to Oceano Dunes.

In the letter to the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) we ask for their organization to provide “Robust alternatives analysis” on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Oceano Dunes District Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). We request that all guidelines are consistent with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Pictures from November 29, 2019: Oceano Dunes near Arroyo Grande Creek

March 2020 – At the March 2020 California Coastal Commission (CCC) meeting, Oceano Dunes advocate and volunteer, Jennifer, spoke in support of the dunes and ensuring the laws protecting the dunes are followed.

Protection of the foredunes and their multiple benefits should be a priority for the State Park and the CCC. However, off-roading recreational activities are not restricted and continue to harm the dunes fragile ecosystems. Stay in touch for further updates and action alerts!

See 00:28:00 for Jennifer’s comments to protect the dunes:

Read our January letter on the latest PWP concepts here.