The entire Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is a unique ecological gem that is critical habitat to hundreds of coastal species and provides protection for 63 federal and state listed species.
Audubon California encourages the California Coastal Commission to take a hard look at the future of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA) and the coastal resource issues and constraints such as air quality and public health, rare and endangered species and their habitats, and tribal and environmental justice concerns. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use at the park has continued to cause harm to, and death of, Endangered Species Act protected species - which is illegal “take” of these species under State and Federal law.
Although State Parks have implemented a variety of sensitive species management techniques, these have not been enough to ensure that these rare species and habitats are fully given the protections that are required under State and Federal law. This continued and ongoing take, which is prohibited under the Endangered Species Act, indicate the need for this Commission to exercise its given discretion to modify an outdated and interim management plan. It is also time to encourage State Parks to complete its Habitat Conservation Plan and develop, and expedite, a Public Works Plan for the entire park that includes a full and fair stakeholder process.
Here are the top 8 reasons this area is an irreplaceable resource:
Critical habitat along the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds
Numerous Special Status bird species known to breed here and many more California Bird Species of Special Concern found here
Oso Flaco area is the hottest “hotspot” in San Luis Obispo County for birding according to “eBird” with nearly 300 bird species and 2000 checklists reported
Oso Flaco area is part of the Santa Maria River Valley Important Bird Area (IBA), designated by the National Audubon Society because of the unique habitats in the riparian, dunes, and beach areas, and the number of sensitive species these habitats support, including the Western snowy plover, California least tern, Steelhead trout, and Tidewater goby.
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes is one of 36 National Natural Landmarks in California. This program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States
1980 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designation as the most unique and fragile ecosystem in California, ranking #1 on a list of habitats in need of protection
The region contains the largest concentration of Class I and Class II soils in San Luis Obispo County, classified as prime agricultural land under the Coastal Act
The Dunes Complex, including the entire ODSVRA, has been designated as an environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA). The Coastal Act defines ESHA as: Any area in which plant or animal life or their habitats are either rare or especially valuable because of their special nature or role in the ecosystem and which could be easily disturbed or degraded by human activities and development.