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Oceano Dunes Dust

June 2017 Update

Scientists at the California Air Resources Board will present their 3-dimensional atmospheric and terrain model of the Oceano dunes and downwind areas of the Nipomo Mesa at the APCD Board Meeting on June 21, 2017.  This model incorporates a comprehensive set of emissions and meteorological data collected by State Parks and APCD; it is now being used by a joint technical committee of the APCD, State Parks and CARB scientists to evaluate the potential airborne particulate concentrations downwind of the dunes under different emissions and meteorological scenarios.  The model results will help determine the best locations, type and amount of dust reduction measures needed to protect public health and meet the requirements of Rule 1001.

Since the modeling effort described above was not completed prior to State Parks’ publication of their proposed 5-year dust control plan and EIR (links posted below), revisions to that plan and EIR will likely be needed in the near future to reflect the results of the modeling. State Parks is in the process of seeking a permit for their 5-year plan from the California Coastal Commission, who has its own CEQA-equivalent public process that must be completed.

State Parks' Dust Control Program & EIR

APCD DEIR Comments - August 2016

During the 2017 spring wind season, approximately 50 acres of wind/sand fencing were scheduled to be installed by State Parks in the La Grande tract portion of the riding area in an effort to reduce particulate emissions during the April to July months when dust generation from the dunes is highest. Unfortunately, only 20 acres of the fencing was installed; the remaining 30 acres of fencing was not installed and State Parks has stated the full dust control project will not be completed this year. In addition, the non-riding area monitor southeast of Oso Flaco Lake was dismantled by State Parks in December 2016. This monitor is required by Rule 1001 and was taken down without prior approval of APCD; it was reinstalled to operational status on March 25, 2017.

Unauthorized removal of the monitor and failure to fully implement the sand fencing dust control project are both violations of APCD Rule 1001. State Parks has been issued a Notice of Violation by APCD for these violations (posted here); the two agencies are currently working to resolve these issues. Also available is a May 15, 2017 letter from the SLO County Health Commission. 

A new state-of-the-art full scale mobile monitoring station was purchased by APCD through an EPA grant and was placed into service at the end of May 2017. The station measures PM10, PM2.5 and weather data and is currently stationed at Kathleen’s Landing on the Nipomo Mesa, about ½ mile north of the CDF monitoring site. It will be used to further define dust impact areas throughout the Mesa and can also be deployed for special studies countywide, such as air pollution episodes from wildfires.

Coastal Dunes Dust Rule and Consent Decree

The APCD Rule 1001, Coastal Dunes Dust Control Requirements, requires implementation of dust control measures and air monitoring for coastal dunes where vehicle activity occurs. The Rule, staff report, Board presentation and documents related to implementation of the Rule can be downloaded from the links below:

In addition to the Rule, the APCD and OHMVR entered into a formal agreement that describes how the Rule will be implemented and provides for a formal dispute resolution process between the parties. This Consent Decree Agreement was adopted by the APCD in September 2014.