Scientists at the California Air Resources Board have nearly completed development of a 3-dimensional atmospheric and terrain model of the Oceano dunes and downwind areas of the Mesa. This model, combined with a comprehensive set of emissions data previously collected by State Parks at many locations throughout the dunes, will be 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 results of this modeling effort will allow the scientists to determine the best locations, type and amount of dust reduction measures needed to meet the requirements of Rule 1001.
State Parks released a draft EIR for their 5-year mitigation plan in August 2016, with public comments due by October 3, 2016. A copy of the EIR and APCD comments on the document and proposed 5-year plan are posted below; additional information can be found by clicking here. Since the modeling effort described above was not completed prior to State Parks’ publication of their proposed 5-year plan and Draft EIR, revisions to the plan and DEIR will likely be needed in the near future to reflect the results of the modeling.
During the 2016 spring windy season, 40 acres of wind/sand fencing were again installed by State Parks from April to July in the mid-eastern portion of the riding area in an effort to reduce particulate emissions. This is the third year of sand fence mitigation in the riding area; data analysis is currently underway to evaluate the effectiveness of this year’s dust control efforts.
The solar powered PM10 and meteorological monitoring station installed by State Parks in June of 2015 downwind of a non-riding area south of Oso Flaco Lake continues to collect valuable data. PM10 measurements from this site are compared to data collected at the APCD’s CDF Nipomo Mesa monitoring site to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of dust control strategies needed to meet the emission reduction requirements in APCD Rule 1001.
State Parks' Draft EIR - August 2016
APCD DEIR Comments - August 2016
During the 2015 spring windy season, 40 acres of wind/sand fencing were installed in the mid-eastern portion of the riding area from April to June to reduce particulate emissions. This is the second year of sand fence mitigation in the riding area; data analysis is currently underway to evaluate its effectiveness and help determine the level of mitigation needed during the coming year.
A new, solar powered PM10 and meteorological monitoring station was also installed in June by State Parks downwind of a non-riding area south of Oso Flaco Lake. PM10 data from this site will be compared to measurements at the APCD’s CDF Nipomo Mesa monitoring site to determine the level of dust control strategies needed to achieve compliance with the emission reduction requirements in the APCD Rule 1001. Those strategies will be incorporated into a 5-year dust mitigation plan currently under development.
The APCD, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of the California Department of Parks and Recreation (OHMVR or State Parks) and California Air Resources Board staff continue to meet monthly to discuss the status of existing efforts and next steps in moving forward to achieve public health protection for downwind residents, which included a status update presentation by each agency to the APCD Board at their June 17 meeting. Those presentations can be viewed below:
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.
The Air Pollution Control District has performed numerous scientific studies to determine the nature, cause and extent of the high particulate matter (PM) concentrations impacting air quality and public health on the Nipomo Mesa. Information about and links to each of those studies is provided below.
An extensive air monitoring study was performed by the APCD from April 2004 through March 2005 to better delineate the nature and extent of the high particulate matter concentrations observed on the Mesa. Comprehensive sampling of both fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) particulate matter was conducted at numerous locations across the Mesa. The results of this study are detailed in the Nipomo Mesa Particulate Study 2007 , now known as the Phase 1 Study.
The Phase 2 Study was conducted from January 2008 to March 2009 to expand on the data collected during the Phase 1 study, and to specifically determine whether off road vehicle activity is a significant contributing factor to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Riding Area (ODSVRA) dust emissions impacting the Nipomo Mesa. The results of that study are detailed in the South County Phase 2 Particulate Matter Study report published in February 2010. Technical appendices and other documents relative to the Phase 2 study, including the raw data collected during the study, are available here.
The goal of this project was to map the spatial extent and concentration gradient of the ODSVRA dust plume during high wind conditions to better understand its impacts on Nipomo Mesa and Oceano neighborhoods. The data collected was used to develop more detailed air quality forecasts for those areas and enhance the ability of local residents to individually determine if protective actions might be needed on high PM days. The results of this study are detailed in the South County Community Monitoring Project final report, published in January 2013. Technical appendices and other documents relative to the Community Monitoring Project, including the raw data collected during the study, are available here.
The OHMVR Division of the California Department of Parks and Recreation has conducted several studies at the ODSVRA to further evaluate dust impacts, mitigation and air monitoring issues relative to meeting the requirements of APCD Rule 1001. Information about and links to each of those studies is provided below.
OHMVR conducted a comprehensive monitoring study in the spring and summer of 2013 to evaluate potential differences in the emissions and air quality impacts between the riding and non-riding areas of the ODSVRA, and to determine appropriate locations to site air monitoring stations and dust mitigation measures . The results of those studies are detailed in the two documents listed below. The raw data for each of these documents can be obtained by contacting OHMVR.
In 2011, APCD and State Parks jointly funded a study by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) to design and test various dust reduction control strategies at the ODVSRA. Three strategies were evaluated for their effectiveness in reducing dust emissions: enhanced surface roughness, planting vegetation and changing vehicle activity patterns. The results of this study were detailed in the September 2011 publication of the Oceano Dunes Pilot Projects report.
Revegetation is an important dust reduction strategy at the ODSVRA. In 2007, State Parks published a comprehensive study of vegetation coverage within the ODSVRA, including the influence of offroad vehicle activity on dune vegetation. This study, conducted by the California Geological Survey (CGS), provides detailed descriptions of historical and recent revegetation efforts, and recommendations for ensuring future revegetation efforts are successful. The results of this study can be found in an August 2007 CGS report.