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Oceano Dunes Particulate Emissions Reduction Efforts

Over the past 10 years, both the Air Pollution Control District and the OHV Division of State Parks have 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. In April 2018, a Stipulated Abatement Order was approved by the APCD Hearing Board. For more information on the numerous studies and all related documents, please click here

Efforts to reduce particulate matter on the Nipomo Mesa are underway through Stipulated Abatement Order 17-01 entered between the San Luis Obispo County APCD and California Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (State Parks). The Order was approved by the APCD Hearing Board on April 30, 2018. This stipulated abatement order calls out specific actions to ensure significant reductions in particulate matter are achieved on the Nipomo Mesa over a five-year period. These actions include:

  • Formation of a Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) made up of experts in the fields of dune morphology, native plant cultivation and horticulture, as well as other fields, who will provide assistance to State Parks and the District in developing thoughtful and effective strategies to reduce dust.
  • Development of a Particulate Matter Reduction Plan (Plan) in the Fall of 2018 aimed at achieving state and federal ambient PM10 air quality standards.
  • Public outreach and inclusion in the form of workshops in the Winter/Spring of 2019 to review the draft Work Plan and solicit public comments and participation in review of the of the draft plan and SAG recommendations.
  • Integration of SAG and public comments into the Plan during the Spring of 2019.

An annual Report and Work Plan will be prepared with assistance from the SAG for each year of the five-year term of the Particulate Matter Reduction Plan for the Air Pollution Control Officer’s (APCO) approval. Each report will fulfill the following requirements:

  • Annual reports will review the dust controls implemented over the previous year, and using metrics specified in the approved Plan, will compare acheivements to increments of progress requirements approved in the previous Report.
  • Include increments of progress using tracking metric supplied in the approved Plan.
  • Provide for additional metrics to assess mitigation progress with input from the SAG.
  • Consideration of SAG recommendations for the mitigation techniques proposed in the annual Report.
  • Air quality modeling will be used to estimate the reductions of PM10 concentrations in populated areas due east of the ODSVRA on the Nipomo Mesa.
  • Detailed implementation schedules with deadlines associated with physical deployment of the mitigation, with duration of mitigation and anticipated impacts to emission reductions detailed
  • Methods to assess progress towards emission reductions.

The APCO will determine approvability of the Annual Reports and Work Plans (Reports) through the following process:

  • Draft reports will be submitted by State Parks to the APCO and SAG by August 1 of each year from 2019 through 2022.
  • The SAG will review each annual Report and submit comments to the APCO regarding the proposed control activities and recommendations for modifications to the proposed control activities no later than September 1 of each affective year.
  • After the SAG comments are incorporated, public workshop(s) will be held to review the Draft Work Plan and to receive public comment.
  • Upon conclusion of the public workshop the APCO will either approve the draft Work Plan or return the Work Plan to State Parks with an itemization of specific deficiencies for correction and reconsideration subsequent to the solicitation of public comments.
  • In October of each year from 2019 through 2022, the Hearing Board, upon request by the Chair or any two members, may convene a meeting to receive an informational update on the Report.