Interested in seeing all the steps that have been taken to reduce particulate matter on the NIpomo Mesa? We have developed a comprehensive flow-chart to help you better understand the efforts that have been completed and are underway. Click here to view.
The APCD Hearing Board is a five member quasi-judicial body whose purpose is to decide on matters of conflict between the Air District and industry and to act at the time of an air pollution emergency resulting from an upset or breakdown. The Hearing Board is an independent body, appointed at-large by the APCD Board and consists of an attorney practicing law in California, a registered professional engineer, a member of the medical profession, and two public members.
To see the Hearing Board's current matter related to the Oceano Dunes, Stipulated Order of Abatement 17-01, click here.
In response to questions from the public about the effectiveness of dust controls on the ODSVRA, the District has prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions document.
In accord with the conditions of approval of the 2023 ARWP, the SAG provided recommended assumptions for establishing emissivity grids to be used in modeling of pre-disturbance conditions and future excess emissions reductions. State Parks has concurred with these recommendations and the District has approved them.
SAG Memo Emissivity Grid Cover Letter
SAG Modeling Memo
SAG Memo - Response to APCD and CDPR on Comments Regarding June 21 Emissivity Grid Proposal
SAG Memo - Analysis of PI-SWERL Measurements in Plover Exclosure Area
State Parks' Concurrence with SAG Recommendations
DRI Analysis of Divergent Results from 2023 ARWP modeling
Approval of Emissivity Assumptions, February 8, 2024
On August 1st, State Parks submitted their first Draft Annual Report and Work Plan (ARWP). The report was subsequently reviewed by the SLO County APCD and the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG). A second draft was submitted in September 2023, and the Air Pollution Control Officer has determined that the ARWP is provisionally approvable the end of September 2023. A Hearing Board Meeting and Public Workshop will be held on October 13, 2023. After considering comments received at the the workshop, the APCO will make a final decision on the ARWP. Approval of the ARWP may include conditions imposed by the APCO. See below for the Provisional Approved ARWP, various drafts and associated documents.
Conditional Approval ARWP
Provisional Final ARWP
Provisional Final 2023 ARWP Cover Letter
Provisional Final 2023 ARWP
Provisional Final 2023 ARWP Attachments
Attachment 04: Increments of Progress Toward Air Quality Objectives (received January 23, 2024)
Second Draft ARWP
Second Draft 2023 ARWP
Revised 2023 ARWP Cover Letter
Second Draft 2023 ARWP Attachments
SAG Comments on Second Draft 2023 ARWP
SAG Memo - Summary of Executive Discussion
Provisional Approval of the Second Draft 2023 ARWP
In September the California Air Resources Board provided a letter to the SLO County APCD Board concerning Oceano Dunes PM10 measurements and progress.
SAG Memo on Emissivity Grids
First Draft ARWP and Reviews
Scientists from the Desert Research Institute and SLO County APCD staff collaborated on a study titled "Quantifying the Source Attribution of PM10 Measured Downwind of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area," which has now been published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Atmosphere. Lead author Jack Gillies is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group. The study concludes that "On days when the 24 h PM10 concentration equaled or exceeded the State of California Standard at the CDF monitoring station, mineral dust was a consequential contributor....The source of this component of the PM10 is attributable to the wind-driven saltation and dust-emission processes within the ODSVRA."
The Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) has prepared a "State of the Science" Report, which summarizes and synthesizes all of the various reports, studies, and other publicly available materials relevant to the Oceano Dunes dust issue and mitigation measures. This report was prepared independently by the SAG. The participation of the APCD and State Parks was limited to providing comments on a draft version.
On August 1st, State Parks submitted their first 2022 Draft Annual Report and Work Plan. The report was subsequently reviewed by the SLO County APCD and the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG). A second draft was submitted on September 14, 2022, and the Air Pollution Control Officer has determined that the ARWP is provisionally approvable. A Hearing Board Meeting and Public Workshop will be held on October 14, 2022. After considering comments received at the the workshop, the APCO will make a final decision on the ARWP. Approval of the ARWP may include conditions imposed by the APCO. See below for the ARWP drafts and associated documents.
First Draft and Reviews:
Draft 2022 ARWP
ARWP Cover Letter
Draft 2022 ARWP Attachments Document
Scientific Advisory Group's Comments/Review of the Draft 2022 Annual Report and Work Plan
SLO County APCD Draft ARWP Cover Letter
SLO County APCD Comments on Draft ARWP
Second Draft and Reviews:
Materials Related to October 14, 2022 Hearing Board Meeting on SOA 17-01
Legal Notice & Mailing Affidavit
Hearing Board Meeting and Public Workshop Press Release
Application to Modify Stipulation Order of Abatement #17-01
Proposed Order to Modify Existing Stipulated Order of Abatement #17-01
Final Filed Order to Modify Existing Stipulated Order of Abatement #17-01 - filed Oct 18, 2022
Final Approval Letter for the ARPWP
A 2022 paper titled "The role of off highway vehicle activity in augmenting dust emissions at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, Oceano CA" has been published by Atmospheric Environment: X by authors; Gillies, J.A., E. Furtak-Cole, G. Nikolich, V. Etyemezian. J. A. Gillies is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Group and all authors are in the Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, in either Reno or Las Vegas, Nevada.
The SLO County APCD and the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) have issued a reponse to the State Parks OHV Division's funded document "Scripps/UCSD Interim Report 2021," by Dr. Lynn Russell. To see the responses click the links below.
2021 Draft Annual Report and Work Plan Documents for the Oceano Dunes SVRA
On August 2nd, State Parks submitted an initial draft 2021 Annual Report and Work Plan (ARWP) to the APCD and the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG). The SAG and APCD provided feedback, and in response State Parks, submitted a second draft on September 14, 2021. The SAG and the APCD have reviewed the draft, and the District has conditionally provisionally approved the plan and scheduled a Public Workshop for October 14, 2021. See below for the ARWP drafts and associated documents.
State Parks' First Draft 2021 Annual Report and Work Plan (August 2, 2021)
Scientific Advisory Group Comments on the ARWP (August 16, 2021)
APCD Comments on the ARWP (August 24, 2021)
State Parks' Fall Workshop Draft (September 14, 2021)
Scientific Advisory Group's Comments on Workshop Draft (September 24, 2021)
APCD's Provisional Approval of Parks' ARWP (September 24, 2021)
Hearing Board Press Release & Workshop Notification (September 29, 2021)
Workshop Draft of ARWP (October 1, 2021)
Approval of 2021 Annual Report and Work Plan in Response to SOA (October 20, 2021)
The SLO County APCD has provided comments to the California Department of Parks and Recreation on their draft Public Works Plan and Environmental Impact Report for Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes. The District has also provided comments to the California Coastal Commission on their review of the Coastal Development Permit for the Oceano Dunes. To see the comment letters, click the links below
The SLO County APCD has issued conditional approval of 90 acres of dust control to be implemented by California Department of Parks and Recreation as part of their 2020 Annual Report and Work Plan in response to to Stipulated Order of Abatement #17-01. To see the approval letter and supplemental documentation, click the link below.
The SLO County APCD has issued comments related to the September 2020 OHV Commissioned Scripps Report. To see the response and transmittal letter documents, cilck the links below.
SLO County APCD has issued a Conditional Approval of the California State Parks and Recreation's 2020 Annual Report and Workplan in response to Stipulated Order of Abatement Number 17-01.
SLO County APCD has provided a Provisional Approval of the California Department of Parks and Recreation's September 30, 2020 draft of the 2020 Annual Report and Work Plan in response to the Stipulated Order of Abatement Number 17-01. A Public Workshop is scheduled to occur during the October 23, 2020 APCD Hearing Board Meeting as part of the SVRA informational update. The meeting and public workshop will be held remotely using teleconference and/or ZOOM. The format for the workshop portion of the meeting will include a presentation of the draft AWRP by State Parks, presentation on the adequacy of the ARWP and effectiveness of the mitigation by the SAG and a summary of the process by APCD. The AWRP will not be finalized until after the workshop comments are received and considered.
Draft 2020 Annual Report and Work Plan Documents for the Oceano Dunes SVRA
State Parks provided the 2020 Draft ARWP and attachments (below), and based on Scientific Advisory Group and SLO County APCD review of the first draft, the ARWP was deemed not acceptable in its current form. The SLO County APCD believes that the ARWP can be revised in time to approve and implement the winter 2020/2021 mitigations, however we must move quickly to revise the ARWP to meet required timelines. THe APCD, Parks and SAG anticipate coming to an agreement on a provisionally approvable ARWP in early October and holding a public workshop before or during the October 23, 2020 Hearing Board update meeting.
SLO County APCD staff has received several inquiries by the community regarding air quality downwind of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreational Area (Oceano Dunes), SLO County APCD has developed a Frequently Asked Questions Guide (FAQ Guide) to help answer questions and help the public understand what immediate and long-term impacts may be realized from the COVID-19 related temporary closure of the Oceano Dunes.
At the May 29 APCD Board Meeting the Scientific Advisory Group provided a presentation on the Oceano Dunes mitigation efforts. The presentation is linked below in PDF format.
As mentioned in our April 1 update, the Governor ordered the full closure of California State Parks to all recreational vehicular traffic effective March 29, 2020. Currently, recreational access to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreational Area (Oceano Dunes) is limited to non-campground and non-vehicular uses of outdoor areas. The sole motivation for these temporary changes is the need to reduce crowding and disease transmission to address the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.
SLO County APCD staff has received several inquiries as to what immediate and long-term impacts may be realized from the temporary closure of the Oceano Dunes.
The SAG has developed a formal letter and guidance on this topic, and it can be found here.
In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and statewide restrictions on non-essential activities, the APCD has closed its office to walk-in traffic and most staff are working remotely. The District's network of permanent air quality monitors continues to operate without interruption, including the CDF, Mesa2, NRP, and Oso Flaco stations near the Oceano Dunes Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park. In addition, all of the District's temporary monitors on the Nipomo Mesa continue to operate. The real-time data is still available on our website (www.slocleanair.org), www.airnow.gov, and through all the usual sites and apps that the public uses. AirAware blowing dust alerts will continue.
During the temporary closure of the OHV Park, the extensive network of monitors on the dunes and behind them are well suited to obtain emissions data. Although we are hopeful to see some immediate reductions in particulate emissions, we don’t expect the effects of long-term activity will disappear in a few weeks or months.
In addition, all mitigation and monitoring projects that State Parks committed to implement in 2020 are still on track. State Parks has already fenced off and the planted the 48-acre foredune project, which is a key element of November's Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA). They have also completed the 40 acres of temporary dust controls and the 4.2 acres of straw treatment in the back dune area, as required by the SOA. These 90+ acres of new controls are in addition to the existing controls that have been in place since 2018. Sand flux monitors, which measure how much sand is moving during wind events, have already been installed in these mitigation areas, and 15 temporary meteorology stations within the OHV Park are currently being installed. While upcoming in-person meetings have been cancelled, the SAG is continuing its work.
Interested in seeing all the steps that have been taken to reduce particulate matter on the NIpomo Mesa? We have developed a comprehensive flow-chart to help! Click here to see.
The SLO County APCD has approved the 2020 Dust Control Projects based on the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) recommendations. In addition, the SAG has also approved changes to 2019 Annual Report and Work Plan per the requirement included under the Modified Stipulated Order of Abatement approved by the Hearing Board on November 18, 2019 . Foredune project plantings and other 2020 mitigations are currently in process.
2020 Dust Control Project Approval - SOA 17-01
2020 Dust Control Projects
2020 Dust Control Projects - SAG Final Comments
2019 Annual Report and Work Plan - SAG Final Comments
2019 Annual Report and Work Plan
In November, the APCD Hearing Board held a hearing with the SLO County APCD and State Parks Directors. The meeting provided a venue and opportunity for the public to provide comment on the most recent Modified Stipulated Order of Abatement in relation to the Oceano Dunes OHV area.
Since the meeting, State Parks has worked to comply with several requirements in the Order including:
State Parks Initial Proposal for 2020 Dust Control Projects
State Parks Revised Annual Report & Work Plan (ARWP)
Transmittal Letter for the ARWP
Scientific Advisory Group Response to 2020 Dust Control Projects
SLO County APCD January 21, 2020 Response
The Hearing Board has provided notice that it will conduct a public hearing on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 9:00am. The location of the hearing board will be the South County Regional Center at 800 West Branch Street in Arroyo Grande. Those interested are welcome to attend and the public will be provided the opportunity to provide public comment. The links below provide additional information on this upcoming meeting.
On October 15, 2019, State Parks provided another iteration of the 2019 Annuarl Report & Work Plan for APCD and the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) review. Following that submittal, the SAG provided an extensive response letter, which is posted below. A tentative Hearing Board date has been set for November 18, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at the South County Regional Center in Arroyo Grande. The petition of the APCD Hearing Board to consider Order of Abatement 17-01 is being finalized and will be posted to the website soon - when it is available, all documents will available as another update on this page. APCD and the SAG continue to work collaboratively with State Parks to find common ground for a joint proposal that the APCD Hearing Board can consider in November.
APCD & the Scientific Advisory Group have reviewed the second draft of the 2019 Annual Report & Work Plan (ARWP) that was submitted by State Parks. State Parks' Second Draft 2019 ARWP, APCD's response to the Plan, as well as the Plan's transmittal letter are all posted below. A SAG-approved ARWP is due by October 25, 2019. If APCD's review finds the ARWP is approvable, a workshop will be rescheduled for early December. If we cannot find the plan approvable, a hearing on SOA 17-01 by the SLO County APCD's Hearing Board will be held, most likely in early December.
State Parks has completed the first draft of their 2019 Annual Report & Work Plan (ARWP) and has submitted it to the APCD and Scientific Advisory Group for their comments. State Parks is now currently working on a revision to the first draft of the 2019 ARWP that will incorporate the Scientific Advisory Groups requested changes when they are discussed the beginning of September. A final workshop version of the 2019 ARWP releasd on September 16, 2019; 16 days prior to the October 1, 2019 workshop. Below are the recent and upcoming milestones for this project:
August 1: 1st Draft of the 2019 Annual Report & Work Plan received from State Parks
September 16: Workshop version of the 2019 ARWP will be released
October 1: 2019 ARWP Public Workshop at the South County Regional Center in Arroyo Grande at 6:00pm
October - November: APCO approval of the 2019 Annual Report & Work Plan
Winter 2019/2020: Permitting & mitigation installation of the projects specified in the 2019 ARWP
The SLO County APCD and the Scientific Advisory Group have both submitted comment letters on State Park's Notice of Preparation of a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Public Scoping Meeting. State Park's documents can be seen by clicking here.
As part of the ongoing implementation of the Stipulated Order of Abatement Number 17-01, State Parks has submitted an updated Particulate Matter Reduction Plan in June 2019. This plan is not a “project” as defined by CEQA, however a process that will outline an approach to development of the annual Workplan, which is due on August 1, 2019. A public workshop for the workplan will be held in Fall 2019 to allow the public an opportunity to review the workplan and provide comments.
The SLO County APCD has issued an approval of the June 10, 2019 Particulate Reduction Plan to State Parks. The approval is subject to the multiple qualifications and conditions as set forth in the Draft Particulate Matter Reduction Plan (DPMRP), and should not be considered as an approve of "definite course of action" as defined by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guideline 15352.
Although the PMRP is identified as an initial, conceptual, and preliminary plan, it is approved as is defines what a proposed project should and could include.
Upcoming Milestone Dates:
June 30, 2019: Temporary track-out devices to be installed on Grand & Pier Avenue entrances.
July 2019 - November 2019: State Park's project environmental review process
August 1, 2019: Draft 2019 Annual Work Plan due from State Parks
September / October 2019: Public Workshop to be held on the 2019 Annual Workplan
October / November 2019: 2019 Annual Plan approval
Winder 2019/2020: mitigation installation of projects in the 2019 Annual Workplan
On May 1, 2019, SLO County APCD, State Parks and the Scientific Advisory Group conducted a public workshop at the South County Regional Center to present the Oceano Dunes Draft Particulate Matter Reduction Plan. Below are links to the presentations that were presented at that workshop, as well as all of the comments received in person at the workshop. Also below is a link to the public comments received via email@example.com. This document will be updated regularly to reflect new comments received up until the May 15, 2019 closing date.
Stipulated Order of Abatement Number 17-01 California Department of Parks and Recreation
In response to the Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA) #17-01 with the SLO County APCD, California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) submitted the Revised Oceano Dunes SVRA Concept Draft Particulate Matter Reduction Plan (DPMRP) on March 28, 2019, which was updated based on comments from SLO County APCD and the Scientific Advisory Group’s (SAG) preliminary review of the initial February draft plan.
Stipulated Order of Abatement Number 17-01 California Department of Parks and Recreation
In response to the Stipulated Order of Abatement Number 17-01 (SOA #17-01) condition 2.g, California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) has submitted the Oceano Dunes SVRA Concept Draft Particulate Matter Reduction Plan (DPMRP) on February 1, 2019 and a revised DPMRP on February 21, 2019.
The SLO County APCD’s preliminary review letter was prepared without the benefit of reviewing the comments of the appointed Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) and further SLO County APCD comments will be forthcoming after review of those comments with State Parks and the SAG itself.
In order to give the public an adequate chance to review a more refined PMRP that meets requirements of the SOA #17-01, before the public workshop required by SOA#17-01, the changes requested by the SAG and the SLO County APCD will be addressed by March 22, 2019. The SLO County APCD intends to post and circulate a revised draft PMRP at least 30 days prior to the public workshop. The workshop is scheduled for May 1, 2019 at 6:00pm at the South County Regional Center, 800 West Branch Street in Arroyo Grande.
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:
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:
The APCO will determine approvability of the Annual Reports and Work Plans (Reports) through the following process: