In response to Assembly Bill 617 (C. Garcia, Chapter 136, Statutes of 2017), the California Air Resources Board established the Community Air Protection Program (CAP Program). The CAP Program’s focus is to reduce exposure in communities most impacted by air pollution. This program is unique in the fact that residents from across the state could nominate their own community to the California Air Resource Board for consideration into the Program.
In 2018, residents from Oceano and the Nipomo Mesa nominated their communities to the CAP Program. The Air Pollution Control District (APCD) responded to the Oceano nomination by implementing the Oceano Community Monitoring Project. In 2019, staff purchased, installed and managed PM sensors and monitors in the community of Oceano. Staff then analyzed the data and prepared a report which was presented to the SLO County APCD Board in January of this year and is available through this link: "Community Air Monitoring in Oceano, California" Report. With the help of residents who volunteered their property, one of the sensors installed during the project continues to operate, and a sensor was installed on Pier Avenue. The Oceano sensors and other South County monitors can be viewed on the below map.
To respond to the Nipomo Mesa nomination, staff is implementing the Nipomo Mesa Monitoring Project. While the Nipomo Mesa community nomination enabled the use of CAP Program Implementation funding for monitoring on the Nipomo Mesa, the APCD’s past Nipomo Mesa air monitoring efforts and other community feedback have helped narrow the focus for the project.
The findings of the January 2013 South County Community Monitoring Project report detailed gradient and temporal Oceano Dunes dust impacts onto the Nipomo Mesa area, as referenced in Figure 1 below. The red stars shown in Figure 1 show the locations of Dorothea Lange Elementary and Lopez Continuation High School. More recently, APCD staff have heard through outreach events (e.g. APCD’s Particulate Matter Reduction Plan Workshop on May 1st, 2019 at the South County Regional Center and the Tribune’s September 4th, 2019 Panel Workshop at Mesa Middle School) that the community is concerned over a lack of opportunity to monitor at schools on the Nipomo Mesa.
Since the 2013 monitoring study ended, monitoring of schools on the Nipomo Mesa has been intermittent. To continue measuring PM levels, respond to community feedback and expand monitoring resources, staff is using CAP Program funding to create a more complete and reliable air quality network to measure PM at Dorothea Lange and Lopez High. Resultant data analysis will also help staff to determine if the APCD AQI Regions map on the APCD’s South County Air Quality website could be updated to better reflect current air quality conditions. Permanent monitors and monitors deployed through the CAP Program are shown in the map above.
Funding Source Acknowledgement
The Community Air Protection Plan is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment– particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.