Danger Downwind of the Oceano Dunes: Particulate Matter-

Part 1  Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15 Part 16 Part 17

This is the fourth in a series of 30 minute vimeos of the April 3, 2010 Air Pollution Control District meeting at the South County Regional Center.

ODSVRA: No Way In, No Way Out

This video was produced by a film student and friends who want to make a difference, not a professional film company.

This documentary shows Steve Monowitz with the California Coastal Commission in 2007 saying how the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Division of California State Parks and Recreation has failed to provide an entry into its landlocked Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA).

When the ODSVRA map was certified by the California State Parks and Recreation Commission in 1974, the Pismo Dunes Natural Preserve was also certified, which blocked vehicular traffic to the north at the mouth of Arroyo Grande Creek. At the time, there were at least three routes used by dune buggies to access the dunes from Hwy 1 without using the beach and without crossing the creek.

The OHV bought more land to the south of the ODSVRA (with our gasoline tax), and planned to have vehicles stage and enter there. Buffer areas were established around this southern entry, as well as to the east and north of the vehicular area.

The California Coastal Commission agreed with protesting environmentalists, notably Kathleen Goddard Jones and Bill Denneen, that Oso Flaco Lake area to the south was too environmentally important to be abused as an off-road vehicle staging area and entry into the ODSVRA.

In 1982 the Coastal Commission conditioned its coastal permit to OHV to require that another entry, less environmentally sensitive, be constructed off Hwy 1 near the riding area. The commission permitted two kiosks to be placed at the end of Grand and Pier Avenues, so that the beach and creek's temporary use could be controlled. The OHV had a time limit of three years from the certification of SLO County's Local Coastal Plan (LCP)to find an acceptable (to the Commission) entry and to construct a road from Hwy 1 and get off the beach and out of the creek.

The LCP did not get certified until the late 80's. From then until now, many have objected to the OHV invasion of Oceano, to no avail.

Many objected when OHV gave the county a million dollars to widen and pave Grand and Pier. There was objection to the 1991 EIR that OHV did in-house that showed that the beach and creek were the preferable "alternative". The research included impacts on several routes, but for the Grand and Pier routes the study stopped at the point where the pavement ended. No environmental impacts on the beach, ocean, and creek were considered.

The Sierra Club sued six years ago and a federal judge ordered OHV to try to find a way in that avoids the creek.

OHV hired Condor ($192,000 of our gasoline tax) to find a way around or over the creek. None of the entries were found to be acceptable due to the endangered species in the dunes and the terrain. Neither of the two types of bridges at the mouth of the creek where it goes into the ocean were feasible. This led to the misinterpretation that the beach and creek are the least environmentally damaging accesses. Again, only the few paved blocks of Pier and Grand were studied, leaving impacts on the the endangered species on the Pacific shoreline and in the creek unknown.

Other misinformation that has clouded the access issue was a map provided by OHV to SLO County to secure an after-the-fact permit for a sand ramp. The map shows the ramp where the old wooden ramp was before it was taken out by storm tides. The actual ramp is a dug out trench that funnels wave run-up dangerously close to private property and threatens the fresh water lagoon.

A SLO County Supervisor who is also on the Coastal Commission is shown misleading the public. He said that the access issue was resolved in 1936 when the county deeded the state an area 200 ft from the high tide line from Pier and Grand that also goes through county property for "park and highway access". The deed says no such thing, and in fact says just the opposite. The state would not accept the gift of the land unless the words "for park and highway purposes" were struck.

This documentary shows vehicles driving below the mean high tide line, which is not permitted by the State Lands Commission.

This documentary concludes that there is no way in and no way out of the ODSVRA.

Off Roading vs the Habitat in Arroyo Grande Creek

Off-Roading through Arroyo Grande Creek is threatening the habitat of three endangered species, the red legged frog, tidewader goby, and steelhead trout.

The Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) of California State Parks and Recreation's two million vehicles a year traverse the creek to get to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. Environmental groups object. Regulatory agencies fail.

Bob Baiocchi, Executive Director and Water Rights and Fisheries Consultant for the California Salmon and Steelhead Association questions the legality of the stream crossings.

PRC Section 1600 of Fish and Game codes require a streambed alteration agreement for activities that obstruct and result in deposits into the stream. The OHV does not have such an agreement.

This Video shows vehicles in the creek, plus the bashing of creek banks.

Global Warming, Off-Roading, and Science

The Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Division of State Parks and Recreation has an impossible task. It's 2008 Strategic Plan, that is months late, requires it to go green. The Department of Finance will not fund the OHV budget, $60 million of which comes from the gasoline tax, if it does not meet its legislative requirement to protect the environment.

In this documentary, the Deputy Director of the OHV, Daphne Green, tells the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Commission at their Dec 3 2008 meeting that California is looking at things a new way. She advises the Commission that global warming is a problem for the OHV, because, she says "at our core, we burn fossil fuel...we do that".

A retired chemistry professor, Brahama D. Sharma, Ph.D. states that vehicles recreating on the dunes cannot easily be converted to less polluting vehicles, since even electric conversions require fossil fuel. He further states that driving big rigs on highways to get to the recreation area burns fossil fuel, and highways require concrete which also creates greenhouse gasses to produce.

Retired mechanical engineer Tom Lily, C.M.E, states how he calculated the carbon footprint of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area and recommends that the vehicles be eliminated altogether.

Both agreed that we must rely on science in order to protect ourselves and our planet.

Out Of Compliance

The 1982 Coastal Development Permit was conditioned to provide a permanent staging area following the certification of the SLO Local Coastal Plan. OHV is out of compliance. The LCP designated the beach from Pier Avenue to the ODSVRA as a Buffer Area.

Creek Contamination

Deception And The Dunes

Additional Credits: Footage of government meetings courtesy of AGP Video

The Off-Highway Vehicular Division (OHV) of California State Parks and Recreation is using a beach to access its landlocked Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA).

Oso Flaco, to the south of the ODSVRA, was intended to be the entry to the ODSVRA, but it was not acceptable to the Coastal Commission. The OHV was given a certain time period to establish another entry but all entries are environmentally damaging.

The Deception and the Dunes documentary shows how the OHV purchased the ODSVRA and attempts to repair the damage off-roading does to it and the surrounding areas with our gasoline tax; how the OHV overestimated the amount of gasoline tax it supposedly should get by 50%; how the OHV is not containing the nuisance of off-highway vehicles and has spread out on to the beach and neighboring county land; how OHV is trying to make the beach entry be permanent with its studies that do not consider the negative impacts on the beach, marine mammals, other wildlife and the local communities; how OHV claims to be good for our economy without considering what it costs the community using first a study that claimed 200 million a year benefit to the county, then a more recent study that showed that claim to be exaggerated by over 50% (and an independent study showed the true amount to be fraction of either OHV study); and how the OHV does not report to the public the lawlessness in the ODSVRA, concealing that it is out of control with the number of deaths and injuries.

ODSVRA's Seedy Sewer System 02:51

The ODSVRA has muscled its way onto Pismo State Beach, against Public Resources Code regulations. It thinks it can actually position itself between the Pismo Dunes Natural Preserve and a major part of its habitat, the beach. It is attempting to expand its pitiful sewer system: six more bathrooms to be added to the existing seven to serve what amounts to the population of Pismo Beach. The bio-waste from these vaults is pumped out of the vaults and trucked down the beach, through a clam preserve where vehicles are prohibited by county ordinance, a buffer zone where vehicles are prohibited by the county general plan and local coastal plan, and through Arroyo Grande Creek with its four endangered species. This project is a visual blight, habitat destroyer, and is obviously an attempt to expand the ODSVRA beyond its capacity to manage the population.

Sewer System In ODSVRA? 02:21

"Sewer system" in Oceano Dunes? CEQA disregarded. Development in ODSVRA prior to decision by Board of Supervisors on fate of La Grande Tract. Roadside restrooms in a Buffer Area against SLOCO General Plan. Who's driving this train? (less)

No Record

Completely submerged vehicle without a driver. An OHV Dept. of Parks and Recreation ranger said the vehicle was "abandoned". She said that there was no driver to cite. OHV claims it is well managed. But it does not keep and share records. The fox guards the hen house... and the endangered species in the creek.


Habitat Endangerment

Drive-Up Toilet Appeal : Exploding Toilets

Dune photography shows why the area of the proposed drive-up toilets was designated a National Natural Landmark. Off-roaders show no respect for the beach and dunes by blowing up the vault toilets, and bashing into honey huts. This contamination of the dunes continues uncontrolled.

Dumping On Beach Ignored By OHV Oct 20, 2007 (ED:Nov 7 04:57

Dumping of holding tanks along the Pacific Shoreline on Oceano Beach, with statistics (provided by Asst. Sup. of ODSVRA) of citations that show lack of enforcement by OHV.

What Happened To The Pismo Clam? 02:47

The county of San Luis Obispo has an ordinance prohibiting vehicles in the area in front of La Grande Tract on Oceano Beach. This ordinance has been ignored. We have all but lost the Pismo Clam. We must enforce the ordinance to save the plover, and maybe the clam.

Sewer System in ODSVRA? 02:21

"Sewer system" in Oceano Dunes? CEQA disregarded. Development in ODSVRA prior to decision by Board of Supervisors on fate of La Grande Tract. Roadside restrooms in a Buffer Area against SLOCO General Plan. Who's driving this train? (less)