Oceano Dunes dust – mostly from off-roaders – poses health risk, grand jury says

Posted at 4:05 PM, Jun 12, 2018

The San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury has released its report on whether particulate air pollution on the Nipomo Mesa poses a public health risk.

Jurors say they sought to understand the issue from the perspectives of residents and visitors to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

The grand jury says ambient air monitoring stations on and around the Nipomo Mesa have found particulate air pollution ranging from "moderate" to "hazardous." The levels exceed state and federal standards and "constitute a health risk to the thousands of residents who live in these areas."

"Measurement studies and numerical modeling have shown the predominate source of this particulate air pollution originates from vehicular riding activity on the foredunes (a part of a system of sand dunes on the side nearest to the ocean) of the La Grande Tract of the ODSVRA," the report states.

As for what the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and California State Parks have done in terms of regulation, the grand jury said a recent joint plan could potentially reduce the particulate air pollution – and the health risk – within five years.

If that plan does not work within the five-year time frame, jurors recommend the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors "act decisively in the public interest and drastically restrict vehicular riding activity on the La Grande Tract and facilitate relocating the camping and riding areas to the southern end of the ODSVRA, near Oso Flaco Lake."

You can read the full report below, including the grand jury’s recommendations for the county, state and Lucia Mar Unified School District.

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