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Oceano Dunes District Habitat Conservation Plan and Technical Assistance

San Luis Obispo County, 2001 – Present

In 2001, TRA was hired to help California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division formulate a plan to resolve issues resulting from the presence of endangered species and off-highway motor vehicles at the 3,600-acre Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The strategy ultimately included developing an interim take avoidance plan, steelhead management plan, and HCP. The HCP, currently in the administrative draft stage, is part of a conservation effort initiated to protect, conserve, and enhance the natural resources of the Oceano Dunes District, which also includes Pismo State Beach. These park units encompass some of the most popular sections of the central California coastline and include extensive dunes, riparian habitat, and upland terrestrial environments. The mission of California State Parks requires protecting California’s natural resources, while providing recreational access to the parks. The HCP balances these two objectives by developing sound management strategies for the covered species, including the western snowy plover, California least tern, California red-legged frog, tidewater goby, and six listed plant species.

Services provided include project management, habitat conservation planning, GIS analysis, and mapping. The project has required negotiation and consultation with the USFWS, CDFW, the California Coastal Commission, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The HCP may form the basis for amendment of an existing coastal development permit (CDP). TRA is also preparing the EIS/EIR for the HCP and provides the SVRA with overall regulatory assistance, including California Coastal Act and local government permit compliance, public outreach, and strategic planning. To ensure the SVRA’s CDP compliance, TRA organized a stakeholder team and scientific advisory committee in 2001 and continues to support the ongoing operations of both groups. Numerous other services on behalf of the Oceano Dunes District include CEQA compliance for special events and park operations, permitting, vegetation mapping, and an extensive effort to address particulate matter emissions in the dynamic dune system.

Client/Lead Agency: California Department of Parks and Recreation