Los Osos Habitat Conservation Plan approved by US Fish and Wildlife

Dear conservation partner, 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the Los Osos Habitat Conservation Plan and issued an incidental take permit to the County of San Luis Obispo, authorizing take of Morro shoulderband snail that would result from covered activities in the Community of Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County. The Service also completed a Finding of No Significant Impact  as a result of the completion of the Environmental Assessment  associated with the HCP. The plan balances the needs for residential and commercial development, infrastructure development, and implementation of fire hazard reduction with the conservation of federally listed animals and plants. The Service signed the 25-year incidental take permit on February 15, 2024. 

The plan describes measures that avoid, minimize or offset the effects of future residential and commercial development, existing facility operation and maintenance, and infrastructure improvement projects in Los Osos. The incidental take permit only authorizes take of Morro shoulderband snail. However, the plan includes conservation measures designed to avoid, minimize and offset impacts to not only the snail, but also the federally endangered Morro Bay kangaroo rat and the Indian Knob mountainbalm, and the federally threatened Morro manzanita. The conservation measures in the plan will help conserve and protect the federally threatened and endangered species covered in the plan. The document also describes conservation measures to be implemented during fire hazard reduction activities and the proposed establishment of a preserve for the long-term protection and management of federally protected species. 

“The Service and the county have collaborated for many years toward the completion of the final HCP,” said Steve Henry, field supervisor of the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “We will continue to work with the county to support and improve the Habitat Conservation Plan to achieve the recovery goals for the listed wildlife in the area..” 

The HCP was prepared by San Luis Obispo County to support its application for an incidental take permit. Habitat conservation plans are a necessary part of an application for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act.  

“I’m thrilled that we have reached this important milestone that will greatly benefit the community of Los Osos,” said Bruce Gibson, County of San Luis Obispo supervisor. “I greatly appreciate the hard work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and county staff, that together have achieved this important step. I look forward to future collaboration.” 

At the following links you can find a copy of the final HCP, the incidental take permit, the final Environmental Assessment, and the Findings/Finding of No Significant Impact. A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.

Working with others is essential to protecting ecosystems that benefit society as a whole. The Service regularly engages conservation partners, the public, landowners, government agencies, and other stakeholders in our ongoing effort to identify innovative strategies for conserving and recovering protected wildlife, plants, and their habitats. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Steve Henry at steve_henry@fws.gov.

No excuses – Run or Register for Election 2024

We will be holding elections for all four Districts this year. Take a look at the people you’ll be serving with. Then click the button below!

Don’t want to run? You have two options to vote for your district candidate this year!

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Election Timeline

Deadlines:

  • Candidate applications by March 31
    • Candidates vetted by April 4 and posted online
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    • Applications for online voter registration will be batched weekly
  • Online elections open April 1-May 4th at 11:59
  • In person elections on May 4th @ X location from X time

Recycled water for schools

Provided by Deborah Howe, Water Committee

Using recycled water was integral to passing Prop 218.  Because the county received ARPA money for the Water Treatment Plant there is a deadline and this project needs to be completed soon.  The hold up has been that the county wanted to be the agency to bill the schools for the recycled water.  Apparently the schools were not happy with the arrangement. 

The project stalled because they could not agree how to handle this between the county, the schools and the CSD who supplies water to LOMS and Baywood and Golden State who supplies water to Monarch Grove.  This apparently has been resolved. 

The first school to be hooked up will be LOMS.  The purple pipe is installed up to the new meter at the school.  Now the school has to segregate the recreational field from the rest of the water supply.  The recycled water is not potable so it must be used only for irrigation.  Separating the system at LOMS should be complete this summer and will be 90% complete for Baywood Elementary. The LOCSD will be the agency that will bill for the water.  The estimate of how much water will be used is around 10 AF for LOMS and 5 AF for Baywood. 

Got questions about the pipeline tie in?

 Info provided by Deborah Howe, Water Committee

LOCAC has not taken a position on the pipeline project.  This is a Los Osos Community Service District (LOCSD) project and we do not usually comment about their projects but we do have reports from them. 

The LOCSD holds regular open meetings and residents can attend and comment on this or any other item on the agenda.

The purpose of the pipeline and the additional water is to build long term resilience into the water system.  Currently we have all of our “eggs in one basket.”  In the short term, the idea is to reduce pumping from the aquifer in wet years when there will be more water available from the State.  This will allow the aquifer to recharge.  

The water will be purchased from the county.  Currently the county has 25,000 Acre Feet (AF) allocated to them.  They only use 14,000 AF but they must pay for the 25,000.  In wet years, there will be the opportunity to purchase some of this water for Los Osos if the pipeline is in place.  Obviously the cost of this water will be more than the cost of pumping from the ground.  That additional cost will be paid by all three water purveyors, Golden State, CSD and S & T Water.  The water purveyors are incentivized to take this approach because they have not met the metric for sustainable water for the aquifer.  The Basin Management Committee establishes the sustainable yield for the aquifer and then subtracts 20% as a buffer.  Their goal is to only use 80% of the sustainable yield and currently we sit at 84%.  

It would be naive of us to think that there will not be pressure from developers to access this water for their benefit.  That is where the growth management ordinance will be important.  This growth rate must be consistent with the sustainability of the  Basin.  It is currently set at 1-1.3% per year by the county.  The California Coastal Commission (CCC) has not signed off on this rate and so we are in limbo until the CCC decides what they will do regarding the growth rate and the Los Osos Community Plan.  As you may know the CCC has imposed special condition 6 which does not allow any new builds to hook up to the sewer.  This Prohibition Zone has essentially stopped all construction except in those areas where there are septic systems.

Welcome Jennifer Harrison Deutsch – District 1

LOCAC welcomes Jennifer!

Here is her provided bio:

My name is Jennifer Harrison Deutsch. I am a nurse, mother, wife, daughter, friend, and student. I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. I moved to SLO to pursue Nursing at Cuesta College over twenty years ago with my husband Brian. I am a mother to two young boys aged 9 and twelve. They are students at Pacheco Elementary in San Luis Obispo where my husband teaches sixth grade. They will both attend school at Los Osos Middle School and Morro Bay
High in the near future. They are both active in surfing and team sports on the coast locally so we can make social connections here on the coast. We love living here and I am so thankful to be able to raise my family here.

I am a Nurse Navigator at French Hospital where I have been working upon graduating over fifteen years ago. I worked in the ICU for over thirteen years. I am in my last semester of an online Master’s in Public Health program through the University of Alabama Birmingham. I am passionate about improving the health of my community and first learned about the work of LOCAC while conducting research about Los Osos for an Environmental Health class.
I am interested in learning more about the important issues that affect the health of my family and community which is why I am interested in joining LOCAC.

Roadway safety: County seeks public comment on Los Osos Valley Rd. corridor plan

https://www.ksby.com/news/local-news/in-your-community/los-osos/roadway-safety-county-seeks-public-comment-on-los-osos-valley-rd-corridor-plan

People who travel the Los Osos Valley Road corridor are being asked to provide feedback on how to make the road safer for everyone.

Provide Feedback here!

(Featuring our Transportation Chair, Deborah Howe!)