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.

Anastasi Project – 97 Homes

Can Osos handle nearly 100 new homes? Educate yourself and weigh in!

LOCAC is asking everyone who is concerned to educated and attend the Board of Supervisors meeting either by Teams or in person on October 31, 2023. Info here on how to join.

The Los Osos Community Advisory Council (LOCAC) heard about the Anastasi project (additional info here) for the first time at our September 28, 2023 LOCAC meeting. This is a project that usually doesn’t go through to LOCAC, which is why it was a surprise.  After the presentation, there were a number of questions and concerns voiced about this project, which dates back to a 1989 vesting tentative map.  The Anastasi project can be a win-win project if the County is willing to address a few concerns from LOCAC.  The major concerns are listed below:

Water issues

Per all 3 of the LO water purveyors, the LO water basin is in managed overdraft. On August 25, 2021 all 3 water purveyors signed a letter addressed to SLO County Department of Planning and Building stating that on page 5 states “recent monitoring data and the Basin Metrics both indicate that Basin conditions as a whole are static or worsening”. This letter was to deny ADU’s in LO which can be up to 1,500 SF.

  1. How can GSW 4 month after signing the above document, give Anastasi a will serve letter for 97 homes
  2. The will-serve letter from GSW requires the developer to pay for infrastructure and a new well.  A new well will not bring new water to LO.
  3. How can the County who participates with BMC and the Coastal Commision allow a will-serve letter to be given when neither the BMC or CCC believes there is an adequate water supply.
  4. No where in all the BOS attachments and documents state that the 200 people in LO waiting to build will go first prior to this development. (attachment 8)

Coastal Commission

The Coastal Commission is not lifting Special Condition 6 in the foreseeable future.  Special Condition 6 can’t be lifted until there is proof of an adequate water supply.  Additional sewer hook-ups are not allowed until Special Condition 6 has been satisfied by the Coastal Commission.  This means this project can’t meet the criteria needed to be voted on by the BOS.

Old-style tract

Revisions to the map made in 2017 included storm drains and affordable housing (attachment 3).  Why did the County not update the map to become a modern development like elsewhere in SLO County (Righetti Ranch).  

  • The 1989 Anastasi map has zero parks, green space or safe routes to schools.
  • This development is on the LOVR corridor, what steps will be taken to protect pedestrians, cyclists and school children when you add approximately 400 people and 200 additional cars.
  • The 1989 map doesn’t show the easement or multiple wells on this parcel that belong to ST water.  
  • The needs of LO are affordable housing, multi-family housing and parks
  • How can the County allow 15 extensions when the subdivision map act states that a vesting tentative map expires in 24 months and allows 6 one year extensions.  This project has had 15 extensions over 30 years.
  • This project never came to LOCAC or the community of LO

Water Rights An Issue?

Pattern of behavior between S and T Water and GSW has been occurring since 1990.  It’s a David and Goliath story.  GSW has absorbed ST water territory twice now.  First with the Monarch subdivision and now with the Anastasi project.  Both times the same players have been involved.  There is a PUC Court case pending on who is responsible to provide water to this parcel. Can this 1989 map be approved if we don’t even know who has the water rights?

To Public Agencies in San Luis Obispo County:

Dear Partner:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks public comment on a draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) and environmental assessment for operation and maintenance of existing Southern California Gas Company pipelines in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. 

The draft HCP is a planning document that promotes the conservation of 41 federally endangered, threatened or rare plant and animal species, while providing for continued operation and maintenance of existing pipelines across 10,603 square miles in southern and central California. 

Through this collaborative approach, SoCalGas will commit to carrying out conservation measures that minimize and offset potential impacts of operation and maintenance activities on rare animal and plant species, including the California tiger salamander, California red-legged frog, Least Bell’s vireo, San Bernardino kangaroo rat, San Joaquin kit fox, and Braunton’s milk-vetch. 

A notice of availability will publish in the Federal Register on June 19, 2020, opening a 45-day public comment period.Information on how to submit comments will be available at https://www.federalregister.gov/ by searching under docket number FWS–R8–ES–2019–N150.

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.

Please contact me with questions at Rachel_henry@fws.gov

Rachel Henry

Habitat Conservation Plan Coordinator

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office

2493 Portola Road, Suite B | Ventura, California 93003

Phone: 805.677.3312 | rachel_henry@fws.gov

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PLEASE NOTE: Our office telephone numbers have changed. You may still reach our general number at (805) 644-1766 or you may contact me directly at (805) 677-3312.