Important: Coastal Commission Meeting today, tomorrow, and Friday

Rubba Johanna

Johanna Rubba 

Hello, all,

I’m forwarding this important message from People for the Dunes. The ocean protection council is on the agenda, today, I think. Public comment takes place from 9-10 each morning, and comments are best submitted the evening prior. The forwarded e-mail has points to stress if you make a comment.

The CCC is the ultimate safeguard of our precious natural areas. The off-highway-vehicle lobby is large and strong, and State Parks is prioritizing income over conservation. The CCC needs to hear in numbers from those who oppose this use of the dunes & beach (and to the proposed development at Oso Flaco).

How to listen to the meeting and make comments is explained on this CCC web page:

Note the January and February CCC meetings. The proposed development of a large campground and expanded vehicle access to the dunes may be on the agenda in January.

Johanna Rubba
Grover Beach

Begin forwarded message:

From: People for the Dunes <peopleforthedunes@...>
Subject: Support PftD this week at the CCC meeting, and get some great merch!
Date: December 9, 2020 at 7:18:04 AM PST

In this issue:
  • We've got merch!
  • Help us fight for vehicle-free beaches at Oceano Dunes this week at the California Coastal Commission meeting
We've Got Merch!
Bundle up this winter in new People for the Dunes merch!
Our t-shirts & sweatshirts are a comfy way to support a good cause. They're a great gift for loved ones or a fun way to treat yourself. Available for six more days,
click the shirt above to get them while you still can!
Help us fight for vehicle-free beaches at Oceano Dunes this week at the California Coastal Commission meeting

Tell the California Coastal Commission (CCC) that you want to enjoy Oceano Dunes without the noisy, polluting recreational vehicles! They have been waiting too long for State Parks to deliver their long delayed management plan. It's time to finally put in place the critical amendments to State Parks’ Coastal Development Permit that the Commission has held in abeyance for over a year.

Join this month’s California Coastal Commission (CCC) Meeting
Submit a general public comment to remind CCC that our community cares about Oceano Dunes!

December California Coastal Commission Meeting
This Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, December 9th-11th on Zoom
Starting at approx. 9:00 am each day
(You only need to pick one day to speak)
How to submit a general public comment: 
  1. Submit a request to speak HERE, preferably by 5:00 pm the night before, but they stop taking speaker requests at 8:30 am on the day of the meeting
  2. You receive a Zoom link after submitting this request
  3. General public comment goes for 1 hour, starting at approx. 9:00 am
  4. Show up on Zoom at 9:00 am, either with the Zoom app or by phone
  5. You have 2 minutes to speak
For more information about the meeting click HERE, for more detailed meeting rules & procedures click HERE and procedural guidance memo click HERE.
These links have resources available in English & Spanish!

Talking points for Oceano Dunes general public comments:

Endangered & threatened wildlife:
  • Oceano Dunes is an important nesting location for the threatened western snowy plover & the endangered California least tern. There is evidence that off-highway vehicles (OHVs) at Oceano Dunes directly harm these birds. 
  • Native vegetation has died off as a result of erosion and degradation caused by vehicles.
Public health & safety:
  • With vehicles present, the beaches are no longer pedestrian-friendly and pedestrians are put in harm’s way.
  • Communities near Oceano Dunes are exposed to toxic air quality and OHV activity is part of this problem. Habitat degradation and erosion from vehicles contributes to increased dust emissions and sand movement, which creates poor air quality. 
  • The County jail, local first responders and hospitals are all impacted by operations of the ODSVRA. 
Social justice:
  • ODSVRA poses an environmental justice issue. The nearly two million annual visitors to the park are impacting the residents of Oceano as they come and go using Pier Avenue. Residents must deal with tracked out sand, toxic air, crime, trash, noise and loss of a traditional beach; and the ongoing erosion of their only buffer against sea level rise. 
  • Recreational vehicles make the beach difficult and dangerous to access for local communities. Vehicle use prevents safe access to a clean beach for all people.
  • Oceano Dunes holds cultural significance to the Chumash peoples and has for thousands of years. Degradation of the dunes is harming culturally important lands. 
Habitat damage & degradation:
  • Coastal erosion is caused by the off-highway vehicles (OHVs)
  • The high levels of vehicle traffic are accompanied by high levels of littering on the beach
  • Recreational vehicles are responsible for depositing oil and gas on the beach
  • Vehicles cross Arroyo Grande Creek while it flows. This is harming the creek habitat which is an important habitat, especially for fish spawning. 
  • MOTOR vehicles are responsible for depositing oil and gas on the beach and destroying the wrack zone. 
Covid-19 precautions:
  • The Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes SVRA were closed at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic due to high cases. Covid-19 cases are rising again and SLO County has fallen back into the Widespread (Purple) tier, yet the beach remains open to vehicles
  • The Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes SVRA attract predominantly non-local users, which leaves the local community exposed to visitors from all over the state
  • The beach is an important outdoor space for local communities to utilize during the pandemic. It provides space for locals (predominantly pedestrian usage) to enjoy the outdoors in a socially distanced manner.
(Thank you to our partner the Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter for this helpful information) 
Important Dates
Stay tuned to our website and upcoming newsletters for specific ways you can act to help protect the Oceano Beach and Dunes at the meetings listed below.
Click on the links for more info on the meeting time, location and agenda:

9-11     9am California Coastal Commission monthly meeting (public comment)
15        1-4pm Ocean Protection Council (tbd)
17        9am California Coastal Commission Special Meeting
21        DEADLINE to submit comments on the draft State Parks Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) & Environmental Impact Report (EIR), US Fish and Wildlife Services’ Environmental Assessment (click link to submit comment)

January 2021
13,14    9am California Coastal Commission monthly meeting
Possible meetings to review State Parks new Public Works Plan. 
February 2021
10-12    9am California Coastal Commission monthly meeting
18         9am California Coastal Commission  Special Meeting (Central CA)
Thank you for reading!
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