Oso Flaco Lake - you may never bird there again

Jeff Miller

I did not see any rare or unusual bird species at Oso Flaco Lake this morning. However I did see a DEIR, which is the 4-letter code for the Draft Environmental Impact Report that State Parks is using to justify their impending plans to absolutely destroy Oso Flaco Lake as outstanding bird habitat and a desirable birding location.


If you’ve ever enjoyed birding at Oso Flaco Lake you should be very upset and angry about State Park’s plan to destroy Oso Flaco as a birding destination. State Parks just released their final Public Works Plan, and it would be a disaster for Oso Flaco, birds and birders. You can read the plan here: https://www.oceanodunespwp.com/en/documents/draft-eir


It would bring massive development and intensive camping and park infrastructure to 120 acres northeast of Oso Flaco Lake, on the agricultural parcel just north of the current parking lot. It would bring off-road vehicles right next to Oso Flaco Lake, developing a 40-acre off-roading trail immediately adjacent to the north end of the lake. This trail would be open year-round, 24 hours a day for legions of noisy off-road vehicles. It will also replace and upgrade the existing Oso Flaco lake boardwalk and add a new boardwalk section across the southwest corner of the main lake.


The project will directly destroy and degrade habitat for snowy plovers, least terns, and several rare plant species. It will bring hundreds to thousands of people to Oso Flaco on weekends for off-roading and camping, bringing with the traffic jams of vehicles and people excessive noise disturbance, water pollution, additional dust, habitat alteration, attraction of predators, and introduction of invasive species.


The project would potentially cause least terns to abandon use of Oso Flaco Lake for foraging and may drive many, many other bird and wildlife species away from the lake and the surrounding area. It would completely alter what is now the top birding spot in San Luis Obispo County.


The Oso Flaco “Improvement Project” would be done in two stages. Development would include:

200 RV campsites, 100 drive-in campsites for tent camping, 20 cabins, and 38 primitive campsites;

Parking lots for 160+ public vehicles;

Paved concession and event area;

60-person picnic area;

General-purpose building with restrooms and a loading zone for buses


Park maintenance and operations area including maintenance yard, office buildings, staff residences, enclosures, sheds, containers;

Additional parking lots for up to 170 State Parks and staff vehicles;

A new southern entrance for off-road vehicles to access Oceano Dunes SVRA, with an off-roading trail from the camping area over Oso Flaco Creek, or across lands leased from Phillips 66 into the east side of the SVRA riding area. This new access plus the new 40-acre riding area will bring massive amounts of traffic, noise, and off-roaders to the new developed area.


The Center for Biological Diversity, Morro Bay Audubon, and other groups in the Dunes Alliance will be fighting this proposal. We will have an action alert out very soon on this issue. There will also be a future California Coastal Commission hearing on this plan.


State Parks is taking public comments on their plan and their environmental review document until March 2. Send comments to:

California State Parks

Strategic Planning and Recreation Services Division

1725 23rd Street, Suite 200

Sacramento, CA 95816

By email: OceanoDunes.PWP.EIR@...


Jeff Miller

Los Osos