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Welcome to Coastal San Luis RCD

The Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (CSLRCD) offers a variety of programs to assist farmers, ranchers, landowners and other watershed users in improving and protecting soil and water resources.

The CSLRCD has a strong relationship with the Natural Resource Conservation Service helping the local community through technical assistance, funding opportunities and permit coordination. This partnership has facilitated implementation of hundreds of conservation projects in Coastal San Luis Obispo County.


Watersheds Map of the District

Nipomo Creek Pismo Beach Arroyo Grande Morro Creek Morro Bay San Luis Obispo Santa Maria Oso Flaco Lake

Current Projects

Central Coast Water Board Offers Free Domestic Well Testing

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is providing free water quality testing for residents that get their drinking water from domestic wells to inform them about potential health risks associated with nitrate contamination and other harmful chemicals that may be present in their drinking water.

Previous testing suggests the likelihood of widespread groundwater contamination problems that warrants periodic testing of the estimated 44,000 domestic wells throughout the region. Of the 1,627 domestic wells tested by various entities in 2014, more than one out of every four wells exceeded public health drinking water standards for nitrate. In some areas, testing showed more than 40 percent of the wells exceeded safe drinking water standards. Arsenic is also a common contaminate in domestic wells.

“Protecting the public’s health is our highest priority. The well sampling project aligns with that priority and with our staff’s efforts to assist disadvantaged individuals in identifying and addressing unsafe drinking water conditions where they exist,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Wolff, chair of the Central Coast Water Board.

In many agricultural areas, nitrate often seeps into well water from three main sources -- agricultural fertilizers, treated sewage and the waste from livestock. Water contaminated with nitrate can lead to health risks, especially for infants under six months old and women who are pregnant or nursing. Drinking or cooking with water with excessive nitrate levels can affect the body’s ability to carry oxygen. Arsenic can trigger a range of symptoms from serious to severe – stomach cramps and nausea to partial paralysis, even blindness

Central Coast residents wishing to have their drinking water tested can call a bilingual, toll-free number (844) 613-5152, or go to https://sites.google.com/view/ccgroundwater to schedule testing.


Climate Ready Rangeland

California Coastal Watersheds are predicted to have wet seasons that are wetter and dry seasons that are drier. Recent evidence on the Central Coast also indicates a shift towards shorter wet seasons and longer dry seasons, at least for the last 10 years. In the current drought, ranch operations struggled both with substantially reduced forage production and reduced drinking water availability for livestock. Finding ways to capture moisture so that it can be used for plant growth and/or water for animals (including wildlife) will be central to sustaining ranching enterprises in the Central Coast region.

Ranchers can cope with a changing climate more effectively by employing water stewardship strategies that capture, conserve and recycle water. Building healthier soils can help ranchers enhance resiliency of agricultural operations by increasing soil water holding capacity, infiltration rates, and forage production. Increasing the soil moisture and carbon content will encourage higher rates of biological activity and carbon sequestration as well as increasing the net primary production of forage that is critical to the success of cattle ranching.

A ranch in Morro Bay was chosen to demonstrate a variety of effective rangeland best management practices to cope with climate change at the ranch scale. Practices will buffer against climate change impacts and help maintain the viability of the agricultural operation in the face of reduced water supply, increasing temperatures, and greater variability in weather events. The practices include rangeland soil building through rotational grazing, compost application, and mechanical modification using a keyline plow. Other practices include targeted animal impact grazing, sediment capture, riparian enhancement and streambank stabilization. While these measures are primarily intended to increase agricultural resilience in the face of climate change, they have the added benefits of reduced erosion, increased wetland/riparian habitat and increasing carbon sequestration on rangeland soils. The project will also demonstrate practices that can be used on their own or together as an integrated approach to rangeland management. These practices used in tandem are also known as carbon farming and emulate best available research from the Marin Carbon Project.