South County

South County Area Conservation Projects

Black Lake Canyon Preserves

Black Lake Canyon is a unique geographic feature that bisects the Nipomo Mesa in southern San Luis Obispo County. It is thought that the Canyon was once connected with Nipomo Creek, but today there is no formal creek in the canyon. It is now an isolated series of wetlands that support a unique set of habitats, including habitat for two critically endangered plants; the Marsh Sandwort (Arenaria paludicola) and the Gambel’s Watercress (Rorippa gambelii). Since 1991, the Land Conservancy has protected over 100 acres of critical wetlands in the Canyon. Today we are working with federal agencies on the potential for re-introduction of rare plants to bolster the populations.

List of Preserves from West to East:

  • Black Lake Ecological Area and Preserve
  • Lower Black Lake Canyon Preserve
  • Sandwort Lane Preserve
  • Laguna Negra Wetland Preserve
  • Schlatter Preserve

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes, a National Natural Landmark (NNL), is one of our County’s most valuable natural areas. Because the dunes are located just north of Pt. Conception, they exibit habitat traits of both northern and southern California. This unique blend of habitats is one reason why so many rare plants make the Dunes their home. Our Dunes are in trouble, however. They are being overrun with non-native grasses that are destroying the habitats for many rare and endangered species. The Land Conservancy’s conservation program for the Dunes is an attempt to protect these lands from destruction by non-native plants. We are also assuring that some of the best habitats are being protected from development. In the past, these very Dunes were proposed as a site for a nuclear power plant. Today the Land Conservancy owns approximately 200 acres of the Dunes and we hold Conservation Easements over an additional 800 acres.

Nipomo Creek Preserve

The Nipomo Creekside Preserve is a 2.5 acre parcel located on the main stem of Nipomo Creek at the confluence area with Haystack Creek, one of its tributaries.  Both of these creeks run through and adjacent to the Olde Towne Nipomo area where some degree of flooding has occurred with regularity over the years.  The acquisition of the parcel by the Land Conservancy ensures that it will never be built on for the commercial purpose for which it is zoned.

The Nipomo Creek Preserve is being used for educational purposes by local schools in Nipomo.

Dana Adobe 

In a collabrative effort between the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo, Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos, County of San Luis Obispo and local residents the Land Conservancy has helped to procure the Dana Adobe and over 100 acres surrounding the Adobe itself.

When completed, this project will be a great learning center for all to discover about the past ranching history in Nipomo.

Black Lake

Part of the Dune Lakes Complex, Black Lake is one of seven fresh water lakes in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. The Land Conservancy owns Black Lake. We are in the process of restoring many areas near the lake itself.

Dunes Lakes Preserve

The Land Conservancy holds an easement over 1185 acres of the Dunes Lake presereve. The easement protects coastal dune vegetation, dune wetlands, and threatened plants. In addition, 200 acres of the property is protected under an agricultural easement to protect farmland in the Arroyo Grande Valley.

This is a great example of a working landscape protecting fresh water lakes, dune habitat, agriculture and family history.

Nipomo Creek Watershed Program

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, in partnership with Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, submitted a successful grant application to the Restoration Subcommittee in 2001 for funding to enable the creation of the Nipomo Creek Watershed Program. The purpose of the Nipomo Watershed Program is to establish water quality and biological monitoring programs, and to pursue riparian restoration projects and permanent land protection of areas containing important natural resources through a comprehensive community and landowner outreach program.

In 2007, we will be starting work on four projects in this in the watershed to improve habitat and water quality. The cost for the four projects will total over one million dollars.