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Monday, April 21, 2008

Avila Beach Oil Spill Restoration Complete

Environment Benefits from Over $1 Million


The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County hosted the final meeting of the Avila I Trustee Council; the group responsible for administering settlement funds from the August 3, 1992, oil spill at Avila Beach. The Trustee Council includes representatives from California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and United States Fish & Wildlife Service. The Council oversaw expenditure of more than $1 Million in settlement monies resulting from impacts to natural resources and recreational opportunities cause by the oil spill.

The Council was formed in 1996, following a settlement between State and Federal agencies and Unocal Corporation, the oil company responsible for the spill. In 1999, a Restoration Plan was completed and restoration efforts began in earnest. The Trustee Council selected The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County to manage the restoration effort. Over the past decade, more than 1-Million dollars has been spent restoring San Luis Obispo Creek, and its tributaries, and educating the public about this natural resource.

Project highlights include:

· 11 fish passage improvement projects

· 12 acres of wetland restoration

· 5 stream bank repair/re-vegetation projects totaling one linear mile

· 6 educational interpretation signs

· 133 stands of invasive giant reed removed

· 4,000 drain markers installed with anti-pollution signage

A fish census of San Luis Obispo Creek and its tributaries was also conducted. The census estimates the total steelhead population at approximately 40,000. The census report also recommends a prioritized list of projects for future fisheries enhancement projects.

The Land Conservancy appreciates the assistance of many community partners including California Polytechnic State University, The California Conservation Corps, Specialty Construction, R. Burke Construction, and all the landowners that participated in projects on their land.

A final report, summarizing the restoration work, is available in hard copy by contacting The Land Conservancy (805-544-9096, 743 Pacific St. SLO). An electronic copy of the Final Report and the fish census is available on the Land Conservancy’s website ( or by clicking

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