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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

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.