Cooperatove Conservation Project

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Stewardship Collaborative

Restoring California's Premier Dune Complex

Location: Far West Region: California

Project Summary: This public/not-for-profit collaborative partnership is implementing variety of restoration projects & visitor service programs to mitigate the effects of one of the nation's largest oil spills.
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Dunes Stewardship Collaborative
Resource Challenge

As a result of a 1998 legal settlement following the discharge of diluent at the Guadalupe Oil Field, $9 million were dedicated to fund projects which restore and replace damaged natural resources and visitor services compromised by the diluent release.


 The Stewardship Collaborative, a partnership of land managers and local agencies, in cooperation with state fish and game and conservancy agencies, has utilized a permanent endowment to fund on a long term basis, restoration projects and public access enhancements lead to the long term protection and enhancement of the dunes.

Examples of Key Partners

A +$10million endowment fund is administered by the Guadalupe Restoration Trust, comprised of the California State Coastal Conservancy and Department of Fish and Game.  The Trust oversees disbursement of endowment funds to projects developed and facilitated by a ten-member Stewardship Collaborative comprised of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM), County of Santa Barbara, County of San Luis Obispo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, Dunes Center and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo.  The Collaborative has met monthly over the past four years and encourages participation and information exchange among groups engaged in conservation work in and around the dunes.

Results and Accomplishments

The collaborative has been instrumental in launching exotic pest eradication and invasive species removal programs over the past three years that targets the treatment and removal of veldt grass, pampas grass, European beach grass and other invasive species.  Areas subject to treatment are entered into a database of land management units that are used to set criteria for restoration activities using GIS technology. 

A Western Snowy Plover Educational Program was developed and implemented with CD ROM kit materials being distributed to agencies and land managers throughout the endangered species range.   A Plover brochure and K-12 grade activity guide has also been developed and distributed as part of an after school program. 


 Endowment funds have also been used to design an interpretive center currently being constructed at the Dunes Center in the community of Guadalupe California.  The parking areas at the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve have been repaired and a series of management projects implemented.  Also, an Interpretive Master Plan has been developed for the Center for Natural Lands Management and is currently being implemented. 

The Collaborative has also sponsored annual scientific symposia for two years in a row that bring together members with a technical expertise in dune restoration with the lay public and interested agency personnel. 

 The Collaborative has also developed a Needs List to respond to the core goals and objectives of its dune restoration and visitor services focus. 


By using an endowment-based approach to restoration planning the Collaborative and the Restoration Trust have established a tone of collaborative problem solving that has set into motion significant working relationships instead of competitive behavior - relationships that transcend and bridge the missions of each of the partner organizations. Instead of championing projects proposed by individual agencies or member organizations, the collaborative has developed a strategy of identifying and prioritizing restoration needs first and then finding the most qualified organization or coalition of organiizations to effectively meet the need and effectively solve restoration challenges. By taking this approach, the collaborative builds good will in addition to valuable expertise.

Project Contact
Melissa Boggs
Staff Environmental Scientist
California State Coastal Conservancy
Department of Fish and Game 3196 South Higuera Street, Suite A
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 594-6165
Mario Castellanos
Executive Director
Dunes Center
P.O. Box 339
Guadalupe, CA 93434
(805) 343-2455 x 202

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