When CNPS Conservation team members John Chesnut and David Chipping joined with Marla Morrissey to form the Morro Estuary Greenbelt Alliance, the non-profit brought government agencies together to secure funds to protect rare dune habitat surrounding Los Osos. As a result of that effort, the Powell Properties north and east of the Los Osos Middle School, and the Butte property at the end of Butte Drive near Shark Inlet were brought into the State Parks system, as well as the ‘Bayview Property’ which is now called the Morro Dunes Ecological Reserve and under the management of California Dept. Fish and Wildlife. Unfortunately the funding to manage these parcels has either been sparse or non existent.
A CNPS conservation team has been cleaning out abandoned homeless camps within a literal stones throw of one of the two stands of Indian Knob mountain balm, and directly within a stand of Morro manzanita. There was evidence of fires and other scary things. The photos below show cleanout of one of the several piles of crud ata one site. A greater threat comes from thoughtless actions by the equestrian community that is cutting new trails in the fragile sand, cutting manzanita to allow horse access, and not yet responding to CNPS requests for dialog. CDFW attempts to manage trails consisted of a sheet of paper stapled to a pole ‘closing’ a trail and which vanished in days, and lately a bit of paper not much larger than a fortune cookie that was pinned to the post with partly penetrating thumb tacks.
There have been no efforts to control veldt grass, which is taking over habitat of the rare lichen Cladonia firma. In North America Cladonia firma is known from only four populations in California on the southeast side of Morro Bay, in Los Osos and at Montana d’Oro State Park in San Luis Obispo County. Interestingly, the species responds to fog. The picture below show Cladonia firma green after a foggy night in early September.