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Natural Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does the City of San Luis Obispo have a Natural Resources Program?

A: The citizens of San Luis Obispo have prided themselves on the beautiful setting of their community, its great weather, closeness to the beach, and general high quality of life that goes with living here. The citizens do not want to see those qualities erode, hence a unique program focused on the City’s natural resources and their conservation has been established. This includes protection of the City’s surrounding greenbelt areas, proper management of the lands for which the City is directly responsible, and educating the public about those resources and their care and appreciation. In order to do these things, the City Council created the Natural Resources Program.

Q: What does it accomplish?

A: Both private and public agencies have learned by experience that when someone is paying attention to some aspect of a program, or project, things begin to happen. For the City of San Luis Obispo, this has meant stronger efforts at natural resource conservation, restoration of degraded resources, full mitigation of impacts of public and private projects, establishment of a natural history education program, and receipt to date of over $1 million in grant support for the purchase of resource lands or of development rights to farmland near the City. City staff are optimistic that this effort will continue to be a popular and successful one for the community.

Q: Why should other cities do anything like this?

A: As cities grow, greater and greater pressures are placed on resources - water, air, plant and wildlife and open spaces. Residents tend to develop concerns over these pressures, and look to City government for assistance. A natural resource program can offer a more proactive and creative approach to the pressures of growth. For example, with regard to the protection of open space, grants, donations, dedications, and other opportunities are available and waiting to be utilized (San Luis Obispo has acquired more than two million dollars in grants in less than 4 years!). In addition, the educational aspects of our program have helped train City staff to approach operations and practices differently, such as creek maintenance and fire prevention brush clearing. The community has also become more involved in “hands on” stewardship efforts. The City would be pleased to share its experiences further with other communities to foster similar goals and policies.

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