Federal agency may close Guadalupe-Nipomo wildlife refuge

May 16, 2016
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering closing the remote Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years. Though the federal agency’s budget is growing, its fund for managing the national refuge system is shrinking.

The Guadalupe-Nipomo refuge consists of 2,553 acres of dunes in southern San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County. It is home to more than 120 species of rare plants and animals, and it can only be accessed by hiking two miles from the north or south. [Tribune]

In February, Fish and Wildlife officials released a 15-year plan that lists three options for managing the Guadlupe-Nipomo refuge. The federal agency is deciding between closing the refuge, continuing current management practices or increasing spending in order to draw more visitors and host more environmental education activities.

Since 2010, the national refuge system budget has decreased by more than $20 million while costs have increased, according to the 15-year plan. Fish and Wildlife currently spends $133,500 annually on managing the refuge. About 20 percent of that funding has been lost since 2010, said Michael Brady, the head of a national wildlife refuge complex that includes the Guadalupe-Nipomo refuge.

However, the overall Fish and Wildlife budget has increased during that span. The agency’s fiscal year 2010 budget was $2.76 billion, and its proposed fiscal year 2017 budget is $3.03 billion.

Last year, the the longtime manager of the refuge retired, and Fish and Wildlife officials opted not to replace him. Instead of keeping a staffer on site, the agency sends a worker from its Ventura office up to the refuge every couple weeks.

Fish and Wildlife officials say they would prefer to to keep the refuge open and increase public access, which would require more funding and help from volunteers. The proposal for keeping the refuge open calls for increasing its budget from $133,500 to $241,000.

A plan to create a 2-mile hiking trail that would lead visitors from the beach to the back-dune area and include stops at a pond, willow valley and a peak with panoramic views is also being considered.

The wildlife refuge was established in 2000 when the Nature Conservancy donated the land to the federal government. There is no road access to the area. Visitors can enter the refuge by hiking south from the Oso Flaco Lake beach trail or by hiking north along the beach from the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. Both hikes are about a four-mile round trip.

Fish and Wildlife officials are expected to make a decision in June or July about the future of the refuge. They are currently evaluating public comments.



  1. r0y says:

    So their budget has been increasing, but their spending has decreased? Gee, who’s taking home bonuses, and how much? We do this to ourselves, you know. Keeping a massive government workforce is such a scam. I mean like humans cause global warming level of scam. “Green energy” scam. So many rigged games – and it’s not just wall street.

    (8) 24 Total Votes - 16 up - 8 down
    • kayaknut says:

      You have to really love hearing about these politicians running for office padding themselves on the back that they were able to save all those government jobs during the scam called “furloughs”, and how some even claim to have taken less salary, I guess to show they really care about a bloated government. I really rather hear that they cut “X” number of government jobs that were and still are not needed.

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
  2. Perspicacious says:

    What do they mean by “close” or “open”. Do they mean “close off access”? If so, they can KMA. We don’t need them anyway to babysit us. Sounds like sending someone up there every couple of weeks to check it out works just fine. What I am confused about is why that costs them $133k a year?

    It sounds like an excuse to cut off access to more land.

    (14) 22 Total Votes - 18 up - 4 down
  3. achillesheal says:

    When they close the facility does that mean they will put up barbed wire fences to keep people out?

    How about they just pack up their tents and walk away and stay away?

    (15) 25 Total Votes - 20 up - 5 down
  4. tomsquawk says:

    oh…we need to spend more money, don’t we. how about a millionaire tax?

    (-3) 17 Total Votes - 7 up - 10 down
    • Pelican1 says:

      Hmmmm…might I suggest a desk audit of the UFWS. Upon completion, it will become very clear what “dead wood” needs to be eliminated in order to keep this refuge open.

      (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
  5. kayaknut says:

    This is an easy one, eliminate a few administrator and/or upper management positions, that should save at least $200,000+ per position given governments tendency for bloated salaries. Like most governmental agencies they are likely top heavy and this would allow to keep the the area open.

    (18) 26 Total Votes - 22 up - 4 down
  6. Jorge Estrada says:

    Great idea, get the feds dis-involved and contract out to let’s say, a off-road-vehicle club.
    The club can patrol this area as a part of the MOU and keep foot traffic away from the dunes and beaches. They can be empowered to asses fines like the APCD to fund such things a camp site for their training meetings as well as trips to Washington DC for studies, and contracts for other sanctuaries.

    (4) 38 Total Votes - 21 up - 17 down

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