Beginning in 2010, the rural area in Oceano adjacent the Arroyo Grande Flood Control Channel (AGFCC) became a preferred location for homeless people. These became “magnet-sites” for more homeless and further accumulation of garbage (e.g., plastic containers, bicycles, shopping carts, Styrofoam, discarded electronics, batteries, human waste, drug paraphernalia, needles).
The SLO Department of Pubic Works, working with the Oceano Sheriff’s Community Action Team (CAT), removed over eight tons of garbage from the AGFCC. Ms. N. Engelskirger and Mr. R. Rose are part of the Zone 1/1A Flood Control group and led this cleanup. The CAT includes two officers, deputies R. Slaughter and T. Depew, who notified the homeless and removed 20-30 illegal camps without issuing any citations. State Parks & Recreation, led by Sgt. Michael Lack, located illegal camps on their properties. All terrain vehicles with small trailers were used to remove 1-2 thousand pounds of trash from secluded locations. Much of this garbage could have washed from the flood control channel and polluted the beaches of Oceano, Pismo and Shell Beach.
We believe the good work by individuals within these organizations could be used as model for future approaches to maintaining environmental quality that benefits all who live in or visit the Oceano area.
John Carter, Oceano