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Los Osos: Sweet Springs Nature Preserve To Grow To 37 Acres, Maybe More

November 10,2017-

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Sweet Springs Nature Preserve on the bay in Los Osos, is on the grow this year, adding about 8 acres with the opening of Sweet Springs East November 12. This addition, purchased in 2008, will be connected to the original (1989) Sweet Springs Preserve by walking trails.

Also under protection is the marshland to the west of there.  All these lands are now owned by Morro Coast Audubon who manages the popular nature area, open to the public.

But wait (as they say) – there is more.

“Audubon now has an agreement with the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County” says Kyle Walsh, LCSLO conservation project manger. The Land  Conservancy earlier this year acquired about 9 acres across Ramona Ave from Sweet Springs, land that had been previously zoned for housing in the future (see map).

Now that land will not be developed.

Sweet Springs General Manger Dave Clendenen says the long range plan is connect the 9 acre parcel to Sweet Springs and establish a network of trails over time with the potential of connecting all the preserve properties to LOVR by trail – perhaps around Ferrell Street (see map).

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Clendenen says the 9 acre parcel while mostly open land, has two groves of trees and “quite a bit of wildlife.”

The 9 acres abuts a 56 acre parcel once identified as a site for the town’s wastewater treatment plant. But, as is well known, that did not happen.

Now the future of the large parcel is up in the air. That property has unofficial walking trails itself that may survive or not depending on what happens with the balance of the land and extent of development.

In addition, Clendenen says Sweet Spring’s managers would love to acquire some smaller parcels down close to the bay, owned by Los Osos  pioneers – the Otto family – mostly wetlands near the north end of the preserve along 3rd street that leads to Baywood.

That could take the total amount of land at Sweet Springs under the Audubon wing to 40 acres – all connected – a key goal of wildlife habitat managers.

Back to the November 12 opening (Sunday, November 12th, 2-4pm -Corner of 4th and Ramona in Los Osos) of the Sweets Springs East expansion – it has taken 10 years to come up with a plan that all could agree on. An earlier proposal to cut down 120 eucalyptus trees was eliminated after vigorous discussion. Then permits were obtained, fund raising was successful and volunteer and professional labor completed improvements. Today we see new plantings and new benches. A path connects a new parking area and entrance to the preserve down to a bayside viewing platform with a 6 ft bird blind, the second bay platform on the preserve.

In September they announced that dogs would not be allowed on the property to protect wildlife and nesting birds, disappointing some dog walkers but now widely accepted.

Before the East Expansion opens, look for a path to connect east with west and the elimination of the chainlink fence to be replaced by a friendlier wooden fence.

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