Faculty Volunteers Work to Improve Pismo Preserve

Cal Poly faculty members Judd King and Nephi Derbidge are helping The Land Conservancy of San Luis County create a parking area and trailhead for the Pismo Preserve, a nearly 880-acre property with sweeping views of Pismo Beach and 11 miles of trails for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.Student performing lab testing

The Land Conservancy acquired the Pismo Preserve in September 2014 with the goal of creating a space for hiking, biking and equestrian use. It envisioned a project that provides safe access to different users while being sensitive to the surrounding communities. The Pismo Preserve is the first project of this magnitude to be developed by the Land Conservancy. The site will have restrooms, picnic facilities and a wheelchair-accessible trail.

While doing initial environmental studies on the site, it was discovered that the project location contained sensitive cultural resources belonging to the yak tityu tityu yak tilhini (ytt), Northern Chumash tribe. The Land Conservancy worked with ytt leaders on a plan that reduces impacts to sensitive resources. To mitigate impact on the site, the project size was reduced and minimal excavation was done. These measures ensure sensitive resources are protected while still providing safe public access.

The presence of sensitive resources limits the amount of remedial grading that can be done in the area. To create a level parking area, about 12 feet of soil will be used to fill the sloped project area and will then be supported by a retaining wall.
King and Derbidge are donating their geotechnical engineering and soil testing services. Derbidge and student assistant Jack Christy conducted a soil-testing program to measure the compressibility and strength characteristics of the onsite soil.

King was responsible for taking data generated by Derbidge to assess soil settlement in the final retaining wall design.

The Land Conservancy hopes that by providing this space the general quality of life will improve for residents and visitors alike. The Pismo Preserve is expected to open in late 2018.

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