Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystem
The Pismo Dunes
The Pismo Dunes, also called Nipomo Dunes, are one of the biggest, comparatively undisturbed dune compounds located in California. These dunes stretched eighteen miles from the end of the northern part of Pismo State Beach up to Point Sal State Beach. In this essay, we will discuss the ecosystem of the Pismo Dunes and its processes that are commonly found in most aquatic habitats. We will also learn the management system used in managing and sustaining this ecosystem.
The Pismo Dunes are a dynamic ecosystem, which are one to three miles in width. These dunes have been building up, altering in response to the current northwest winds, for the past eighteen thousand years up to present. Several dunes are continuously formed today. The active and moving dunes are the ones with no few or no vegetation.
Flowers, grass and plants are essential to the Pismo Dunes because they stabilize the flowing sands. During springtime, sand verbena and yellow magenta, daisies, coreopsis and silver lupines brighten the Pismo Dunes. These species are preserved inland from the State Vehicular Recreation Area in Pismo State. Nearly no one thinks about walking into the dune preserve to view nature’s creation. Park rangers are assigned to maintain and remind people of the importance of this wetland environment. The state beach started broadcasting guest information such as weather, tides, surf conditions, and rules and regulations to protect the species living in this ecosystem. This broadcasting is done on the radio (McKinney, 1993).
Some bird species also grow and live in the Pismo Dunes such as the California Least Terns and the western snowy plovers. These birds are protected by the park’s management. They designate alternate route that allow off-highway vehicles in order to protect these endangered species. Tidewater gobies are fish species that lives in the waterway of these dunes. These species are endangered because according to a research, they water vehicles are running over the fish. Federal state continues to search for alternate access point to eliminate or if not, minimize the need of people to cross the creek (Sneed, 2010).
Figure one shows the silver lupines; one of the plant species found in Pismo Dunes. Tall trees and showy blooms are not visible in this place. The life of plants and flowers in these dunes is humble and quiet (Vilim, 2012).
Figure two shows the western snowy plovers; one of the bird species that grows in Pismo Dunes. These species lay their eggs in the shallow sand of the dunes. This area is one of the most dynamic breading grounds for these species, which are federally threatened birds. Some parts of the dunes are closed during the nesting season of these species (Vilim, 2012).
Management practices and Ecological principles
Management practices in Oceano Dunes cover an extensive series of rules and regulations concerning wildlife and endangered species. These practices include air pollution control and littering avoidance. Environmental issues are one of the major grounds in implementing the management practices, as well as imposing restrictions to protect wildlife. These practices are performed by regularly monitoring endangered species, which is performed by biologists, and weekly collection of water samples for bacteria levels.
Littering is one of the major environmental issues in Oceano Dunes’ ecosystem. Although park rangers and volunteers perform their jobs well in watching over and warning people about littering, there are still many trash and weeds scattered in the beach and in the shore. Campers should be reminded to clean up everything from plastic bottles and plastic bags, to wooden pallets and barbeque grills that they have used in building a campfire. The management should be stricter in implementing the rules by imposing fines for campers who will be caught littering.
The different species that grow and live in the Oceano Dunes play an essential role to sustainably manage the ecosystem. The snowy plovers breed and nest in these dunes. In this process, these birds help in preserving the ecosystem’s natural habitat by feeding in small fish and plants. The silver lupine, which grows in Pismo dunes, also plays a major role in the ecosystem because it serves as food and home for birds and other species as well. Tidewater gobies, which live in the waterway of these dunes also serves food for birds. These fish species also contribute in keeping the creek lively and attractive. The roles of these species interrelations play a very important role in preserving the ecosystem because each plays a different role and function in the whole ecosystem.
Managing Oceano Dunes ecosystem and the Municipal water sources
Illegal dumping is a major problem that occurs presently at Oceano Dunes. Dumping is strictly prohibited by the dunes’ management and the municipal water authority. Dumping any type of liquid in parks of any state, including fresh water, is illegal because it leaves several kinds of pollutants behind, from soapy water to bacteria. Dumping on beaches that has a lot of sand can be notably harmful because the contaminated water infiltrates into the sand and immediately reaches clams, sand crabs and other sea creatures. There are hundreds of recreational vehicles that assemble on the Oceano Dunes every week. Each vehicle possesses three tanks. The first tank holds fresh water; the second tank carries used fresh water and also called gray water; and the third tank holds sewage. Although dump stations were built, wherein park visitors and campers can empty their tanks, free of charge, many people still dump their tanks into the sand. Campers perform illegal dumping to eliminate or at least decrease the weight of the vehicle before leaving the park.
Illegal dumping became a serious issue that affects both the Oceano Dunes and the municipal water resources. For that reason, the dunes’ management supported the state water quality officers in requesting for additional sites for water quality monitoring, which was granted. Two sites were added by the county Environmental Health Department, wherein water samples are collected weekly and tested for some types of bacteria. However, the sampling process does not examine for petroleum products and other types of pollutants. Without this testing, the county depends on complaints and enforcement officers to protect water against chemical pollution, said Lichtenfels, the county environmental health specialist supervisor. A variety of fines can be charged to people who will be caught doing illegal dumping. The fine depends on the type of water dumped into the sand and beaches. The enforcement was also increased and some dealers now offer pumping services in the county. These resolutions describe the relationship between sustainably managing the Oceano Dunes ecosystem and managing the municipal water resources (Sneed, 2010).
McKinney, J. (1993, September 26). Hiking: Pismo Beach : Doin' the Dunes - Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/travel/tr-39318_1_pismo-dunes
Sneed, D. (2010, February 16). Latest local news from San Luis Obispo, CA | The Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/02/16/1031386/oceano-dunes-ecosystem-needs-constant.html
Vilim, K. (2012). Oceano, Land of Dunes. Retrieved from http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/oceano-land-of-dunes.html