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County hopes to keep Oceano from wetting itself 

In about three or four months, San Luis Obispo County officials should have a plan to develop a plan on how they’re going to tackle flooding in Oceano—just in time for the flood season in Oceano.

With December’s nightmare of flooded homes and rivers of liquid waste pouring into the small coastal community still fresh in residents’ minds, county officials are hoping to come up with a quick fix for drainage problems plaguing Arroyo Grande Creek, the main source of flooding problems. More to the point, they’re trying to find a way to lessen the flooding while butting heads with state regulators to get a permanent plan in place.

“We’re looking at a number of what-ifs,” County Public Works Director Paavo Ogren told SLO County supervisors at their May 24 meeting.

That might not be all that great a comfort if you’re an Oceano resident. Several homeowners attended a brief informational hearing at the Board of Supervisors Chambers, mainly to call for commonsense solutions that will keep their porches dry when winter rains hit.

“I know in six months it’s going to rain, and nothing’s been done yet,” said Steven Ehens.

In a few months, county Public Works hopes to have the framework to develop a variety of plans and studies on the Arroyo Grande Creek, which has become overgrown with vegetation and is prone to flooding. Clearing the vegetation, however, is a governmental ropes course of red tape from state environmental agencies. County officials also have to negotiate with California State Parks, which owns a portion of land that contributes to the flooding, officials say.

A sandspit blocking Arroyo Grande Creek is another cork that causes Meadow Creek to flood. Local officials used to breech the sand manually in heavy rains to allow water to more easily drain, but haven’t been able to do so since the ’90s.

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