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KCBX News Update: Morro Bay offshore wind moves forward, goats and sheep to return to Paso Robles

Morro Bay Harbor and the Pacific beyond
Thomas Wilmer
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BOEM releases draft environmental analysis of Morro Bay offshore wind

The federal process for establishing a potential offshore wind farm off of Morro Bay moved forward Wednesday, as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released a draft environmental analysis for the project. BOEM found that the offshore wind activities in that area would have minimal, if any, environmental impact in areas like air and water quality, fishing and marine life.

However, that does not include impacts from the siting and construction of a potential wind farm, which BOEM says is another step in the process.

The Morro Bay Wind Energy Area would cover about 376 square miles and could bring up to three gigawatts of clean energy to the power grid – enough to power about one million homes.

The Central Coast advocacy organization called REACH released a study in 2021 estimating that an offshore wind farm off Morro Bay could generate at least 650 jobs and about $250 million annually in economic impacts, though some in the local fishing industry have also expressed concern about impacts to their operations. 

The next step in the federal process is a series of remote public hearings on April 14 and April 19. More information on that is available at boem.gov.

Paso Robles resumes goat and sheep grazing along Salinas Riverbed to reduce wildfire risk

Goats and sheep will soon make their return to the Salinas Riverbed area in Paso Robles to help reduce wildfire risk.

This Sunday, the animals will begin grazing the area as part of the Paso Robles Vegetation Management Program, which helps maintain firebreaks in the river.

The city says when it did this program last year, the animals grazed about 80 acres, and that led to a “significant decrease in the number of acres burned within the Salinas River corridor.”

Amid severe drought conditions and a predicted early start to fire season, the city is starting this program a month early and will wrap it up by late May.

The area is still mostly open to the public, but the walk path between 13th Street and Navarro will be closed. Officials also warn visitors not to touch the electric fence that contains the goats and sheep within the grazing area.

A map of drought conditions in SLO County is available at drought.gov.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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