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Project 1002- Inyokern Pistachio Orchard

Stabilization of a Large Source of Windblown Sand and Dust


An 80-acre tract in Inyokern, CA became a large source of windblown sand and dust when it was cleared in February, 2013 as a first step in developing an orchard. Abatement and mitigation efforts began in March, 2013 and included installation of an extensive array of wind fencing along with planting of a cover crop, drilling of a new well, and application of a soil binder,. The effectiveness of those abatement measures was much lower than anticipated, and the site continued to be cause significant environmental impacts to surrounding properties.


On June 24, 2014, the Antelope Valley Dust Control Group was approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors for a 1-year program to oversee fugitive dust abatement and mitigation efforts for the tract. The Antelope Valley Dust Control Group evaluated previous efforts and worked in cooperation with Kern County, the East Kern Air Pollution Control District (EKAPCD), the landowner, and neighbors to devise a plan to reduce environmental impacts of the tract on the neighboring community and adjoining areas. The primary areas of focus include reduction of onsite traffic and application of mulch, irrigation and vegetation, and/or removal of blowsand deposits to promote rapid surface stabilization, and the removal of fugitive sand and dust deposits from neighboring properties. The potential for successful abatement of this problem appears to be high, with traffic control and mulch application as the most important elements.


Two EBAM PM10 monitors were provided by the EKAPCD to assist in identification of successful abatement. The ambient monitors will be supported by a reconfigured array of Cox Sand Catchers to track sand and dust emissions during future high wind events.  The Antelope Valley Dust Control Group will monitor progress through PM10, CSC and weather data analysis, monthly site surveys and input from the landowner and impacted neighbors until mitigation and abatement are complete.


Monthly reports are distributed by the Antelope Valley Dust Control Group to update involved parties on project status, revisions, and PM10, CSC and weather data. A final report of successful abatement will be distributed when it is determined that abatement and mitigation are complete. 

Figure 1. Site before dust control planning began.

Figure 2. Site after mulch application.

Latest Update:

The Mitigation phase is complete. Blowsand has been removed from all impacted homes except for one, which is being handled through the courts. 


All abatement measures are complete and short-term abatement was achieved on 2/1/16. 


Monitoring to include quarterly visits and progress reports will continue and live data will be available to the public on our Air Quality page until long-term abatement is achieved. No exceedences or visible dust events have occurred during this phase.


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