The Baywood Park Training Area Formerly Used Defense Site, or FUDS, is located in San Luis Obispo County, California. The former Baywood Park Training Area consists of approximately 9,145 acres and includes portions of the city of Morro Bay and the community of Los Osos-Baywood Park.
The U.S. Army acquired 8,810 acres of land from public and private individuals in July 1943 to establish Baywood Park Training Area. The land was used from 1943 to 1946 as bivouacs (camp sites) and as a maneuver area for troops, vehicles and equipment by Army troops stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo and the National Guard. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from Morro Bay Naval Section Base also used a smaller portion of the property as an amphibious training area that included ordnance ranges and an impact area.
Following World War II, the former Baywood Park Training Area was declared excess to the needs of the federal government. Before the training area was closed, a surface clearance sweep for munitions and explosives of concern was performed, and by 1947, the land was returned to the previous owners. Since that time, 11 additional clearances for munitions and explosives of concern have occurred on the site.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Investigations
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FUDS Program investigation of the former training area began in 1989. The Army Corps of Engineers conducted an archives search and site visit in 1993 that identified 10 areas (known as munitions response sites) for investigation of munitions and explosives of concern. The 10 munitions response sites were identified by the letters A through I. From its investigation, the Army Corps of Engineers determined that six of the areas (A, B, D, E, H and J) potentially contained munitions hazards. Based on the findings of the archives search and site visit, an Interim Removal Action was performed on 166 acres of Area A and adjacent land to locate and remove munitions and explosives of concern.
From 1996 to 1998, the Army Corps of Engineers conducted an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis at areas B, D, E, H and J to determine the nature and extent of munitions and explosives of concern that may remain. Based on the evaluation and analysis, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended Institutional Controls and Public Education as the remedial alternative for Baywood Park Training Area FUDS.
Between 2001 and 2003, the Army Corps of Engineers implemented the recommendations of the Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis. The Institutional Controls and Public Education included establishing an administrative record; conducting munitions and explosives of concern safety education classes; distributing safety fact sheets to visitors of Montaña de Oro State Park; and installing 17 explosives safety warning signs as well as two educational displays at various locations within Montaña de Oro State Park. Following these activities, the Army Corps of Engineers would conduct Recurring Reviews every 5 years to determine if the institutional controls and public education activities were still protective of human health and the environment.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recurring Reviews
The first Recurring Review was conducted in 2007. The Army Corps of Engineers conducted a Long-term Management 5-Year Review at Baywood Park Training Area FUDS to determine if the Institutional Controls and Public Education were still effective at minimizing explosives safety risks and remaining protective of human health, safety and the environment. At that time, no reports of a munitions encounter in areas A, B, D, E, H and J were identified; however, data collected during the review suggest that residents and visitors of the area were not well-informed about potential munitions hazards. Based on the findings, the Army Corps of Engineers implemented the following activities: development of 3Rs of Explosive Safety training materials for schools, Montaña de Oro State Park, and local first responders; mailing of information regarding the Baywood Park Training Area FUDS and the 3Rs safety information to landowners; and distribution of site boundary information to local realtors and the San Luis Obispo County planning office.
In 2012, a second Recurring Review was conducted to evaluate the continued effectiveness of the Institutional Controls, including the 2007 recommended outreach activities. The Army Corps of Engineers concluded that the Institutional Controls remain effective; however, ongoing outreach efforts are necessary to maintain effectiveness.
In 2018, a third Recurring Review was conducted. Similar to the previous review, the Army Corps of Engineers concluded that while the protectiveness of the response action has been effective, there are aspects of public education which could have been more effective.
After the third Recurring Review, the Army Corps of Engineers determined the Baywood Park Training Area should complete the final phases of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, Liability Act (CERCLA) Process.