The San Luis Obispo sedge is a grassy plant that grows in clumps up to three feet tall. It grows in the Los Padres National Forest on the western flank of Cuesta Ridge and Willow Creek as well as in the Salinas watershed. It is also found very close to the forest boundary in Monterey County. The sedge grows in a variety of habitats, including cypress forest, chaparral, coastal scrub, and coastal prairie habitats at elevations below 600 meters.
Threats to the San Luis Obispo sedge include trampling, competition with non-native plants, mining, grazing, feral pigs, improper burning methods, military operations, road and trail construction, and other development.
The San Luis Obispo sedge is classified as a sensitive species by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.