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Posted on January 18 at 8:56 a.m.
The steelhead in Mission Creek were starting to come back over the last 13 years when the City released water into the creek - at the request of the Department of Fish and Game. The releases are necessary because the City's Mission Tunnel intercepts water in the Mission Creek basin, causing the Creek in Mission Canyon to go dry early each year. Historian Walker Thompkins documented this; "Fern Falls" went dry after the Tunnel was bored. The releases also recharge the City's groundwater. Last year the City's water supply czar ordered the releases shut off and, while some of the federally-endangered fish were rescued by federal and state biologists, some died in pools that went dry. These young fish were only several inches long. Until this recent setback, for almost a decade, the City Creeks Division and partners including EDC, have worked together tirelessly to bring more steelhead back into the City, to add to our City's beautiful ambiance. It is unfortunate that despite all these years of work, the City water supply staff would let the creek run dry. There is hope. The creek is flowing. Some fish are still alive. With continued hard work and cooperation, steelhead recovery in Mission Creek will continue to be successful. The Santa Ynez River had the largest steelhead run in southern California, double any other river's run size (20,000 steelhead). When Bradbury Dam (Cachuma Reservoir) was built in 1954, the population dropped by 99%. The dam blocks the steelhead migration to virtually all the good habitat in the river. As a result, on a good year they observe only 16 steelhead in the river. For 20 years the water agencies, including the City water supply staff, have argued that they are protecting steelhead, yet the steelhead population has not increased. Passage over Bradbury Dam is necessary to get the steelhead back to their spawning grounds - but the City and other water agencies have spent millions of ratepayer dollars on studies that fail to evaluate real solutions, on lawyers to fight real progress, and on PR to convince people that 16 steelhead is a healthy population. Once again, the City has approved more money to fight Santa Ynez River Steelhead restoration. The Environmental Defense Center and CalTrout, along with California Fish and Wildlife and NOAA are working towards real progress. Check out EDC's website for more info. Hopefully, like Murrillo suggested, the City water supply department will help rather than block steelhead recovery.
On Council, Steelhead Swim Upstream
Posted on May 17 at 8:06 p.m.
As a 43-year resident of Goleta and long-time frequenter of Goleta Beach, I think the County's new plan to protect Goleta Beach Park is brilliant. It adds an acre of sandy beach for families, beach parties, sun-tanning and sandcastle building, enhances access, and moves the old sewer line and other utilities out of the area subject to repeated erosion.
The utilities pay to relocate their utility lines to safer areas, we get a bigger beach, a new drop-off / pick-up area, new bus route and stop, safe new bridge, safer bike and foot access, and overflow parking for those rare instances it is needed. Over 500 families joined EDC and Surfrider, coastal scientists, and community groups, and wrote to the Coastal Commission supporting this approach for our beach park.
The rock seawalls that line portions of the park include significant areas that are not legally permitted because the temporary "emergency" permits expired years ago, and the Coastal Commission has given the County a long time to come up with a plan that protects the park without damaging the beach. Seawalls cause beaches to wash away and the Coastal Commission's 9-1 vote gave clear direction to the County to pursue a balanced project like the new plan. The new plan leaves the rocks in front of the whole eastern part of the park, the resturant, and the pier foundation, and extends protection all the way to include the Goleta Sanitary District's outfall vault. It is a compromise approach that will protect the park without damaging the beach and will resolve a decade old dispute.
On Goleta Beach 2.0 Report on the Way
Posted on May 17 at 12:05 p.m.
Measure Y is not creek restoration. Many restoration projects use boulders in the creek bed to create pools and riffles, but this developer's project lines the creek banks with boulders in a clear effort to protect the planned estates, not to restore the creek.
I've worked for 25 years to restore San Jose Creek, Mission Creek, Las Vegas Creek, Deveruex Creek, Maria Ygnacio Creek and others in Santa Barbara and Goleta. The developer's project causes a "significant, permanent adverse impact" to Arroyo Burro Creek according to the City's own independent Environmental Report.
The developer's "restoration" plan calls for 14,000 cubic yards of cut and fill; hundreds of truck trips hauling dirt and boulders around in the creek will be very disruptive of the creek's ecology and wildlife.
The City's EIR also found the the project will pollute Arroyo Burro Creek. We all know Arroyo Burro is already polluted, but why vote to allow a developer to pollute the creek even more?
Arroyo Burro Creek supports a newly discovered population of Western Pond Turtles. This is a State Species of Concern. It occurs in very few locations near SB. The new discovery is significant, yet the developer's project, i.e., paving a road and bridge across through the ecologically-fragile creek, and the so-called "restoration" will threaten this population of Pond Turtles.
Arroyo Burro Creek is perennial and supports significant riparian vegetation. This section of Arroyo Burro is arguably one of the city's nicest creeks in the urban area. Mission Canyon and Rattlesnake Canyon above Foothill are also nice.
The City leveraged $400,000 to secure $1.2M in grants to restore Arroyo Burro Estuary, and gets over $2M per year for these types of projects.
The City can plan comprehensive creek restoration while the developer can only address issues on the development project site. So all the polluted urban runoff, non-native plants and increased runoff coming onto the site cannot be addressed by the developer's project.
"No on Y":•Assemblyman Das Williams, Mayor Helene Schneider, Supervisor Janet Wolf, City Councilmember Bendy White, City Councilmember Cathy Murillo, Sierra Club, Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council, Citizens Planning Association, Allied Neighborhoods Association, Democratic Party of Santa Barbara, Democratic Women of Santa Barbara Co., Environmental Defense Center, La Mesa Neighborhood Association, League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County Action Fund, Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, Sheila Lodge, Planning Commissioner/former Mayor, Betsy Cramer, Chair Harbor Commission, Lesley Wiscomb, Chair Parks & Recreation Commission, Gerry DeWitt, Former City Councilmember, Elinor Langer, Former City Councilmember, John Jostes, Former City Planning Commissioner (partial list)
On Not What We Call Restoration
Posted on March 23 at 10:02 a.m.
Yes, must be new. Just wait a year or so when they'll be screaming that they wished they never set foot in Santa Barbara or tried to develop Naples. When will out of town developers learn? Santa Barbarans love our community and our open space and natural lands, and we will fight to the end to preserve its unique beauty found nowhere else in the world, and to safeguard our wonderful way of life.
Like so many would-be developers, they'll leave with their tails between their legs. In fact, they should get out while they still can.
On New Owners at Naples?
Posted on March 21 at 4:56 p.m.
There should be a full Environmental Impact Report for this massive undertaking. It seems clear there is potential for significant environmental harm from the seismic testing - thus the need for so many conditions on the permit, and more impacts from the eventual, reasonably foreseeable oil production that will result.
On Oil Hunting with Dynamite in Cuyama
Posted on March 8 at 6:45 p.m.
When I am unable to get back into nature, into the wild, to roadless areas and paths less traveled, I suffer emotionally.The longer I go without immersing myself in Nature, the harder it is for me, very unfortunately, to see beauty in life, in people, and to enjoy life. Life becomes stressful.
When I go for a long hike, my soul sighs. My heart breathes. I become alive. I awaken. I become re-energized. I see priorities more clearly. My mind becomes sharp. Things come into focus. Yes, Nature deficit disorder affects people young and old, and must be combated.
But McGinnis is right about providing careful access to Nature. We can love it to death. The commenter who brings bones and stones to children is bridging this gap between people and Nature. We must bring Nature to people, real Nature - not TV shows - and we must bring people to Nature but in a controlled way.
My nephew's only experience with Nature is hunting/killing things. At least he is getting out there. But the kid is usually on video games or TV. I worry about the future of humans, and the future of Nature, if future generations lose sight altogether of that connection.
My hope is there will be small rural agicultural communities and clans who can persist, and teach that connection, so in the future humans relearn that we are part of the ecosystem. We are part of the environment. If we re-learn this connection, and we don't trash Nature - of which we are a part, we will have a bright future with clean water, good local produce, clean air and healthy fish and wildlife populations.
Thank you to the author for triggering this discussion.
On Nature Deficit Disorder
Posted on March 8 at 2:57 p.m.
I like Forest Watch and think they need to be true to their mission of protecting the forest and should therefore stridently oppose this bill even though it grew from their own work. Wait for a new representative then try again.That's a short wait and a minor inconvenience compared to the permanent environmental damage that would occur due to increased OHV usage of the backcountry if this bill were made law. Support clean water and wildlife, but oppose opening up roads that have been closed. When the community said we support a wilderness bill, this is not what we had in mind! Keep up the great work Forest Watch!
On More Wilderness and Off-Roading?
Posted on March 1 at 3:24 p.m.
I love the wilderness proposals but I hate the other aspects of the bill: opening up closed roads for quads to rip up existing wilderness. No thank you. It is not worth it. I oppose this bill, and would only support it if it the environmentally-destructive provisions are eliminated.
On Protecting Los Padres Wilderness — and Dirt Bikes?
Posted on February 17 at 9:34 a.m.
Thank you Janet Wolf for standing up for the community, the people of the 2nd District.
The state and outside groups such as CRLA do not understand that the County's fair share of housing does not all need to be crammed into Goleta and Noleta.
All urban areas in the County should accept their fair share, so it is not all dumped in the 2nd District; how unfair!
Please protect our open spaces and ag lands, especially Caird (an organic farm surrounded by 2 sensitive creeks), South Patterson and San Marcos Growers.
On Ninth Inning Curveball Thrown at Noleta
Posted on February 16 at 11:58 a.m.
What a great article. I've lived in the Goleta Valley since 1970 and every time I see farmland or any open space being paved over I cringe. We are losing our heritage, open space - the very heart of Goleta - and replacing it with pollution and pavement.
Led by Janet Wolf and her amazing leadership, the Board of Supervisors should reject developers' desires to pave over our fertile and fair valley.
The proposed Goleta Community Plan includes 650 new housing units! This is too much development - more than our community and infrastructure and services can support.
*Save the South Paterson Agricultural Lands. *Do not rezone the Caird property - an organic farm abutting two sensitive creeks.*Hands off the San Marcos farms parcel.*Save the farm stand on Hollister!
These lands help make Goleta special. If replaced by housing, a big part of Goleta and a little part of me would surely die.
Board of Supervisors: Please protect our community values.
On Outside Interference
Submit the Documentary is a film that is informative and ... Read More
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