The California coastline is a dynamic environment and Goleta Beach is no exception. Goleta Beach Park was built in the active coastal zone that is constantly changing. This part of the reason it is such a beautiful location for parties, picnics, and hanging out on the beach. I frequently use Goleta Beach and want to see it protected and enhanced.
In the future, erosion at the park’s western end near UCSB may threaten to expose sewer lines and cause another sewage spill on Goleta Beach.
The new Goleta Beach Park Master Plan addresses this fundamental issue. It is a major step in the right direction toward protecting and improving Goleta Beach.
The master plan, also know as Goleta Beach 2.0 reconfigures the park so that it’s facilities will be protected from natural beach processes for years to come. The plan would move parking spaces and utility lines threatened by coastal erosion farther inland, and add recreational amenities such as kayak rentals, better bike access, and interpretive trails.
Goleta Beach 2.0 is a sensible plan that works with natural processes. This is a great change from the previous policy of dumping massive boulders on the beach in an attempt to control erosion, a method that actually does more harm than good.
Using rock revetments or other seawalls to protect the park erodes and washes away beach sand. When waves crash on the beach their energy is absorbed and sand is pushed along the shoreline, essentially creating a river of sand along the coast. This process nourishes beaches with sand so long as there are not structures blocking sand flow up the coast.
If waves instead hit rock revetments like the ones at Goleta Beach the wave energy is reflected off of them back towards the ocean. This pushes sand away from the beach, out to sea. This results in increased beach erosion. Therefore if the rock revetments stay, they will cause more damage.
Some rock revetment currently on Goleta Beach are not permitted and the California Coastal Commission required the rocks be removed in order to protect the beach.
Goleta Beach 2.0 adapts to the changing environment and protects Goleta Beach Park. It sensibly moves important structures like parking stalls and utility lines out of the erosion zone, saving the county money while preserving important public recreation.
Goleta Beach 2.0 is the solution we have all been waiting for years. It will protect the park, and protect the beaches, and not cause our beach sand to wash away. Moving the sewer line and parking spaces back far enough so they will not be damaged by erosion is a great solution to save Goleta Beach.
With the recent 800-gallon sewage spill at Goleta Beach, it is even more important than ever to move the sewer line inland to Highway 217 so that it will be safe and secure for decades to come.
There are many benefits in implementing Goleta Beach 2.0. Important structures will remain safe even during strong winter storms, the beach can follow natural processes that are not detrimental to the coastline and the money saved could possibly go to further enhancing Goleta Beach Park.
The proposed reconfiguration also adds many news aspects to the park such as kayak rentals, better bike access, trails, and possibly even whale watching excursions leaving from Goleta Pier. I frequently use the beach and would love to be able to utilize these proposed amenities.
Please help make this plan become a reality by voicing your opinion at the Board of Supervisors Meeting at 105 East Anapamu Street, 4th floor, on July 6, 2010.—Ian Hogan(The writer is a UCSB student.)