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It was disappointing to read the comments in Nick Welsh’s “Dave and Das Show” article regarding Goleta’s San Jose Creek Flood Control and Fish Passage Project [News, 7/7/11, independent.com/davendas]. He describes it as being an “admittedly controversial downtown flood-control project.” It should be noted that this project has been in the planning process for years, even before incorporation of the city.

It is generally seen as beneficial and essential to any future upgrades in Old Town. Now, on the eve of it becoming a reality, some business owners at the north end of Kellogg near Hollister Avenue are realizing that the construction will have some negative impacts on them. This has created some controversy, not about the project, but about what the city can do to mitigate the impacts. City staff and council members have met with many of these business owners and will be staying in touch throughout the project.

Mr. Welsh goes on to say that the project is “necessary before real estate developers and property owners will invest in Old Town.” I don’t know about real estate developers, but I do know that many of these property owners are low-income residents who have lived in their homes for many years. They have endured more than one flood event and, as a consequence, have had to carry expensive flood insurance. Once the San Jose Creek project is complete, this will no longer be necessary. — Margaret Connell, Mayor, City of Goleta

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The San Jose Creek Flood Control and Fish Passage Project is a win-win solution to a decade’s old problem. Old Town Goleta has been repeatedly damaged by overflows from San Jose Creek during floods. Storms in 1995 and in 1998 led to federal declarations of emergency. The proposed flood control project is sorely needed, desired by the community, and long overdue to protect Goleta.

This multi-faceted project also has support from the local environmental community which advocated the project’s fish-friendly design. Salmon-like steelhead trout—some measuring almost three feet—still swim from the ocean into San Jose Creek seeking upstream gravel spawning beds. But their epic journey is cut short by the existing San Jose Creek flood control channel. When the project is completed, steelhead will once again be able to migrate upstream to their historic habitats and spawn without human interference.— Brian Trautwein, Environmental Analyst, S.B. Environmental Defense Center

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