Goleta Beach

Goleta Beach

Goleta Beach Park Solution Takes Time

Thursday, August 22, 2013
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Goleta Beach Park is a special place visited by over 1.5 million men, women, and children each year. While it is adjacent to UCSB and the City of Goleta and near the S.B. Airport, it is within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the County of Santa Barbara. Nevertheless, those of us who live in the City of Goleta or in the unincorporated Eastern Goleta Valley feel a special connection to Goleta Beach. After all, it is where we take our children for birthday parties, attend retirement parties, watch the sunset, eat at the fabulous Beachside Restaurant, and stroll along the magnificent beach with our loved ones, including our dogs!

As 2nd District Supervisor, I am proud to have this beach park in my district, and I take the responsibility of its preservation, infrastructure, and safety very seriously. I fought hard to ensure that parking remains free at Goleta Beach. Many thought parking fees would be a “cash cow” for the county, but I consistently and successfully argued that they would have an adverse impact on the use and access of the beach park.

The county’s commitment to and investment in Goleta Beach Park is reflected in the recent replacement of the sewer lift station — an important project from an environmental and health and safety perspective that was completed with over $600,000 from county capital maintenance funds.

I have also worked closely with our Public Works department on the Goleta Beach Bridge replacement project — securing local and federal funds for the replacement of this 60-year-old bridge. Once completed this redesigned bridge will improve safety with dedicated pedestrian and bike access and increase access with a new MTD bus stop.

I am disappointed that the ongoing environmental review process for a project to improve and maintain Goleta Beach Park has been met with some misleading comments. I feel an obligation to ensure that the residents in our community are presented with the facts.

Over a decade ago, the county received an emergency permit from the California Coastal Commission to install rock revetments to help stop the erosion of the park following several significant storms. That permit required the county to return to the Coastal Commission with a permanent plan consistent with Coastal Commission guidelines and the voter-approved Coastal Act. The Coastal Commission mandated that the county conduct environmental studies on the impacts of retaining the rock revetments and identify possible alternatives to protecting Goleta Beach Park.

Subsequently, the county sought and received some permit extensions while the community met to discuss possible options. In 2007, just after my election, the county submitted a proposal for a “permeable pier” solution to the Coastal Commission. The proposal was heard in 2009, and the Coastal Commission denied this project on a 9-1 vote.

The county returned to the drawing board, and after several months of meetings with individuals and community groups and conducting public workshops, county staff developed a proposed project called Goleta Beach 2.0. The Board of Supervisors unanimously moved Goleta Beach 2.0 forward for engineering and environmental review — a process required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The purpose of the CEQA review is to obtain input from the public on the proposed project and make sure that the project and alternatives have been analyzed before the development project can be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

For over a decade, the county has carefully followed the proper legal and regulatory process for environmental review and development of a long-term solution for the treasure that is Goleta Beach Park.

Early in the environmental review process, the public was invited to provide input so the Draft EIR (DEIR) would include a variety of potential alternatives and analyze issues of importance to the community. The DEIR was recently released, and the county has sought additional public comment. The county has received very important and useful comments that will influence the final EIR. In fact, the county has extended the comment period for an additional 30 days and all comments will be responded to in the final document.

The county’s investment in the long-term viability of Goleta Beach Park is well established as I noted earlier. As a decision maker, CEQA demands that I allow the public process to be completed before reaching a final opinion or decision on the project.

I do not believe that anyone wants Goleta Beach Park to “wash away.” It is my hope that the conversation moving forward is positive, instructive, and collaborative and that we all do our best to contribute to an effective solution that allows the county to comply with state laws and mandates while ensuring that this vital recreational and environmental jewel remains for generations to come.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Well, it does take time to do it up right.

All the fast food restaurants, Pizza Parlors, Kentucky Frieds, Subways, a boardwalk, Ferris wheel, County sub-stations, fishing and walking pier with boat launch facilities and a roller coaster.

L.A. County ain't the only place which can have these wonderful things !

Cij (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 7:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Independent readers may find it helpful and informative to review a half-hour television interview with Brian Trautwein, of the Environmental Defense Center, discussing Goleta Beach 2.0.

The program includes extensive film of Goleta Beach and a thorough explanation of the significant features of the county proposal as well as description of previous attempts to deal with the erosion of this beach.

William Smithers

bilwil (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 7:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is sad. 782 words that basically say nothing.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
August 21, 2013 at 1:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The video of the interview with Brian Trautwein and EDC is as one sided as it gets. They have fought against anyone that want's to PRESERVE Goleta Beach. Any discussions that have included keeping the reventment in place is vigoriouls argued against and....this is very important folks, EDC has never stated for the record in any hearings or meetings that they would support a hard revetment if erosion becomes excessive and loss of areas not anticipated take place. Again, do not support preservation with protection under any circumstance should erosion be more extensive than anticipated. There is nothing misleading in stating facts you don't agree with Janet. And isn't EDC one of your biggest donors by non-profits?
The bridge over to the park was not you Janet, it it's mandated as a safety requirement. You have nothing to say about that. It can't carry the capacity load for two vehicles. What the heck do you know about structural engineering....Oh yeah, nothing. The lift station? It was outdated and in need of replacement due to regular breakdowns. Again, safety and sanitation, old unit.
Janet, I grew up in Goleta, my kids did as well and I personally know the park employees that work there. Maybe you can decieve the general public, but not those who know. We all know your view, follow EDC's lead. Never, I repeat never; and this is well documented folks; have you ever publicly disagreed with EDC on any issue related to GB.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2013 at 3:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And the one vote in support or the permieable pier? The Coastal Commissioner who represented our region.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2013 at 3:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The irony of the picture above? The alternative supported by EDC would result in most of that area washing away as well as the loss of over 100 parking stalls. That's the fact.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2013 at 4:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The "groin," or pier previously recommended by Santa Barbara County Supervisors was rejected 9-1 by Coastal Commission members, whose approval MUST be obtained for any proposal to be activated.

Does "BeachFan" suggest that one vote of ten should carry the motion? Or that the Coastal Commission, that has responsibility for use-policy of the entire state's coastline, should be subservient to his and his family's perceived convenience?

Isn't it true that Commission members themselves suggested to the county the proposal now known as "Goleta Beach 2.0."

Isn't it true that, under 2.0, the sandy beach at the west end of Goleta Beach would be extended landward, creating about a one acre area?

Isn't it true that the current buried rock revetment was always meant to be temporary and that its legal authority to exist has expired?

Isn't it true that the county intends to implement parking in other areas of the park to help alleviate the lost spaces at the west end of the beach?

In my opinion, an assault on the standards and accomplishments of the Environmental Defense Center, that has helped preserve the Douglas Preserve, rid our parks of poisonous pesticide use and defend Goleta areas from excess development, among many other of its deeds, is misguided and even hysterical

In the half-hour interview of the EDC's Brian Trautwein, recommended above, he does of course give his opinion and cites scientific evidence in support, but if anyone suggests that other points of view are not presented to him in that interview, they misrepresent what is there to be plainly seen.

William Smithers.

bilwil (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2013 at 5:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Although it is water under the bridge , it is my belief that Supervisor Wolf plays a bit loose with her claim of supporting the denial of beach parking fees. Yes , she ultimately voted against those fees , but so did all the other supes. I was active in organizing public opposition to the fee proposal . Part of that activism was contacting her about her stance , as I did with all 5 supervisors. Not only did she not respond , she tactfully waited till public opposition proved overwhelmingly against the fees . Her claims to have " fought hard to ensure that parking remains free" are baffling to me . I participated in every hearing , every meeting , walked the parks organizing and never , ever did I hear a peep from Janet Wolf. Nothing until the final vote. Please Supervisor Wolf , tell us what you did ( except your final vote ) to " fight " for no parking fees.

geeber (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2013 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nicely stated, William Smithers.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2013 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wish I had read SezMe's comments before wasting my time reading this vacuous piece. To add insult to injury JW claims to have actively fought against beach fee's?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 8:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Smithers. It does take the majority of the CC to pass. It's ironic that a hard revetment was approved to protect homes in Malibu in 2008 or so, but not a valuable community asset like GB.

"Isn't it true" that the alternative favored by EDC would result in the loss due to erosion of approximately 100 parking stalls?
"Isn't it true" that that would result in the loss of access to park visitors?
"Isn't it true" that this very plan would result in the eventual loss of over 1.5 acres of beach and turf? Resulting in this area "washing away"?
Isn't it true" that the areas in which parking is being proposed vary from 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the existing park?
Isn't it true that some of the areas being proposed for parking aren't even owned by the County?
Finally, "isn't it true" that EDC held closed door meetings to support a project that they were going to be reimbursed through a 3rd party for in exchange for their support?

Works both way Smithers.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 11:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The rapidly accelerating forces of climate change, i.e., rising sea levels, warming sea water, both resulting in increasing El Nino storms, higher tides and more vigorous wave action, are not really subservient to anyone's wish to park only ten steps from the beach at the western end of Goleta Beach Park.

The sewage and utility lines and structures near that end of the beach will not be protected from destruction unless they are moved landward.

The parking area at that end of the beach will be replaced by a beach area extending further landward. Period.

This plan accommodates future erosion of the lower beach area at the western end of Goleta Beach.

The buried rock revetment has to go; such arrangements are known in any case to shrink beaches.

Unfortunately, the immense forces at work on this planet don't respect a pretty hope for convenience.

William Smithers

bilwil (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 1:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Isn't it true that the current artificial beach configuration is only maintained by truckloads of sand being brought in from elsewhere after heavy storms?

How stable is that? How smart is that? How wasteful is that?

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 2:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabatha. You are right, let's just let the natural process do what it wants. Erode away the entire area back to the highway, where Cal Trans will build a hard revetment to protect access to UCSB. Look at historical photos, this was once an open water channel all the way to the airport.

The parking lot turned to beach? No core samples have been done to identify what's under the lot. When this was Army Corp property, it was a dumping ground, who know's what is under the asphalt. Also, the beach there will be short lived as the "natural erosion process" would lead to it's eventual loss. Probably in less than 10 years, but this is only a guess.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 3:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I thought natural processes both eroded sand and then dumped sand. I have seen naturally dumped sand close up the mouth of Goleta Slough and the eastern part of the beach grow substantially as sand is added naturally. I doubt that the beach will be eroded to nothing. But I am no expert - and I believe that the experts have done the requisite studies.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 4:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The beach is artificial. Always has been. It only became a park in the current configuration when the Army Corp of Engineers filled in the areas that are now where the airport sits. The natural process would want to go back to what it was open water channel.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 5:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have seen many open water channels open onto a beach - in fact there are numerous examples along the coast. Why, because sand from water channels going to the ocean builds the beach. In fact, I cannot think of a single example where there is no beach.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 10:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We love Goleta beach, and love takes time.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
August 23, 2013 at 10:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabatha, you just don't get it. There was no beach there before the channel was filled in. Where you seem to be talking about are beaches where there has always been a beach AND channel. That is simply not the case in Goleta. See the archive photos. Facts are really hard to ignore.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 24, 2013 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where are the archive photos?

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 24, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 24, 2013 at 4:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Much of your contribution here seems to be “only a guess,” and some of what you've written appears to be a purposeful misrepresentation of information provided by Brian Trautwein in the interview referenced above that you say you've seen.

You imply a reason for alarm by asking “Who knows what's in [the landfill]?” Are you pretending that you didn't witness Trautwein saying that 7-9 years ago erosion exposed the fill at the western end of Goleta Beach and that it contained nothing harmful?

“Oh, let it all go!” we now hear, “My guess is the beach will disappear in ten years.” Are you pretending you didn't witness Trautwein reporting that scientists know we are about six years into the “calm” period of a sequence that flips to “harsh” erosion every 30 years?

You've obviously done no research, have no grasp of the natural forces at work that serious people are trying to deal with, and in addition inaccurately report in this forum information provided you.

I think an apology is in order, to which you can attach your real name.

William Smithers

bilwil (anonymous profile)
August 24, 2013 at 7:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The lot has not been core drilled. The lot areas were not exposed due to the storm mentioned. I find it fascinating the absolute lack of ability to understand the most basic of premise. I didn't deny my 10 years was a guess. The "serious" people that are fighting against any hard protection measures are all affiliated with EDC. Where is the neutrality in that? Where has EDC associated groups or folks ever come out on record to support hard protective measures should erosion become more extensive than what "they" guess? Keep your head in what's left of the sand and the beach. Removal of hard protection will lead to a loss of over 20% of the park. Dispute that. Oh and Tabitha, the very first "picture is a map". Show me how the public would access can't even make out #2 except for the sand spit/breakwater that you seem to refer to as a beach. God knows what #3 shows.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 26, 2013 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I actually think people should see those maps. It would give them a very good idea of what is to happen to GB if the natural process is allowed to happen at the western end. People could see for themselves what would happen there.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 26, 2013 at 3:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is what Goleta Bay looked like before the Park was built. This is what the natural process would create. Tabatha, look for yourself.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
August 26, 2013 at 4:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have no idea what that is supposed to show, other than what the slough and the slough mouth looked like before the Santa Barbara Airport was filled in. Hence the slough size then and the slough size now, are like comparing apples and oranges.

One of the biggest problems with the smaller Goleta Slough area today is sedimentation, which contributes even more to the filling in of the slough and other water bodies. Hence the large expanse of water before the mouth in your linked picture will never reoccur because of the changed structure of the slough both by man-made and natural filling in. That photo is just not relevant.

Beaches are built from two sources - wave action and the transport of sediment and sand by rivers to the coast.

Right now we are in a beach-building phase via wave action and sediment from rivers continues to fill in the slough. Hence, again, the status of Goleta Slough at the time of that picture no way represents the current state. In fact, with any more fires in the back-country and sediment brought to the coast as shown in the photo below, will mean that the area will never revert back to what was shown in the photo.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 26, 2013 at 9:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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