In 1965, a handful of local visionaries began remaking what was
considered blighted land, ultimately transforming it into Santa
Barbara’s largest public park. Today, the beautification of Elings
Park continues with plans to recycle 24 acres of landfill to make
way for a putting green. At the end of construction – scheduled to
begin two years from now – the area which currently holds the
park’s BMX tracks will also boast a rock climbing wall, a ropes
course with a zip line, and a roller hockey field.

Fresher, cleaner water is in the pipeline –well, not yet. The
City of Santa Barbara entered the first phase of a project to
comply with stricter federal standards for the toxic byproducts of
disinfection. The cleaner water is expected to be on tap by 2012.
Meanwhile, a pilot study still underway at the city’s Cater
Treatment Plant found ozone to be the most effective – but most
expensive – way to clean water. The simplest was installing
narrower pipes in the delivery system to reduce the time water
spends standing, rotting, and disinfecting.

A proposed Cingular cell tower to be sited near Cold Spring
School in Montecito has sparked controversy, with critics arguing
the tower could become a health issue for students. At a community
meeting last week, residents and representatives of the Cold Spring
School voiced their objections to the site choice. Robert
Collector, president of the Montecito Association, proposed a
formal forum in January 2007 to allow community members, school
officials, and representatives to officially weigh in on the

After more than a decade of research, UCSB biologist Bradley J.
Cardinale has published an article in Nature magazine concluding
that all forms of biodiversity – extending all the way down to
diversity among insects – are not only beneficial to humans, but
essential to functioning ecosystems. “This service provided by
species’ diversity is worth millions of dollars for agriculture,”
he explained as one example. Cardinale’s findings that ecosystems
rich in biodiversity are generally more productive than those with
a less varied species population are especially significant in
relation to today’s rapidly increasing extinction rate.

A baby harbor seal is on the road to recovery this week after
sustaining life-threatening injuries from an apparent great white
shark attack in the waters off Carpinteria. Still a few weeks away
from being released back into the wild, the seal pup is being cared
for by the staff at the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center. Last
winter, onlookers bore witness to an adult harbor seal being
violently taken by a shark in the waters just off the Carpinteria


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