The Santa Cruz Island species battle entered the legal arena on
January 10 when animal rights activist Rick Feldman and the San
Rafael-based In Defense of Animals filed a complaint against the
National Park Service to halt the slaughter of wild turkeys. The
Park Service claims that the non-native birds, which have populated
the island for 50 years, are threatening the fox recovery program.
Feldman argued they are unnecessary casualties, much like the
island’s pig population, which was killed for the same reasons and
which, according to some reports, kept the turkey population in
check by eating their eggs.
As of January 17, the public is officially invited to walk along
the new pathways connecting Arroyo Burro (or Hendry’s) Beach to the
Douglas Family Preserve. The mostly grant-funded $1.6 million
project – part of an effort to restore ecological balance to the
Arroyo Burro Estuary – saw the removal of 300 feet of concrete
culvert from Mesa Creek and the replacement of countless invasive
plants with 6,000 native plants and 2,500 trees and shrubs.
Additionally, city work crews sought to stabilize the creek banks
using coconut fiber mats rather than wire and concrete.
At the Goleta Water Board’s January 9 meeting, newly elected
director Bert Bertrando pushed for the district to resume pumping
waste from its central basin, which has now recovered fully from
the 1980s drought. The basin’s water is cheaper than State Water,
argued Bertrando, who has also urged the district to raise revenues
by selling more water, instead of promoting conservation and
charging more. Bertrando’s conservation-minded colleagues favored
waiting for a geologist’s report on the basin’s full capacity.