Land and Sea

The slow and steady suck of muck from Santa Barbara
harbor’s ocean floor
is now underway, with all of the
undesirable sediments being piped to the surf zone of East Beach.
From the seawall to Marinas 2 through 4, a Canadian-based crew will
suck up literally tons of metal-filled sediment, which currently
makes portions of the harbor impassable at low tide. The brew of
aluminum, arsenic, and mercury will then be piped several hundred
yards to the Mission Creek area of East Beach, where it will be
deposited. According to harbor officials, the monthlong $280,000
project is acceptable under EPA standards, though the public is
warned to steer clear of the area.

In a surprise move hailed by Santa Barbara environmentalists,
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Ocean Protection Council adopted
aggressive recommendations for reducing the amount of
plastic waste in the ocean
. The council adopted all of
Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay’s recommendations for cracking down
on the use of plastic fast-food containers, litter, and toxic
additives in plastic. Non-biodegradable plastic fragments are
consumed by fish and birds. According to a report from the Algita
Foundation, the mass of plastic pieces off the Santa Barbara
coastline is 2.5 times greater than the mass of zooplankton on the
water’s surface.

At their meeting on February 13, county supervisors agreed
unanimously to appoint a Fire Board of Appeal to handle residents’
requests for exceptions to fire code regulations,
such as alternate materials and construction. Each supervisor will
appoint one member to the board. Such requests now go first to the
fire marshal, then the fire chief, and finally to the Board of
Supervisors for resolution.

Less than three months after leaving office, former Goleta City
Councilmember Cynthia Brock will be back before the council as a
petitioner. On February 20, Brock and fellow Ellwood Mesa
preservation activist Chris Lang will ask the council to prohibit
the Goleta West Sanitary District from routing additional
sewage down the Devereux Creek
trunk line, which runs
through the Sperling Preserve and Santa Barbara Shores Park. It is
not the possibility of spills that concerns her, Brock said, but
the release of sewer gases from the line as well as the need for
heavy equipment and foliage clearance.


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