The grant will also allow EDC to conduct creek surveys to document and abate pollution, and to manage and fund a UCSB student intern in educating the University community and other Santa Barbara County residents about the values of and threats to local watersheds.
The Goleta Watershed is important for enhancing water quality, by filtering pollutants; providing recreational opportunities including bike paths, parks and bird watching along many of Goleta creeks; and protecting wildlife habitat for endangered steelhead trout, red-legged frogs and tidewater gobies. However, these values are threatened by pollution and (often unpermitted) development, issues that EDC’s Goleta Watershed Protection Project aims to abate.
EDC has exhibited leadership in the field of watershed protection, co-founding the South Coast Watershed Alliance, initiating steelhead recovery projects in the Goleta and Santa Barbara area, and regularly documenting and halting sources of pollution, litter and unpermitted development in local creeks and wetlands. According to Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf, whose district encompasses Goleta watersheds, “The Environmental Defense Center is at the forefront of watershed protection in the Goleta Valley, frequently identifying, reporting and ensuring clean-up of pollution and illegal developments in local creeks and wetlands.”
The Coastal Fund also recently made a $9,000 grant to EDC and the Santa Barbara Chapter of Surfrider Foundation in support of our work to address Santa Barbara County’s new plan for Goleta Beach Park. The Plan will upgrade and maintain Goleta Beach Park by moving sewer lines and other threatened infrastructure away from a critical erosion area while adding an acre to the sandy beach for public recreation and enjoyment. Other planned upgrades include safer car, bicycle, pedestrian and bus access. The grant will also fund a UCSB student internship to educate the University community and the community at large about the expected benefits and impacts of the new plan and its alternatives.
The Coastal Fund was created and is funded by the students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in order to preserve and enhance the ecological integrity of the coastal habitats at and near the University. “Goleta Beach and the Goleta Slough are in UCSB’s front and backyards, and these watersheds are used by thousands of students every year,” said Scott Bull, former Environmental Programs Advisor of the Coastal Fund. “Protecting the wetlands and creeks and educating the public about the values of watersheds and Goleta Beach will benefit UCSB students for many years to come.” More information about the Coastal Fund can be found at http://www.coastalfund.org.
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.
The Environmental Defense Center works to protect and enhance the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action primarily within Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community based organizations to advance environmental protection. Program areas include protecting coast and ocean resources, open spaces and wildlife, and human and environmental health. For more information visit: http://www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org.