May 7 was an exciting day for the City of Goleta as it celebrated the completion of the first phase of its massive San Jose Capacity Improvement and Fish Passage Project.

The project, which broke ground in November 2011, is designed to protect the city against a 100-year flood event and help endangered steelhead trout swim up to their spawning grounds. Mayor Michael Bennett, along with members of the city council and Supervisor Janet Wolf, were present for Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

Bennett recounted the negative effects that flooding has had on both the residents and the businesses of Goleta, forcing those in Old Town Goleta to purchase extremely expensive flood insurance. Rosemarie Gaglione, Goleta’s Public Works Director, stated that the creek is now much more environmentally sound for fish to pass through, and that it is designed to allow groundwater in when water levels are low.

Highway 217 on-ramps will be open in both directions in the coming weeks and the next phase of the project, replacing the Hollister Avenue Bridge, will begin shortly.


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