One year after the Montecito debris flow the dump trucks are back on the roads of Santa Barbara County. Why is this happening? The community of Montecito is built on ancient creeks and debris flows. Creeks and drainages were designed to allow water and other materials to flow to the ocean; why would you want to change that natural process? Debris basins were an answer that created even more encroachment to the drainages. The debris basins worked quite well, but what to do with all the sediment they are catching?

The situation County Flood Control has itself in now is unsustainable. The cost of digging and trucking any sediment that ends up in the basins to other communities, like Goleta and Buellton, flies in the face of reality. The sediment should be deposited in Montecito on Butterfly Beach, at the end of Eucalyptus Lane, or maybe Fernald Point. Don’t Montecito’s beaches need nourishment also?

These other communities are being subjected to truck traffic, diesel fumes, dust, and destroyed roads. The beaches are being overwhelmed with debris and sediment when they are just beginning to recover from the onslaught of dumping from last year. Not to mention the degradation that is being done to Goleta’s bay environment by over silting and water quality impacts. This scenario has no end game and will be repeated over and over. The elephant in the room is how and who is paying to industrialize our watersheds and beaches?


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