A restoration project at Mesa Creek and the Arroyo Burro Beach estuary is set to be completed in December. The project, which includes the removal of a culvert and the construction of a footbridge connecting Arroyo Burro Beach to the Douglas Family Preserve, will be topped off by the planting of 3,000 trees on December 2. The public is invited to participate.

A Thanksgiving Day landslide in La Conchita raised fears that the coming winter rains will wreak havoc on the unstable cliffs that abut the small South Coast town. Apparently the result of geologic shifts in the steep cliffs – as opposed to water seepage – the slide nevertheless represented an eerie reminder of the disastrous slide of 2005, which killed 10 people. State and Ventura County officials are conducting a nearly $700,000 study meant to head off a similar disaster.

Just as chilly winter temperatures are invading the South Coast, the National Weather Service announced this week that El Niño will be paying us a visit this winter. Though this year’s incarnation of the wind, rain, and heavy surf weather pattern should prove far less destructive than the El Niño of 1997-1998, the turbulent weather that results from warmer than normal equatorial surface water temperatures promises to put a damper on the 805’s picture-perfect afternoons.

In a small victory for local environmentalists and fans of pristine coastal open space, county officials decided recently to recirculate the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed development of the Naples property. Essentially reopening the entire EIR process, the “recirculation” will include a new public comment period – as well as a number of hearings – in hopes of addressing various perceived environmental shortcomings. The final EIR was scheduled to arrive before the Planning Commission for approval in early January, but it now looks as if the plan for more than 50 multimillion-dollar homes on the Gaviota Coast will have to wait until at least next spring before a final EIR will be ready for a vote.

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