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Tree Clean-Up
updated: Jan 24, 2013, 5:35 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

There is a creekbed that separates my property from my neighbor in San Roque. My neighbor hired a tree company to trim a large oak on his property, but which hangs over the creekbed. After the trimming was done, I saw that the company left all the branches that fell into the creekbed. I called them to ask that they clear out the branches. They said they'd look at it, but nothing has been done. Is there some agency with oversight of this work that I can contact?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 367128P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 05:41 PM

They were acting as your neighbors agent, contact him its his responsibility to see his workers dont impair the channel. Its also probably cheaper for him than officials getting involved and taking care of it for him and then billing him after its done.


 COMMENT 367131 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 05:45 PM

I wonder if you tell your neighbour that s/he is contributing to the blocking of the channel flow and could lead to flooding s/he might take responsibility for it, especially if you let them know you're filing a report with the City/County/whoever. Maybe even inform the tree trimmer of the same so they could be held accountable as well for future flooding.


 COMMENT 367134 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 05:49 PM

Tell us the company name and the creek area.


 COMMENT 367136 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 05:54 PM

Santa Barbara Creeks Office at 897-2658


 COMMENT 367137P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 05:56 PM

+1 on stating the name of the tree company.

Why protect a company that should know better, assuming they're licensed.

And if they're not, better yet to let people know who they are & that "you get what you pay for!"


 SBROCKS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 06:18 PM

Geroge Johnson Creeks Division.


 COMMENT 367162 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 07:02 PM

Pictures would clarify you concern. Please post them


 COMMENT 367165 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 07:11 PM

I doubt the Creeks people will do anything for you. We have a perennial creek in our backyard that suddenly went dry this year for the very first time...in two days. We have steehead in it every year. I've contacted everyone I can think of because we are pretty sure the Ennisbrooke community upstream began illegally using their wells to water their lawns and dried up the water table which in turn dried up the flow into the creek. It is just horrible. All the steel head died and the critters that depend on this always ever flowing stream now have dry rocks. We had families of ducks, bobcats, raccoons, possum, birds of all varieties...now, NOTHING! HARD TO BELIEVE NO ONE WILL DO ANYTHING!


 COMMENT 367167 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 07:19 PM

I hate when service people leave any kind of mess behind.
Seems like whenever I have work done, they do the work but leave a big mess. Whatever happened to pride in your work?
Be responsible: do the whole job, including prep and clean up afterward.


 COMMENT 367169 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 07:26 PM

Its not your problem. Talk to your neighbor and let him or her deal with it. End of story


 COMMENT 367172 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 07:32 PM

The department of fish and wildlife ( formerly fish and game CDFG) regulates creeks including the riparian vegetation surrounding them. Dumping materials into the creeks is against their regulations. Contact them and find out if this is one of their jurisdictional drainages.


Or CDFG polluter hotline


Good luck!


 COMMENT 367190 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 08:22 PM

@OP and @165 have you tried looking up Urban Creeks Council and SB Channelkeeper?


 COMMENT 367208P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 09:27 PM

367165: Have you contacted Carbajal's office? And, if so, what was their response? I don't think there is a Creeks Committee for the County. What about Rep. Das Williams's office? He used to be interested in environmental issues. Although it's not really a Heal the Ocean issue, they're very strong.


 BN50 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 11:57 PM

I can't trim my trees without a permit or a fine -- yet, a tree trimming company can leave their cut branches in a creekbed??? Why would it be the property owner's responsibility to tell the tree trimming co how to do their job. Surely Cleanup Service is not a separate fee. Do everyone a public service and let us know the name of the company.


 COMMENT 367228 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 06:06 AM

Talk to your neighbor. If unreceptive, notify him in writing that the actions of his agent may cause a problem, flood, fire etc. Once notified, in writing, of a specific problem, a property owner is on the hook if he does nothing to remedy and it causes damage.


 COMMENT 367234 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 06:54 AM

It is called littering. Call the cops. No studies or hand wringing. $500 fine for littering, maybe more in creek area. Be sure to tell the tree co. of your intent so they have a chance to make it right.


 COMMENT 367241 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 07:12 AM

I am the person who wrote the original post here. Thanks to those of you who responded with suggestions. My thoughts:
First of all, I did let my neighbor know of the situation, but I see no reason to burden him with the problem. He did nothing wrong. Secondly, I don't know the protocol about making public the name of the company I believe is at fault. I'd rather try to see if I can make him own up to his problem through pressure from a legitimate oversight agency. If that doesn't work, I may follow up with a progress report using the name of the company. Finally, I have had no luck dealing with creek issues in the past. The authorities tell you everything you cannot do to the creekbed, but since it's on my property, any problem is mine to fix, including clearing the creekbed of debris. I have filled my pickup many times with junk and vegetation that washes down and clogs that creekbed.


 COMMENT 367247 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 07:31 AM

There is, in fact, an Urban Creeks Council.

Try sb-urbancreeks dot org. It's a non-profit and it lists contacts for community leaders for nearly every creek in the southcoast area.

Also try Brian Trautwein, who works at Environmental Defense Center and is one of the founders of Urban Creeks Council.

City Councilmember Cathy Murillo's husband, David Pritchett has long been a creeks activist/restoration consultant. Even if you aren't in the City of SB her office might be able to refer you to David.

There is a long history of people protecting our creeks. These are a few who have devoted themselves to the creeks. I urge you to contact them.


 COMMENT 367249 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 07:46 AM

Surprising no one is willing to listen maybe if you tell these organizations that there are steelhead being threatened they'll change their tune steelhead is a big issue nowadays


 COMMENT 367263 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 08:23 AM

You could try sending a certified letter to the company involved telling them you have sent a copy of the letter to your attorney and asking them to come back and clean up their mess or you will pay someone to do it for them and then sue them in small claims court for the cost. The "Attorney" letter usually does the trick.


 COMMENT 367300P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 09:25 AM

I'd like to know the name of the company too so I can never hire them.


 COMMENT 367316 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 09:44 AM

This is a major violation. Both County and City ordinances require permits for ANY alteration of a creekbed including dumping things there, not to mention a host of illegal dumping ordinances, etc.


 COMMENT 367327 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 10:06 AM

OMG tree branches in the creek! This happens every day up and down the creek naturally. Call the swat team on them!


 COMMENT 367336 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 10:18 AM

To the OP. This IS your neighbor's problem to solve. Workers he (hopefully researched) and hired with the expectation that the job be done properly and completely.

Your neighbor had the contract with the tree trimmers. If they did not perform as expected, it is most certainly HIS problem to solve the mess clean up.


 COMMENT 367338P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 10:23 AM

This is illegal dumping, plain and simple. Even if it weren't a creek bed, your neighbor has no right to dump anything on your property, including branches from a tree which overhangs the property line. I have researched this because my neighbor planted many spreading trees along our fence line in San Roque. Fortunately I just asked the neighbor to have her "gardener" come over to collect anything that fell on our side, and problem solved. Even if it wasn't your neighbor personally who dumped the stuff there, it was his employee and therefore he is responsible. It's very nice that you are dealing with the company directly, but if nothing improves you can report illegal dumping. The number listed for City of SB at the Less is More website is (805) 564-5631.


 COMMENT 367340 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 10:25 AM

Ooh! If there are free large oak logs in a creek that I can (wih the property owners permission) chainsaw and haul off I would love to get some new Shiitake logs going. If you pay for the plugs, i'll even innoculate them and give you a few to grow your own if you are interested, OP! In a year you'll have more delectable mushrooms to eat than you'll know why to do with. ;)

Or if you are a gardening type, you could use the logs to start a hugelkultur bed that you won't have to irrigate after the first year.

One person's problem can become another person's dinner.


 COMMENT 367412 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 12:25 PM

It really is a shame that those who just don't care about our creeks make such negative remarks when those of us who do are trying in a very civilized manner to keep them healthy. Urban Creeks Council was the only entity that even responded and sent someone out...twice. But that was the end of it, never heard from them again when I thought something was moving in the right direction. Stopping the flow of a perennial creek because of illegal well usage for lawns because you don't want to pay for your own water was ruled illegal in the courts but like anything else, if you don't enforce the laws, what is the point of them?


 COMMENT 367426 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 12:51 PM

Toss termites onto the logs - you know you have some - you live in SB.

Set em on fire and blame a homeless guy if the cops show.

Call 1-800-Renta Beaver - dinner's on!


 COMMENT 367450 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 01:52 PM

For those of us who live on a creek, obstructions make the difference in a very dangerous flood situation when they back up water which swirls and eats away at the banks, yards, and home along them. It is nothing to scoff at. It happened here albeit Nature caused it rather than some irresponsible party dumping trash into the creek. The damage is usually irreversible and costly. Yes, something does need to be done. If Mr. Carbajal isn't interested in something, you won't hear from him believe me. If he is, he'll get right back to you. I know this firsthand. He is not interested in this one as I've tried to get him involved. It's tough, I'm hoping for a breakthrough that will help us here on Romero (Picay) Creek as well! Good luck!


 COMMENT 367657 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-26 09:08 AM

25% of a tree can be trimmed without a permit. If a permit to cut was not acquired, your neighbor could get fined, plus the tree trimming company will be fined.


23% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.


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