Ongoing Operations to Clear Debris Basins
Photos: Goleta Beach
Source: County of Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara County watersheds impacted by the Thomas Fire have not fully recovered and remain vulnerable to increased runoff. Winter storms continue to produce a significant amount of rocks and sediment into the debris basins above Montecito and Carpinteria.
The Santa Barbara County Flood Control District (District) has worked to clear basins before, during and after these winter storms. In addition to utilizing available upland disposal sites in Buellton, Santa Paula, the closed Foothill Landfill and other County property, beach disposal at Carpinteria Beach at Ash Avenue began on Feb. 4, 2019, and will be continued as needed until affected watersheds have recovered.
Prior to beach disposal operations, the District obtains emergency permits from state and federal agencies. Emergency permits allow for disposal of beach compatible sediment at three beach locations: Carpinteria Beach at Ash Avenue, Goleta Beach County Park, and Butterfly Beach in Montecito. Carpinteria Beach at Ash Avenue was the first location utilized for beach disposal and nourishment. Given the impacts of the most recent storms, the County’s Goleta Beach is needed now, and preparation activities will begin on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, with disposal planned beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.
The County’s winter storm sediment deposited on Ash Avenue significantly nourished and restored the beach helping abate the impacts of a seven-year drought. Goleta Beach County Park has also been impacted by the drought, as well as significant king tides, resulting in no beach areas during high tide.
Every effort is being made to assure safety and public access to Goleta Beach. The District has collected sediment samples from each debris basin site that will have material taken to the beach. Sediment samples will continue to be taken throughout beach sediment disposal operations. Ocean water samples were taken prior to beach disposal operations as well. To ensure that ocean water at the disposal sites meets applicable water quality standards for recreation, the County Public Health Department is monitoring. The beaches will be open unless notified otherwise and the Beachside Restaurant, located at Goleta Beach County Park, will not be impacted.