Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast title=
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast
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Photo Courtesy of Gaviota Coast Conservancy 


Source: Gaviota Coast Conservancy

During the week of January 13, 2020, approximately 300 acres of Santa Barbara Ranch, aka Naples, were illegally disked, destroying habitat and impairing public access to the ocean.  The disking occurred right before a significant predicted storm, increasing erosion and sediment in runoff into the Naples Marine Protected Area.  The Gaviota Coast Conservancy has filed a complaint with the Santa Barbara County planning department and the Coastal Commission.  

Permits are required for the disking, but none were obtained.  “The County requires permits before undertaking this kind of activity, which represents a change in use from what has occurred over the past 20 years on this site.  None of the agricultural exemptions apply when the new practice reflects a change from grazing to cultivated agriculture” explained GCC counsel Marc Chytilo.   

Disking, which involves cutting 6-12” into and turning over the top layer of soil, has not been practiced on this site for at least 2 decades.  Guner Tautrim, a 6th generation Gaviota Coast farmer and member of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy Board of Directors added: “Major earthwork before a storm is a reckless agricultural practice, regardless of the need for permits.  These lands have been highly productive pasture lands for generations, going back to the time when a dairy operated on the site.  Grazing is impossible now, and a change to cultivated agriculture doesn’t make sense due to limited water supplies.”  

Although the 2008 preliminary approvals for subdivision of Santa Barbara Ranch have expired, two lots have applications for development pending at the County.  “This wanton destruction of resources and impairment of public access is inconsistent with the development applications that are pending on some of Santa Barbara Ranch.  The lands need to be restored and the public’s access protected” stated Gaviota Coast Conservancy’s Executive Director Doug Kern.  

Other landowners that willfully destroyed habitat on the Gaviota Coast have been subject to enforcement actions, most notably the illegal grading on the Coho-Jalama Ranch, aka Bixby Ranch, in 2011.  GCC notified officials of those violations, which led in 2017 to significant penalties and a Coastal Commission restoration order that was finalized shortly before the developers sold the 24,500 acre ranch to The Nature Conservancy for preservation. 


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a-1580500601 Jan 31, 2020 11:56 AM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

And the Right Wingers rush to the defense of the property owner. I’ll bet each and everyone one of you “it’s his right” cretins thought the massive removal of ancient Oak trees in the Santa Ynez Valley was business as usual, too. Habitat. So what, eh?

a-1580491456 Jan 31, 2020 09:24 AM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

the socialists are at it again! They want to take over every bit of land, control it, force us into tiny houses / high density housing and supply us with food where they decide to. Keep your eyes open ppl! What this farmer did was just fine and the conservancy needs to be defeated!

PitMix Jan 30, 2020 08:45 AM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

Removing vegetation that has been in place for years and exposing soil seems like a pretty significant land use activity to me. I can't even remove a shade tree from my property without a permit. But I guess the ag people get to play by different rules? And in the coastal zone, no less!

rustydad Jan 30, 2020 07:57 AM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

Sad, a good organization desperate to find an issue where none exists. Chill and wait for a real issue. Give your lawyers a sabbatical.

oops Jan 30, 2020 07:43 AM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

Sounds like they want to tar & feather the ranch owner. He'll likely get more punishment than the illegal cannabis growers who get small fines & citations

millimesa Jan 29, 2020 07:06 PM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

Stop alleging criminal behavior. In a perfect world the GCC and CCC would prefer no development to occur in all immediate area along the coast and Gaviota to be protected or undeveloped forever. Shaming the unnamed land owner for maintaining his property without citing code or law is a concern to me. I enjoy walking to Naples and would hate if access was restricted because of potential liabilities or harassment from GCC or CCC.

SBZZ Jan 29, 2020 02:09 PM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

I do not know if this was legal or illegal but here are some facts –

The week of Jan 13 I walked to the beach like I have done many, many times and this work did not impede my access to the beach. In fact, they left a path untouched that people use for beach access.

“The disking occurred right before a significant predicted storm, increasing erosion and sediment in runoff into the Naples Marine Protected Area.”

Prediction is one thing – reality is often another. It rained a total of 0.55" at the SB Airport the week of Jan 13. I did not notice that any runoff had occurred from the storm into the main drainage on the property used as access to the beach.

I greatly respect the GCC, but I am surprised they would release such a misleading statement. I worry that unsubstantiated criticism towards a land owner that is allowing public access will result in such privilege being revoked.

Z Jan 29, 2020 01:43 PM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

There is discing and there is discing. Sure looks like they used a light plow to me. The property has been choked by mustard for years; it severely degrades the grazing potential. Soil erosion in the cited storm was negligible.

Chip of SB Jan 29, 2020 01:02 PM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

Using a disc to cultivate land is a common agricultural practice. The owner of the property has every right to do it. The land may have been used for grazing livestock in recent years, but that doesn't mean the property owner gave up his right to use the land for a different purpose such as planting crops. Our constitution forbids the confiscation of property without due process of law and just compensation. I don't see how the county government could legally take away the property owner's right to cultivate his land. Even if they were able to do that, I would think the property would have to be compensated for the loss of his property rights. If the Gaviota Coast Conservancy wants to dictate how the property is managed they should buy it!!!

a-1580323361 Jan 29, 2020 10:42 AM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

What's with the cannabis smell further up on the Coast? You can smell it in the car as you drive the 101. It's up near Arroyo Honda. I see on the cannabis map that there are 2 pending permits in that area but the smell tells me there is active growing/production going on up there now.

a-1580322094 Jan 29, 2020 10:21 AM
Alleged Habitat Destruction on Gaviota Coast

Disking is not grading therefore no permit would be needed. This is blatant NIMBY by the GCC. If they are indeed going to plant something then they have every right to do so alas RIGHT TO FARM. Just wait until UCSB starts developing Las Varas then their heads will really explode.

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