County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

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County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach
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Goleta Beach (Photo: Melinda Burns)

Source: County of Santa Barbara

In order to re-open Goleta Beach County Park ocean waters to the community, the County of Santa Barbara has retained a professional firm for assistance.  The firm Geosyntec will provide guidance on options to expedite clearing of the waters at the Park.  The waters at Goleta Beach have been closed since January 11, 2018 due to heightened levels of bacteria including coliform, fecal coliform and enterococcus.

To ensure the public is safe and will not become ill from high bacteria levels in the ocean, certain guidelines must be met through testing.  Two consecutive ocean water tests must meet the California State Department of Public Health guidelines for these substances.  The County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department has tested the waters at Goleta Beach, at three distinct locations, twice a week since early January. While bacteria levels have reduced, spikes in levels of bacteria continue. Regretfully, the waters have not cleared as quickly as anticipated.  Goleta Beach Park is open and the recreation area and shoreline is accessible to visitors.  The waters remain closed.

“With summer around the corner it is important to do everything we can now to ensure that the ocean is accessible and safe so all can enjoy Goleta Beach County Park.  It is time for Goleta Beach to recover. Hiring an expert to advise us how to address the bacteria in the ocean water is critical so we can return this resource to our community,” stated Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Geosyntec, with an office located in Santa Barbara, is a specialized consulting and engineering firm that works to solve complex problems involving the environment and natural resources.   Geosyntec’s broadly experienced firm includes a specific discipline of engineers that focus on water quality assessment, management and restoration.  They have completed numerous projects throughout the United States for the specific purpose of improving water quality.

The County of Santa Barbara is also working cooperatively with City of Goleta officials.  All are committed to ensuring that the ocean waters are restored and reopened allowing the community to continue to fully enjoy Goleta Beach County Park.

"While Goleta Beach is under Santa Barbara County's jurisdiction, it is widely used by City of Goleta residents," said Mayor Paula Perotte. She continued, "We greatly appreciate the leadership of Supervisor Janet Wolf and efforts of Santa Barbara County personnel in seeking to reopen closed areas of Goleta Beach as soon as possible. We also appreciate their seeking alternative actions for potential future emergencies."

Following the 1/9 debris flow, which affected the unincorporated community of Montecito, approximately 40,000 cubic yards of debris was hauled to Goleta Beach from January 11, 2018 to February 20, 2018. Materials deposited met permitting requirements of the Regional Water Control Board (RWQCB), the California Coastal Commission and Army Corps of Engineers and were sorted to be free of large rocks, woody material and trash. The RWQCB mandated testing of materials as a component of their permit conditions and deemed the sediment met standards for placement in the surf zone.  Ocean waters were expected to clear and have safe levels of bacteria within a few months of deposits ending. However, the clearing was contingent on many factors including but not limited to weather, wave action and additional runoff from winter storms.  In addition to Goleta Beach, material was also deposited on Carpinteria Ash Avenue Beach.  These deposits stopped on February 9, 2018 and waters in this location have cleared as anticipated.

Updates on the status of the ocean water testing and the status of Goleta Beach County Park can be found at www.ReadySBC.org

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Eggs Ackley May 15, 2018 01:08 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Test the sewer lines from the restaurant and bathrooms for starters. Is there a leak where the bridge construction tied in??? PS @ A-1526413636 its apparent you don't understand wildfire behavior and suppression <<The evening of December 5, I watched the fire progress westward,...>> I don't think so. Better check your dates. Lets not make up ALTERNATIVE FACTS to fit your CONSPIRACY THEORY. I think that's call POST-TRUTH. Your CREDIBILITY was thin, now GONE COMPLETELY

a-1574012552 May 16, 2018 10:55 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Dear Eggs, Are you trying to make me believe that deliberately permitting the vegetation in the hills above Montecito didn't contribute, or was not the proximate cause of, the disastrous mud slides? (Correction: Dec 5 should have been Dec 16.) The repeated requests by fire control personnel to have fire-team leaders contact them by cell-phone would appear to be an attempt to keep communications private, so that the public wouldn't hear. Of course, those communications won't be on the tapes. Perhaps you'll share your implied knowledge of " wildfire behavior and suppression ." It's easy to shout-down opposing views without contributing anything of substance. You might consider running for president. :-)

a-1574012552 May 15, 2018 11:03 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

It is well known that firefighters allowed much of the area west of Gibraltar Road and above Montecito to burn without attempting to put out the fire there. Apparently this was part of the US Forest Service Prescribed Burn philosophy. Why isn't this criminal decision being made public? Perhaps Ms. Wolf could subpoena the CalFire records to verify this occurred. Or concerned Montecito residents could access the CalFire records via a FOIA request. The evening of December 5, I watched the fire progress westward, and monitored the fire control frequencies, and was appalled to hear what was going on, and dubious decisions being made. Later I spoke with fellow who had been in the area talking with firefighters, and he confirmed that they were allowing certain areas to burn without attempting to extinguish the fire. Here's where the true blame for the Montecito tragedy lies; not with the courageous firefighters who risked their lives to fight the Thomas Fire, but those in charge of the containment effort who deliberately chose to direct fire crews to let the fire burn out all the accumulated old chaparral, that was home to uncountable forrest wildlife.

a-1574012552 May 15, 2018 11:24 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Why was this a "criminal decision?" Did this cause the loss of property and subsequently loss of life due to the debris flow? Sounds like they were just allowing the fire to burn uninhabited areas so they could focus on the more imminent threats.

SBZZ May 14, 2018 02:48 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

The first part of my post was a direct response to those that refuse to share the burden of cleaning up the flood. To put it in perspective - 250 homes damaged or destroyed and 23 people killed (2 unfortunates still missing). The inconvenience at Goleta Beach pales in comparison. I encourage you to direct your energy at the County and to get them to provide us with answers about the source and content of the pollution at Goleta Beach ASAP.

horsegirl May 15, 2018 09:48 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

ok that makes more sense. have actually seen other people saying butterfly beach too. im not saying it was a great choice, but there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the need to clear the mud as quickly as possible. im just frustrated seeing so many people act as if (1) this was montecito's choice, and (2) that the decision about what to do with the mud had anything to do with money or demographics.

a-1574012552 May 15, 2018 09:39 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Horsegirl - I actually meant to write Leadbetter beach, not Butterfly, my bad. But, saying we should not have dumped on any other beach, but it's OK to dump on Goleta Beach is exactly the problem. Don't you see the hypocrisy in what you're saying?

horsegirl May 15, 2018 09:13 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

why on earth would you think dumping at butterfly would have been a solution? the beach was already covered in mud and debris, they were looking for bodies/survivors there, and there is no way for a truck to get on that beach. i also agree that beach dumping isnt a great option but it is being NIMBY to keep saying they should have dumped it on a montecito beach or any different beach instead

a-1574012552 May 15, 2018 09:07 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

No, I don't think being opposed to tons of mud being dumped on a beach is a "NIMBY" issue at all. Would you want all that mud dumped on your beaches? How about Butterfly or East beach? Any other closer beach? No, this is more of a "why Goleta" issue. Also, as for not providing alternative solutions, that is just wrong. People have been suggesting alternatives since January. Anywhere but a beach! There are plenty of places to dump mud in an emergency, a beach should be the LAST alternative, not the first. And then it comes back to, why Goleta?

a-1574012552 May 14, 2018 02:53 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

SBZZ - no one is "refusing to share the burden." What a simple thing to say. No, it's one thing to say, "no, we are not helping" and it's quite another to say "hey, maybe don't dump all that dirty mud on our beach." We all know how awful a tragedy this was, and no one is disputing that or trying to avoid that. What the people of Goleta want is to have their beach back and to not be shot down by people like you every time they voice their concerns.

SBZZ May 14, 2018 09:01 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

It amazes me that people still quibble about the dumping of sediment on Goleta Beach. It appears you have already forgotten about the state of emergency that existed immediately after the flood and the need at that time to quickly find somewhere to dispose of the sediment so that residents/authorities/travelers on 101 could prevail in Montecito. It was an emergency that required drastic measures. As if the Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria beaches did not receive the overwhelming majority of debris and junk, including bacteria-lacked sediment, from the flood! It also blows my mind that people assume that the high bacteria levels at Goleta Beach are from the flood debris. Sheesh, this is the 21st century. How about some DNA testing, pinpoint water sampling, current meters? Maybe the Beach always had high bacteria levels but it was not known due to the lack of water sampling. There was a bacteria scare many years ago at Arroyo Quemada Beach until DNA testing showed that the bacteria came from sea gull guano! I wonder if the high bacteria levels at Goleta Beach also are from a source other than the flood debris.

a-1574012552 May 14, 2018 11:08 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

SBZZ - You're the very reason why we're so upset. You talk down to us and think it's merely "quibbling" when we voice concerns over the state of our beach. Why is it so objectionable to you that people are upset that thousands of tons of mud was dumped on their beach and now, 5 months later, the beach is still too polluted to swim in? Why is that frustration so hard for you to understand?

a-1574012552 May 14, 2018 09:29 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

The denial on the part of a few die-hard dumping advocates reminds me of climate change denial, or flat earth diehards. You just make things worse. Chill out. Recognize the unintended consequences of your choices. Do better. Stop defending a mistake.

a-1574012552 May 14, 2018 01:51 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Tagdes - you hit the nail on the head. City of SB (ANY city for that matter) would never in a million years open their beach to be "shut down and contaminated for months." The city of Goleta had no choice since the beach was County land. BUT, the people of Goleta have every right to be upset and that's what these comments boil down to. Many people in our community somehow think it's acceptable to berate, belittle, criticize, etc any Goleta residents who are upset by the decision and the resulting consequences. I think that's shameful.

tagdes May 14, 2018 01:45 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

It has everything to do with it. The mud came from Montecito in County to the County at Goleta Beach and was the most expeditious answer to the problem. Do you think the city of Santa Barbara would volunteer to have East Beach shut down and contaminated for months...I think not.

Flicka May 13, 2018 07:40 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Maybe someone can come up with a better solution about dumping the mud and let the supervisors know. Carpinteria definitely got Montecito mud, day and night truckloads of it. I have no idea where anyone gets the idea it was only our marsh mud dumped into the ocean.

pstarSR May 13, 2018 04:37 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Did you read the article stating that Carp beach ALSO had mud dumped there, and it is not having the same issue goleta is. Hard to say its the mud when other beaches got it also and are testing fine. course, where does everyone think the mud would have been better "dumped"? inquiring minds..... nah actually im just wondering where everyone thinks it should have gone.

a-1574012552 May 13, 2018 03:36 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Jim - whats "petty" about not wanting bacteria-ridden mud dumped on our beach and poisoning the water for months after? Sorry about what happened in Montecito, but that doesn't mean our beach should be polluted without question. I sure hope NOBODY supports dumping on Goleta Beach next time there's a debris flow, especially after seeing how bad an idea it was.

Potif May 14, 2018 10:32 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

That the Earth is round, and not flat has nothing to do with any testing which may give evidence to where the bacteria at Goleta beaches came or is coming from, and/or why the beach isn't clearing. The fact that there are high levels doesn't tell us why they're high. There could be an unidentified source of the bacteria. It may have been assumed it was from the mud dumps, without testing for comparison to the mud that was placed there. Wouldn't be the first time something was assumed.

Potif May 14, 2018 07:37 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

It IS possible that there is another reason for high bacterial counts. Especially when you consider how much longer it seems to be taking for Goleta beaches to be clear, compared to others which also had mud dumped on them. It actually could have nothing to do with the "Montecito mud". Doesn't sound like they've tested to show where the bacteria has come from. Maybe they have, but it doesn't seem like it.

a-1574012552 May 14, 2018 11:37 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Jim Jones: What "emotional tirade" are you talking about? Do you mean the views and expressions of those who are opposed to having mud dumped on their beach? Please specify which "tirade" you're demanding "facts" for.

a-1574012552 May 14, 2018 10:14 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

How has there not been a single "Thank you Goleta?" This is what bugs me. It's bad enough we were all chastised as being selfish for even questioning the decision to dump mud on our beach, but then to not even get a "hey, thanks for helping out?"

horsegirl May 14, 2018 09:34 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

“Your mud” as if montecito had a choice in the matter? How despicable to act as if this was as simple as some petty squabble. No, dumping mud on the beach was not a perfect solution. But it was a solution. People would complain either way. This was a tragedy of monumental proportions and to trivialize it like this is kind of embarrassing.

a-1574012552 May 14, 2018 07:30 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

What facts do you think you are entitled to? We took your mud by force, were told it was "clean" and to stop complaining, and now our beach is too polluted to swim in 5 months later. What else do you want? Oh, how about a "you're welcome SB and Montecito!"

Jim Jones May 13, 2018 09:50 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

My original note again censored by Wolf and her posse of 1st Amendment violators. It is ok folks to have different opinions - you dont need to erase opposite view points so others cant see them. This is why Progressive movement is dead. 983 - please post test results that show "bacteria-ridden mud" was dumped on the beach. This sounds an awful lot like Progressive name calling because you have no facts to support your position. I will wait....

a-1574012552 May 13, 2018 07:34 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

I love how speaking up against dumping polluting mud on a beach gets down-voted. It's really telling and quite sad that, as locals voiced objection or even just concern over the mud being dumped at Goleta beach, they were so quickly and so intensely criticized as being "selfish" or "insensitive." And now, when our beach is polluted due to being forced to accept thousands of tons of mud, we're still being criticized for being upset about it. Sad indeed....

Red Creek May 13, 2018 03:11 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

The City of Goleta, including Mayor Perotte and the rest of the City Council, had absolutely no say in the dumping, and in fact raised concerns about it. The County shows a belated concern now that the contamination continues. Having islands of SB County and SB City in the middle of the City of Goleta make for predictably bad decision making . Next up: new car dealer sale lots in the airport island of the SB City, also approved against the wishes (and formal appeal) of the City of Goleta.

mrtrump May 13, 2018 09:40 AM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

Why was the debris dumped on Goleta Beach to begin with? Who made that decision? Were other alternatives to beach dumping considered? All of these questions and more have been asked publicly in Board of Supervisor's meetings for months. The Board of Supervisors and county staff refuse to answer questions.

Jim Jones May 13, 2018 02:34 PM
County Retains Firm to Provide Guidance on Re-Opening Goleta Beach

You wont get any answers out of Wolf - she is so clueless! She is so parochial too and is really upset that Montecito debris came to Goleta. Ask her if she supports taking material there again if debris flows occur again in Montecito. How dare they bring their material to the princesses land.... We need leaders folks in these critical community positions - not pety people like Wolf and Perotte.

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