San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

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Source: Santa Barbara County Public Works Department

Following the recent storms that brought additional sediment to the San Antonio Debris Basin, Santa Barbara County Public Works (Public Works) will begin to take this material to Goleta Beach County Park as soon as Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Public Works started beach deposit operations just west of the Goleta Beach Bridge on March 20, 2020, with material from watersheds affected by the Thomas Fire.

Public Works Director Scott McGolpin said, “With the recent rain event this weekend, the San Antonio Basin received an inordinate amount of sediment that is ideal for beach deposits, and naturally drains to the Goleta Slough and ultimately Goleta Beach. All of this sediment was trapped within our Flood Control system and this operation completes the trip that Mother Nature could not.”

Before beach deposit operations, the Flood Control District (District) obtains emergency permits from state and federal agencies. These agencies include the California Coastal Commission, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The District also obtains a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers who coordinates with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the State Lands Commission, among others. Sediment samples taken from the debris basins are tested for grain size, gasoline/diesel, pesticides, and metals.

In addition to using upland disposal sites and local beaches for sediment deposits, the County continues to develop a plan for regional debris removal. Since July 2019, the County has worked with the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, and Buellton to create a plan for debris removal and management. The Disaster Debris Management Plan for the South Coast and Santa Ynez Valley is currently under development and expected to be publicly presented in the fall. For more information about District programs, visit

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PitMix Mar 25, 2020 03:26 PM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

My guess is that the coastal streams in Gaviota with their steep short watersheds are more important in sand replenishment than the local streams in Goleta. Plus the sand that is blocked by Cachuma. One of the consequences of building debris basins in our County will be blocking the sand to the beaches.

a-1585149724 Mar 25, 2020 08:22 AM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

All of the replenishment soil ends up along beaches in Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara, and all the way down the coast. I seem to remember a time when Goleta Beach had a huge sand area, even a set of swings on the sand. I think without the replenishment, there would be no beach there at all. I'm no expert at soil/sand erosion, but in my opinion I think most people would agree that doing this is a good thing, and the more replenishment, the better.

a-1585150143 Mar 25, 2020 08:29 AM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

Me too, I remember it used to be a "pain" (in a child's eyes) to get to the water through alllllll that dry sand. At least a hundred ft trek! And jumping down the little 2ft sand "cliff" at the water's edge...

PitMix Mar 25, 2020 10:31 AM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

It's hard to imagine that the sediment ever really made its way to the ocean through the very flat floodplain and slough areas of Goleta. Most likely was just deposited in the slough and created more marshland. Transporting it to the coast is a great way to mess up the roads in the area. So for the cost of the labor and truck rental, add the long term costs of repairing the roads.

Shasta Guy Mar 25, 2020 07:37 AM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

The debris basin sediment is a lot different than the foul debris flow mud from Montecito that was mixed with sewage, chemicals, and pulverized houses plus who knows what else. The debris basin sediment is clean hillside matter destined for the ocean anyway.

Concerned4Calif Mar 25, 2020 07:26 AM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

The last time they did this Goleta Beach the ocean was unsafe for most of the summer due to high counts of bacteria from dumping on the beach. This denied Goleta of one of its most important recreation areas for months.

Zenyatta19 Mar 25, 2020 04:57 PM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

Concerned4calif - This is not the same. This is sandy loamy soil from the San Antonio Basin right below Hwy 154. This sediment eventually makes its way to Goleta Beach, well it’s supposed to anyway. The San Antonio debris basin was built after the Paint Fire in 1990. It serves an important function but unfortunately gets clogged up at times.

Santa Barbara C... Mar 25, 2020 11:33 AM
San Antonio Basin Sediment Taken to Goleta Beach County Park

Hi Concerned4Calif,
In early 2018, the County requested that Geosyntec Consultants provide technical support in addressing elevated levels of fecal indicator bacteria in the ocean waters at Goleta Beach. The report concluded "There was no evidence of elevated human waste contamination of beach sand or surf zone water at Goleta Beach in 2018, including when Enterococcus concentrations were at their highest. Elevated Enterococcus concentrations were therefore believed to be primarily of non-human waste origin, including environmental sources such as soil and bird waste, and beach sand conditions were likely favorable to their persistence." This conclusion is on page seven of the report, which can be found here: . The beach was reopened on July 7, 2018. For any other questions for comments on this issue, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or (805)568-3425.
Thank you,
Lael Wageneck
Public Information Officer
Santa Barbara County Public Works

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