Sunday, February 7 , 2016, 5:46 am | Fair 43º

Michael Rattray: What Is This ‘Managed Retreat’ at Goleta Beach Park?

Students from El Rancho School in Goleta recently rode their bikes to popular Goleta Beach Park from campus.
Students from El Rancho School in Goleta recently rode their bikes to popular Goleta Beach Park from campus.  (Friends of Goleta Beach Park photo)

By Michael Rattray for Friends of Goleta Beach Park |

You may have heard that our Santa Barbara County supervisors are ready to take out all the rocks that they installed in the last 20 years to save Goleta Beach Park, so it can slowly erode in the name of “managed retreat.” Regardless of the contradiction, there is a movement within the environmental community toward a philosophy that global warming and sea-level rises have and will continue to swallow any landward coastlines, so all coastal property owners beware.

Michael Rattray
Michael Rattray

A public hearing by county staff and the engineering consultants that released the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) was held on July 23 with more than two dozen members of the public speaking on the topic. The project, called Goleta Beach 2.0, would remove all the west-end rock revetments, take out more than 100 parking spots, move the utility corridor landward some 20 more yards, and potentially move the far western restroom after known future El Niño storms again ravage this coastline without protection.

Three individuals spoke for Surfrider Foundation and the Environmental Defense Center. While not specifically endorsing the project, the groups continue to throw their support for managed retreat as a solution that we all have to get over and accept as the right choice today.

The other 90 percent of the speakers, from all walks of life, questioned the validity of claims that catastrophic sea-evel rise is a clear and present danger in 2013 and warrants such draconian measures in the project.

The soundness of arguments can be summarized:

» If the predictions from modeling show 2050 and beyond as the critical mass of sea-level rises, then why do we have to kill this park today?

» The peak parking demand for access to all the amenities of this beach park should not be compromised by creating more beach.

» Why are our county supervisors not listening to their constituents instead of just hearing the environmental community? This large beach park is the Goleta Valley’s only true, free, accessible location to recreation, picnicking and other outdoor activities for the family, weddings, birthday parties, triathlons, etc.

» Why is the economic impact of the restaurant, outdoor activity rentals, access for tourist and UC Santa Barbara family visits, not considered?

» Why is there such a lack of communication on this DEIR and why will public input be closed Aug. 1 for such a important public facility that is visited by more than 1.5 million people a year?

» Why after spending more than $10 million in the last 10 years, do we need to spend another $4 million on the project when the current protection measures already installed are working?

There are alternatives that can and should be seriously considered as better solutions that are in the DEIR. For instance, Alternative 2 is a plan that would require permitting the existing revetments for 10 years, although 25 would be more realistic, and prototype alternative eco-friendly alternative revetments in locations on the west end not currently protected. The consultants documented within the DEIR that the existing unpermitted revetments are not detrimental to down-coast natural sand migration because of their high high-tide locations, and that until 2050 they really don’t harm the natural beauty of the park because they are currently buried under sand and earth.

The opportunity to weigh in on this important issue is now. Please send you comments to:
Alex Tuttle
Planning Department, County of Santa Barbara,
123 E. Anapamu St.
Santa Barbara 93101-2058
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Supervisor Janet Wolf, Second District
105 E. Anapamu St.
Santa Barbara 93101
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Click here for more information on Friends of Goleta Beach Park, or email Michael Rattray at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Ed de la Torre at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Michael Rattray represents Friends of Goleta Beach Park.

» on 07.27.13 @ 10:01 PM

What don’t you voters get it….you get what you elect.

The author askes ... “Why are our county supervisors not listening to their constituents instead of just hearing the environmental community?”  It is simple they take their lead as ideologist and not pragmatic leaders.  It has been the case for decades in the 1st and 2nd District.  Why do you think a wealthy county is $200 plus Million in the red for streets and bridges?  Simple your tax money is spent on ideology not what is needed.

How sad is it the author has to ask ... “Why after spending more than $10 million in the last 10 years, do we need to spend another $4 million on the project when the current protection measures already installed are working?”  Simple….it screams of Utopian governance that believes the tax pocket is bottomless.

Wake up people the Supervisors you have elected do not understand basic economics and need.  Geez.

» on 07.28.13 @ 07:49 AM

show me where the water is higher due to any global warming. Brainwashed students foolishly repeating such garbage.
We need to do a managed retreat of ucsb and the airport. Restore the estuary, the womb of the earth.

» on 07.28.13 @ 08:02 AM

The writer is bright and sincere, but mis-directed.

Natural forces of erosion are at work. They are amplified by
the growing forces of climate change and sea level rise.

Building walls is very expensive, but protects beaches or cliff sides, or buildings near the storm surge only for a
relatively short time.

Neither the federal nor state government have coherent policy
to address sea level rise and climate change. What are local
communities to do?

People like to go to the beach when it’s nice. Like to recreate or picnic or party or dine near the ocean.

The question is that with so many more important challenges
facing this County and the City of Goleta, how many limited
resources can we invest at Goleta Beach to try to protect a
surplus parking lot, a pier few use, and a lovely restaurant
whose premium location next to the sea is also its permanent

Sure, there are different factions vying over what to do for
Goleta Beach Park. They also have varying degrees of self-
interest in what they advocate.

But ultimately, it’s another case of Man vs. Nature vs. Fate.
A battle that will be very expensive to wage, and will end,
as they always do, in frustration and loss.

» on 07.28.13 @ 09:06 AM

Publius, you make so much rational sense.
However folks like Rattray want to exploit Goleta Beach for political gain. Just read the attacks he and his supporters at Colab perpetrate day in and day out. Climate deniers all, they seek to use GB as a weapon.

» on 07.28.13 @ 11:14 AM

What a load of BS Publius. Most of the beach erosion is due to entrapment of river and stream sediment flow not ocean rising due to your new AGW religion. Sediment entrapment was singled out decades ago before the lunatics jumped on the “sky is falling” band wagon of global warming.

» on 07.28.13 @ 12:02 PM

Noozhawk readers may find it helpful and informative to review a half-hour television interview with Brian Trautwein of the Environmental Defense Center discussing “Goleta Beach 2.0.”

The interview includes film of Goleta Beach with a thorough explanation of the features of Goleta Beach 2.0 as well as explanation of previous efforts by the county to deal with the erosion of this beach.

William Smithers

» on 07.28.13 @ 12:28 PM

Hey Noozhawk, why do you allow William Smithers to keep pimping the TV show with Brian Trautwhine in your comments section? It’s just spam at this point.

What is that show? Public-access TV? I do find it curious that he never promotes a show with the Friends of Goleta Beach folks.

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